|Mt. Diablo from the North.|
(April 28, 2012) DEVIL MOUNTAIN DOUBLE, 206 miles, 18,600' (Double Century with 2nd most climbing)
2006--Prep--Intensive Care, 1 Double & 4 Century+ Rides, DMD--17:24, 79th of 149 finishers, starters??)
2009--Prep--5 Century+ Rides, DMD-16:49, 59th of 155 finishers, 182 starters
2011--Prep--10 Century+ Rides, DMD-16:15, 65th of 192 finishers, (starters??)
2012--Prep--11 Century+ Rides, DMD-15:29--Finished ugly Crow Canyon Highway (mile 200.5 ) in the daylight!!--hey, by this rate I can crack 12 hours if I keep doing DMD until I'm 75.
32nd of 138 finishers, 152 starters so leaked into top 20% of starters
The old saw about Devil Mountain Double is that it is so hard as early in the year so not much time to train. Well, except for a rain out on the Davis 300km brevet, got in all the training rides I wanted. Maybe sometimes less intense than being revved up on a public century rides with a bunch of numbnuts pissing me off--but not to many long distance riders faster than Toby or Cisco Dave and had to put in a big effort to ride with them.
Wasn't planning to do DMD--but craping out on Alta Alpina (double with most climbing, all at high altitude) last year changed that--as I'm gonna take another shot at Alta Alpina, I figure DMD is a great training ride. Cisco Dave is doing DMD for the first time, hope he saves me some food at the end. A local blogger who I don't think I ever met, Curtis, is also doing the ride for the first time. They're both a little nervous, which brings me quickly back to 2003 when I did the double metric Sierra Century and self supported Death Ride and I was so wound up before both. Since then I've done about two dozen harder rides--and either suddenly fall apart and never recover (DMD 2006), fall apart and eventually come back (DMD 2009), or zoom through the ride while waiting for "the other shoe to drop," and it never does (DMD 2011.) Sometimes I can ride hard all day (Mt Tam doubles), sometimes I crap out after riding easy (Alta Alpina 2011.) Davis Double is one of the easiest and often I feel the worst finishing that one. Can ride the same course great one year, crap out the next year, and then do great again (Knoxville, 2009, 2010, 2011.) In short-I'M ALWAYS SURPRISED. I don't even have to watch my inspirational videos, Paris Roubaix 2001 & Paris Roubaix 2002, as I did over and over in 2003 before events to calm down. (Did sneak a peak at 2002 as expect a long solo ride somewhere on the course.)
|Old and New Testament--One the greatest cycling team race ever, the other the greatest individual performance|
Goal will be to ride hard and finish in the top half of starters. I'd love to come in 10 minutes before my 2011 run but that was such a magical ride where nothing went wrong, I don't think that will happen. Wouldn't be taking a still camera or the video cam on this one--want to fully concentrate at the job at hand.
#12 Century (or more, much more)
(April 28, 2012) Devil Mountain Double, 206 miles, 18,600' climbing, start with Jack and Cisco Dave, ride long stretches with Cisco Dave and Grizzly Mark, 5am-8:29pm, 14.3 avg. @66 minutes off the bike
Had a dream ride--even if part was a bad dream. Coming in was hoping to take 10 minutes off my time from last year. I was a little to giddy going into the ride ("piece of cake") so I took some time to remember the times I've been sagged on Doubles and the crappy feeling that accompanies that--so luckily I fine tuned my outlook to be ready to fight through the moment on a Double you wonder "why the hell am I doing this." Riding stretches with our club's Cisco Dave and Grizzly Peak's Mark A., seeing familiar rest stop workers as Craig, Doug & Joni ("hey--listen up"), and having our Graham Watsons
Mt. Diablo, climb 3200' in 10.5 miles
Morgan Territory, 1500', 7.4 miles
Patterson Pass (with Headwind)
Mines Road, 2500', 25 miles
now the fun is over, climbs get steeper
Mt Hamilton, 2100' in 5 miles
Sierra Road, 1800' in 3.2 miles
Palomares, 1000', in 4.5 miles
Norris Canyon, 530' in 2.1 miles (info from Quackcyclist site though may not be valid as they lie and say the 14 miles to the 5 mile Mt Hamilton climb is a "mostly flat and occasionally descending road." In reality it starts off flat, leading into a series of uphill baby rollers and then serious uphill Italian rollers--each one progressively worse.)
