Sunday, August 5, 2012

Mt Tam Farewell Double (2012)

Century # 26 (August 4, 2012) Mt Tam Double, 198 miles, 14,500' climbing, 15.4 mph, 5:00-6:14

Preliminary Results 13:14 riding time tied for 16th of 204 finishers and 239 starters (so top 94%).  Now--truth be told the tandem given the same time as me and they were way ahead on Lucas Valley Road-did they get lost? and if Ish didn't have to true his wheel after our crash he would have finished the NY Times Crossword Puzzle before I came in.  But if I didn't lose 10-15 minutes at the crash site and finished the ride slower with big painful hematoma on my hip, I would have finished sub 13 hours--@12:55.  Damn.

-My Fastest Time Ever
-21 Minutes Faster than last year when they  reversed route
-Longest Rest Stop was when I laid me and the bike down to avoid hitting a fucking car U-turning on Hwy 1
-Started Solo but rode long stretches with (behind) Ish (RAAM rider), Kimberly & Roehl (RAAM tandem). Also with Toshi (coolest Death Ride Jersey) and Chuck from Vegas--in great paceline across Marin.

Mt. Tam--Day before the Double (PC)

The Mt Tam Double (with it series of short climbs) is my favorite Double but I've been thinking awhile about this being my last one.   At least my last racing-timed Double.   I'm not that excited about a timed Double where I am psyched to ride balls out.  No one from my club does this, or most timed Doubles anymore.  Seems like a decade ago since Mike and I had dinner before the first time we did this ride--we were so excited.   I think the big thing is the whole getting older thing, which I ignored, until the vein problem popped up. 
 Had redoubled my training in prep for the Alta Alpina this year but workouts have become harder.  Long climbs have become harder--whatever cardiac conditioning I ever had is now F'd.  But I ignored all this until the vein/ calf problem.  Physician said it was a temporary thing--which it is until I cycle--inflamed and hurting after the Marin Century I did a week ago, the Sacramento Century during the week--and even during the training warmup the day before the Mt. Tam Double.    Compression socks & heating pads--wonderful.    On the Mt Tam Double calf vein inflamed and was bothering me on some of the mid ride climbs--at least until I fell on my butt so I wouldn't fly over Ish or taco into a car and the grapefruit lump on my side hurt me more.

Pictures of Frank Lloyd Wright Marin Civic Center near the ride start--East Marin is developed--West Marin ain't (PC)
So on the great 50 mile (small chainring)warmup ride to the Pt Reyes Bovine Bakery--which traces much of the beginning of the Course--I was thinking alot about this being my last hard/ timed Double.  On my ride to Pt Reyes I took a detour to the Olema Campgrounds which was a seminal event for my old bike club in 2001--when I couldn't ride and could barely walk after my knee was ripped up.  The hardest thing I had ever done to that point was the totally flat Lodi Century--my annual grueling ride.  Never dreamed I'd do a Double, let alone a hilly century ride.   Started doing doubles in 2004 and first earned the Triple Crown in 2005--after 8 years maybe it is time to stop.

(top) Day before I am at Big Rock (middle) Look at those pair of....scones...Vegan Whole Wheat Scones at Bovine Bakery--I now have nighttime snack and breakfast (bottom) Mt Tam Routes marked with mileage to rest stops and top of climbs on my top tube--I forgot to put in Pt Reyes Station rest stop (PC)

Lucas Valley Road blocked when I came back by an armored car going off the side of the road.  If I was younger and rode faster I might have been able to get free samples (PC)
This was spooky after thinking about aging all day--watching the Giants game before going to bed--one of the players slid wrong and announcers predict he'll get a rasberry on his ass.  Giants announcers are about 5 years older than me.

Mike Krukow--"I've got a strawberry on my cheek when snowboarding"
Duane Kuiper--"Your days of snowboarding are over"
Krukow-"You're right"
Kuiper--"It was a sad day in my house yesterday.  I gave away my skis, and kept the tv and couch.
Krukow-"That's why you got to take alot of pictures."

