See also To Draft or Not to Draft: What Does it Accomplish?
I had a tough time at the 2015 Devil Mountain Double due to a delay in fueling, so for the Central Coast Double, I resolved to begin fueling early and regularly. Fuel consisted of Hammer HEED, Hammer gel and seven all natural Panda licorice sticks (100 cal each, a good portion of which is glucose equivalent), and a few minor bits at the lunch stop. This worked like a charm.
The reason I like to supplement with licorice is that by 2/3 through a double century, I lose all appetite for HEED and gels, a risky proposition when fueling is more critical than ever. The licorice does not lose appeal and seems to keep things in balance for me. There is some “junk sugar” which serves a critical role of giving the glycogen-depleted liver a job to do, and even a small amount of protein in it.
- Solo effort: I accepted no drafts/pacelining as is my wont. While I pulled the lead group for some miles up the Pacific coast into a stiff headwind, they wanted to switch leaders to go faster (perfectly reasonable of course). So I dropped back, watching the paceline slowly disappear until miles out of sight by the end of the long slog up the coast. I ultimately overtook all of those riders, and finished first (Highland Route).
- Weather: cold/foggy to start, stiff headwind heading north along the coast all the way to Nacimiento Road (the best climb of the route). At the summit, it all went sunny and warmer (but still on the cool side).
- Clothing: Starting out, summer-weight tights, dual summer-weight jerseys (short sleeve), regular gloves. I took a sleeveless lightweight vest, but did not use it. I stripped the tights off at the summit of Nacimiento Rd. When power and fueling are good, temps down to the low 50’s are fine for me, though my arms did stay a rosy red all that cool day.
- Minor delays: I started last in essence, dropping a baggie out of my jersey pocket early on, so I had to stop and get it, thus being dead last about 1 mile out. I also caught two red lights right before the finish. Stops were required at all rest stops, but I minimized the delays (lunch stop forced a good detour to get water unfortunately), but aside from one “pit stop” spent most of the time was on the bike.
- Mechanical: none. The Moots Vamoots RSL with DuraAce Di2 performed flawlessly. But I do want a 32 cog for steeper climbs (to save quadriceps strength), and so I’ve sold some gear to raise funds for Di2 11-speed, which will allow an Ultegra medium cage that allows a 11-32 cassette.
- Bike fit: I am grateful to Kevin Bailey at 3DBikeFit.com for his attention to details of my bike setup. A meticulous master of his craft, all aspects of my bike fit with Kevin resulted in maximum comfort, or properly speaking minimum discomfort, since 211 miles is a very long ride. The afternoon prior, my right wrist went bonkers due to continuing issues with nerve damage and I had no ability to articulate/twist it without severe pain. I considered skipping the ride entirely. But because Kevin set my bar position and reach for three hand positions all keeping the body in the same optimal position (hoods, drops, bar top) and all keeping the wrist in optimal straight/unbent position, I had zero pain in my wrist/hand—non issue. That and the other aspects of reach, saddle height, custom orthotic were all spot-on. Pretty amazing to have it all work so well. If the fit is right, the body can handle things, but if the slightest thing is off, 211 miles can be punishing by overloading some joint or muscle.
Central Coast Double 2015-05-09
199 watts @ 121bpm, 211 miles, roll time 12:17, clock ~12:40
I took NO DRAFTS WHATSOEVER, but did pull the lead group of riders for several miles into a stiff headwind up the Pacific coast. So I am rather proud of my effort this day. I felt great; everything worked well for me. Official results.
Central Coast Double 2015-05-09, results
2015 Central Coast Double route sheet
See also To Draft or Not to Draft: What Does it Accomplish? I do all my double centuries as solo efforts, strictly refusing to draft (I will pull), and dropping back or springing past if necessary to avoid taking a draft.
I had a tough time at the 2015 Devil Mountain Double, losing power for much of the ride and never being able to get warm, my time a good hour longer than in the 2012 Devil Mountain Double. The reasons seem pretty clear, and they were not reasons of fitness, but foolish errors in fueling.
Fueling, power, catabolic muscle damage
Steve Born of Hammer Nutrition was kind enough to spend some time with me discussing what might have gone wrong. His assessment (which dovetails with mine) on the ride and the recovery is that my foolish mistake to take in any fuel until having burned about 1300 kilojoules meant that I used up a good portion of my glycogen stores. I also worked the first part of the ride too hard sprinting past riders and always riding solo (never taking a draft as is my wont) and “burning some matches” too early.
All of which added up to greatly reduced power output for the 80-170 mile mark or so. And which it seems, forced my body to eat its own muscles for fuel (protein), which explains the swollen feel in my quads for 4-5 days following—muscle tissue damage.
Anticipating warmer temps I made a crucial mistake: I stripped my tights and left them (still with a double jersey, outer one long-sleeved). But it never warmed up, with cloud cover blocking the sun too often. I never did feel warm again, not even on the climbs. My body, not properly fueled, seemingly could not both warm itself well and produce power. This is atypical for me; see the Central Coast Double discussion; I don’t have a problem staying warm down to the 50’s if properly fueled.
I had some wasted time on the ride: a stop light that would not change (most riders just run red lights and stop signs, I usually do not), a need to refuel/rest for a some minutes fairly late in the ride), and (ironically) finally feeling strong for the last 20 miles but having to back off the pace to stay with other riders who knew the route, because I could not read the route map without stopping (dark).
Recovery reflected my execution errors: it took at least a full 7 days, versus 4-5 days for all the previous doubles this year.
Unlike the three previous double centuries, I had a feeling of swelling/puffiness in my quads for 4-5 days which was fluid gain as the muscles went through a process of repairing significant damage (weight swing of 8 pounds!). This I attribute to the failure in proper fueling and the body eating muscle tissue for energy—a lot of damage incurred in a 15 hour ride.
I had a MUCH better time with the Central Coast Double.
Devil Mountain Double 2015-04-25
184 watts @ 118bpm, 209 miles, roll time 14:21, clock ~15:32
Devil Mountain Double 2015-04-25, Mt Diablo portion
257 watts @ 140 bpm, 11.14 mile,3282' ascent
Devil Mountain Double 2015-04-25, Mt Hamilton East portion
213 watts @ 123 bpm, 6.55 mile,2315” ascent