Saturday, March 25, 2006


(March 25, 2006) SOLVANG DOUBLE, 200 miles, 5:40-7:20, Don +3 flats, me +2 flats, 17.6 until it got dark--where my cordless odometer wouldn't work with a light on. w/ Don (on fixed gear) and CA Mike rain-rain-rain

Listening to Patti Smith’s Cartwheels at work and felt same sort of uneasiness as back in 2004 before chicanery had me doing Century rides solo. But now not doing solo--but it is an unknown double. After Knoxville thought that this would be a piece of cake—now after a lousy winter (I was in ICU with head injury 4 month prior and then daughter had brain surgery with same neurosurgeon)…

My goal for this one is to keep a few of us together—if not now, when? After a winter where I felt like I was 70, I just want to have fun with the guys I train with—can go balls out the rest of the year. This is not a timed event and relatively flat. I’m just looking at this as a ride to get in miles for the Devil Mountain Double—lots of climbing doesn’t scare me as much as additional miles. Cal Mike not feeling good after flu for month so he will probably have the most difficulty but Don on a fixed gear, Jack admittedly not particularly strong on last weekend training ride and lots of emails from Steve who likes flat courses—he is looking forward to hammering this one so don’t expect to see him. So if we ride at Jack’s pace-and we scramble out of the rest stops-CA Mike should be able to stay with us if we pull him along.

Week of
Jessie (daughter) doing good, probably her last week off from school. We went full circle as on Wednesday I took her to the buritto shop that I would eat dinner at while she was in the hospital. Forecast for weekend looked good, on Monday the high for Solvang was forecast to be 69 degrees, partly cloudy, with a 20% chance of rain (day before 72 degrees, sunny, 0 %). By Friday AM forecast had been revised to 65 degrees, partly cloudy and 30% change of rain (by Friday evening it was rain overnight and 70% chance of rain.) I also got the brace off middle finger early in the week—though still have to use it for lifting, sleeping and athletics. I had planned to use it at Solvang anyway, but at least with the brace off 2/3 of the time my raw skin can finally heal. But hand still hurts a lot when I try to close it—luckily I triple tape the tops of bars (though double tape drops still hurt.) Finally, as cassette not working properly on double metric Mines Road ride bike into bike shop—new cassette-chain damages spokes replaced and told that new bottom bracket needed soon. Two new tires put on American Classic wheels.

As this crept up on me—doubt I would be doing it until 2-3 weeks ago, no arrangements to drive down or share room.

Day of
Friday morning ez trainer-40 minutes at 60-70% hr; last year in mileage induced state want to preride everything. In Jan-Feb I have 150 LESS miles than last year but 3x as many trainer minutes.

Drove down Highway 5 which was boring as shit, then across to Paso Robles on 101. Hit a few bike shops along the way, Charm less K-Man Cyclery in warehouse building, but nice clerks, and while in store they were playing TdF 2001 and SERVAIS KNAVEN name blasted out by Phil Liggett. Bought a couple of water bottles for the two K men, Jack and I. Cambria Cyclery in San Luis Obispo was a nicer store but and picked up some clothes—a great artsy cat coffee mug for wife next odor but they didn’t take ATM (and closed when I returned on Sunday.)

What seemed like forever driving reached Bullerton at 4:00-napped until 5 :30 as I was beat, and then drove to Solvang where I met Mike, Mrs Mike and Jack for decent pasta dinner. Jack says if it rains overnight into morning he’ll just drive home—“no big deal” about getting Triple Crown credit. Solvang nice looking mock Dutch town with absolutely nothing I want to buy—at one point I said Hallmark artist Thomas Kincaid should have a store her, Mike said “it is across the street.”

Scenes from Solvang. Christmas all Year round--i'm ready to move there.