"Hah Hah Hah Hah Hah," the Quackcyclists who remembered everything else a cyclist could want when putting on this event, and every steep hill in the area, FORGOT to put Welch Creek Road (off of Calaveras) on the course.
At checkin the night before ran into my double's antagonistic friend, ("get OUT of that rest stop chair") former woman's Triple Crown Champ Kitty--she's training for PBP, again. At the other end of the spectrum ran into Curtis who was doing his first climbing Double and worried about the cutoff. Told him not to worry as Quacks are not known for enforcing time cutoffs--my old club had a member whose legacy was he finished last on DMD and rolled in at 3am.
Cold at mass start, but I knew it would quickly warm up with the rollers out to Mt. Diablo. I have the miles that rest stops and top of climbs appear taped to my top tube--someone else had a big ride profile of the hills taped to his--shit, they all look like hell so I don't think that helps. I hate mass starts at night--usually I start near the back and pick through the crowd when the rides string out. Today I figured what the F, I'd start near the front and try to stay near the front of the group as long as possible. This worked out well. Had first of many memory lapses when someone came alongside and said hello--??--then it dawned on me. Met Vlad briefly a few times on past Doubles, usually when he zoomed past. Last year reading a deposition transcript suddenly spotted his name as one of the attorneys in a case we were in--small small world. Now coming back from ankle injury he was also putting in the effort to stay near the front. Hoped that this early effort didn't blow up in our faces later.
Strategy was great but blow to one's ego. I'm a good climber--as an arbitrary figure lets say better than 75% of the riders who regularly do Doubles. But the difference between this and the climbing ability of those who are at 85% is huge, greater than me and the folks around the mean, 50%. (Its a bell shaped curve type of thing.) So even though I hit Mt. Diablo in about 12th place, I couldn't catch anyone ahead of me and I was frequently passed to the top, as surrounded by the climbing elite. But starting at 12th and getting passed by 24 riders on the climb is better than starting at 100 and passing 24 riders, though the latter may feel better mentally.
Resurfacing of gateway to Mt. Diablo was a charm, the usual chorus of "watch that hole, hole left" in the darkness was gone. I HAD to stay in front of Cisco Dave after someone in the rear yelled at him "your rear lite is obnoxious;" as it does feel like riding behind a New England Light House. I knew we were making good time as the sun didn't rise until half way to the Junction. Stupid me--last year I ran out of water as I froze one bottle of Perpetuem, so this year kept 1/2 the Perpetuem bottle with a thick solution I could drink on the way up if need be--but it was too thick and chalky to digest while climbing, so I had to stop at the Junction for a quick water refill of my energy drink bottle..
Great feeling when sun was out, and I decided to pace up (and smartly not chase any of the people zooming past) when I ran into two turkey San Francisco Randonneurs, Tim and Gustavo. I was on the right side of the road--not tight to it but about 1/3rd of the lane away. Tim passed on the right. I said "hey, it would be nice if you let me know you were passing on the right." He said "you left a space up there." I upped the pace then they did--Tim continued "ALWAYS expect someone to pass on the right" and Gustavo thought it was the funniest thing that someone would complain about not letting someone know you were coming up on their right. This got my dander up--"I don't care if you pass on the right, lots of people will pass me today, but how about a shout out--we're not racing" (Later the Wente Racers would yell out "on your left" when passing) Gustavo took off, I didn't follow--only 180 miles to go, hope he's having fun.