Wake up at 3- for the 5- mass start.  I always hated waking up at @3- for a Double (sometimes earlier), I always hated starting in the dark.   Today I hate it more than usual.  Game plan is to get near the front of the mass start, just like last years Mt Tam and this years DMD so wouldn't have to ride in a large group, though will be hard to keep close to all the fast riders near the front.     Luckily the short but steep Big Rock climb is just a few miles in, and then there are a series of steep rollers out to Fairfax--perfect for breaking up the field.     Other game plan is to try and skip #1 & #2 rest stop--one right before and right after climbing Mt. Tam--I've traditionally skipped #2.  I'd wind up skipping #1, #2, #4, #7 & #9--I must have read Jack's guide to riding Doubles.

Last minute decision to throw knee warmers on--this ride is usually real cool/ moist in the AM but it gets warm and sunny later.   This was a good move, but I forgot his bag of drugs (suntan lotion, enduolytes, Tums.)  Cuing up for mass start and a few people are joking around with friends--I'm just ancie and want to get going.  Nice Japanese guy with a strange Death Ride Jersey (is this the one Cisco Dave said he didn't like??) next to me asks about the course, would turn out we'd ride together along long

One stupidass got my dander up right away--some guy clad in black spinning 150rpm with legs and bike all over the place (think Jerry Lewis) came flying up the road shoulder and then cut off the two people in front of me.  I yelled out "nice move buddy, how about saying something" which caused the cyclists around me to also grumble at Jerry.  I moved to the outside and got past Jerry as he seemed like an accident waiting to happen--10 seconds later is sounded like Jerry unclipped and hit a cyclist behind me--drawing lots more yelling.

Got over the short climbs nicely and when peloton formed on straightway to Fairfax, I got behind the
riders who just beat me off the downhill.  First morning light--yippie.  But downhill into Fairfax is longer and many riders shot by-when we hit the flats one strong guy in the flats hammered past and pulled me back to the group right before Fairfax--the Mt Tam climb.  I was dependant on the kindness of strangers all day.

Mt. Tam climb was nice--weather was clear.  Japanese guy with strange Death Ride Jersey (isn't that a cartoon character where the skeleton should go?) and I kept passing each other.   Guy we met on Old La Honda a few weeks ago (he remembered Rebecca zooming past that day) was also on the climb.

Seemed very fast to mile 24--the first rest stop.  Traditionally I just stop here for 3 minutes (piss--reload on drink, grab a banana and cookie) but was always amazed how many riders just go past--so I decided to do that today.  Luckily I loaded up at the start with a couple of Cliff Z Bars and GU Chomps--plus a 6 shot of Perpetuem.

Quick twisty downhill to Lake Alpine where a rider and tandem passed--no big deal--I'll catch them on the climb up to Ridgecrest, one of my favorite climbs with the short steep hairpins.  But it was a big deal, the tandem was about 200' ahead of me and stayed about 200' in front of me for most of the climb.  When I finally caught up to them turned out they had done Race Across America.    This was the best climbing tandem I had ever seen.

Rollers on Mt. Tam were clear--with heavy fog hanging a few hundred feet below.  I used to be able to zoom over the "Seven Sisters" but I can't anymore.  Tandem zoomed by on the rollers and I repassed on the uphill after the intersection we'd return to to go down to Muir Woods/ Highway 1.  I think I counted 22 riders coming down (hence ahed of me) while I was going up to turnaround checkpoint.

(top) Rollers on Mt. Tam (bottom) Beautiful view off to the Coast, that is what we are going to descend into (Toshi photo)
Top of Mt Tam at 7:34, +7 minutes faster than last year.  This year no water at turnaround so I go over to picnic area.  Open 2nd Z Bar and start rolling after a few minutes.  Spot Grizzly Mark coming up--tandem passed me again before downhill that plunges into fog.