This was my first Planet “known for lousy support” Ultra event. First big sign at check in said “patronize local restaurants—no food at end of ride.” FIRST Century/ Double I've done not to feed riders. I asked for a 2nd route (no map) sheet “no, you need to get it at a rest stop, no extras here.” Lights could be turned in and strangely brought to the 2nd to last rest stop at mile 144—and I didn’t have a bag or magic marker. And they had a whole table selling stuff-especially the ankle reflectors that would cause you to dq if you didn’t have them on at night. Everyone said goodnite way to early, I got a cup of coffee and walked off dinner looking around cutesy town and finally found an ATM. Back to hotel to watch weather channel and see predictions for rain overnight and “50 & dry all over with scattered rain towards pm.. Oh shit. All night long I thought I hear rain and woke up at 1, 2, 3, and then startled by 3:45 alarm clock. Luckily I went to sleep at 10:30. But like I found w/ Donna years ago when we did a 50 miler at Solvang—walked outside and it was cool but dry-dry-dry.

I was going to go hatless and no rain jacket, or turn in jacket to bring at mile 144 as it usually got 10 degrees cooler from 3-6pm. But the afternoon rain forecast had me luckily wearing both my Domo Cap and the rain jacket in lieu of a 2nd vest.

Jack had set the departure time of 5:30. Ran into Steve and Don at parking lot. Don said 5:30 was his plan also. On this ride you leave when you feel like it. When we cued up at 5:30 Steve already off to the races—and NO Jack. People wondered if he started already, if he knew where to meet us etc-I said he was an “asst professor” lets give him 10 minutes. At 5:35 Jack shows up and has to turn in his main light—we start between 5:40-5:45.

Head east where we’ll “U turn” in Santa Ybez and then head Northwest along Foxen Canyon Road to Santa Maria. Ride starts on a moderately long but easy uphill-great way to start to get warm. On a ride with many turns Foxen Canyon is the longest stretch, 17 miles, and it relatively slightly downhill punctuated with smaller rollers and a tailwind. Don, on his fixed gear, keeps a great steady pace on the flats and uphill rollers but he can’t spin fast enough on the downhill portions where it is easy to coast. Conversely Mike falls back on the uphill rollers and scrambles to catch up on the downhills. I try to stay in the middle to give Mike a target. On the flats we do a comfortable 20-22mph, though a few pacelines come roaring by at 26-28mph. Jack grabs one and he is long gone. From time to time I’ll do a sprint out but then fall back to be with my compatriots. The farm land surrounding is nice—kind of like the Santa Rosa area. Dark clods are ominous to the northwest hanging of the coats. Maybe like Strawberry fields they’ll stay there. In this section I am getting so warm the jacket come off (also I have to piss every hour until the afternoon.) A few cars pass—they are actually Planet Ultra Sag vehicles out in force.

Mile 38 1st rest stop outside Santa Maria, 7:46, 18.2 average speed. About 10 minutes at rest stop—just at the corner of a field. Here they have strange combination of Sustained Energy and Gatorade. Lots of riders (550 entered for this one) rushing to the Hammer Nutrition smorgasbord. One rider yelled at for trying to take the stuff himself—I dump a premeasured two scoops into my bottle. Turns out plain Sustained Energy has a malt like flavor-good, while Tropical Fruit hammergel tastes like shit. They have E caps-NOT endurolights, I take 2 at each rest stop (except for #2) and then I top off my maldterian with water. Spot Tom and Veronica pulling out. Rest stop 1 (38m, 7:46, 18.2 avg, stay for about 10 min-piss behind crowded outhouses.) On back on the road and I spot two bicycles carrying luggage in the back; I slow to bs with Tom, Veronica for a minute or two—nice folks Hard to believe it was 2003 we did the Holstein semi-together. We start following a group of riders through Paso Robles, the arrows on the road have become less and less frequent (later told that they were put down that AM and were washed away by rain)—finally someone yells are we are going the wrong way. Everyone stops—determined we have to backtrack to get back on course—adds a mile of slow town riding. At mile 55-56 we get on another long stretch, 12 miles of Thomson Avenue—and soon we are hit with a pesky drizzle. Luckily Don and I had stopped to put on rain jackets (Mike wearing his one under his jersey.) Unluckily Don has a flat—just when the rain starts picking up. Our trio stays together for the flat change-Don remains calm while I think I’d scream if I had to change flat in the rain. My Glove soaked and hand can’t close, and I start to shiver worse than when I am going down Diablo underdressed. Don fixes flat quickly—we get going, I ride hard uphill to get warm when boom—another flat-Don used a patched tube that handed held. More rain—and this time I just shake right away. Right after he fixes both flats a sag shows up with a floor pump.
Me, Don (on a fixed gear) and CA Mike rolling through the rain, for about 30 miles between miles 40 & 80. A rarity that we are rolling as Don had 3 flats while it was raining--and the SAG wagons to help were............nowhere (Probably taken by sag driver Victor Cooper who I'd ride with on the Eastern Sierra hailstorm 3 years later)