Good mood at the top--Doug/ Joni working the rest stop--Joanie wanting to prepare a PB Sandwich for me but that would have to wait. Even better, it was not cold, no need for long sleeve t-shirt I had carried up along with rain jacket, glove liners and ski headband. In my haste to leave I even forgot to put on my vest under the rain jacket but I didn't care. Dave pulled in as I was leaving but no time to BS--full intensity on this ride.
A reoccurring theme of this ride--though I've become a slower climber since 2004, descents used to scare the hell out of me. I'm still a slow descender but 4x as fast as in 2004 and just relax on the downhills.
I saw no one on the Mt. Diablo descent, and no one on the uphill rollers out to Clayton. When I made the turn into the avenues a big paceline led by Rando Tim came by--I jumped on it and was off 3 blocks later--when I stopped outside Christine's house where I dumped off all the excess clothes I had used to descend Diablo and wouldn't need the rest of the day. So some excess time here but would save the time at the Morgan Territory rest stop where most people get rid of the excess. Surprise appearance by Ward playing paparazzi.
|We're off Diablo and will now be warm for the rest of the day. (top) Goodbye to sock liners (below) Cisco Dave happy, he just got his first shot of morphine from Ward Industries' Dr. Ferrari Medical Courier Service(Christine)|
|(top) Cisco Dave checks the route as Christine watches the race approach (middle) Dr. Dave has NOT EXCUSE for not doing this ride on his |
'bent (bottom) Captain Jack approaches Kodak picture spot (Ward-o-photo)
As no need to drop stuff off, and I'd be slow on the twisty descent to Livermore, I took off quickly while Dave stayed at the rest stop to stretch.
Again no one passed or passed me on the descent and on the flats to Livermore, where I kept looking back to see if a group was coming up but no one was. We were now heading toward a great 10 miles of road--the tailwind aided shallow climb and fast descent into the Patterson Pass climb.
No help until I was ready to start the run in when Cisco Dave and a guy on another orange bike with orange tyres two manned up to me. Shit--where were they 5 miles ago. Anyway we started the climb when a big paceline rushed past us. "The 6:00 group?" Cisco Dave asked, referring to the super fast heads of state that start an hour after us and seem to always pass around here--and I had warned Dave NOT to be tempted to jump on. But I saw Rando Tim in the group so I yelled "jump on" and away we went. Woman in the back had the newly designed Volagi Bicycle with disk brake pads and a flexible frame--designed for double century riders. Rando Tim pulled much of the way, I took a short turn along with a few others in the group. Flying into Patterson Pass but the goal to keep well hydrated was being met, meaning I'd need a nature break at the foot of the climb--and also use the opportunity to pull off buff and arm warmers. Figured I'd never see Cisco Dave again
About 50% of the windmills were turning--so we'd have a stiff headwind but noting brutal. . I had forgotten about the 6:00 group--about 1/4 up Patterson Pass 4 guys shot by--followed by George in a support car. He had gotten me to work DMD (bunch of crazy riders, I had thought) @13 years ago. Now mile @77 and though felt good definitely had lost any power my legs had at start of ride. Grateful for when water stop appeared as I had downed another bottle. Bad knee was starting to hurt so took an Aleve (I'd beat Dave, I only took 1 Aleve for the day, he took about a dozen Motrin.) For some strange reason I couldn't get going on the flatter sections of Patterson Pass and I found the final steep section more to my liking.
Now fast downhill where we'd merge into the Wente Brothers Road race course for a few miles--the place where Grizzly Mark got snapped at last year when holding onto a single racer rider last year. Suddenly a racing peloton ("on your left") whooshes by at teh sharp end of the race, I think of Mark and last year and chuckle--knowing that he couldn't hang onto a racing pelaton--and I'd tell him the story later. All of a sudden I hear "hop on"--its Grizzly Mark affixed to the back of the pelaton--and I think he was sticking to Cat 1's. Too late if I ever had a chance--I can't build up the speed needed go hook up with this or the next group that passes. Later I saw a video taken on the course an hour later, the much slower Cat 4-5 are on the course and easier to latch on to.
