Carmel Valley Double is completed! This is my 25th Double Century, and I finally get a chance to buy, and wear the next level of awesomeness, the 25 DC jersey. This was not only a big deal for me, but we had a celebration of a 50 DC rider, Hoang Nguyen, a 75h DC rider, Peggy Kegley, and 100 DC rider, Dzung Dang, the directory of the Carmel Valley Double course. Awesome, with banners posted for all 4 of us.
I also came a couple days early, to assist in setting up this huge event. As with last year, I slept at the start. One would think that with others sleeping in the same venue, I would get enough sleep, but I normally don’t get as much sleep at these events anyways. With a 4 am start, I figure I would wake up 3:15 am, and hoping I would not wake anyone up … but soon after my alarm went off, everyone else’s alarm went off, so I was thinking the same thing, and lights went on in the building.
Check in at 4 am, and off I go. About 2 miles in, I suddenly realize I left my phone back at the start. There’s no turning back, I gotta just do it. Besides, they printed this big poster for my 25th, expecting I would finish this, so gotta pursue ahead. This just means I can’t take any pictures, so I’ll have to rely on what pics others have taken. This may not be a bad thing, no tempting distractions for me.
I rode with fellow awesome endurance rider Dr. Lam Do, from San Diego. We rode at around the same pace, so that was good, and not be tempted by the pace of other passing us. At around mile 16, we had our first excitement of the day. There was a house fire, with fire trucks, ambulance, and police all at the scene, blocking Elm Street. Ooh, but we have some directing us onto the sidewalk to get through the scene, and who was that? Oh it’s the awesome Peggy Kegley, the aforementioned 75 DC rider. Thanks a bunch Peggy .. you rock!
We get to the first rest stop, shortly after a series of small climbs, we get our first rest stop at mile 21. This was run by SF Adobo Velo, serving boiled eggs and Vicky Ma’s rice porridge. Oh, very yummy … it’s definitely the way to start a DC. Oooh … but no water. It was so early that it wasn’t a big issue for me, so off we go.
First climb up is Carmel Valley Road. That came quicker than I thought, but maybe it’s because I wasn’t lagging behind with no one in front. However, I did lose Lam somewhere here. Up the hill, we had two cows loose on the road, but we did see some ranch owners try to move them off with their trucks. We went by without a problem there.
Got to the summit, and the second rest stop, but couldn’t find Lam there, but I gotta move on, and limit my stops. Time for a long fast descent en route to Monterey. This is a nice recovery for the legs as there are no hard climbs until after reaching Monterey.
The climbs after Monterey are punchy … you know, short steep climbs, from 5-12%, just enough to wake you up. We then do an out and back of Jack’s Peak, and then my friends Brett and Brenda catch up with me. That is great … at least I get to ride and chat for a short time with them. However, that would last about 15 minutes, but it’s still good.
The next climb, San Benancio, is what starts to drain riders, me included. It is an exposed climb, with limited shades, so the climbers do gain time. We eventually get up to Laureles Grade, via an off road section that cars cannot get through. Lam eventually caught up to me at this point, but he passed me, and I would meet up with him later at lunch. The road exited through Rinconada Dr before we get onto Laureles Grade. There were reports from some cyclists that a pedestrian was complaining that it was a private road, but I think most cyclists came through there without an issue.
Finally lunch stop at Jerome’s Market. Before getting there, my friend Kirsten passes me. That was cool. I reunited with Brenda and Brett at lunch. They are ready to take off, and Kirsten limits her stops, so off she went (I don’t think she ever eats … hahaha).
Everyone was saying all climbs were front loaded, so second half should not have issues … except Cachagua is a tough climb. I know, because I’ve done that, and I helped SAG the workers ride two weeks ago. Soon after the summit of Cachagua, I start getting cramps. I was able to manage it somewhat, till we got to the water stop before starting the climbs again. I thought it would be fine, and I did munch on some salty chips, and popped some e-pills in, and ate a bar. However, it would still creep in.
I managed to get to the top of Calhoun Summit, where I spent a longer than usual rest stop, for probably a good 20 min. Here I downed some adobo chicken, rice, coke, and that seemed to help me recover. Most of the climbs were done anyways, but that was a good break.
There was another water stop at about mile 142. I didn’t think it was necessary, but since we had to check in at each stop, I couldn’t just bypass it. It’s just some more time to add into the ride. It was mostly downhill into King City. There were some combination head and cross winds getting back through Greenfield, so I had to go into time trial mode. I was still able to sustain 19-20 mph through there, so I felt pretty good. Those bouts with cramps …. what cramps? When we turned right on Metz, we got to take advantage of a stiff tail wind. That definitely help my time getting back.
Got to the next check-in before 8 pm, before we do the out and back down Jolon Road. It’s a 20 mile out and back, with one hill, but that was a cruel hill, at about mile 173. It was probably good that it was dark, so that I didn’t see how much hill there was in front of me. That was a nasty, sadistic hill (especially after 175 miles and 12k ft climbing in our legs), but we got through it. As soon as we summitted, I was eager to see the turnaround point … but we continued to go down. My thought was, the longer this descent is, the longer we have to climb back up.
While at the rest stop, Memo warns us to not stay to long, so that we don’t miss the time cut off for the ride. We have about 1:45 left to finish. Luckily the climb itself wasn’t too bad, which then would be followed by a descent.
As if the pressure to make the cutoff wasn’t enough, my chain dropped, and it’s stuck between the frame on the small chainring … Ugh … Finally got back with about 10 minutes to spare. Whew!!! I made it … 25th Double Century. This was harder than it looks on paper, and having cramps before Carmel Valley Road didn’t help either.
I’ll have to give a big shout out to Lam, who stuck with me through Cachagua and Carmel Valley Road. It probably slowed time by 15 to 30 min at least, so thank you Lam. I’d also like to thank Dzung, for all the encouragement, when I got back into riding doubles again … especially on a really hard Mulholland Virtual Double … I was ready to quit, but he kept at me, and it got me through it. I’d also like to thank Brenda and Amanda, for helping me out on those training rides.
And now I’ve got this big poster … need a big wall to post this on :). Thank you all that greeted me at the end. The camaraderie with this crowd is incredible, and the gratitude I have for their friendship and support cannot be put into words.