Get going again—another crazy on a Rivendale fixed comes by and he keeps wanting to ride ahead of Don or me. I am not drafting anyone—even with racing fenders Don’s bike is squirting water back—and this guy in the fixes is now shooting lots of water up. It is windy so water going on glasses despite hat and trying to wipe with wet glove only smears more—so I put in a few digs to stay in front of Rivendale guy. Rivendale guys is also a little wacko—he yells at a few people “your ass is foaming” as suds build on clothes that had too much soap in laundry. (or too much butt creame)

I’ll guess rest stop 2 in Arroyo Grande but I’m not sure. (Rest stop 2-mile 83, no statistics, probably stayed for 25 minutes) Huge crowd at rest stop—it is raining hard, with cinder block bathroom building. I grab two cliff bars too eat—maybe I’m nit eating enough and that is why I’m cold, and stay close to wall behind bathrooms under awning.. Mike finds me chattering like a skeleton—Don is under the playground structure—what else, changing a flat. Someone suggests I move to the front of the building so the wind is blocked but I’m in just as bad shape—one guy keeps asking me “are you OK.” I finally go into men’s room-bring bike with me--surprisingly uncrowded and has a hand dryer in lieu of paper towels. Usually I hate those things, now I have it blowing on hands, in shirt on pants—other cyclists inside were unaware of it, a few come over and we share. At least I stop shivering when hot air hits me and I keep pressing button over and over. But even when door opens I start shivering again. Finally Mike yells don’s ready-I hope that hard riding will warm me up but for about 5 minutes I’m chattering away on bike. I get a Paris Roubaix visualization—but this is when they get to take hot showers at the end of the race. Mike suggests that if this keeps up he can call his wife who can pick us up. I agree to this. Then I start thinking of all the $$$ spent on this, how I need doubles prep, I can toughen it out, and the rain turns into drizzle—still cold but now a reprieve,. I cycle close to mike and yell “fuck Mike, we are finishing this ride!” Road flatens out and Mike comes up—he does a good job organizing pacelines At this point body feels OK, rain more a pain than anything—and I think 1/3 done, 120 miles left of riding in the rain which I once did (actually just 60 miles in rain) in Santa Rosa.

With wet feet and soggy glove underlines we soon get where Hwy 1 and 101 combine and start a 12 miles trek-slightly uphill, on the shoulder. Here we need to miss debris and riders riding abreast of each other across the shoulder. Don can’t slow down and speed up—he need to ride at a steady pace—and that he does all day—beating most people up climbs. Sun was peaking through clouds and getting slightly warmer. At beginning of ride I’d lag for Mike as we could easily coast up to Don on the downhills, but after a few climbs with no appreciable downhill I’d suddenly be 300’ behind and have a hard time catching up to him. Soon we made a series of turns, was in another nondescript small town where THERE IT WAS-a GIANT ROCK growing out of the water. Morro Bay, mile 111, the furthest point on our ride. Morro Bay Control, , 12:17 17.9 avg speed, 2 minute stop). 6 ½ hours for the first 100 miles—at this rate we should finish at 6:30.

The only real scenic portion of this ride was riding toward Big Rock in Morro Bay. Otherwise for being near the Coast real drab--development gone amuck in Pismo Beach. Photo from Wikipedia.

I took these photos the day after the ride--found by Ward Industries Data Recovery Service.

