2018 Davis Double: Strong Headwinds, Moderate Heat, Force of Will Gets it Done with a Little Help from a Pool and Ice
Due to the concussion, I missed the Southern Inyo Spring Double, Mulholland Double, and Devil Mountain Double*, resuming with the Central Coast Double, which has not only reduced my potential competitiveness, but the concussion is having lingering effects.
See the 2018 Davis Double course map.
Update on recovery: just 42 hours after finishing I had zero soreness and nearly full strength (power meter does not lie!) which is pretty amazingly fast recovery. It is not full recovery, but very close and typically recovery has been 4-5 days after a double, so that is a very large improvement. I attribute this to two products I am using, one a PEMF device that accelerates micro circulation, and the other a protein source ideal for feeding hard-used muscles, Primal Feast hydrolized beef protein powder. More on both as I confirm recovery with a few more doubles.
I was not feeling very well the 3 days prior to the Davis Double Century on May 19, and even Friday I was poorly rested needing two naps—not a good sign. That, and some large fast-growing nodules that I wanted checked out—pretty sure they are just lymph nodes but one 40mm X 10mm X 5mm one in my groin was a nuisance while riding. Two more in my neck. Arriving after dark, I could not sleep until 2:30 AM (probably a symptom of the prior 3 days whatever was bothering me), then I was awoken at 3:52 AM by arriving cars, then 4 AM by my alarm. So it was not a good staging, though without sleep one still does rest.
Starting out, I felt fluid and smooth but power was 30 watts below expectations*. I was at ease, just not riding all that strong, which is what I expected having felt tired the prior 3 days and what with nearly zero sleep. After 50 miles of warmup (yes, 50), I finally began to feel terrific, passing hundreds of riders, until mile 110 or so, where the same thing happened as with Central Coast Double: a marked drop in energy in spite of paying close attention to feeding and hydration. Still, I found I could out-climb a pair of strong riders who had been pacelining each other; they outran me downhill as I stopped to down half a liter at the summit but they had bad luck (flat tire**), and I then left them far behind; even at the Resurrection rest stop (mile 132) they did not show up and I never saw them again.
* A highly accurate power meter provides objective feedback that over the years is an invaluable reality-checking tool, whether power output be low or high, whether there be wind or a climb or whatever—watts are watts.
** Funny, I ride tubular tires with the Veloflex Vlaanderen the only tire I now ride. I’ve had 2 or 3 flats in 36 double centuries (and 3 pothole tire ruptures but those don’t count as that will destroy any tire and maybe the wheel too, I’ve destroyed two wheels that way), but tubeless and clincher/tube riders seem to have far more flat tires. I carry a spare tubular and sometimes two. It is not a big deal for the relatively rare flat tire and the Vlaanderen seems to shrug off just about anything with its 320 TPI casing.
Quite strong winds the last 50 miles and me soloing as always (no drafting) took their toll, but again as with Central Coast Double, I repeated my mantra: “just keep turning the crank”. It was not very pleasant, but there is nothing else to be done since quitting is not an option. I did take a few short breaks, including ~5 minutes at Resurrection rest stop (mile 132) where I felt weak and wobbly, having overheated on the climb. I rested for ~5 minutes while I had an ice cold Mountain Dew, something I indulge in only during double centuries as it gives the liver something to do (fructose) and also has caffeine and cold. Strong headwinds on the downhill stuff slowed me down considerably. It was a lonely ride at that point, catching only a handful or riders in 50 miles (but also passing 20 or so at the Guinda rest stop).
It was not particularly hot but the humidity was oppressively high, and I overheated by mile 150. Once core body temperature rises, power output plummets. I dunked myself in a play pool and splashing water over my head and upper back at the Guinda rest stop (mile 158), loaded my jersey pocket with ice, and drank a liter of cold Nuun. More ice at the final rest stop (Forbes Ranch) and that time slathering it all over my belly too. It helps a lot, yet almost no one bothers—weird to forgo a brief but very helpful way to lower body temperature.
There were at least 391 entrants for the double century though some modest number were women not men. At Resurrection rest stop (mile 132), I was told that 13 double century riders had been through, but everyone leaves whenever they like and I left at the last possible cutoff time (5:15 AM). At around mile 36, a pacelining group of ~20 riders passed me (with that size group half the time one is coasting not even pedaling!), but I am certain that I passed nearly all of those within the next 50 miles, because I recognized many of them as passed them later (such groups always break up on the hills). I observed one group of double riders completely short-circuit some miles of the route, presumably a mistake in navigation.
Since Davis Double does not post elapsed times (only finishing time and no start time), I cannot say where I stand on the final results, but I think it is unlikely that of the 13 ahead of me that all of them did it faster. I was bib #405, so of men worst case #14 out of 300+ men. Still, I consider the day a mediocre performance, far below my performance at Joshua Tree. I think the concussion is holding me back, hopefully it will improve and I will be able to ride strong for 200 miles as at Joshua Tree sometime this year, if only the last double of the year!
Next up: Eastern Sierra Double on June 2. This one will be really difficult: I will have to drive 8 hours until 11 at night (June 1 is a graduation ceremony for my daughter), then get up at 4:30 AM. So... a stressful night with little rest and zero time to acclimate. That should prove 'interesting', and sometimes the body clock just works and it is OK. But it is the long demanding drive that is the real deal-killer.
I took only one lousy picture. I forgot (again) to get a picture at the finish—I had no other thought than lying down and taking a nap, which I did for 2-3 hours. Then I drove home at about 9:30 PM. Note that the iPhone uses GMT +0 for the time for HEIC files, a huge nuisance; this is NOT midnight or so.