Very foggy and dreary--glad I kept small light on the bike and have it blinking.   (Though I had it blinking when car made sudden U-turn in front of us so it may just provide a false sense of security.)    On curvy downhill no cars pass on the narrow road--but near the bottom about a half dozen cyclists shoot by.  No big deal as I plan to skip, as I always had done, the rest stop coming up.  I get to some uphill rollers on Highway 1 and a few cyclists 1000' ahead of me.  I can't make any progress catching up to anyone anymore and the 1000' stays constant.  Right after Stinson Beach the road flattens and now the folks in front will probably put more distance on me--when the climbing tandem comes by and I jump on.  Soon they are picking up all the cyclists who are in front of us.

I'm on Hwy 1 before Stinson Beach in the morning (Marin Cyclists)

Ish, same place (Marin Cyclists)

La Honda Guy-same place (Marin Cyclists)

 Roehl/ Kimberly tandem on Cheese Factory climb. La Honda guy and I got lucky--we got  to follow the tandem and then Ish down the Coast from Mt Tam to Pt Reyes Station. (Marin Cyclists)
 Just when I'm getting tired pounding the flats, the rollers start.  Wonderful-I have a much easier time riding hard on uphill rollers than the flats..  The tandem drops off and La Honda guy and I are riding with a tall guy who is in tri bars and headphones.  He is keeping a steady pace but slower over the rollers than my liking so I'd go over the roller first, but in the subsequent flat the tall guy would steadily move past.  Hell, if he wants to pull the next dozen miles to Pt. Reyes Station at his fast but steady pace I'll sit in.  Guy looks familiar and he has a Quackcyclist Bike and Quackcyclist socks.

I pull up to talk to him--but he recognizes me first. Rider is Ish who is one of the great long distance cyclists.  He used to live near me and a member of my old bike club, and 15 years ago he'd do crazy rides like Doubles, the 508 and eventually RAAM.  But unlike a self promoting 508 rider in the old club who had far less success in Doubles and 508, you'd never know from Ish that he did any of this stuff.  He was more interested that I finished a real easy century, and very encouraging.  Years later he saw me after my first double and excitingly ran up and asked me "well how did you like it?"--where I exclaimed "I'm never doing another Double again"  That was about 30 Doubles ago.    

This was Ish's first double after knee surgery, and this was to my benefit as I could barely keep up with him as he steadily pulled down Hwy 1.   I'd rest on the rollers.  He'd see someone down the road and didn't need to accelerate--at his steady pace eventually we'd catch up and pass them.

Get into Pt Reyes Station and I stop at mini rest stop--mile 73.   I Know I need to take some food, tums and endurolytes--luckily rest stop worker who I've seen on Mt. Diablo gives me some of his.  Take some food (raisin oat bar) in pockets though I think I'll be stopping at big rest stop in Petaluma--20 miles later.  I also intend to get rid of knee warmers there.

Now we are going cross Marin to the East.   Lots of flats and slow rollers interrupted by "Cheese Factory Climb."   Here the guy from La Honda and I get into a nice paceline where everyone was working--and then past turn off to Nicasio which I rode yesterday and where we'd go 100 miles from now.  But now we are going straight over the "Cheese Factory Hill."

Tashi, on Cheese Factory Hill where we merged with Century riders and blocked by stalled auto traffic (Marin Cyclists)

Chuck, at the same place. (Marin Cyclists)

I'm at same place.  Soon  we'd go cross Marin back into a headwind with Toshi and Chuck. (Marin Cyclists).
What a clusterfuck--one lane of traffic is closed for returning century riders.  The slower century riders are now all over and blocking the lane we're in--and traffic is backed up near the top as traffic is snarled going back and forth on one lane.  Almost come to a dead stop at the top where cars are blocking cyclists--or cyclists are blocking cars. 

