Saturday, September 16, 2006
After self supported century I was feeling great. Looking forward to doing another self supported century and then going into Knoxville Double in the best shape all year--no hand, back or foot pain. Don / I coming off of a 35th on Mt. Tam Double. My climbing coming around and though I'm one of slowest Diablo Cyclists descending, all the times up and down to the Junction of Diablo (usually 3-4x a week) paying off. Usually Diablo Cyclist mid week ride ends in a wild sprint down Diablo Blvd.--I get more of a benefit for the doubles for holding a high speed for as long as possible and just now getting close to holding 28-29 mph for a 1/4 mile until our sprinters launch. Life is good. Only negative, Don had fallen when his chain slipped 3 weeks before but seemed to be recovering OK. So one nite I'm coming down Diablo with Ward--we already went down the technical (narrow South Gate) side, another beautiful nite, but unfortunately twilight is setting in. Wouldn't be able to ride Diablo after work for long. I'm trying to talk Ward into doing a double next year, enjoying the warm weather, and telling him that I finally feel GREAT. Now going down North Gate which is wider but has some blind hairpins. I'm taking turns nicely to the outside and cutting back in. Not to many cars on Diablo that night as Summit is still closed. Come to biggest hairpin, not going that fast (at least for Ward) move outside, close to yellow line OH SHIT, A CAR RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME. He's close to yellow line too, I'm on it, I see I'm going to hit so I go in to car to take hit on my thigh--then get tossed in the other direction. Keep hands on bars but land squarely on bad knee. Lots of bloody cuts--bike wheel taco'd....
Motorist nice guy who lives on mountain who is po'd about gravel trucks riding all over the road. Get lift back to my car by park worker who makes sure construction crews don't run over endangered species. I'm shaking like crazy. Fast forward--next day home and slept all day. Could barely walk as thigh and knee banged up (and multi cuts on left shoulder and elbow.) Email work that I'm going to try riding easily on Sunday (in two days) as I have a double in a week-and a half. They think I'm nuts. So I miss Saturday potential self supported century. Sunday rolls around and I can't even think of getting on bike for an ez ride--hell, I still gotta takes stairs like little kids--2 feet on before going to next step. Ice packs always on knees and thigh. Great being a member of Diablo Cyclists as I hear from many people in the bonus miles gruppo--even get an email from Don (who has a secret email address/ phone number--rumor he is a spy.) Real nice, but I think Knoxville is going down the toilet. I give myself until Wednesday nite as the drop dead date to cancel motel etc--will need 3 successful trainer sessions to go through with Knoxville. On Monday nite I can't stand on pedals and can't spin a 39x15 more than 66rpm. Now, I already have a shitty cadence but this is absurd. On Tuesday I go on for another hour and can keep a 39x14 to 70rpm. Also can stand for 100 pedal strokes. Lots of ice afterwards but things are coming around. Wednesday I can stand for some of my favorite standings songs (Bush "Little Things")--4 minutes and can turn 39x14 at 80rpm. Good improvement, not near what I'd want coming into a hard ride, but now possibly doable. Unfortunately Litespeed is in shop so will take heavier GT with rack--heck, can use it to carry thigh wrap I wore for most of week with me if needed. As Thursday, two days before an event is an off day, I wish I had one more day before the event to train and return to near normalcy but I don't. I decide what the hell, in the year of doubles I'm going to do Knoxville. It is not timed, should be fun, and I may actually finish... .
(September 16, 2006) KNOXVILLE DOUBLE 201 Miles, 11,900' Climbing With Don (10th double of the year), Jack and Steve 5:35-8:35 , 15.4 mph 6th Double Finished + 161 Miles for the Year
15 Hours-but KNOXVILLE was over way to quickly as end of doubles season. Here the crazy folks of the Diablo Cyclists ready to leave at 5:30am. Later, on gentle climb of Knoxville Road--just like the Death Ride I should look much happier, and didn't think I was hurting THAT much, but my face shows too many body parts hurting from injuries. Don, Jack & I, and Steve. Thanks to Nevada Doug for early morning photo and Redbike Photos for closeups on Knoxville Road. Kitty also on the course so we had 5 Diablo Cyclists on this ride.
