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First Double Century - Mt. Tam Double

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Did this event last Saturday, but only had time to go and look at my ride stats now as i've been traveling non-stop since it ended.

This was my first double century and I'm pretty stoked on it as even as early as last winter I never fathom the thought of either wanting to do one of these or even being able to. I signed up for this because i needed a long training event about a month away from my main event this year which is the Tahoe-Sierra 100 mountain bike race that I'll be racing solo singlespeed. I had heard that a 100 mile mountain bike race is sort of equivalent to 200 on a road, so figured "what the heck?", if I'm gonna do this I better do this. The longest ride I've ever done prior to this was about 130 miles which was the Death Ride about 3 years ago.

It was such a beautiful ride....I'm really sorry I didn't bring a small camera with me. The ride started in the dark with lights at 5 AM in San Rafael in Marin County just north of San Francisco, and then followed some sleepy country roads to the first rest stop at the base of Mt. Tamalpaiais (Mt. Tam) where we ditched our lights.

The climb and summit on Mt. Tam was the highlight of the ride. The weather and scenery were just fantastic. Perfect cool temps through shady redwood forests at the bottom, followed by a breakthrough through intermittent fog layers at the top with clear stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and Stinson Beach to the left, San Francisco & the Golden Gate straight ahead, and the rolling golden hills of Sonoma and Napa to the right. Definitely need to get back there.

The descent down was thrilling...smooth twisty roads all the way down to Route 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) and back into a cold misty fog layer and Rest Stop #2.

Here finally, the incessant climbing took a break and I fell in with a fast group of riders and we pacelined all the way up the coast about 70 miles to Rest Stop #3. This portion was pretty much a blur as 12 of us just cruised between 20 - 25 mph into a slight headwind along the coastal highway taking turns pulling the group. I was feeling pretty strong and got yelled at slow it down a little when I was at the front. . Good advice because when about when we hit mile 75 somebody called out "this ride is only just beginning boys! pace yourself!", and then it hit me that this really wasn't just a regular old century, but a very hilly double, and there were hours and hours left of saddle time left in this thing.

As we approached RS #4, the paceline began to break apart as we pulled away from the cool breezy coastline and into the golden rolling hills and oaks of Sonoma County. It began getting really hot right about now.

RS#4 came and went around mile 80-ish and I thought "sweet just 20 miles to the next rest stop and I'm halfway done!". I was feeling pretty good and it was pretty easy up to this point. However, this is when the winds started.

It had been windy on the coast, but jesus christo these winds on this portion of the ride were from another planet. And it was all headwind all the time. The headwind was so strong it was like pedaling in molasses...or sand. Or probably more accurately, sandy molasses. That paceline we had earlier would have helped, but I was nearly all alone for this section. Every now and then I inch past someone suffering even more than I was on the steep hills in this section and no one had any energy to try and organize to fight this incessant wind spawned from hell. There were downhill sections here where I should have been cruising at 30 - 35 mph, but with the wind, i was on the brakes at 15mph and leaning hard into the wind trying not to get blown into the ditch on the side of road...or into the barbed wire fence that separated "us from them." 'Them' being the cows that were our spectators for nearly 3/4ths of this ride. Their clanging cow bells reminded me of crazed fans at the Tour de France, it's nutty how your mind wanders when you're suffering.

RS stop #5 looked like a battle zone. People rolled in with blank stares on their faces and their skin still peeled back as if they were still in the wind tunnel. Every other word out of every other rider seemed to be "wind this" or "wind that". It was the halfway point, roughly mile 101 or 102, and I was a little under 7 hours into the ride including rest stops. Not too bad considering the wind. The next portion of the ride went out on a brutal loop out to the coast and back to this same rest stop and so this was actually a bail out point for people who were too fatigued or just mentally beat down. Lots of people bailed...no one wanted to go back out into that wind.

Pretty ironic how the wind literally blew the air away from so many riders sails. I downed a few V8's, clicked back in and pedaled on back toward the coast.

This section I don't remember all too well....for the next few hours I would just have my head down trying to stay as aerodynamic as possible against the wind. We road all the way down to the coastline again and the wind was still brutal and switched to a side wind when we turned back north on Rt 1 along the ocean. The views were just spectacular though....crashing whitecaps on rocky coast spotted with coastal fog and sun.

Soon the road turned back inland and we were faced with the steepest climb of the day at around mile 125. This part was one of the major climbs in the Tour of California bike race and the pavement was littered with fans graffiti cheering on and heckling the racers. It was fun to suffer up this steep narrow road riding over the words of encouragment written in chalk in French, Spanish, German. I had to laugh when I rolled over a big question mark written in chalk that said "Where's Cippo?"...a reference due to the doping scandals plaguing professional cycling.

After this climb it was all downhill (mostly) back to RS #6 (which also doubled as RS#5 earlier). There was hardly anybody here...lots of people had bailed, but i was still feeling pretty good and glad that I decided to keep going on.

The next section was a blur....just long desolate country roads. No cars. Tons of cows and oak trees. A few riders here and there that would stop to chat and pull a little. But mostly just the steady hum of tires over fast pavement as the miles ticked away....130..135..145..150....

