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Grass-Fed Cow Milk

I gave up milk years ago as a potential ashmatic issue.

Picked this up at Walmart as a random flier—I’ll be damned—best tasting milk I’ve ever had.

When I eat beef, it is only grass-fed—can’t stand the greasy taste of corn-fed beef. The grass-fed milk is far more rich and flavorful than regular milk.

Grass-fed cow milk
f1.8 @ 1/40 sec, ISO 25; 2018-10-09 14:08:09
[location “Manteca, Walmart”, altitude 7253 ft / 2211 m, "best milk ever"]
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8 @ 28mm equiv (4mm)

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For Sale: My 2012 Moots Vamoots RSL Frame/Fork DuraAce Di2


Brief note, pictures later as I'm heading out for a few days.

My trusty 2012 Moots Vamoots RSL is for sale, now that I have its successor.

Asking $3500 / best offer. Contact me.

Geometry: I don’t know if the 2018 Moots Vamoots RSL geometry is identical, but it is either identical or extremely close.


  • Frame (2012 model, pressfit 30) and fork.
  • Di2 with front and rear DuraAce derailleurs (11 speed), new chain.
  • Di2 batteries (2) along with battery charger.
  • Ritchey carbon handlebar double-wrapped for comfort with DuraAce brakes, shifters, levers.
  • Ritchey carbon seat post, Chris King headset, Chris King bottom bracket (all installed as I had been riding them).
  • Your choice of saddle (I have 4 or 5 new ones I don't use).
  • Wheels: Bontrager Race Triple Triple X Lite carbon fiber wheels(2011 or so, clinchers, not ridden for many years). You will need a new nub body to convert from 10 speed to 11 speed (and an 11-speed cassette).

Does NOT include:

  • Crankset (I’m keeping my SRM).
  • Cassette (since no wheelset).
f1.8 @ 1/120 sec, ISO 25; 2018-09-20 10:49:35 [altitude 487 ft / 148 m]
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8 @ 28mm equiv (4mm)

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Weight of the entire bike setup as shown above
f1.8 @ 1/11 sec, ISO 100; 2018-09-20 10:53:16 [altitude 499 ft / 152 m]
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8

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f1.8 @ 1/120 sec, ISO 32; 2018-09-20 10:50:32 [altitude 497 ft / 151 m]
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8

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f1.8 @ 1/30 sec, ISO 32; 2018-09-20 10:51:19 [altitude 496 ft / 151 m]
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8

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f1.8 @ 1/60 sec, ISO 32; 2018-09-20 10:50:54 [altitude 496 ft / 151 m]
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8

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Bontrager Race Triple-X Wheelset (10 speed with 10 speed cassette)
f1.8 @ 1/120 sec, ISO 40; 2018-09-20 10:54:13 [altitude 496 ft / 151 m]
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8

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Shown below is the bike as I had it in 2012. It now has the 11-speed DuraAce derailleurs/shifters.

2012 Moots Vamoots RSL Titanium road racing bike, custom Di2 cable routing
Ritchey seat post, Selle Italia saddle , Ritchey WCS 260 stem, Shimano DuraAce Di2
SRM 7950 power meter crankset, Chris King headset, Lightweight Obermayer wheelset

‘Replication crisis’ spurs reforms in how science studies are done

Lies, damn lies, and statistics”, now “Lies, damn lies, and scientific studies”?

I don’t know but I’ve long been suspicious of scientific studies which trumpet new findings. Too many later prove bogus or treat individuals as averages of scatter-plots, failing to recognize the idiocy of a general finding vs an individua.

This is not a replication issue but bears on the issue: I am incensed at epidemiological numbers like BMI, which rated me borderline obese at 10% body fat. It is apparent to me that doctors and scientists, smart as they are, too often fail to comprehend that it is intellectually incompetent to apply a statistical finding to an individual.

Science News reports in ‘Replication crisis’ spurs reforms in how science studies are done:

That’s the conclusion of a research team, led by Caltech economist Colin Camerer, that examined 21 social science papers published in two major scientific journals, Nature and Science, from 2010 to 2015. Five replication teams directed by coauthors of the new study successfully reproduced effects reported for 13 of those investigations, the researchers report online August 27 in Nature Human Behavior. Results reported in eight papers could not be replicated.


One reason for that trend is that scientific journals have tended not to publish studies that disconfirm previous findings, leaving initial findings unchallenged until now, says study coauthor and psychologist Brian Nosek of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Even the most prestigious journals have often published results that garner lots of scientific and media attention but that could easily have occurred randomly, he says.