Again riding solo for most of the way to the Mines Road rest stop. My timing sucks--about 2 miles from rest stop joined by Asian pelaton from this morning. Mile 91-Its 11:15, ahead of 2006 by 19 minutes when I'd fall apart after the Junction, ahead of 2009 by only 2 minutes but in 2009 I felt like shit immediately after, and 32 minutes ahead of last year. When I pull in Cisco Dave and Grizzly Mark are about to leave. Clubmate Craig working the stop--also with an English guy who keeps saying hello but for the life of me I can't remember who he is (I think I do now--MJ?), and my mind is on remembering all I need to do and getting out of that rest stop ASAP. Here I have to pull tee shirt as hell of the climbs in full sun coming up. Also down 1/2 a can of Diet Coke (best to stay hydrated and rinse out sports drnk taste.) OK--finally get out of the rest stop--must be first one that I was at for longer than 3 minutes.
Mines Road is a long run to the Junction--in the middle of no where. It starts out steep and has some ending rollers, but whole middle is a gentle uphill sheltered from the wind--great to paceline. But except for the run in to Patterson Pass I've missed out on pacelines all day. Get on initial steep part and pick up the pace to see if I can join up with anyone when the road flattened out in @3 miles. Pass a few riders early and then when uphill is about to end see the bright yellow kit of Grizzly Mark ahead--the perfect person to paceline while BS'ing with. If you could combine my climbing with everything else Mark does well on a bike you'd have a decent rider.
I catch up to Mark and we bs' and ride hard towards the Junction for a dozen miles, and see many riders on the Mt. Hammy Challenge, going the other way. I'm surprised that Mark never heard of the Sierra Century--my favorite ride. We're passed by one rider, we stay together for a long time but eventually Mark and I have to drop the pace--I made it a little further where the end rollers start. Steep but short climbs, my favorite. Again solo on the long downhill into the Junction where Cisco Dave has taken the Junction Cafe Sugar Bowl contents for energy. Some riders sitting down for a 4 course lunch--I get a bread and ham sandwich. "Nothing else?" the sandwich maker quizzically asks--"no, I want nothing I can possibly retaste in the next 20 miles." Next 20 miles will be brutal--suddenly very warm and full sun. Especially the 5 mile killer to the top of Mt. Hamilton.
Another 1/2 can of soda to get rid of the HEED taste, lather on the '50' Sunscreen and take off. Cisco Dave was long gone, didn't see Grizzly Mark, and once again set out solo
Solo until the uphill rollers started getting serious. One guy came along and setting a rapid but steady pace so I jumped on his wheel. He didn't want to talk, and when I went to the front he quickly repassed. But he pointed out crap on the road and didn't make any sudden jumps, so I guess I was being welcome to stay on his wheel. This ended on the sudden downhill which starts the climb up Hammy. Water stop which used to be half way up now at the base and old acquaintances Tom & Veronica, members of my old club but were usually doing their own thing, working the water stop.
Reload and start up for 5 miles of torture. My knee is sore and the bottoms of my feet started to hurt, and I had no energy. F. This is usually an OK climb for me--the Sierra climb coming up is the one I hate, but I wasn't happy. A couple decked out in orange passed and I couldn't even think of holding their wheel--I'm just thinking about making it through the next hairpin that hikes up to @20%. Seemed like an eternity until I reached the -4- to go mile mark, and another century passed until I reached -3-. All along I'm thinking--how the hell am I going to do Sierra Road, which always kicks my butt. But no reason to think that as my butt, and feet and knee and brain were getting kicked now. I just keep remembering that a little after 1 mile to go the road flattens out, but that is little consolation on the hairpin by -2-. This is the point where I ask "why am I doing this Fn ride."