Go off the long downhill and Ish and I are again at the same point.  Ish pulls for awhile but comments he feels tired and will stop in Petaluma, so I go to the front until downhill into Petaluma.  What an honor--its like pulling Johan Museeuw.  Guy from Old La Honda was with us and said I pushed the pace nicely.

Following Ish into Petaluma (Marin Cyclists)
Weave around the streets of Petaluma and spot the rest stop park at mile 93.  Pull in at 10:40 just +8 minutes ahead of last year, which is almost all rest stop saving time.  Rest stop is a jammed with cyclists from all Century and Doubles route.  Spot clubmember Craig who comes over to say hello and then I just jump on bike to get out of there.  Not bad--93 miles and just 9 minutes of rest stop time, though I wish I would have ducked a few more oat bars in my pocket. 

Next segment goes 31 miles Northwest back towards the ocean--which is what the Mt Tam folks reversed a few years ago to get everyone in Petaluma early.  I dislike the new route--I like lots of rollers, but rollers (or flats) into a headwind sucks.  When leaving Petaluma there are 3 other Doubles riders, one being the Japanese guy from the start.  We get to a red light and one turkey runs it and cuts off a car.  We all comment what an ass that guy is--which bonds us into doing a three man across Marin.  One guy from Vegas wearing red dot shoes doesn't look like a climber but he is.  The Japanese guy, Toshi, had done DMD and Alta Alpina--for the Death Ride his club made personalized jersey's and that is why his has his avatar on it instead of a skeleton.  Cool.  Toshi is strong--on some pulls he quickly is 100' ahead of everyone but then slows so we can regroup.  Also cool is we pass a century rider who wants to race our group, but once he realizes we are on the Double he joins and helps us out.  

(Top) Chuck guy from Vegas--check out those shoes.  With shoes like that he best be a strong climber--and he is (Bottom)  I'm in group heading west on baby rollers but headwind (Toshi Photo)
 Besides wind whipping into us, it ain't getting any sunnier.   Get into Valley Ford rest stop, mile 124, at 12:24--+20 sooner than last year.  I figure to get nourishment I make a Perpetuem at the special table only open for Doubles Riders, but when its not iced cold Perpetuem doesn't taste good.  Also grabbed some more whole wheat/ oat bars that always go down well.

Now its the 30 mile Coleman loop--that feature 3 climbs before getting to the very steep Coleman Valley climb.  I start off with Chuck from Vegas, but my calf vein and bottom of foot are starting to bug me and I soon fall way.  La Honda guy then passes me.  I can't pick up the climbing without hurting so I sit more than usual on the two climbs along the busy Highway 1.  Finally we turn onto rustic Bay Hill Road, which is usually cool.   Today its frigid. Fog is back.  In fact near the top I got into someones farm driveway--and just when I'm puzzled that the paved road is about to turn to gravel, an old lady comes out of the house and points me to the right direction.

Long bumpy cold downhill to Highway 1.  I'm so pissed with my climbing, calf issues, that I don't stop to put on my vest or put back the arm warmers that I tied around my bars.  At least my tee-shirt and knee warmers were still on.  Nice ride down the foggy Coast, lights back on, Toshi catches up with me but I tell him to go ahead as I anticipate (and do) ride up Coleman very slowly.

Coleman is surreal.  Usually a hard climb but where the fog evaporates and morphs into the sun.  Today it just gets foggier and foggier.  Cows are on the road.  Sheep are on the road.  I yell out warnings to cyclists going downhill.  On the top roller after roller and I keep looking for water spot and eventually think I missed it.   Suddenly it appears, mile 136, its 2:09, lead from last year down to +13 minutes.  I am stoked when bundled up rest stop workers say I'm about 18th or 19th.

When water stop worker says return to Valley Ford rest stop is only 17 miles away, I tell her that I already saw Valley Ford.  Its depressing when you return and its almost empty, and I don't plan to stop.  I had taken a few oat bars-cheery rest stop worker said that wasn't enough food and proceed to stuff (squish) a stack of Fig Newtons in my pocket.