WIND: 13 of 21 is a lousy track rcord that IMO makes new scientific findings dubious at best until confirmed by at least two more independent studies. The quest for money (funding) or religious dogma (climate science) or recognition IMO too often clouds judgment and a healthy skepticism.


I like eggs a lot, but I have them maybe once a week. Witness the huge leap in reasoning in Are Eggs Bad for You? Two Scientists Square Off. IMO, this “no on eggs” doctor has serious credibility issues in issuing a blanket recommendation for statins, conflating average results with what is best for an individual, stating:

I recommend limiting eggs to special occasions and taking a statin—a miracle drug that is to atherosclerosis what penicillin is to infectious diseases—along with the egg!

Comparing statins to penicilllin is at best an idiotic analogy—analogies have no relevance to facts.

That statins are 100% harmless seems to be 100% false base on what I have read (including my mother, who had side effects an abandonded statins and she is a very healthy 76). That statins may impair mental function and have other health issues does not seem to occur to this doctor (IMO, he is incompetent to issue advice for an individual given his blanket recommendation in a widely read publication—it shows poor judgment in confusing epidemiological findings withi individualized medicine).

I give the “no on eggs, yes on statins” doctor a poor to injurious “jackass” rating in possibly damaging the health of his patients. From The role of statins in both cognitive impairment and protection against dementia: a tale of two mechanisms in Feb 2018:

The current literature supports the hypothesis that statins are potentially responsible for both reversible short-term cognitive impairment as well as a decreased risk of dementia.

So statins are bad (cognitive impairment!!!!!!) and good (decreased risk of dementia), on an epidemiological basis—an irresponsible metric for an individual. And the science seems to be in question too!

How can you ever trust a doctor willing to make a blanket “miracle drug” recommendation? Have him take double the dose of his wonderful statins for a year, then let’s see if his tune changes. Fom the “yes on eggs position, a Ph.D. professor in the department of nutritional sciences at the University of Connecticut, Storrs):

A vast amount of research has clearly proved that there is no correlation between consuming eggs and increased risk for heart disease. The U.S. Department of Agriculture agrees, and, accordingly, in its latest dietary guidelines, released in January 2016, no longer recommends an upper limit for cholesterol in one’s diet.

Two important points: First, there is no direct link between cholesterol levels in the blood and eating foods with cholesterol. Cholesterol that we eat doesn’t necessarily end up in our blood because our digestive system eliminates most of it. The average person absorbs into their bloodstream only 20% to 60% of the cholesterol they eat, and some absorb as little as 5%.

One epidemiological analysis determined that there is no difference in risk when comparing people who ate no eggs with people who ate more than seven eggs a week

Note the “some individuals” point with huge variation in absorption of cholesterol: does the “no on eggs” doctor have the right to possibly damage the health of some of his patients by ignoring this individualized response and prescribing a foreign substance from Big Pharma (statins) to his patients? I deem it irresponsible or at best lazy/incompetent. The average patient will just take the (bad) advice, and what are the chances a cardiologist will track mental function in any meaningful way?

Nephrologist Franklin K writes:

"Results reported in eight papers could not be replicated. "

Not a new fact, all a long my professional life as a nephrologist I observed the same facts. For instance, in chronic renal failure, hyperparathyroidism is a consequence with very high level of the implicated hormone: PTH The very famous New England Journal of Medicine - which I go on reading after more than 40 years published a paper where it was said that taking an H2 inhibitor of gastric acide secretion would cure high level of PTH; Damn false !! Nobody was able to replicate this study (remember: NEJM !!) -

"It is apparent to me that doctors and scientists, smart as they are, too often fail to comprehend that it is intellectually incompetent to apply a statistical finding to an individual."

Because they forget a very important point. It lasts for years and is going on. Finding a statistical relationship describes nothing but a population behavior in a special situation. AND, AND, you never, never can state that every people/patient in this population should behave as wanted. I mean statistics is statistics and NEVER equal biologic considerations.

"One reason for that trend is that scientific journals have tended not to publish studies that disconfirm previous findings"

Not untrue but not systematic. I have been searching a drug able to minimize cardiomyoptahy in renal failure. My team and I tried perindopril. « white cabbage » !! I published it after acceptation of American Journal of Neprology.

"Eggs and choleterol"zz

For more than 60 years we have been living under the « Framingham study law ». Cure hypertension, lower cholesterol and your patients will live longer they say. But… not completly true. I explain. For arterial hypertension, it is absolutly true, definitively true. No discussion. If your blood presse is under or equal to 135/85, cardiac infarction, cerebral stroke, renal impairment lower dramatically

But, for cholesterol … weird, weird, apart familial hypercholesterolemia type I (a real shit), it has NEVER been proved that lowering cholesterol prevent a coronary issue or a cerebral stroke.