Rest stop #7 came up fast in Petaluma. My goal was to finish before dark so I didn't want to stick around long. I think it was around 5 PM at this point and I was 170 miles in. i was starting to feel a little tired here so i downed a coke for some a quick boost and told myself that this should be like a normal after work ride...it's about 5 PM and I just need to crank out 30 miles. Pretty standard....just told myself it's the same thing I've doing for months. Thoughts like these made miles 170 - 187 go by fairly quickly and uneventful.

Right at about mile 188, my Garmin GPS battery died. Apparently, the battery can only last 12 hours (stupid), but this guy hung in there with me to nearly 14 hours. Just as I pulled into the last rest stop it let out one last BEEP and died. Bummer cause I kinda wanted this route recorded, but oh well...I'll just have to be faster next time At this rest stop, all I did was pick up my lights that I left behind in the morning, filled out up a water bottle and got the hell out of there. 13 miles to go with just one more climb. 13 miles isn't much at all, but when it's miles 187 - 200 and you've climbed over 15,000 ft of vertical, and there's still one more climb to go...it takes a little longer than usual I flicked on my rear flashing light as it was getting dark under the canopy of the trees, but it was still light enough that I didn't need the headlamp....one more time, click in and let's do this.

This last section was great. Probably surging mostly on adrenline with the end in sight I just flew up and over the last climb and then the last 8 miles or so were all downhill back to the finish/start. What a great feeling to be rocking in the big ring at 25 mph on the flats and still pulling hard into the finish. Rolled into the finish line nearly exactly 15 hours after starting. I was stoked. Done. Holy shit.

time to change and start gorging on the spread of food that the organizers had out for us and wait for some of my friends and for wife to finish. My wife and I started riding together at the beginning but we separated way back on Mt. Tam because she knows I'm a fast rider and didn't want to hold me back. She ended up finishing in the dark but she still made it. I'm really really proud of her

I'm now feeling pretty good for the Tahoe-Sierra 100. The only unknown now sorta is that i'll be on a singlespeed for that and there's 14,000 ft of climbing in it. I'm confident now that I sould be able to finish that under the 14 hour time limit...but I might need to be a bit faster at any rest stops and be a little smarter and more efficient nutrition wise. This double was a great training event in that respect and I was able to learn alot.

Well that was long winded (no pun intended).....but here are the ride stats up until my bike computer battery died:
http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/6460039

distance vs time profile



Distance vs Elevation profile
post #2 of 10
Congrats to you and your Wife on what sounds like an incredible ride !!!

This is you :
post #3 of 10

amazing!!

Ty, this is beyond impressive. The most I have ever done in a day was 112 miles, and that was quite a few years ago, and didn't involve anything close to that much climbing. I remember how I felt at the end of that day (and was faced with he prospect of another 50 the next day to finish the trip)- I can't imagine 200. By the way, your GPS summary says you hit a max speed of 117.8mph- that's fast even for you! It reminds me of the "how fast can you ski" thread...

What kind of a bike did you ride? Was the Mt Tam section on the road or on singletrack?
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dp View Post
Ty, this is beyond impressive. The most I have ever done in a day was 112 miles, and that was quite a few years ago, and didn't involve anything close to that much climbing. I remember how I felt at the end of that day (and was faced with he prospect of another 50 the next day to finish the trip)- I can't imagine 200. By the way, your GPS summary says you hit a max speed of 117.8mph- that's fast even for you! It reminds me of the "how fast can you ski" thread...

What kind of a bike did you ride? Was the Mt Tam section on the road or on singletrack?
thanks DP.

I have an '04 Trek Madone with a compact double crankset. Nothing too fancy schmancy or exotic but it gets the job done. Everything on this ride is road/pavement.

yeah regarding that top speed ... obviously something got messed up. On one of the windiest sections of the ride I remember inching along and looking down to see how SLOW I was going and the thing was reading 25mph!! The speed readout was bouncing all over the place for some reason for awhile....
post #5 of 10
Very nice! YOO YOO...Next year Leadville!
post #6 of 10
Awesome write-up! Thanks for the description. I've done a couple double-metrics (125 miles)... I can't imagine doing another 75. You're the man!

Quote:
the Tahoe-Sierra 100 ... i'll be on a singlespeed for that and there's 14,000 ft of climbing in it
What sort of gearing will you be using for that event? I have a 25-mile road loop with about 1,200 feet of climbing in it that I do on my single-speed (36x16) once a week or so. That's plenty for me!
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinF View Post

What sort of gearing will you be using for that event? I have a 25-mile road loop with about 1,200 feet of climbing in it that I do on my single-speed (36x16) once a week or so. That's plenty for me!
i'm really not sure what gearing I will use yet. I have one more looonng, grueling training ride (mountain this time ) planned for this weekend, but then the rest of my riding leading up to the TS100 (on Sept 6th) will be spent doing recon on the course (as i cut down on the mileage to taper)...mainly to figure out gearing and tires...but mostly gearing.

The organizers are recommending 32 x 18 for super fast/super strong/alien-type guys gunning for a win or 32 x 20 for joe blow racer...i'll probably be on 32 x 20 (this gearing is for 26" wheeled tires..not 29").
post #8 of 10
Tyrone, yer nuts!
post #9 of 10

Tam Double

Tyrone, congratulations. Did the Davis Double a few years ago and I can really appreciate what you accomplished. Great Warm UP.
post #10 of 10
Very nice, Tyrone!
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