Now we make a few turns away from the ocean, go through a park, and wind up at Lunch-Rest Stop 3, mile 115, 1:10, 17.9 average speed. This is one of the few official check ins—instead of recording your number the worker has to mark your number with a magic marker and puts a hole in it with a pen knife—kinda hard when the number is on the side panel 3 layers down. It is still lightly overcast—but calm and almost 60—it feels like a regular heat wave though shoes/socks still damp almost everything else is dry. Here they have Subway sandwiches which I forgo (come on, bring back for dinner) and continue my menu of another 2 scoops of Sustained Energy, a cliff bar and a banana at each rest stop. At this stop I add a shot of Hammergel to the Sustained Energy to get a chocolate malted.

We now start going through crowded Pismo Beach—this can’t be one of the “quiet, or “desolate” roads that frequent the ride description (some to think of it most roads had lots of traffic.) We may be along the Pacific Coats Highway but it is a far different that the stretch up north on the Terrible Two—this street full of stores and strip malls. We follow some riders and go off course by a block or two-don notices and we go back on course—on a busy street with a bike lane fronting rows of bungalow type houses. I’m in front and up ahead a pickup pulled out of his driveway and back is a few feet to the outside of the bike lane. I’m going and idiot does a U turn away from me and back in front of me blocking bike path-I yell, and turn my bike in direction idiot went-stick out my braced arm and forearm and slam his door so my bike wouldn’t hit. I’m pissed but OK though bruise on arm would hurt for rest of the ride. I’m even more pissed when a few blocks later—thump-thump-thump, back wheel flat.

There have been tons of folks on the side of the road with flats and notice lots of ambient glass-not big chunks but lots of little sparklers. At least I get the flat when sun is out and sidewalk to change it on. SAG vehicle drives right by without stopping.

We get back on an 11 mile stretch of Highway 1. Again we are going up and I can get out of the saddle more)-though hand is starting to sting and so is arm where I hit truck. But sun is now out and while climbing feeling good.

Getting kinda thirsty. In morning pissed on side of road before rest stop 1 and rest stop 2—after that comfortable before and waiting for each rest stop. Not drinking that much Maldextrian refilled water but ½ a Sustained Energy-Chocolote Hammergel malted before each rest stop. Wonder if I have to drink more. Arm where I hit truck sore—wearing arm warmers on climbs—which I never do unless freezing.

Suddenly we are at rest stop 4-Guadalupe-mile 144, 3:30, avg 17.8, stayed for about 10 minutes. Real bathroom at community Center. Ran into Doug from Sacto Wheelmen who did ride with us in Riverbank. Put on lights-unfortunately this was pick up spot, not next rest stop which would have made more sense. Asked for endurolites—told they are e-caps—mixed another sustained energy shake, and eat another cliff bar. . Mike bitching that they don’t have his soda.

Heat of day from 3:20-4:20 and sun was out so I should have been feeling good. But hand is throbbing, arm sore bugging me, and I skip a few pulls through farmland with Don setting a torrid pace. Mike calls him an animal—I quickly dub him a penguin in the hopes he’d slow down. Mike also observes that when Don says he will switch out his wheel for big climb both cassettes look identical. I promptly dub them the 17 and 17 ¼ gear. But mile 150 and I’m a little worried about my condition—hoping it doesn’t quickly go down the toilet as it has in Davis.

No need to worry, at mile 155 we get on an uphill 7 mile stretch of Highway 1 that turns into an 11 mil uphill stretch of Highway 135, with the wind to out back. I go to the front and set a nice pace—some lady passes and indicates she is getting over a broken collarbone and fell before. We slowly reel her in and repass, but I’m going at a comfortable pace so Don right on my wheel and Mike either on or not lagging by far. At one point Don indicates Mike is off so I slow and guy in yellow jacket and women go by. I drop back to help Mike, he comes up and says that guy in yellow jacket po’d him—he got on Mike’ wheel and wouldn’t exchanmge pulls. Now they are about 500’ up the road, next rest stop 2 miles away—so I sprint out at 27mph and catch and blow past yellow jacket guy and woman, then settle into 21 mph until I join a young guy paceline and pull into rest stop 5. Now 5:20, 17.9 average speed, mile 173. Stay for about 10 minutes—getting chilly so I get a cup of soup. People talking abouit BIG CLIMB coming up-9 miles-probably 3 steep-up Drum Canyon. I’m not scared of the fn climb-I welcome it as way to stretch out.