On the other side, it is PROVEN that cognitive impairment is very often seen with statin prescription because cholesterol is absolutly needed by brain - and statin are very, very efficient and soooo juicy for Big Pharma.

Moderation about statin: prescribing low dose e.g. Atorvastatin 10 mg has a proven effect on arterial wall (I have hypertension and use it for years) The Framingham study law is a good thing for pharmaceutical industry: it can be checked every day.

Battling Fatigue Off the Bike

I’ve been battling fatigue for about 6 weeks now. Generally I can work seated with good mental focus much of the day.

But on the bike, some days a 1/3 ride has been all I can handle. My baseline ride has been a struggle, a force of will, followed by intense fatigue. And some days skipped to rest too, and nothing hard. I’ve gained a lot of weight, so no problem with appetite.

Related symptoms have been the worst asthma in 20 years—unable to get small airways to open up fully for 6 weeks or so even using inhaler (QVAR) twice the normal. CBD helps a lot though—better than the prescription inhaler.

I did manage to climb Mt Whitney with my daughter and felt good, but that was a slow pace and I rested several days prior, and the cardiovascular demands were quite low compared to a double century.

Today for the first time in 6 weeks I was ecstatic in riding at strong power levels for 50 miles / 2.5 hours / 2000 calories. Low heart rate, low breathing rate, strong power—all the signs say things are perfect. About two hours later, fatigue about as strong as after a double century.

I can’t figure out what’s wrong.

First, I thought: some kind of post concussion syndrome? It has felt like that on the bike within an hour most days. But mental focus most of the day has been fine. Maybe.

Second, I thought: exposure to air pollution? The air has ranged from tolerable to bad most days, and on the bad days I’ve worn a face mask. But today I did not wear one and there was visible haze of ultra-fine something (no smell of smoke).

Then there is the nagging idea that maybe it is hormonal: thyroid or insulin (diabetes) or testosterone, etc. I’ll have to get some blood work going and see what things look like. Concussions can screw up all sorts of hormonal systems so this is a very real possibility.

I’ve considered classic “overtraining” and that just does not make sense given all the rest and how I’ve greatly backed off the riding.

As far as I can tell my immune system is very strong: I’ve had little more than a sniffle in 3 or 4 years, and recently two of my kids had a bad virus of some kind—didn’t affect me at all.

Frustrating as hell.

Isaac writes:

For myself I found that I was having an allergic reaction. Fatigue is the primary symptom for me. Fine particulate from forest fires?

Very mild itch infrequently and in unexpected places and Low blood pressure when transitioning from sit to stand.

I wore a 3M P100 respirator for a week, annoying, but my symptoms were greatly reduced. Wearing the respirator while cycling was a pain in the neck. It takes a good 3 days of breathing clean air for symptoms to clear.

Anti-histamines help but dont solve the problem.

My wife gets similar symptoms, but for different reasons. For her it is in the food. She found she had problems with a variety of food dyes and also aged meats (naturally high in histamine).

Another factor I’ve observed is poor sleep, often because of the allergies. But when traveling i always use earplugs and an eye-mask.

I have no reason to think you have this, but it took 14 years and probably 100’s of visits to doctors before my wife was able to get properly diagnosed, it was such an unexpected thing.

I hope you can get to the root of your fatigue issue. I appreciate the site and all the hard work you put in.

DIGLLOYD: I have similar suspicions, and actually did ride with N100/P100 face mask for quite a few rides when we had fine particulate in the air.

It is suspicious that my issues starter just after the Death Ride, when I spent 3 days in the mountains with no smell of smoke, but fine particulate matter, then returned home to the same. I use a HEPA filter, but it can do only so much (too loud to run all the time).

I've observed (2 years now) that this problem is annual: I seem to be strong Jan - June, then July/August are the worst. It seems to be seasonal.

Another clue that may point to allergies: my lungs were working spectacularly well through May or so, but in July after the Death Ride, it has now taken me 8 weeks to get them to clear up after a week in clean mountain air (high Sierra Nevada)—that's the worst period of small airway impairment I’ve had for 20 years.

It stands to reason that if my lungs are the “canary in the coal mine” that the rest of my body would suffer also.

Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

The Best Performance Enhancer for Cycling: Drafting

For years now and in my past 39 double centuries, I have retained an iconoclastic individualistic sport ethic: soloing (no drafting) . I captured my thoughts on this topic and how it does not differ in principle from an electric motor in How is Drafting in a Paceline Different from an Electric Motor?. That is, it is external assistance.