Finally get to mile -1-, a few more steep parts, then road flattens out. I'm beat. I now also want to get off teh bike and go to sleep, which I never have trouble doing. But what may have been a stupid decision I figure let me go down the narrow twisty road to the land bridge about 10 miles below (the San Jose side of Mt. Hammy is 3x as long and 3x less steep than the side we came up) and I can take a break--nap of 10 minutes on the side of the road. I took the downhill well, unfortunately I wasn't fully awake or alert as I kept noticing tight curves of fallen rocks or shallow potholes all too SUDDENLY. Oh man--do I need a nap.
When I got to the land bridge I had awaken out of necessity, my knee and foot just sore but not hurting as in 2006 when I wanted to rip off my cycling shoes. The remaining course to the next rest stop are some easy uphill rollers--my favorite terrain--that goes into a smooth road that you can practically coast on at 25 mph. So off I went, solo again until caught by a rider with a large safety triangle on his camelback--he had never done the course so I warned him about the quick turn to the last house up a hill (of course) that was the next rest stop.
At the rest stop someone yelling at me from a truck but I have no idea who they are--I just want to get something to drink, fill my bottles, and start the climb I hate. Sierra Road. No strawberry Heed, which has a subtle taste--unlike strong Orange, which of course is all they had and I'd puke if I had any more. So just filled bottles with water--dumped an frozen fruit bar in the water for flavor, downed another 1/2 can of Diet Coke, and took extra Endurolytes and Tums to make up for the absent "Sports Drink." (Stupidass moment--I had sports drink fizz tabs with me, and I forgot I had them.) Some more Z-Bars--apart from bread/ ham at lunch and early muffin, think I was living on Z Bars and Chomps for most of the ride.
Suddenly back in suburbia, zig zagging neighborhoods to get to Sierra Road. There is a 7-11 on the way, where Dave and Fredrick had a hot dog a few weeks ago. I toyed with idea to stop for Gatorade but didn't want to waste time, so fruit bar water would have to do. (Think Cisco told me he stopped here)
Suddenly we were there--crappy Sierra Road. On a short ride I can come close to 35 minutes, on DMD after 156 miles usually 45 minutes--so I set my timer so I'd know I had 45 minutes of hellto contend with.
On the initial super steep section a nice guy I think named Victor pulled up to chat. He climbed like me (stands and cranks the pedals too much instead of spinning) and we bs'd for about a mile, but his pace was to high for me to keep up with. Just ahead of him were the two people who had passed me on Mt. Hamilton, the woman was now in trouble. And we were rapidly closing in on.....Cisco Dave, was also ahead and in trouble. His back had gone out on Sierra Road (sounds familiar, mine did in 2009.) Last person I expected to see--luckily after Sierra Road alot of downhill and fast flats, so if he could make it over Sierra Road he'd be OK. I passed Dave and I hit the top of Sierra Road in just under 40 minutes, which I was amazed at.
Put on vest and pacelined with orange couple to Pet The Goat Water rest stop. Goat had died. Per tradition, when I was half dead here in 2006 and was ready to give up, I wasn't going to pet it anyway. Today I wished drop bag was later in Sunol. Picked you big lights--too warm to put on extra vest and knee warmers in my drop bag. Briefly bs'd with Doug/ Joni. In rolled Cisco Dave, said he had stomach issues--Joni quickly ordered him to eat a banana and I gave him Tums. Knowing the nature of the rest of the course I suggested we could ride together--he'd still be faster than me on the upcoming downhill and the Calaveras flats, and I could ameliorate the pace on the small rollers on Calaveres.
