2018 Terrible Two Double Century: Good and Terrible
Update 27 June: it took a full 7 days for my brain to recover, a lingering side-effect of my concussion. It was a crummy week. My back was fine during the event, but the muscles were re-irritated and tightened up again after getting fixed, though not as tight as prior. It’s too bad I had only 5 days after getting things fixed before the Terrible Two. Still, I felt more symmetric on my bike than I had in years, so I now know what is possible.
With Alta Alpina coming up on June 30 and my back still irritated on June 27, I don’t know how it’s going to go. I don’t want to press through it and hyper-irritate my back. Update June 29: my back gave me some trouble but not much.
A few quick notes on the June 16 2018 Terrible Two Double Century, which I completed middle-of-the-pack in 15 hours and 17 minutes (15:17) with riding time of 14:12.
The top riders were surely professionals (or former ones) and/or top Cat 1 riders, given their just-over 10 hour finish times—unbelievably fast given the 17000' of climbing. See the PDF results. At my very best six years ago and leaned out to 168 pounds and with no brain issues, maybe I could have done 12:30 or 12:45. For a woman (Gabrielle Andersen of Woodside) to do 12:19 is phenomenal. Maybe she is that former Olympian I met one day on Alpine Road.
The good news was that my body after being fixed up by Dee Sickles LMT MMT performed admirably—no back pain and no twisted torso and both sides of rib cage expanding. Best yet since the crash/concussion.
Power-to-weight matters hugely on climbs: being 10 pounds too heavy (about 178 instead of 168) with 17000' of climbing is a major handicap.
But the main thing is/was brain fade from my concussion like back in April/May, starting at about mile 110. I think it was provoked by great difficulty in seeing into mottled lighting (sun/shade) while descending steep twisty roads on the worst pavement of any double century ever.
Brain fade / concussion related?
After a while, my brain just gave up. I resorted to mini naps of 2-4 seconds while ascending to get some relief, but basically I rode the last 80 miles or so wanting to fall asleep on my bike, stopping occassionally to just close my eyes while I stood there for a few minutes. Something about just shutting off visual input (eyes closed) gave some relief, but that cannot be done while riding except at very low speeds. It was an endurance test more difficult than anything physical. I wanted to quit, but I don’t allow myself that option—all too easy to lower the bar some other day.
The pavement in Sonomo County is the worst I have ever ridden (in risks along with extended distances of very bad stuff)—basically crocodile-hide pavement with patches on top of patches helter skelter with cracks and random small pits and potholes along with 50 to 100 feet sections of unpaved gravel/dirt (usually marked but not alway. So the Terrible Two IMO is mostly terrible because of the pavement. On the steep mottled sun/shade downhills, this beat my hands into a painful state, because not being able to see into the shadows, I had to be hard on the brakes, which puts tremendous stress on the hands, which soak up every bang and bump.