The very mention of those two things in a sentence (electric motor, drafting) is enough to invoke severe cognitive dissonance among many riders, resulting in anger or denial or other brain-frying results. And yet not one rider has ever made any meaningful counter-argument to refute my assertion.

I acknowledge that in a race where drafting is a given, one does what one has to do, and it would be idiotic to do otherwise. Still, I recall in the Everest Challenge where some riders drafted other classes of riders (e.g., a man drafting woman or a tandem, a rules violation). Such is the ingrained rationalized cheating mentality that stems from not seeing drafting for what it is: an external assist. The inability to see the common principle correlates with the removal of mental barriers to real cheating, which I observed regularly in the Everest Challenge.

My position that if one is to claim an individual ranking in a double century, then showing up with a budy or two or three and pacelining through it is a group win, not an individual win and is thus at best misleading, if not outright fraudulent (a de-factor or real team shows up and competes, team members then claim individual finish times, which is fraud IMO). This is routinely done in double centuries, with absolutely no mention of the massive energy savings from doing so*.

* Witness for example 3 riders finishing at exactly the same time (3:26 PM) in the Joshua Tree Double Century—I stopped pedaling so they would stop drafting me, and let them go on by so I could resume my solo effort.

I want two things: (1) a fair contest and (2) a personal best effort, not a group effort. As to (1), it is “fair” in the sense that that I could potentially find (by luck and timing) a group to paceline with. But that would violate (2), which I deem antithetical to my conception of the achievement of a double century. I don’t see the point of such an extreme effort when the actual individual effort involved can vary from 100% to 30% or even less.

I’ve estimated, based on my SRM power meter readings, that drafting a single person can result in a 25% to 50% energy savings, depending on wind speed, e.g. 25 mph with no wind or 15 mph with a 10 mph headwind are similar. At 25+ mph, the savings rise exponentially and with more riders the savings increase.

Modern research on power savings

Along comes modern research which finds up to a 90% savings in the belly of the peleton, a figure that is consistent with the massive reduction in effort any cyclist can feel with even a few riders.

Cycling’s Best Performance Enhancer: Riding in the Peloton

For most of the riders most of the time, the view is the same: a mess of bikes, brightly-colored jerseys and exhausted skinny men. That’s because they spend the majority of the 80-plus racing hours from the start of the Tour to the Champs-Elysées tucked inside the peloton, the main bunch that coagulates in every stage and moves like a school of fish.

The peloton exists by practical necessity. Riding in a big group reduces drag and saves energy for the people in the middle. Cyclists have known this for a century. But only now, in 2018, is anyone able to put a number on just how efficient it is.


According to a new study published in the Journal of Wind Engineering and Industrial Aerodynamics, riders in the belly of a peloton are exposed to 95% less drag than they would experience riding alone. Which explains the sensation all riders describe of being sucked along by the bunch while barely having to pedal.

As for this study, it seems rather obtuse: outfit every rider with a power meter, and then just read out the average power for each of them (the power meter can record at half-second intervals to within 1% accuracy). With 121 riders, that would be much more accurate than a 1.5 year theoretical study requiring a supercomputer. Even the author is quoted as saying “We have a problem now, because no one is going to believe us”. Well, yes they will if empirical data is obtained as I just suggested—prove or disprove your calculations in the real world, Mr. Blocken! Because all models have flaws and in the real world there can be other factors not thought of in simulations.

Below, a not very efficient paceline into a ~12 mph headwind, but still a big energy savings for those doing it. I moved up close enough to use the 2X camera on the iPhone. I left all these riders behind but one by mile 100.

Lead pack just past Millpond (2X camera, pedaled closer for picture)
f2.8 @ 1/560 sec, ISO 20; 2018-06-02 06:16:24
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 6.6 mm f/2.8

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2018 Death Ride report updated with an analysis of the effort: power in watts, heart rate, elevation, time, temperature

I’ve updated my 2018 Death Ride report with an analysis of the effort.




I won’t be chugging 24 oz or ice cold drink in ~15 seconds ever again—diaphragm spasm left me able to take only very shallow breaths all the way up Carson Pass.

2018 Death Ride performance: power in watts, heart rate, elevation, time, temperature

How Does 16.9 Fluid Ounces of GU Energy Gel Fit Into Two 5.1 ounce Flasks?

That bulk package of GU energy gel to the right has had all but a tiny amount of gel squeezed out of it.

Maybe someone over at GU Energy Labs can explain to me how 16.9 fluid ounces of GU Energy Gel (“15 serving pouch”) fits into two 5.1-ounce 5-serving GU HydraPak soft flasks? Fluid ounces is not weight ounces but it appears that GU Energy Labs has badly goofed in labeling the SoftFlask containers in totally different units from the bulk package.