If this had been a timed double, usually run on a real hard course, I would have dropped out but this is supposed to be an easy/ friendly double that the Quackcyclists put on to make up for their demonic Devil Mountain Double earlier in the year. Funny though-- Knoxville "only" has 11,600' of climbing, and Mt Tam Double has +3,200' more, and both years came in well before nightfall on Mt Tam while was in the dark for 1/2 hour last year on Knoxville. But as Mt Tam timed I'm super motivated to ride hard all the time and try to get out of rest stops quickly, while last year I was screwing around on Knoxville. Knoxville also starts 30 minutes later than Mt Tam, and sunset now comes about 30 minutes earlier. But I figure that even if I ride MUCH slower than last year--if I don't vacation at rests stops (last year got a mid-ride massage and looked for a clean restroom, and waited for teammates) I should finish about the same time. And apart from excessive rest stops last year I couldn't recall why it took so long last year--I mostly remembered a few gentle/ short climbs and the long uphill on Knoxville Road, which is 20 miles of nothingness but it usually goes up a gentle 3-4%, and then some real short series of long rollers at the end.
The nite before, at dinner with Don and Steve, I told Steve that after lunch Knoxville course was relative flat and I fully expected to see him go flying by on his aero bars. The ride description confirmed my selective memory. "2/3 of climbs in the morning, nothing quite gets to 10%" This was the OLD ride description. Due to "winter rains" the bumpy Big Canyon descent, which was now worse than usual, was taken out and a smooth Cobb Mountain descent was substituted in. Of course this necessitates 3 additional miles and 400' additional climbing "featuring some 10-12% stretches." But the middle section offered "some relief," final part "sheltered by trees" and downhill traffic "light-moderate, but not an issue."
(1)Beautiful park checkin area where the next night we'd have post ride dinner(2) Jack leading the pelaton in the early morning after Vacaville becomes quickly rustic (3) Steve passing Silverado Country Club, where are his golf clubs?
Quackcyclists run a nice check in at Pena Adobe Park Gazebo--lots of free swag--Quackcyclists socks, Quackcyclist t-shirts from last year, reflective ankle bands (that no doubt Planet Ultra would sell for $5.), Hammar bars (...Planet Ultra could offer these at nondinner at Solvang...) Only surprise, nothing would be carted to rest stop #6(@185 miles) as not to many people used it to pick up lights last year. I had as I came in 10-15 minutes before twilight--but now I'd have to send lights to rest stop #5 at @158. A little to early--and still had notion that no way I'm not finishing in the dark--send lights to the finish. If I wasn't coming off injury I probably wouldn't have sent lights.,
Last year I really enjoyed downtown Vacaville but this year it or "the outlets" didn't catch my interest. Nice when I ran into Steve at checkin and later he, Don and I would eat at a decent pasta place in at strip mall. Quickly back to non descript motel for as much stretching as possible and nervous setup for 3:45 wakeup. Nervous as injury and time on trainer took away from time I use to get ready for these events and I had already discovered that I forgotten a bunch of little things like a Mapquest Map of where motel was, to an extention cord in case I wanted to use a helmet light. After my 4-5th trip to the car figured it best if i just relax and go to sleep. Next morning met up with Don/ Steve at 5:25. We thought our timekeeper Jack was late, we reminisced that we started the century season months ago with Jack being late to the start at Solvang, but Jack was just waiting for us up the road. Into the darkness we started, around the lake in the park, over the highway, through the Vacaville suburbs, and then into the wilderness. Any notion of this being a "fun" century quickly eroded. I was having trouble getting loose, thigh and knee tight (wearing a knee warp and knee warmers and a wrap over elbow.) with Jack and Don pushing the pace on the uphills and Steve pushing on the flats/ downhills. Night riding and cool air didn't help, so I just hung way off the back feeling out of it. Sun up in about 45 minutes (mental note, @45 minutes left on lights for end of the day.), which was great as road out of town was pockmarked, and it started warming so I felt looser. Last year we left with lots of people but not to many riders started with us this year--soon we were passing lots of riders on the road. Feeling better, but wondering how long I can hang in for. Actually, once thigh got loose no trouble the rest of the day--though knee remained an issue.
