A double century is a great way to establish and prove out a deep aerobic base for any hard race like the Everest Challenge. I completed these three double centuries on March 7 and March 14 and March 21, 2015—three Saturdays, a week apart.
I chose to do 3 in a row with the explicit intent of reducing body fat and laying in a deep aerobic capability for more intense training for the rest of the year. The effort was a success on both counts.
- All of my double century efforts are solo time trials, meaning I do ZERO drafting (though I might pull others). This is much harder than expending 2/3 to 1/2 the effort in a pack. Even two riders sharing the load give each other a considerable break.
- Actual mileage can vary from what is shown in the graph. Not having calibrated for 25C tires (vs my usual 22C), my SRM PC7 seems to have been off (low) by a percent or so.
- All three events ridden with Veloflex Roubaix tubulars tires and a Lightweight Standard rear wheel and Lightweight Autobahn VR front wheel.
Southern Inyo Double Century, March 7 2015
This double century starts from Lone Pine, CA. This was my first double for 2015.
The far reach on the ride was to the border of Death Valley National Park. Here I had to wait briefly for a required sign-in, but I also had to take a 'dump' really badly and no restrooms, so I then had to stop again for relief about 5 minutes later. Somehow this shut me down and broke my mojo; up until then I had been feeling terrific. After that I felt marginal, and later, downright crappy. :;
Later at the high point of the course (mile ~133) I ate a sugar cookie, thus breaking the “never eat untested food” rule. I paid for it dearly with a terrible gut ache for miles 150-200 or so (after the descent).
Something went very wrong in general with fueling and hydration; I lost all appetite and sense of thirst at about mile 140, or rather I had no desire to eat or drink anything of any kind. Even Hammer gel I could scarcely gag down. It was literally having to force myself to eat and drink, but the gut ache made it a very unattractive proposition. The power decline is obvious by mile 150 but actually started earlier around mile 100 (just after the 'dump'). Physiologically I had goofed somehow: clear and excessive urine (overhydration) for the first 6 hours of the event was a constant nuisance. I did take Endurolytes so it wasn’t lack of electrolytes.
Together with painful big toes (new shoes and orthotics, 3 weeks with them prior), the last 50 miles were physically very unpleasant. I had to grin and bear it the best I could and I had to stop and just stand for 5 minutes at about mile 180, which helped. I felt like I wanted to throw up once I finished and it took about 90 minutes before I could eat. But after that, everything went back to normal.
At mile ~120, my rear tire flatted with two ~1/3mm diameter X 20mm long stainless steel wires embedded in the rear tire, just after I had missed a turn and ridden too far the wrong way. Once I got back on course, the good luck was the location—about 1/4 mile from my car (the route crosses back on itself). So I rode back to my car and swapped the rear wheel. Later, Stan’s No Tubes completely sealed the pinholes and I used this same wheel/tire for the next two double centuries as well. Stan’s NoTubes is great for such pinholes, and the tires can still take full pressure with no chance of blowing out the sealant (larger holes get you home with Stan’s, but tend to blow out the sealant sooner or later, re-flatting).
Joshua Tree Double Century, March 7 2015
Due to a faultily memorized map lacking a “Y” turn (lacking in my mind), I took the wrong turn and did 12 extra miles and about 1400 vertical feet more than the standard course. So it was well beyond a double century.
There was no support within the park, so I rode unsupported for over 80 miles, which left me dehydrated and hot. Scarfing a liter of cold water upon reaching the interstate highway just out of the park, I partially revived, but It seemed to kill my performance for the rest of the day (120 miles or so to go after that!). Temperatures ranged from 39°F at the higher elevations at sunrise within the park to 90°F or so on the post-park outer areas. It’s never really possible to rehydrate properly while riding once too far gone, so this screwed the day. I was very, very glad to be done.
Still, I recovered faster from this one than the Southern Inyo (above). Just 48 hours later, I had a nice strong ride, albeit the muscles still need a full 4 days to be back at 90%, and probably 6 days to be truly back at 100%.
Course: About 68 miles is through Joshua Tree National Park, which are enjoyable miles with good pavement. The rest of the course ranges from boring to “the road never ends” slow climbs to some really unpleasant junk miles along the interstate highway, including dodging bits of tires, rocks, screws, bolts and having to wait ~5 minutes for a semi trailer truck with billowing brake smoke. By a miracle I did not flat on this section or this day.
Solvang Spring Double Century, March 7 2015
Aside from a few badly timed stoplights, nothing untoward. No flats (first time in 3 efforts!), which was sheer luck since never in any event have I seen so many people with so many flat tires. The junk-miles portions of the course are littered with glass on some sections, with constant vigilance required. Dangerous drivers near Pismo Beach in heavy traffic cut me off three times; extreme caution is needed. I heard similar stories from other riders.
I was able to maintain good power the entire ride and even finish stronger than ever. I attribute this to a 245 calorie/hour intake of Hammer Nutrition HEED, Hammer Perpetuem solids, GU gels, and some junk candy (black licorice, two mini candy bars, 5 sticks of red vines, one small pack gummies). For me at least, gels and HEED just don’t do it fully (these are almost entirely maltodextrin); the liver should not remain idle; it has a job to do, so scarfing some sucrose and fructose at mile 80 on up at it keeps it active, converting about 60 calories/hour of those sugars into glucose—very significant in context of overall fueling intake of 245 calories/hour (which is about the limit of what the stomach can process during such an event, assuming good hydration).
This was a solo time trial (ZERO drafting though I sometimes “pull” others). Nearly all riders with faster times were pacelining (one fast group that went by had 7 or 8 riders, making it a hugely easier effort 80% of the time for all the riders). Thus their times are not comparable; a different event in the reality of actual performance (a great deal of resting/coasting!). And some riders consistently blow through stop signs and lights (*that* is outright cheating, and illegal too). I do not wish to “win” by someone else’s wind-blocking exertions, and certainly not by cheating. In a RACE, yes I *will* draft (within my racing category), since that is part of the race strategy and cannot be set aside in a race.
Solvang Spring Double 2015 results. Total clock time for me includes some bad luck with stop lights and stop signs (traffic), and some route verification.