The soft flasks are stated to be 5 servings (“Holds 5 servings of Energy Gel”) and the bulk container states “15 serving pouch”. Last time I checked, 10 ≠ 15.

Since I track calories/food by the gram, this doesn’t trouble me much except that I hadn’t realized this discrepancy before, so my calories-consumed figures are now off for many months. GU Energy Labs ought to fix the mistake is—seems like a marketing error.

Nutirtional information froom 16.9 fluid ounce package of GU Energy Gel

Either these flasks hold 8.4 ounces each (7.5 servings each), or GU is supplying less than claimed in the bulk package, which makes little sense and is easily verified. I’m guessing that someone in marketing screwed up between servings and ounces, fluid or otherwise. When I’m home I will weigh the stuff on a gram-accurate scale and find out.

I wish GU Energy labs would sponsor me like TheBeefAuthority.com and OWC / MacSales.com. I use a lot of GU energy gel and swear by it (and swear at it when a softflask bursts, which has happened twice OMG what a mess). See my day’s supply of GU energy gel in my Death Ride writeup.

Measuring it

Using a gram-accurate scale, I measured the bulk GU energy gel at 500 grams (entire package and its contents). I was able to extract 470 grams of gel (container 500g ---> 30g empty) into two of the HydraPak soft flasks, falling just a wee bit short on the second one from full.

With a claim of 480g of gel in the package, that implies leaving 10g of gel behind in the bulk package, a waste of 2% (10 / 480), but there is nothing for it; I’d already used a flat instrument to get all I could out of the package.

The SoftFlask is misleading; it claims “5 servings”, but these servings are fluid ounces, wildly different than the “servings” on the bulk package.

Bulk: 32 grams * 15 servings @ 100 calories/serving = 1500 calories
(~1468 calories extractable)

SoftFlask: 240 grams implies 240/32*100 = 750 calories per flask

Since two of the GU SoftFlasks can together hold 480 grams of Gu energy gel, each SoftFlask actually holds 7.5 servings for a total of 750 calories each—wildly different than the 5 X 100 = 500 calories I had long assumed.

The foregoing matters when planning for nutrition for ultra-endurance! It explains why this year I almost always used only 2 of 3 SoftFlasks, in calorie terms a close match for the calories I thought I should consume (2/3 * 750/500 = 1 = what I had planned on needing).

16.9 fluid ounces of GU Energy Gel fits Into two 5.1 GU HydraPak soft flasks = something not right
f1.8 @ 1/40 sec, ISO 25; 2018-07-13 19:12:40
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8

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The 2018 Death Ride 5-Pass (129 miles, 15000' of climbing) — a popular shorter/easier version of Alta Alpina

UPDATE: see my 2018 Death Ride report.


I’ve never done the Death Ride before (129 miles, 15000' of climbing), but this year I am doing it this Saturday July 14. It should be “easy”, since it is 5500 feet less climbing and 71 miles shorter than Alta Alpina 8 Pass Challenge, which I completed two weeks ago. Plus Monitor Pass west and east are the first climbs, in the cool of the morning, a major difference versus doing them late in the day when it can be baking hot.

As far as I know, the Death Ride draws more riders by an order of magnitude than just about any double century (4000 riders, I understand).

Not all riders do the full distance and all 5 passes, but that’s a lot of riders. So many that riders enjoy a rare luxury: the California Highway Patrol closes some of the roads:

From 5:00am – 7:00am, the road will be closed to traffic from the Markleeville Courthouse to the junction of Highways 89 and 4.

Monitor (Hwy 89) & Ebbetts Pass (Hwy 4) will be closed to vehicular traffic starting at 5:00am. Monitor Pass reopens to vehicular traffic at 12:00pm. Ebbetts Pass reopens to vehicular traffic at 3:00pm.

Highway 89 from Woodfords to the Markleeville Courthouse will remain open.

Please adhere to posted speed zones and early morning parking crews.

No cars to worry about, but tired riders on Ebbetts Pass are a much greater risk in my experience—riders who weave across the entire width of the road because of the steepness, a bad mix for those coming down fast—I plan on keeping my downhill speed modest given the huge number of riders as all it takes is one clown to cause severe injury in a crash.

2018 Death Ride patch
f1.8 @ 1/900 sec, ISO 20; 2018-07-12 19:32:18
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8

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Below, Hwy 89 is off to the right and switchbacks and curves its way down the valley just before the hills. Average grade is about 8% and climbs from about 5500 feet to 8314 feet / 2534m altitude at the summit. Ebbetts pass is harder, climbing about 3200 feet to 8730' elevation.