All of a sudden I get much slower, what, oh damn, REAR FLAT TIRE. Must have been from one of the pothole I went through. Unfortunately, though fingers/ hand strength almost back to where I can change soft Verensteen tires on Open Pro rims, I'm riding American Classics with Michelens, and on the GT where the seat stays are about 10mm to narrow. Damn. I also just cleaned GT superficially instead of great shape I keep Litespeed. Luckily everyone stopped and Don helped me change tire. Campy Eric shows up in a SAG wagon--first of list of usual double riders working this event., and also helped--and at this point I'm real flustered as I've just been focusing on how to finish ride. Then Steve says "Jay--more bad news--you're front tire is flat also." One of the guys changed the front as I was pissing around with the back tire. If I was alone I probably would have ended my ride on the spot.
Below (1) Don on second climb of the day out of Napa Valley (2) We saw more grapes on this ride than Tour of Napa Valley-Jack determined in front of them. (3) Victoria--who got her Triple Crown this Year and Tom working the Lake Berryessa rest stop--looking much warmer than when I saw them riding in Solvang downpour. (4) Don at start of Knoxville Rd. Bottom (5) Me on the GT with thigh wrap on bag rack, on desolate (except for men with rifles) Knoxville Climb--at lunch I'm getting a massage which I need need more than food.
We had our first climb over Mt. George to the Napa Valley--like usual Steve got left behind on the climb and then zipped by on the descent. In Napa, along familiar routes (part Terrible Two, part Tour of Napa Valley) we pacelined, with Don doing most of the work to rest stop #1. Near the rest stop I fell off badly, as on the turn there was some ambient glass and I slowed while wiping the tires--Don, Steve, Jack just 100' down the road--usually no problem digging in and getting back on the flats but knee and overall leg tightness was saying "no you don't." Damn-only 36 miles and it felt like I had done 100.
Rest stop has BOTTLED water (not the crap from the hose) but unfortunately no mechanic as gears slipping. At rest stop an old club member, Nevada Doug, was working and he was joking around how we all lagged in behind Don but I wasn't in the mood to joke--still lots of doubt I'd finish the ride. Lights off bike, and soon ready to go (didn't record times but @10 minutes or less), 1/2 Banana, Hammer Energy Bar and a Sustained Energy/ Choc-o-late Hammergel "Bosco" shake, I was on that for most of the day until rest stop 5 when I finally got sick of SE & Heed. But still always felt dehydrated?? On Silverado Trail we picked up a few more riders, some would stay on paceline and then try to take off but we'd almost always get them, back. Damn, I wanted to jump on wheels but was on good behavior. Don learning from me (or maybe he was still hurting from his fall)--actually let a stranger do the pulling. A modest climb that I didn't remember soon came up, Howell Mountain Road--Steve told us he was dropping off for a Sierra Club dedication and we knew he'd be slow on the climb but I expected to see him whizz by on the downhill-but we lost him for the day.
Climb OK but I WAS SHAKING ON THE DOWNHILL --IT WAS FULL OF RIGHT HAIRPINS where I just got to relive the crash on Mt Diablo over and over. I was really unnerved by the time I reached the bottom and only way to cure that was to hammer for awhile along series of rollers to Lake Berryessa rest stop.
