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Central Coast Double Century
Related: concussion, double century, gear, Hard Core, Rides, Veloflex
See images from the Central Coast Double 2017 and 2018 routes (temporary route until Hwy 1 reopens in 2019).
2018 Ride Report
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.
2017 Ride Report
But no worries, I have a full 7 days to recover for the Davis Double a week later (usually 4-5 days is enough), then a lazy two weeks until the Eastern Sierra Double Century where the snow-capped mountains ought to be lovely this year and the fish nervous.
I don't think I'll be as fast as 2016 and my chances of winning it as I did in 2015 are slim to none, as I’ve been fighting some fatigue problem for several months (allergies and perhaps food reactions). Cutting out all grains (not that I eat much wheat but I do adore Panda licorice now abandonded for the time being), and also peanuts seems to have helped in eliminating the bloating. But the heavy rain this year has every grass and tree and bush pollinating the air heavily.
Update (finished): all done and with no stomach cramps or physical isuses; I felt decent the whole time. That in itself makes it a huge win for me. But I took care to eat more and my stomach felt good to start with. Being 10 pounds too heavy and not in 2015 or even 2016 shape, the decline in average power (graphs below) from 199 watts (2015 win) to 184 watts to 168 watts (course harder this year, somewhat) is more than a little frustrating but it has been a tough few years so I’m going to be delighted in not feeling nauseated or wanting to vomit or falling asleep on my bike as in the past two doubles—no physical problem this time.
I cut out all wheat and peanuts and cut way back on dried fruit* about two weeks ago and this seems to have eliminated the bloating and problems I was having. Food sensitivity has been dogging me for months, though I still don’t have a hard answer on which food(s) are the primary cultprit. [Update: I had a reaction two days later, I suspect cantaloupe now which some say may be related to ragweed proteins].
* See Are Grains the Culprit in Health and Weight? Is 'Wheat Belly' a Crackpot Diet? (UPDATED through 29 April). However, on this ride I did consume 100 grams of Panda black licorice which I think worked very well. The whole sensitivity (to what exactly?) remains murky but I won’t be eating bread or wheat products in general this year I think—I want it to stay settled down.
Photo tip: Nacimiento-Fergusson Rd offers some really lovely stream shooting on the east side, and the view the west is spectacular, with many excellent viewpoints. I had no time to admire the view, being much more interested in not crashing the twisty descent, but I stopped for this one photo.
Below, yet another garbage-quality iPhone 7 Plus photo from the 2X lens —barely acceptable even greatly reduced in size to 2400 pixels. I am hugely disappointed in the 2X camera of the iPhone 7s.
2016 ride report
2015 reports follows.
Weather conditions were beautiful. Unlike the dark gray and windy cold at the coast in 2015, the wind at the coast was minimal, the sun was out and it was beautiful all day—which mean hot too, in places. A powerful wind assist in the 2nd half was very welcome.
Two nights prior, I was so tired at 8:30 PM I could hardly sit up in a chair (this strange sudden-onset fatigue I experience randomly; it passes quickly with a short nap).
But Saturday morning starting CCD, I felt stronger than anytime this year; I was making power effortlessly for quite a good bit of the event (though I faded quite a lot the last 50 miles, perhaps from the harder effort the first portion). I guess those grains (sushi rice) are good for you (vs crackpot diets), since I had two sushis, kombucha, yogurt and licorice (wheat) the night before, eating in total ~1500 extra calories the day prior.
The flat and its repurcussions
I had a great start, feeling very strong, and while not with the lead pack (some super fast riders showed up for this Cal TripleCrown event), it seemed that I was in place to outpace everyone else as I was already ahead of all but 2 or 3 riders (fast pack excepted)—and I could see they were over exerting on the climbs.
But just shy of two hours in and a few hundred yards past the first rest stop doing 30 mph downhill, my front tire hit a nasty pothole, bursting the nearly brand-new Paris Roubaix tubular tire. The course map does say in large type “USE EXTREME CAUTION”. I felt like an idiot—30 mph way too fast for that potholed road. Mental note for next year.
It appears to have been a pinch flat, as I could find no obvious cuts, though that is odd given 105 PSI; perhaps it had suffered a small cut and was at lower pressure. The tire had maybe ~100 miles on it—brand new. I started peeling off the tire, then another rider hit the same pothole! His tire held, but he ended up in the weeks, just shy of the barbed wire. He was unhurt and proceeded.
Peeling the tubular and installing a new one including adding Stans NoTubes sealant, pumping it up and verifying integrity took 20 minutes exactly. I added the Stans NoTubes up front, because the spare was the ultra light weight race tire, the Veloflex Record. With 180 miles to go I was very concerned about a DNF from another tire failure. Ironically, the robust Paris Roubaix was toast, but the Veloflex Record lasted to the finish.
