Sunday, June 05, 2011

Davis Double Century - Two Down, One To Go

Davis likes to call itself the most bicycle friendly town in the world. True to form, the support for this ride is exceptional and you feel right at home with your two-wheeler there. The Double Century heads west toward Napa Valley, north along it's eastern ridges toward Clear Lake, and back to Davis via Cache Creek.
The ride starts off flat leaving Davis, but once out of Winters, the climbs begin, endlessly for about 100 miles. You definitely need to train not just for milage but for climbs. The good news is once you hit mile 136, it's mostly downhill to flat. Riding at 4 a.m. in pitch-darkness, this is all you see. Luckily the turns were marked with blinking road hazard lights. My 400 lumen MityCross is enough candlepower to keep me out of trouble. I also have a helmet mounted light to read my cue sheet. The first hill climb at mile 40, up Cardiac Hill to the Monticello Dam with views of Putah Creek below.The warmth of the rising sun, breaking up the morning fog was a welcomed sight.This is going to be a good year for the wildflowers. The scenery is one of the reasons this is one of the most popular double centuries. There were about 600 riders this year. After cycling for 100 miles we got rewarded by the Cobb Mountain climb - 10 miles, 1,920 feet, 10-11% grade in the hot sun. The Davis Double is NOT a flat ride. The roads are also very rough for the whole ride!The last 10 mile climb up a double peaked Resurrection Hill.This was the reward for 136 miles of riding and 8,660 feet of climbing- a breathtaking 40 mile descent along the Cache River. The haze of the afternoon sky and the glow of the setting sun reminded me I had only a few more hours of daylight. The last 30 miles were flat, the winds were mostly agreeable, and I took advantage of a long train of riders behind an energetic tandem. I easily made it before dark. Total time was 16 hours, 20 minutes. Ride time was 14 hours, 44 minutes. There were very few traffic signals so most of the 2 hours 30 minutes stop time were at the 9 rest stops (average 18 minutes per stop). Turkey sandwich at mile 117, cup-noodles at mile 162, and boiled red potatoes at mile 181 was much appreciated. (Missed the chili and grilled cheese at the last rest stop.) Broke my speed record: Max speed 46.9 MPH down Pope Valley Road, average speed for ride was 13.5 MPH. Coasting time was only 19% of the ride. On the Hemet Double my coasting time was 26% -much more work on this double. Energy used: 10,000 kcal. Temperature ranged from 48 to 93F

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Hemet Double Century - My First Double!

I've had a Double-Double at In-and-Out, and a Double scoop at Thrifty's, and I've seen a Double Header, and a Double Rainbow, but I've never done a Double Century - until now.
The Hemet Double Century is a two loop 200 mile ride. I signed up for the ride just two weeks before the start, having completed successfully a "trial" ride of 140 miles. I chose this ride as my first double because it is relatively "flat", returns to the starting point midway (which allows you to abandon the ride after doing a century), and it allowed private support. I began the ride at 3:40 AM and rode north to Moreno Valley in total darkness with the moon setting in the west. The route went through Perris, Moreno Valley, Riverside, Corona, Lake Elsinore, Minifee and back to Hemet. There were no major hill climbs although the last 50 miles is an elevation gain of 950 feet.
After a lunch break, I began the second loop at about 12:30 PM headed south up the 4 mile Sage Rd climb with sections of 11% grade in 109F degree heat. This was rewarded with a nice downhill to the Temecula De Portola Wine Trail. A loop around Lake Elsinore via Murieta, north to Minifee and a long 10 miles in the dark with the moon rising in the east, back to Hemet at 8:45 PM.
So both loops look like this on a map. While riding around for 12 hours it occurred to me that going in circles and back tracking just to get in a 200 mile ride seemed kind of silly - as opposed to say, like riding from Long Beach to get to Las Vegas. My camera refused to work so no pictures from the ride. Instead I'll mention some of the special considerations that a DC entails.
On The Ride hydration, nutrition, and protection from the elements are key to surviving a 200 miler. I use a combination of gels, chews, energy bars, and powders and try to consume 200-300 Calories per hour. 1-2 water bottles per hour (24 to 40 ounces) seem to keep me hydrated enough even on the hottest days. Sunscreen, anti-friction cream, lip balm, electrolyte capsules, and Aleve are essentials for me. I use little craft storage bags to store powders and pills. Each bag holds about 150 Calories of drink mix. At every rest stop I dump a bag into my water bottle ready from the next 2 hours.
On The Bike there are special considerations for a double. Extra lighting is needed because unless you can do the ride in 13 hours or less, you'll be riding in complete darkness. I use the Cygolite MityCross 400. It has 400 lumens of power, a Lithium battery which lasts 3.5 - 17 hours, and weighs about 200 grams. The battery can be mounted on the head tube nicely out of the way. I also use a small light on my helmet to read my monitors and the route sheet.On my longer rides I use a top tube bag ("Bento Bag") to carry things I may need while pedalling - gel packs, snacks, camera, cell phone, route sheet.Behind my saddle is a bag, an Aquarack by Profile Design and rear lighting. The Aquarack holds two extra bottles (highly recommended), and 4 Co2 cartridges. It's mounted to the seat post and weighs about 170 grams. What's in the bag? - spare tube, patch kit, tire lever, mini tool kit, CO2, and an inflator valve. Oh, and some cash for an emergency bus ride home or a burger and shake. I also carry a mini hand pump just in case I blow a few CO2 cartridges, or get attacked by dogs.
Completing a DC requires physical stamina, mental fortitude, logistical planning, and a little bit of luck. The Hemet DC allows you to have private support and I couldn't have done this without the support of Donna who met me at three rest stops - 8 AM at Tom's Farm in Corona, 12 PM at the Motel 6 in Hemet, and 6:30 PM at the 7-Eleven in Murieta. This hot dog had no chance of surviving. Rolling into the finish at 8:45 PM after a 17 hour bike ride - feeling kind of goofy, but very relieved. My first Double Century - on to the Davis Double Century.
Polar data: Total Distance-213.6 miles, Total Time 17 hours, Ride Time 14 hours: 36 min, Avg Speed-14.5 MPH, Total Calories-9,670, Avg 520 Cal/Hr, Total elevation gained-6,248 ft, Highest Temp-109F. Total stopped time 2 hours: 30 minutes which included 15 minutes to change a flat, and 25 minutes for a lunch break. 50 minutes of ride time was wasted back tracking for missed turns. I got lost 4 times and rode 13 extra miles. I tried to keep the time spent at rest stops under 10 minutes. There were 6 rest stops at about every 25 to 30 miles.
Solid filled in red area is elevation, bright red is heart rate, blue is speed, green is pedal cadence, and dark red is power. Data is collected every 15 minutes.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Mike's First Ace

September 4, 2010. It was our second round at the Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Arizona on the Devil's Claw course. Hole number 14, a slight dog-leg left 142 yards par 3 named "Huai Thonk" by the Native Americans, was looking right into the setting sun. Mike pulled out his driver and ripped a beautiful left-to-right high arching shot. We were all blinded by the sunlight and the cloud of dust coming from the tee box and never saw where it ended up-on the green? in the trap? near the hole? No one saw it. As we approached the flag, Mike was still frantically looking for his ball, as he usually does on every hole. After minutes of searching, I finally said: "Mike, try looking in the hole. I think it went in." The hole is now renamed "Who Wudda Thunk". Mike's first ace-congratulations!