It had been real windy in the Bay area the last few days as temperatures suddenly dropped 20 degrees--but today warm and a light breeze of @5 mph was coming out of the Northwest. So sometimes a hard 15mph unless in a paceline, at other times the road would turn and 20 was effortless. At @70 mile rest stop #2, Veronica was checking in riders as she had done last year. She yelled out "your wife said you WEREN'T GOING to ride this!"--she had seen Donna right after my accident. Tom was gleefully hawking food and basically said the same thing while offering Advil, Tums, Endurolites and more Advil. Long line at porta-potty, and I was in a better mood, so when I went off to the side and Nevada Doug yelled out "I know what you're doing" I just yelled back that he forgot to water that shrub in the morning and it needed water.. Now started the 20 mile Knoxville Road climb in the middle of nowhere. But for a middle of nowhere road it is well paved. Very very very little traffic. It is mostly a gentle climb with NOTHING on it except for one tunnel overpass and the entrance to the Homestake Gold Mine. Jack-Don-I passed lots of riders, I felt good--but then I saw the first guy with a rifle slung over his shoulder. Soon another guy with a huge rifle and camouflage outfit up the road. Don't know what they were hunting but kind of unnerving. Think 1-2 riders passed, but no reason to chase and would be stupid if I did. Also Steve would probably be be able to regroup with us at lunch if we didn't go balls out.
Soon my knee was bothering me and I was dreaming of lunchtime massage that I passed up on timed Devil Mountain Double or Mt Tam Double--especially when we hit the last section that gets steeper with a strong headwind. Also was getting low on energy, and laying on massage table with eyes closed for 10 minutes also sounded great. Those yellow signs with the trucks falling off a triangle to signify a downhill were a welcome sight all day as I could recover. Soon mile 100 ! YIPPIE and into Lower Lake rest stop. I knew Jack would be ancie but I made a beeline to Ish and Nonnie's masage table. A massage was more important than food. They were working on Grizzly Mark, and had heard about my run in with the car. Don told me to "take 10 minutes"--I thought he was anxious as Jack to get out of there as my double flats had put us back 20 minutes--but in reality he was content to stay at lunch stop as long as need be. Got a great massage from Ish--the whole back of my thigh (NOT where I was hit?) was super tight. In reality without massage probably couldn't have finished the ride. I started grabbing food, could eat on the run. When we were pulling out Steve was pulling in--smiling like usual. Now it was up new section, Cobb Mountain. Oh, did I mention that my gears were slipping--earlier in the day I found out I couldn't stand on 24 cog and best once I got into one that I didn't shift again. So even if I felt good enough to jack-in-a-box stand-sit-stand-sit on a climb like I like, I was resigned to find one gear and try to stay in it. In any event, Cobb Mountain (which we flew donwhill on Davis Double) was brutal. Sun baked*, no strength in my leg and couldn't change gear. And later I found out that brake rubbing against wheel. (*Next year NOT doing climbing rides in dark blue Diablo Cyclist jersey) Don/ Jack easily rode away--lots of people passed and I was in no hurry to stay with anyone. Just determined NOT to get off the bike, as after you get off once it is to easy to get off again and again. But the 39x27 felt harder than my 36x21 usually felt--and I avoided standing much due to possibility of gear slipping and energy it took which I didn't have. This was the point in the double Steve talks about where one asked themselves why they are doing another %#!$&*(! double. Funky sign in front of store--downhill sign, and nice smooth road down to Middletown, though with much traffic. One guy came off the downhill in front of me and we pacelined to Middletown. He had the directions tacked onto his bars--I told him that was cheating. Now we had wind from the north and I had trouble keeping 20?? Finally I let the guy ride away from me instead of trying to keep up. After the next rest stop- when trying to spin/ rub the dirt off the wheel, the wheel wouldn't bulge, and I then discovered that back brake solidly rubbing against the rim.
At Pelican Lake Rest stop, another Doubles notable, Jennie working the rest stop. Don and Jack there--seems Don got in before Jack but Jack "Ready to Go" before he locked up. Kitty-who had started much earlier than us, also there and ready so Jack/ Kitty rode off. Don/ I decided that we'd wait another 10 minutes to see if Steve rejoined us--I was grateful for the extended rest and gave Don a chance to drink his energy drink of choice--a Coke. BS'ing with Don (the man of 100+ cadance) I was surprised to learn that he also suffers from "energy laspes" on these rides, and he also was sapped on Cobb Mountain, all of -which reminded me to take my mid ride Vitamin B. That is what is great riding with Don, Jack and Steve, I find out that many "doubles dysfunctions" that I think are unique are really universal.