Ride together we did through a half dark Calaveras--sun was still out but tree lined Calaveras was in solid shade until you'd make a sudden left and were blinded by the low sun. Stragglers from Mt. Hamilton Challenge now going up Calavares. Dave was really in bad shape but he gamely hung on my wheel for the fast run in to Sunol (I waved hello to Welch Creek Road as we passed.) I had taken some speed off on the rollers but on the flats I was cranking and Dave stuck on behind beautifully--even when I picked up the pace when I saw a rider in the far distance. We finally caught the lone rider--it was the guy who pulled me on the Mt Hamilton rollers earlier. I shouted out "hop on" but I think sight and sound had long left his body as it had done for me here in 2006. On the run in I felt great--the best part of the ride.
|Cisco Dave and I steam into Sunol 30 minutes before I would have dreamed possible. Ward-o-photo doesn't make us "remember our time" but I will (Ward-o-photo)|
|Hey, Quackcyclists provided GREAT support but I never got this greeting at a rest stop! Check out the Volagi Bicycle (Ward-o-photo)|
|This is why I'm soooo happy not do Niles Canyon in the dark. Shoulder tends to disappear. (Ward-o-photo)|
|Ready to start Palomares Climb--dead serious, and some guy who flunked out of the Bryman Photography School lying on the road taking photos, and I suddenly crack up (thanks Ward)|
|Cisco Dave and I starting up the Palomares climb (Ward-o-photo)|
|The telescopes on Mt. Hamilton visable from the top of Palomares (Ward-o-photo)|
|View from the Ward Industries Corporate helicoptor of me climbing up Palomares through the trees (Ward-O-Photo Aerospace)|
|I make the top of Palomares (Ward-O-Photo)|
|Prepare for the steep and suddenly cold downhill-- VERY HAPPY not doing this in the dark (Ward-o-photo)|
|On top of Palomares--I'm tired of Cisco Dave being the happiest person on training rides--so a rare photo of Cisco Dave NOT preening for the camera, its been a long day (Ward-O-Photo)|
Finally at Norris Road--off the busy Crow Canyon for some solitude and a few steep rollers (Ward and most sane people would call them hills) until a final descent to the finish. Real dark now--country road--dog is barking nearby. A car silently approaches until driver wrecks the silence by yelling "way to go Pumpkinman." I'm still wound up tight--who the hell is this---its Dr. Dave. He stops at next pass and takes my photo--and yells out asking how far back is Cisco Dave. I respond 30 minutes--figure Cisco must have stopped on the Palomares climb for awhile. I was way off.
|(top) I'm near the top of Norris Canyon (below) With Cisco Dave, right after another morphine shot so he's happy as hell and just signed up for Devil Mountain Double 2013. (Dr. Dave)|
Cisco Dave has a great recovery and rolls in just 7 minutes after me. He starts listing all the things that started hurting and didn't think the ride would be so hard--Dr Dave said "there is a reason they tell you NOT to make this your first Double." Hurting and all Cisco had an incredible ride for his first Double, let alone any DMD--though he vows NEVER to do another one. Cisco didn't hang around, Dr Dave went home, Jack was at least an hour away and no idea what happened to Grizzly Mark. I went inside and got some lasagna, didn't recognize anyone (didn't help I left my glasses in the car) and just slowly nibbled on it while I drifted back to Earth.
This past spring was the first I realized I felt tired and was growing old. Maybe it was another winter. Maybe it was not knowing anyone they are talking about on TMZ. Maybe it was not having an I-Phone V. Maybe it was the lousy bike rides, with all the climbing. Maybe its just the plain fact that I am tired and growing old. -- Farewell, My Lovely
Postscript-Jazzed with my finishing time which is almost 2 hours better than my time six years ago when I was a faster climber, then jazzed at my 32nd place finish. But I am hurting--turned myself inside out for most of the ride. Wife comes back from Chico Wildflower bringing "Chico News and Review"--man, I loved reading that rag, and Chico, when I did the hard 60 mile Wildflower @15 years ago. We'd do that ride each year and hoped one of my daughters would go to Chico State. All of a sudden one of my daughters went to and has been out of Chico State for a half dozen years--and I'm doing this crazy ride for the fourth time. Vow this will be my last DMD as this year will be my last shot at Alta Alpina. Next year I'll enjoy "Chico News and Review" in Chico.