Central Coast Double Century: Won Highland Route, Exactly 8 Weeks After My Crash/Concussion
Due to the concussion, I missed the Southern Inyo Spring Double, Mulholland Double, and Devil Mountain Double*, resuming with the Central Coast Double.
Exactly 8 weeks after my concussion, I won the grueling Highland route of the Central Coast Double Century. [see official web site of Central Coast Double]. The 2018 Central Coast Double results were not posted as I write this and I might even get listed wrong at first, but I have confirmed with the race director.
I drew down all my reserves to finish with a decent time, which meant extra sleep (naps) were needed the next two days to recover. I definitely am not yet back at full strength post-concussion, but I had to laugh with joy at the effortless pacing of a 4-man pacelining group 100 yards ahead or so (so I needn’t bother checking turns)—spinning seemingly effortlessly—a wonderful feeling.
My aerobic power output has never been higher in my life I think—I can trundle along nearly all aerobically at ~230 watts or so at ~128 bpm. I consumed 1600 calories the entire ride, burning 8000 calories so that’s 20% of the 'burn'—on the low side. That group disappeared behind me at about mile 60, and even though I slowed down to give them a chance to catch me, they had burned too many matches** and I never saw them again.
At about mile 104, I had to push through some mild brain fatigue (concussion related, I am sure). This mostly vaporized by careful intake of glucose sources (mainly GU energy gel), but I drew upon all my experience and willpower and focused on keeping blood glucose steady and staying hydrated and steady pacing. Still, I lost more power than I’d have liked.
Next up: Davis Double on May 19.
* Since my concussion recovery precluded participating in the Devil Mountain Double which is the first of this year’s California Triple Crown, I’m out of the running for that triplet.
** “burning a match” means over-exerting beyond what is recoverable. Many, many riders do this: 350 watts up a small rise, then drop 200 watts, then do it again. After 20 or 30 times, they’re toast, I pass them and never see them again. A power meter is a tool that can teach oneself not to burn out, by showing power output. I try to keep it steady in the 210 to 270 watt range, bumping up to the high end only when forced to by grade, and cruising at 230 to 250 watts when it feels good (the first 100 miles or so).
I’ll revise this table soon...