RAAM finisher Ish and wife Nonnie, both Massage Therapists, waiting in Knoxville. After passing them up on timed Devil Mountain Double and Mt Tam Double, I wasn't going to bypass this opportunity--I probably wouldn't have finished without them.
No Steve so Don/ I took off and with favorable wind and chance of finishing before nightfall we started to alternatively hammer and bs. Passed Ink Grade/ Hubcap Ranch and started talking about the difference between century rides and doubles. Big difference is that double riders will usually spend less than 25 minutes at all rest stops through the first 100 miles, and that century riders are wowed when a big climb comes up at mile 70 when we see lots of climbs at mile 150. I wasn't keeping close track of time but it seemed that at 4:00 was has 60 miles to go--so for long sections our going 21mph made it seem getting in before nightfall was doable, but then we'd hit a significant roller which cut our speed. We were quickly at rest stop #5, Lake Hennessey, which meant putting on our lights, and passing on the hot dogs (someone sitting with Kitty, who we caught up to, barfed one out.)
Another 5 minutes, no Steve, so we were off and I was annoyed when top tube battery would slide down top tube on every uphill (rubber band around top tube solved problem.) Again very strange wind currents, mostly favorible. On one long uphill, with minimum pedaling, we were going 20mph. Unlike last year not much boat traffic on Highway 128. But no matter how fast we were going, and we were doing a good 2 man, shades of Mt Tam Double, finishing before dusk--7:30--always seemed elusive. Steve later said the same thing--he'd do a mental calculation which made finishing in daylight seem doable but then an uphill section would ruin momentum and calculations.. About 11 months ago I was hammering this section with Big Mike on Foxy's Falls, but that was after mile 70, not mile 170, and now we weren't going much slower. We had to climb the back side of Resurrection--which is not very steep but long. We flew past Davis Double Cardiac Dam rest stop but it was around 7:20 when we hit the last rest stop-16 miles from the finish, and 10 minutes to sundown. Last year, on an easier course and healthy , I was here 20 minutes sooner.. It was now getting quite dark.
On section from rest stop #4 to about a half hour ago weather had been perfect--sunny and high 70's with tailwind. But about a half hour before sundown, when twilight set in--started getting much cooler. I had sent arm / knee warmers to finish. Luckily still had a knee wrap. It had started to pinch and rub knee the wrong way, and I had pulled it down over ankle after rest stop #4--but it was certainly welcome now as it rapidly got cooler. Gotta remember that for rides out near the Coast.
1) A welcome sight-start of Cobb Mountain downhill. (2) Jeanie, one of top doubles riders, had a tandem failure/crash on Terrible Two and 2 months laster was top 10 finisher on Mt. Tam Double.
So pulled into last rest stop with heavy twilight setting in fast. Another familiar face working the rest stop, Doug from Sacto, real friendly guy who we had first met on Riverbank while sprinting in, and I had since run into on the easier doubles. He wanted to know if Don was on his fixed gear--I said "no! the crazy person is on a regular bike today--though this is his 10th double." I was sick of SE and wanted real food--unfortunately didn't have any noodle soup. But they had some peanut butter sandwiches that just hit the spot and I exclaimed that they were "the best pb sandwiches I've ever had," Doug's coworker got all giddy as I guess she made them. Lights turned on, ready to go. Kitty and Grizzly Mark pull in when we are leaving.
It was just last year when I first met Grizzly Mark and rode in with him on this ride. See the same "crazy people" over and over on these endurance rides. I figured a half hour of riding in the dark but it is more like 3/4 hour; or how long we could cover 13 miles of a real rural (but nicely paved) road in the dark. Road is a constant 2-3% uphill, but still had favorible tailwind. Much more experience riding at night than last year, so while don't really like the dark no longer freaked out by it--as when cars coming from the other direction and blinded by their headlights. This was relatively quiet, not like the Niles Canyon Highway like the end of DMD. Don pulling most of it which was fine by me as I could just follow his bike--if he wound up in a ditch I would have followed. But we didn't, though a brief scare with a dog coming out.