The landscape on the east side of Monitor Pass (Hwy 89)
f2.8 @ 1/2100 sec, ISO 20; 2018-07-12 14:35:08
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 6.6 mm f/2.8

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I’ve been working hard, so I’m sleeping here tonight and mostly resting Friday. A Sprinter van and 4WD do have their benefits—no camping neighbors and a pristine spot in the Toiyabe national forest.

Camping site high in the Toiyabe National Forest near Monitor Pass
f1.8 @ 1/2000 sec, ISO 20; 2018-07-12 19:31:46
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8

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Counting Up My Double Centuries and Double Centuries in 2018

I am starting to lose track of how many double centuries I’ve done (well, I have all the training recordings but I keep forgetting exactly.

2011: 1 Everest Challenge (205 miles in 2 days)
2012: 5 = Death Valley Double, Solvang Spring Double, Devil Mountain Double, Alta Alpina, Everest Challenge
2013: 1 = Everest Challenge
2014: 1 = Solvang Spring Double, Everest Challenge (aborted 2nd day, lungs)
2015: 7 = Southern Inyo Double, Joshua Tree Double, Solvang Spring Double, Devil Mountain Double, Central Coast Double, Marin Double, Alta Alpina
2016: 8 = Southern Inyo Double, Joshua Tree Double, Solvang Spring Double, Devil Mountain Double, Central Coast Double, Davis Double, Eastern Sierra Double, Alta Alpina (to mile 165 7 of 8 passes, severe cramping)
2017: 8 = Camino Real Double, Southern Inyo Double, Solvang Spring Double, Devil Mountain Double, Central Coast Double, Davis Double, Eastern Sierra Double
2018: = 7 done, 1 more planned

I’m being slightly liberal here, counting the 2-day Everest Challenge as a double century and also Alta Alpina 2017 where I had issues and completed only 7 of 8 passes last year (severe cramps, sufferfest for passed 5/6/7).

Total as of July 2018: 38, or 34 if strictly counted as single-day 192+ mile events.
Expected total for 2018: 39 or 35 if strict

Double centuries in 2018

Updated list as of July 2018.

Shedding fat went well early in the year, but post-concussion weight gain and ongoing brain-fade challenges have ruled out a lean 8% body fat as in 2012, which makes me non-competitive for rides with lots of climbin.

I had an ambitious year planned for at least 11 double centuries. The hamstring injury healed up fast, but the concussion interrupted that plan. Still, I should still finish with 8 double centuries for 2018, plus the Death Ride, 7 being now in the bag.

Ride notes:

See also my letter to Chuck Bramwell on solo vs de facto teams that game the placement system.

Continues below...

Double Century schedule for 2018

Getting it done

What follows below was written early in the year, and is here verbatim from then.


The cycling double century schedule shown below should be a lot easier with the comfort of the Mercedes Sprinter adventure van, not to mention being able to work efficiently before and after with no rush to get home.

My goal this year is to place well in the 2018 California Triple Crown which this year consists of:

These are perhaps 3 of the top 4 hardest double centuries in the state in my view, having done all the hard ones. I rate Alta Alpina 8 Pass Challenge as the hardest due to high elevation and sometimes very high temperatures.

By “placing well” I refer mostly to personal best efforts with no glitches; something close to what I can do on my very best days. I don’t hope to win, only to finish well for my own ability. I do hope to win at least one of the other double centuries this year (I’ve one the Central Coast Double once, and the Eastern Sierra Double once, so that is not unrealistic if training goes well).

This year, the series has all three events within 90 minutes driving of my home, so I have no excuse for not doing it (in past years it was too far to travel).

Why so many doubles so early?

The trick is getting in shape early, which means dropping 15 pounds of body fat by April 29, or just under one pound of body fat per week.

That’s incredibly hard to do, as it means a 500 calorie per day deficit (a pound of body fat is 3500 calories since it includes some water). Since back in 2011 I lost weight at the rate of 1.25 pound per week for 12 weeks. the goal has an existence proof, though 7 years later it will be harder to do. In 2011 (Sept 13) I got down to 7.9% body fat (168 pounds).

As of Jan 1 2018, I have reversed those last two digits: 168 now up to 186 = about 17% body fat.

  • Each double century typically loses me a full pound of body fat. It varies; it can be 3/4 to 1.5 pounds of body fat, depending on difficulty and self discipline in recovery eating properly.
  • There are two back-to-back (1 week apart) pairs of doubles 3/10 and 3/17 plus 4/7 and f/14. This early physical stress sets things up nicely for stronger results later in the year. Then a 2 week recovery prior to DMD on 4/29.