The tire swap is not to say all was idea: I had to curb my speed on all turns of sharp radius, which cost me time finishing that long descent, as well as Nacimiento Road. Then I had a scare approaching Fort Hunter Liggett at about mile 115: the tire was nearly flat at maybe ~10 PSI. As can sometimes happen, the valve or valve extender were slightly loose (or so I hoped). I pumped it up to full pressure, and made sure the valve extender and valve were nice and tight—no further problems to the finish.
- Solo effort: I accepted no drafts/pacelining as is my wont. Actually the opportunity did just not happen; having lost 20 minutes from the flat tire, I passed all the slower riders easily, but the fast pack was way ahead and the next fastest riders had the 20 minutes on me, thoughI did catch several of them.
- Weather: gorgeous sunny day, light wind at the coast, powerful tailwind much of the inland area (though almost none in one canyon and a strong opposing wind approaching Bradley).
- Clothing: dual summer-weight jerseys (short sleeve), regular gloves. I took a sleeveless lightweight vest, but did not use it.
- Mechanical: destroyed tire on pothole, as discussed.
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Total caloric intake ~2350 calories, total “burn” according to SRM: 8162 calories which means 29% intake relative to expenditure (a bit high).
- Hammer HEED: 300 calories
- Panda licorice sticks, 100 calories each, 10 (est): 1000 calories
- GU, salted carmel, 48mb caffeine each, 7 (est): 700 calories
- Mountain dew, full can: 160 calories
- Mountain dew (est): 120 calories
- Mountain dew (est): 120 calories
- Potato chips (est): 80 calories
2015 ride report
I had a tough time at the 2015 Devil Mountain Double due to a delay in fueling, so for the Central Coast Double, I resolved to begin fueling early and regularly. Fuel consisted of Hammer HEED, Hammer gel and seven all natural Panda licorice sticks (100 cal each, a good portion of which is glucose equivalent), and a few minor bits at the lunch stop. This worked like a charm.
The reason I like to supplement with licorice is that by 2/3 through a double century, I lose all appetite for HEED and gels, a risky proposition when fueling is more critical than ever. The licorice does not lose appeal and seems to keep things in balance for me. There is some “junk sugar” which serves a critical role of giving the glycogen-depleted liver a job to do, and even a small amount of protein in it.
- Solo effort: I accepted no drafts/pacelining as is my wont. While I pulled the lead group for some miles up the Pacific coast into a stiff headwind, they wanted to switch leaders to go faster (perfectly reasonable of course). So I dropped back, watching the paceline slowly disappear until miles out of sight by the end of the long slog up the coast. I ultimately overtook all of those riders, and finished first (Highland Route).
- Weather: cold/foggy to start, stiff headwind heading north along the coast all the way to Nacimiento Road (the best climb of the route). At the summit, it all went sunny and warmer (but still on the cool side).
- Clothing: Starting out, summer-weight tights, dual summer-weight jerseys (short sleeve), regular gloves. I took a sleeveless lightweight vest, but did not use it. I stripped the tights off at the summit of Nacimiento Rd. When power and fueling are good, temps down to the low 50’s are fine for me, though my arms did stay a rosy red all that cool day.
- Minor delays: I started last in essence, dropping a baggie out of my jersey pocket early on, so I had to stop and get it, thus being dead last about 1 mile out. I also caught two red lights right before the finish. Stops were required at all rest stops, but I minimized the delays (lunch stop forced a good detour to get water unfortunately), but aside from one “pit stop” spent most of the time was on the bike.
- Mechanical: none. The Moots Vamoots RSL with DuraAce Di2 performed flawlessly. But I do want a 32 cog for steeper climbs (to save quadriceps strength), and so I’ve sold some gear to raise funds for Di2 11-speed, which will allow an Ultegra medium cage that allows a 11-32 cassette.
- Bike fit: I am grateful to Kevin Bailey at 3DBikeFit.com for his attention to details of my bike setup. A meticulous master of his craft, all aspects of my bike fit with Kevin resulted in maximum comfort, or properly speaking minimum discomfort, since 211 miles is a very long ride. The afternoon prior, my right wrist went bonkers due to continuing issues with nerve damage and I had no ability to articulate/twist it without severe pain. I considered skipping the ride entirely. But because Kevin set my bar position and reach for three hand positions all keeping the body in the same optimal position (hoods, drops, bar top) and all keeping the wrist in optimal straight/unbent position, I had zero pain in my wrist/hand—non issue. That and the other aspects of reach, saddle height, custom orthotic were all spot-on. Pretty amazing to have it all work so well. If the fit is right, the body can handle things, but if the slightest thing is off, 211 miles can be punishing by overloading some joint or muscle.
I took NO DRAFTS WHATSOEVER, but did pull the lead group of riders for several miles into a stiff headwind up the Pacific coast. So I am rather proud of my effort this day. I felt great; everything worked well for me. Official results.
Some images taken at different times, including after race day (it’s hard to shoot while riding).