2018 Eastern Sierra Double: a Win
Race organizer confirms that I was the fastest—1st place—but timing results will take a few days to post.
Unlike the two previous doubles, I had no brain fade. Still, I had many things working against me, so I am very pleased with the results:
- An 8 hour drive arriving at 10 PM and prepping till 11:30 PM left me 5.5 hours to sleep.
- No time to acclimate.
- Never in 30 years have I had to use my inhaler so much (6 times, way beyond the recommended daily dose) due to repeated bronchospasms. Must have been pollen. I noticed sniffles the night I arrived.
- Mechanical: at mile 60, the DuraAce front shifter failed, leaving me stuck in the big ring for 134 miles. Well, that’s a lot better than being stuck in the small ring. It was not a battery charge issue; the thing was just plain dead. The next day I found that the cable is making poor contact inside the shifter.
- 8 pounds over the weight I would have been (178 vs 170) but for The Crash and Concussion back on March 17. That alone probably cost me 20 minutes (slower climbing, greater heat buildup due to more body fat = lower power output).
- As usual I soloed (no drafting for me), and the lead pack quickly disappeared from sight.
No matter, as it turned out. I was told that the lead rider was a Cat 1 racer, but he took a wrong turn. Well, I’ve done that myself and it’s no fun (an extra 14 miles and 14 vertical once!), but navigating is part of the race. I was told at around mile 150 that he was only 15 minutes ahead, and I don’t know how much drafting he did, if any. All in all seems to me that with the factors working against me, some of which I should be able to improve (weight, sleep, lungs), I was not very far off, and 9 years older.
Scroll down for some race-day pictures.
Race day pictures
As usual, I took very few photos because it is tough to ride fast and hard and use an iPhone. And stopping to take good ones takes time. iPhone 7 Plus image quality is so disappointing, but these will have to do.
The course is actually gorgeous in places (such as near June Lake), but I didn’t get any there as my shifter for the front derailleur failed and I was forced to ride the big ring past mile ~60 all the way to the end—was concentrating on riding and dealing with at best a 50 X 30 ratio on hills.
Below, the lead pack is now far gone, but I caught several stragglers from that pack half way up the hill, and all but one by mile 87 at lunch.
Never forget the “smile trick”—it works in reverse as body over mind, a mirror effect of mind over body.
I could not eat the night after the event but some well-deserved relaxation followed the next day.