ArmwarmerLESS arms in cool air kept me really awake. I'd keep light on 6w when going uphill to save battery life, then kick it back to 12w when road turned flat. I also had a little LED saftey light with me drooping from handlebars--I should have clipped it to my helmet so I could read odomoter. One other cyclist tailed us the whole way, never saying anything. When we got about a mile from the highway crossing I told Don I'd go in front as I wouldn't get us lost back to Cobb Mountain. I also congratulated Don on his 10th double, he protested that we didn't finish yet--I told him heck, I'd drag him across if he stopped now. I was wary of the trailing cyclist who might shoot off our paceline towards the end, and being ever competative I just went real hard on the last highway overpass. Damn, I felt better at mile 201 than 20, though knee was completly sore by this point and somehow, even with drinking all day I was thirsty as hell.
15 hours of total time.
Jack had come in a little after dark, and we all ate together, nice 4 dish pasta meal where you can take as much as you want (compare to Planet Ultra where you only can take as much post ride candy as you want.) Soon joined by Kitty where we did our usual kidding around about who was slacking more on the double. She was getting an award the next day for finishing 3rd among women in the stage race series. Don/ I waited around for Steve who was just about to lose power to his lights, especially after he flatted with a few miles to go and then took a wrong turn. As always he looked happy--I think it was because his beloved CAL beat Portland Junior High School by a half dozen touchdown. (He said he ONLY checked on the score 2x while riding--he probably has a mini tv on his aerobars.) Steve had calculated yesterday that only a dozen+ doubles and he gets into the doubles HOF, which you get into when you complete 50 doubles. With Don's 10 this year, if he keeps doing them at a more sane pace in the next decade he'd also reach the HOF. Jack, the doubles zenmaster, was typiclaly nonplussed and said if he gets 50 he gets 50, he doesn't care. I'm not shooting for anything but a nice schedule is one every two months once it turns warm and have had time to train--or 3 a year..
Soon not to many people around and time to go. I actually would have been happy to stay out at Pena Adobe Park for a few more hours as this signified THE END of my 2006 adventure. Six doubles was a culmination of a goal I had set last winter--pre intensive care accident, pre-Jessie neurosurgery. I had wanted to do 8 doubles, but Hemet was a pain to get to and I had DNF'd on Central Coast. I had thought I could place top 10 in the Triple Crown Race series and disappointed as I didn't think I rounded into shape at any time--even Mt Tam was harder than it was the year before--and really didn't get a competative attitude back until the Summer. All were hard except Solvang where we got poured on and Davis where I waited for my imminent collapse that didn't occur. On positive note I did the two damn hardest 1 day rides on the planet--DEVIL MOUNTAIN DOUBLE & TERRIBLE TWO. About 8 years ago I actually helped on the DMD metric course and though how crazy perople were for even doing the 120 mile route (no longer offered.) No harder one day rides to do.....
Though the Triple Crown rookie crop from last year kinda dissolved a great thing was starting doubles with so many Diablo Cyclist doubles veterans and finishing a whole bunch of them. I seemingly finished all of them with Don except for each of our worst "doubles of the year"--and we stayed together for the entirety of many of them which seemed impossible. Now adventure that started with Don and Ca. Mike in downpour/ hypothermia on Solvang, which seemed sooo long ago, finally ended. Next year I had planned to enjoy riding more and skip DMD (no intensive winter training) and TT--daughter graduates weekend of Davis, and I want to do Mt Shasta which is same weekend as Mt. Tam Double. So I may only do Knoxville next year, and perhaps Sierra Double if Sierra Century route isn't restored... Who knows--I'm even contemplating getting a fixed gear FOR WINTER RAINING PURPOSES ONLY!