Toshi had hung out and we ride together down another crappily paved downhill--Joy Road.  After all we are now in Sonoma County which doesn't believe in paving roads.  Then a few rollers but mostly downhill or good flat sections with tailwind.  Back in Valley Ford, mile 153, at 3:00, which is 20 minutes up from last year.

I skip the rest stop (though dedicate the crap pavement shortly down the rustic road.)  Have a short steep climb back to Highway 1, where another doubles rider shoots past me--I'm still climbing like crap.  Swing down to Tomales and then now heading south on Highway 1.

Still incredible head/cross wind going down Highway 1.  I'm down to 13mph when Ish comes by--yells hop on--and I get to hang on the ride.  Lots of short steep rollers punctuate this portion of Highway 1 which is good for me, as I can recover on the roller from the tough job of hanging on Ish's wheel on the flats.  Then disaster strikes.

Right after a sharp downhill is Nick's Cove Oyster Bar with a big parking lot on the right and auxiliary parking lot on the left.  I remember this from last year when a car leaving a lot cut Ward off.  Today a car passes us right before the downhill--then dead stops on the Highway, pointing to the right parking lot.  Two pedestrians walking on the right side--blocking the car. (Driver later said they spotted a "no parking" sign in the right side parking lot.")  Ish goes to pass on the left, where there is plenty of room as car is 1/4 pointed on the right shoulder.  Car doesn't have any turn signal on--then suddenly turns left and clips Ish.  I'm either going to fly over a downed Ish and or slam into car, or do what I do, lean and fall to the left--hanging tight onto the bars so I don't break a collarbone.

Hip got about 80% of the blow--head 15% (helmet broke in the back) and elbow 5% (just some scrapes.)  Hip is locking up and I'm screaming at driver.  After a few minutes I try and  can get up--bike is OK.  Ish says his bike is wrecked. and with adrenaline rush I tell Ish I have to get out of there before hip locks up.   There is an uphill roller right after oyster bar and I can't get started until I walk up the hill so I can start on a downhill.  I had a headache over every bump but I knew my name and address so I figured head came out unscathed.   For the rest of the day my hip hurt with every pedal revolution--later I saw where my hip had swelled--it looked like someone stuck 1/3rd of  grapefuit on my side.  Wouldn't take Advil as not a good idea even with mild concussion .  (Ish told me later that some witness said my head bounced on the pavement)

(Note: Old route went on Highway 1 past  Nick's Cove much earlier in the day, quiet and autos not cuing up for dinner clusterfuck.   Old route also came back from Petaluma late in the day--a lane of traffic (and po'd drivers) NOT closed--but it didn't need to be as a handful of doubles riders around --not the large group of Century riders.  NEW ROUTE IS DANGEROUS IN THE CHEESE FACTORY HILL, NICK'S COVE SPOTS)

Tire missing some rubber and helmet missing a back end after crash (PC)
 Now painfully going towards Marshall Wall.  A few miles from turn caught up to Toshi--he was hurting now.  I tried to pull but he was soon off.  Then up the Marshall Wall--thankfully easy from this side--and then--finally--a tailwind.

At Walker Creek rest stop, mile 172, 4:37, up +20 from last year even with accident.  I report accident and make sure someone went out to get Ish.  Load up on more oat bars.  Fuck--I looked at my rear tyre and there is a huge gash in--something to think about on every remaining downhill.  Can't pedal as fast as I want anyway.

I'm not planning to stop for the rest of the day again.  9 minutes of rest stop before mile 100, post mile 100 19 minutes of rest stops PLUS about 15 minutes at the crash.

Now on Hicks Valley flats and super tandem comes by followed by another guy who is kind of erratic. Tandem gives me great news--they saw Ish (with hole in shorts) on the road. I duck behind them.  When another Doubles rider zooms by the erratic guy tries to get on his wheel but soon he is in no mans land.  I'm content hanging behind the tandem. 