We start out and pass a couple wearing same jerseys—guy just blabbering away and he yells “look at those socks.” I tell him “guys on fixed gears can wear anything they want.” Young guy is impressed with Don—so is everyone else who noticed he was on a fixed gear. Don flying by everyone and I dig to stay with him, and then I just ride up at his pace—doing Tour of Flanders “Museeuw now in trouble” highlights. We get to top and I tell Don I’ll wait for Mike-Don starts fast 6 mile decent down road that is “not the best,” but much better than Morgan territory.

Mike comes up in about 5 minutes. I lose ground on the downhill-missing potholes while twilight sets in. I see Don waiting then starting in the distance and dig to catch up. A guy blows by who says something like "Mt. Diablo, nice hill” I dig to catch up to him but then settle back for Don and Mike.

Still light outside—just would like to use my little light to blink but it suddenly isn’t working so turn on big light-which means my odometer stops working. Hit highway 246 shoulder, Don about 100 feet ahead when my bike starts bouncing—shit another flat—at which time the sun sets. Now cold, change flat but hand hurting so much cant grab tire to finish putting it on rim, which mike does for me. Bugged a little by well meaning cyclists who keep shouting as they pass. “Do I need anything”—yeah-a non existent sag wagon. Don is off—now how the hell will we find the finish. Mike thinks we are coming up thru Solvang but we soon are in Bullerton so I know where we are. Only 3 miles to go—mike a little freaked that they are climbing miles but I stay with him. Once I yell back how you are doing and deep voice says OK-someone joined us. Mike explains to guy that he can go ahead as he’ll beat Mike but not me on climb—usually that would be a challenge but I yell out well keep together. At @ 7:15 into center of town. Can’t check in until Plant Ultra Police read some guy a riot act in parking lot about light on his helmet and not on bike. —Jack had finished about 6:00-don didn’t realize I had flatted until someone told him in Bullerton. Would be great to have a post ride meal with everyone but only a bowl of candy out. Heck, I’m going back to motel to take longest hot shower of my life—like they do under Paris Roubaix velodrome.

Per Planet Ultra: A record number 540 riders signed up for the Solvang Double Century. Rain scared some of them away... Of the 468 dedicated cyclists who started, 383 toughed out the morning showers and were rewarded with sunshine and tailwinds from Morro Bay back to Solvang. Stats for the ride: 486 starters; 383 finishers, 82 DNFs and 4 DQs.

From the OH FUCK department

STAGES OF HYPOTHERMIA; 98 - 95 degrees - Sensation of chilliness, skin numbness; minor impairment in muscular performance, especially in use of hands; shivering begins. Hypothermia usually comes on gradually.
Often, people aren't aware that they need medical attention. Common signs to look for are shivering, which is your body's attempt to generate heat through muscle act.

Hypothermia can happen not just in cold winter weather, when there are low temperatures or low wind chill factors, but under more mild conditions as well. A rain shower that soaks you to the skin on a cool day can lead to hypothermia if you don't move inside to warm up and dry off. If you stay outside, evaporation of the water from your skin further cools your body, dropping your internal temperature. A wind blowing over the wet parts of your body greatly increases evaporation and cooling.

(univ maryland) Nutrition- Eating enough calories in the form of proteins and fats before and during exposure to cold weather may help prevent hypothermia, particularly in the elderly. If you expect to be exposed to the cold, carry high-calorie snacks, such as protein bars and nuts. Regular intake of fluids-water, juices, and electrolyte replacement drinks-is important, too, and prevents dehydration. Being dehydrated increases your risk for hypothermia. Do not wait until you are hungry or thirsty to eat or to drink fluids. Don't drink alcohol or caffeine, as these substances dilate your blood vessels and increase blood flow away from your central core, causing it to cool down.

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