Why body weight is a BFD

The reason I need to drop 15 pound of fat is that Devil Mountain Double even 5 pounds of extra body fat costs half an hour of riding time: if total riding weight (TRW) is 196 pounds (rider 171 , clothes/shoes 3, food and water 5, bike 17) then 15 more pounds is a 7.6% increase in TRW. Devil Mountain Double with its 20000' of climbing means that ascending is about 60% of the riding time. Since it takes about 15 hours, that’s 9 hours. Adding 7% or so to the time, that adds 38 minutes to the riding time—around 14:20 versus 15:00. But it’s worse than that: if it’s hot, more fat means more stress (heat). Higher weight forces lower cadence on climbs, stressing legs and burning them out prematurely plus demanding higher energy expenditure, which means burning off glucose stores faster (higher exertion level for same pace). So I deem the difference more like an hour. And that means daylight finish versus night finish, which saves another 10 minutes (much easier to see/navigate). So that 15 extra pounds really means 70 minutes more riding time.

Losing body fat

Fat comes off most easily at first as the body is less cranky about losing fat. For me that means I should be able to get down to 179 on or ahead of that schedule (I’ve done that before), but 179 to 175 gets harder, and 175 to 171 the body fights back, big time (appetite, more efficient metabolism).

OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock
Review of Thunderbolt 2 Dock

Reader Comment: Using Carogna Effetto Mariposa tubular tape for Tubular Tires

See also tubular tire articles.

Jim Thurber writes:

I can report that I have put Carogna's Effetto Mariposa tubular tape (hereinafter referred to as EMTT) to the test and it has succeeded, beyond all expectations, passing with flying colors.

I've used Mastix glue for the last two years to affix my tubulars to alloy rims. The Rolf Prima rims were my first carbon and I decided to use the EMTT instead of glue, not wishing to use a heat gun to remove left-over glue when I changed a tire. The tires were mounted roughly 10 weeks ago.

Today my Veloflex Vlaanderen tubular flatted (with about 2,000 miles on it) in the middle of a lengthy, training ride. There had been a lot of downhill braking at speeds up to 40 mph.

With no air in the tire (and a "gap" located opposite the air valve) it took a fair amount of effort to remove, very similar to a tire secured with a professional Mastix glue job. Note that the tire came off clean - all the tape remained on the rim.

Here's where this gets interesting. I partially inflated the spare (a Continental Gatorskin 700 x 25) and stretched it into position on the wheel before inflating it to approximately 80 psi. It was (fairly) easy to align. I then rode home - another 10 miles.

Removing the Continental tire I found it was as well SECURED to the rim as the Veloflex had been. This was a spare that had been installed 30 minutes earlier. Yet it was WELL affixed to the rim.

I removed it and then "rolled" off the EMTT with my thumbs - leaving a perfectly clean, ready to use rim. The fact that the rim was absolutely undamaged is a big deal. But . . . The fact that the spare was (near instantly) well secured to the rim is a HUGE deal.

Anybody wishing to ride on real tires (to wit: tubulars) should consider using EMTT especially if you like having tires perfectly aligned on the rim AND being able to change tires on the road / continuing to ride with what appears to be relative safety.

ciao and best to all

Jim James Thurber
Chief Mechanic FAsT Monkeys Racing Team
1406 Snow St
Mountain View, CA 94041

WIND: tubulars using tape might be just the ticket for riders without a skilled local bike shop.

Veloflex Vlaanderen 700 X 27C tubular tire
Veloflex Vlaanderen 700 X 27C tubular tire
OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock
Review of Thunderbolt 2 Dock

RAAM Team Bemer Sets Two World Records using Bemer Vascular Therapy

I have been using the Bemer for vascular therapy intensively for nearly three months now. It works, indeed, the Bemer helped me recovery from the toughest double century in the country in just 40 hours.

In Race Across America (RAAM), Team Bemer used the Bemer for recovery, setting two new world records and beating the next closest team by over two days:

TEAM BEMER Wins the 8-Man RAAM Race and sets 2 new world records!!!

Overall Time Record #1 (5d:3h:43min)
Distance Over Average Time Record #2 (3069.8 Miles @ 24.9mph)

Race Across America (RAAM) is one of the most respected and longest running ultra-endurance events in the world. RAAM is seen as a pinnacle of athletic achievement not only in cycling circles but the greater sporting community as well.

It is just about incromprehensible to me how they could average 24.9 mph when there is 150000 feet of climbing, not to mention wind and heat. I can do 25 mph steady on flat ground for a few hours, but it is not an easy pace at all.