But the tandem has to stop for some reason, so I catch up to erratic guy.  I'd love to have run a 2 man with him but he just trying to get away, so I stuck behind him.  Guy did a nice job on Cheese Factory climb into the wind--I could have gone up faster but "Do what you should--not what you can"--Coach Toby  if this guy wanted to beat himself up and I could rest so be it.  Then I stayed with him on the downhill and we then turned into the Nicasio flats with tailwind.  I figured I'd do some work now--but when I turned around before the Nicasio rest stop he had dropped off. 

Now about 13 miles back to the finish and I was going to ignore calf & hip pain and ride balls out not too get passed.  And I didn't by any single rider.  But on the fast uphill the tandem roared past and I had nothing left to try to catch them.  Even when they stalled a little when it got steep before Big Rock, I closed a little but couldn't catch up--and I wouldn't see them after the downhill and the really fast segment back to the start.

(top) Start of Redwood lined (10 mile) Lucas Valley Road (middle) With about 5 miles to go short Big Rock Climb (bottom) After Big Rock it is 22 zig zags downward.  All photos from the day before (PC)
Want to make sure no one else catches up--but worried about tyre so keep looking to avoid any rough patch on the road.  Big Rock downhill of 22 turns done well--loads of signs warning riders after number of century crashes last year. 

Soon 5 miles of fast flats done and last @8 block up and downhill through subdivision needs to be done--I look back and no one there.  Of course there is a major intersection 2 blocks from finish--I get caught at the light--as soon as it changes one rider that had the downhill momentum comes along and zooms by me.  Things even out as I know where they duck the check in table--all they way to the back--so we came in together (after doing my best Joe Peschi "pardon me, excuse me." to the century cyclists walking every which way with their bikes.)

My watch says 6:14--I wanted to come in 15 minutes before last year--and this was 21! By far my fastest finish and I think it was a slow course today with the headwind, but results will be posted in about a week.
I've always placed here real well so looking forward to the results.  But without that fn car I could have come in before 6:00 for a sub 13 hour ride and could walk without pain that was now killing me.
Ish pulls in right behind--he had to true his wheel which took over 20 minutes.  Turns out he's parked about 5 spaces away from me and I can hear him when he calls his wife and gives her the bad news--I'm not that brave so I text message my wife that we finished but had a small mishap along the way.

(top) Cooking at post ride BBQ (PC)  (middle1) Ish & I at post ride meal--I don't always look this happy after a Double (Toshi Photo) (middle 2) Grizzly Mark--I think he had 1 of everything served (PC) (bottom) Toshi with his Club's self made Death Ride jersey (PC)
Good post ride dinner, though workers are taking the place apart though some Doubles riders will be coming in 3-4 hours later.  Catching up a little with Ish, and soon joined by Grizzly Mark and some people he knows from the big Santa Rosa Bike Club.   So what is topic (I didn't bring it up), why do some people stop riding doubles?  Mark suggests they should have 150 mile Doubles for us old folks--I like that idea.  One guy mentioned a rider who stopped doing Doubles and soon he died from a freak accident in his backyard.  Eventually I clued Mark in that this may have been my last one--I'm still thinking about Knoxville which is an untimed "fun" event--but the days of thrashing myself on the brutal doubles are over.  This ride used to be easy--now it too fucking hard.
PS--Heard from Recumbent Brian--first 'bent to do Alta Alpina.  He found the long steady climbs on Alta Alpina easier than the repeated short, sometimes steep, climbs on Mt. Tam Double.   Mt Tam had a 15% DNF rate on a cool day.  Maybe this ride is harder than I give it credit for--or maybe if I stayed in mid pack and didn't try to stay near the front it would be easier.  All I know its a week later and I still have a (reduced) swollen thigh and it looks like someone squished an eggplant on it.

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