Tag Archives: Cardiac Hill

Davis Double – No Ice Socks Needed Today

The third double of the year for me is Davis.  This is one double that I attempted a couple of years ago, and had to DNF (did not finish), due to heat exhaustion.  This year, with all the rains, the temps were considerably cooler, and the conditions should be considerably better … and they were.

Registration was right across from the US Bicycling Hall of Fame.  We got to see some pretty cool antique bikes.

I rode with Curtis and Dan, at 4 am.  Wow, that’s early, but I figure by starting this early, I’ll try to finish this before darkness settles in.  We all tried to make sure we conserved ourselves in the beginning.  The first 40 miles are really flat.  In the past, I made the bad mistake of joining a pack, and hammered to keep of with the pack at speeds in excess of 25 mph.  This time, we made sure we maintained an average of 18-20 mph, so that we don’t burn ourselves out.

First hill was up to Monticello Dam, at Lake Berryessa.  The sun was clearly out by this time, and it really felt good.  Soon after reaching the dam,  we found out Curtis had a broken spoke.  Uh oh .. well he adjusted the spoke a bit, just enough so it wouldn’t be rubbing against the brake pads.  Looks like he’ll be riding the next 170 miles with a wobbly wheel.

We would be treated with a series of climbs and descents, up till we get to the big climb of the day, Cobb Mountain, which was at around the 100 mile mark.

It’s pretty odd, I kept hear from other cyclists how much they feared Resurrection Hill.   but in my mind, Cobb Mountain is the one to fear.  I guess maybe the reason why they feared Resurrection is that it starts after lunch, and around the 130 mile mark, but it doesn’t climb as high.

Cobb Mountain on the other hand start about mile 99, and sustains 9-11% for about 3 miles.  It does have a false summit, and descends for a little bit (and you think you’ve crested, but it pitches up again to you get to the next rest stop.  After all, it does feature a 1250 foot climb, with pitches between 9-11%, and it sustained That’s nothing to sneeze at, and even when you seem to get to the top, it descends, then keeps climbing up again.

The last time I did this, it was really hot (triple digit temps), and they even had a sag wagon stop, with water, to refresh ourself, halfway up the climb.  We didn’t need that today, so I kept grinding away up to the rest stop.  Curtis and Dan went on ahead, as I stayed a bit to rest.

Continuing on, we still had climbs to do, before we got to the descents on Loch Lomond.  This was a really steep descent, and easily got up to 47 mph, before I tapped on the brakes enough to slow me down so I can maneuver the turn.  That was hair-raising.

I got to the lunch stop, but by that time, Curtis and Dan were ready to head onwards.  We would maintain the schedule for the rest of the day.

The support at Davis was great.  Lunch spread had just about everything you needed to form your own sandwich.  No pre-ordered Subway sandwich here … just the ingredients, and you build your own sandwich.  I also grew a fond affection for strawberries this day.  I don’t know why I didn’t notice before, but it sure feels good in the middle of a ride.

Ok, next hill is Resurrection.  Part of the problem with resurrection is that it is on Hwy 53, and not only do you climb, but you climb on highway traffic.  As I mentioned before, it is not as long, but it is annoying enough to make you wish it were over.

Two years ago, when I got to this point, I was totally exhausted due to heat exhaustion, and could not continue.  It’s a different story this year, since we didn’t have to contend with the heat.  I felt pretty confident at this point, and even think I might be able to finish before dark (that’s a first).

The route took up along Hwy 16, and we paralleled a nice little creek, was so serene and peaceful sounding.  This was also a stretch which didn’t have a lot of car traffic, and I went into my pseudo-time trialing position.  I knew there wouldn’t be very many ascents, so I could afford to do that.

A little later, Hwy 16 got trafficky, which meant having to worry about car traffic.  I was soon passed on the left by a group of 6 riders, and one guy yelled “come on, get on”, and so this pelaton grew from 6 to 7.  We maintained a paceline for a good 10 miles, and we were passing other groups, tandems, etc … one by one.  It did get a little dicey at one point, where the shoulder turn to dirt, then that where two riders’ wheels crossed in front of me.  The guy immediately in front of me went down, but at least it was in the dirt, so no injuries (just a small scrape).  Needless to say, we decided to go single file from here on out.

The rest of the way was completely flat, and we had no headwinds, until mile 190.  That was tough to ride through that headwind.  We then see the last rest stop at mile 195 (7 miles from the end).  You may ask, with only 7 miles to go, why stop here?  Well, the firestation chili bowl is famous, and you have to stop here.  Oooh, that felt good.

Ok, last 7 miles.  First, it started as a pack of 5, then suddenly, I noticed a bunch behind me, and we had a pack of about 15 people coming into the finish.  It felt like I was in the pelaton, and we were rolling in after the sprinters made their charge to the line.  I wound up back at the finish around 8:15 am, just in time where I didn’t need to use lights.