To get a Bemer, you need to buy one through an IBD (Independent Bemer Distributor). I am an IBD; contact me about Bemer (San Francisco Bay Area). I also visit the Eastern Sierra frequently.

Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS)

I suffered a moderate to severe concussion in a bike crash at mile 87 of the Solvang Spring Double Century:

Lloyd’s Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI / concussion) Experience and Log

Post-concussion syndrome (PCS) is a term used to describe lingering effects of a concussion.

From Guidelines for concussion/mild traumatic brain injury and persistent symptoms:

2.3 The patient should be advised that a full recovery of symptoms is seen in the majority of cases.

In most cases, patients who experience mTBI will recover fully, typically within days to months. The concern is that up to 15% of patients diagnosed with mTBI will continue to experience persistent disabling problems.

The consequences for these individuals may include reduced functional ability, heightened emotional distress, and delayed return to work or school. When symptoms persist beyond the typical recovery period of three months, the term post-concussion syndrome or disorder may be applied.

This is very good advice (2.3)—an expectation of full recovery (to be distinguished from hope) is critical. But it doesn’t mean that full recovery will be realized in the proper sense of zero lingering effects.

I am now sure that I suffer from Post Concussion Syndrome in several ways, 3.5 months after the incident. I am “fully recovered” in most senses, but life-altering limitations remain. In particular my ability to work long hours is diminished to the point of causing financial stress (being self employed). Along with emotional distress and handling of stress in general, greater sleep requirements.

Maybe six months or a year will slowly repair things, maybe not.

I suspect that few concussion victims having a concussion of a severity like mine (or even somewhat less severe) are ever going to ever be the same nor will they have zero after effects months or years later. I say this because not one of perhaps 30 emails I received from concussion victims indicated as such; not one indicated recovery in every way back to pre-concussion functioning. On the positive side, most all reported regaining mostly normal functionality eventually.

Medical science has few ways to fully evaluate post-concussion functionality and at best a handful of qualified clinics to do so (and what of a baseline?). Then there is the expense, prohibitive for me at least (even though I pay $3300/month for health care!), and surely for most people.

IMO, medical science remains ignorant about concussion recovery: blind men feeling different parts of an elephant, and clueless about what “full” means. There is an incentive for doctors to be authoritative and appear knowledgeable when real knowledge is severely lacking. In my view, the concussion guidelines provide fodder for such doctors (read the whole thing), and thus does a disservice to patients. Still, there is much good in it also.

Finally, if medical science is so smart, why is research only now emerging on fundamentals? See Exercise may be best medicine to treat Post-Concussion Syndrome. My answer is that the medical knowledge about concussions is a vast desert wasteland by and large.

Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Exercise may be best medicine to treat Post-Concussion Syndrome

I suffered a moderate to severe concussion in a bike crash at mile 87 of the Solvang Spring Double Century:

Lloyd’s Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI / concussion) Experience and Log

Post-concussion syndrome (PCS) is a term used to describe lingering effects of a concussion. From the 2017 concussion guidelines:

In most cases, patients who experience mTBI will recover fully, typically within days to months. The concern is that up to 15% of patients diagnosed with mTBI will continue to experience persistent disabling problems.

The consequences for these individuals may include reduced functional ability, heightened emotional distress, and delayed return to work or school. When symptoms persist beyond the typical recovery period of three months, the term post-concussion syndrome or disorder may be applied.

I have long felt that exercise was the key to good health, and I am more certain than ever of that regarding my concussion. In my concussion recovery log I gave great credit to excercise in speeding my recovery.

In Exercise may be best medicine to treat post-concussion syndrome, researchers at Canisius College report findings that dovetail with my concussion log and my own objective observations.

A treatment program for patients who suffer from post-concussion syndrome is being pioneered, showing that gradual exercise, rather than rest alone, actually helps to restore the balance of the brain’s auto-regulation mechanism, which controls the blood pressure and supply to the brain.

...While confident the new treatment can help reduce concussion symptoms, Kozlowski emphasizes that it's too soon to call the exercise treatment a cure, as some patients respond faster or better than others.

I built up from 60 to 90 minutes per day starting after the acute phase starting 17 days in, did that for several weeks, but I could not ride for more than 60-90 minutes most days without suffering what I termed “brain fade”, an inability to focus on either pedaling consistently or watching for road hazards effectively.

The brain fade finally seemed to pass, so I resumed double centuries starting with Central Coast Double. and that was a problem at The Terrible Two for sure (I did several things to compensate), but not at Alta Alpina or Eastern Sierra Double.

See also: Concussion Guidelines: Pure Rest is a Bad Idea and other concussion articles.

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