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: = 2 done, 8 more planned
I’m being slightly liberal here, counting the 2-day Everest Challenge as a double century and also Alta Alpine where I had issues and completed only 7 of 8 passes last year (severe cramps).
Total as of March 2018: 33, or 29 if strictly counted as single-day 192+ mile events.
Expected tally for 2018: 41
Double centuries planned for 2018
Barring injury that is.
I have an ambitious year planned for at least 12 double centuries.
Everything revolves around finishing well in the California Triple Challenge, the 3 doubles highlighted in green, which starts with amping-up fitness early and shedding fat ASAP.
Getting it done
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).