So this is my third of the year … 2 more for the 1000 miles in double centuries.  The next one will be Grand Tour in Malibu at end of June.

Knoxville Double … Double #6 #30daysofbiking

I didn’t get much sleep the night before this ride.  Everything seemed to be in check … checked in before 6 pm, and finished dinner before 7 pm … so everything should be okay, right?  Well, for whatever reason, I just couldn’t sleep.  Perhaps it was due to all my excitement for doing this ride.

Curtis and Dan carbo-loading

I rode with Curtis and Daniel.  Here we are the night before, with a pre-ride carbo load.  We found a nice little mexican take-out place.  Note the happy faces are before the ride!

Ron and Curtis ... riding in patch black

We left Adobe Pena park at 3:45 am.  There were a few others that started before us, and I think we passed one of the groups … but most started around 4:30 am.  We wouldn’t see many riders till about 3-4 hours later, when they overtake us.

First climb was Mt. George.  We still didn’t get passed by anyone, so that was a good sign.  We started so early that they just barely had the first rest stop set up, so we just decided to bypass it.  Only one problem with that strategy … porter potties.  We’d have to go 62 miles before making a pit stop.  Well, as it turned out, we did an emergency road-side pit stop anyways, just before the rest stop.  Oh well.

The 2nd big climb is Howell Mountain.  We saw a bunch of locals out climbing this (many of them faster climbers … although they didn’t have to ride 200 miles!).  I went on ahead, feeling pretty strong (hmm … maybe I was going out too strong?).  What’s nice is they had a porter potty in the middle of the climb.  Sweet!  I definitely took advantage of this opportunity.  This is the point where we started to see the later starters pass us up (oh, sorry, pass me up).

The ride organizers were giving us a stern admonishment regarding the descent on Howell Mountain.  So I figure I should be taking it easy here, but I found the descent to be smooth, and switchbacks were fairly gentle.  I mean, if they really want to see a scary descent, try Page Mill in Palo Alto.  Anyhow, from there, we drop into Pope Valley, which is where we started our pre-ride on Labor Day Weekend.  Suddenly, we are in familiar territory.

Next up, is the long climb starting at Lake Berryessa, on up Knoxville Road.  What also made this difficult was the hottest time of the day.  It starts off with some rollies, then it kicks up to 10-12%, but when you add mid-90 degree heat, that really depletes you.  What’s also freaky is you will see some hunters up and down this road.  I saw a few of them, with rifle straddling their shoulder.  Hopefully they won’t be shooting at cyclists.

Around the 88 mile mark is when the climbing on Knoxville Road starts.  Even though I know the hill, and when to prepare, there’s nothing that will prepare you for heat.  In fact, there was a SAG wagon offering ice socks … oh how can I resist that!  That felt good, but I was still struggling.

I finally made it to the tunnel, but I needed the water stop now.  Two hill climbs later, then came the water stop.  My legs were really spent at this point, and just wanted to soak my head into the ice chest.  Ramon was here manning the stop, and had a nice refreshing mist … this is one tough hill.  Later, I found out everyone suffers badly on this climb.  At least I’m not the only one.

There were still a couple more hills to climb, so I just had to grin and bear it.  Curtis and Daniel had much fresher legs than me (they took a slower pace on the bottom, so maybe that’s what I should have done).

We made a very quick lunch stop (I had a really quick burrito), but maybe I should have just let Curtis and Dan go ahead.  My legs were still shot.

We continued on to Siegler Canyon, then Loch Lomond.  We grinded it up Siegler Canyon, and by the time we made the turn onto Loch Lomond, I had to rest.  Curtis and Dan came by, but they wanted to continue .. I still needed to rest.  Even after the rest, I was still suffering up Loch Lomond.  I was not alone either … many riders were hopping from one shady spot to the next.  I got to the point where I could not turn the pedal anymore.  I flagged a SAG wagon, and got then to fill my bottle with ice … but even that didn’t help me.  I had to walk the last 500 feet or so.  Even though I was at the summit, the road continued flat for about a mile until it descended to a general store, where Curtis and Dan were there … Curtis had a flat.

I let Curtis and Dan go on ahead … I had to take in some cool fluids.  I proceeded to climb up Cobb Mountain, and was really glad to see the road sign, warning trucks to use low gear on descent.  I ended up catching up with Curtis and Dan near the bottom of the hill.  However, my legs still didn’t have life in them.  Luckily, after going through Middletown, it was fairly flat.

The bad news is, after leaving rest stop 4, I started to get leg cramps.  Ugh, everything was aching here.  Saddle sores, toes numb (and they still are), and now leg cramps.  I had to put this in my granny gear, in fear of my leg completely locking up due to cramps.  I eventually got rid of my cramps by the time we got to rest stop 5, at Lake Hennessey.

Lake Hennessey at Sunset

Ok, now 40 miles to go.  But is this all flat coming back?  Of course not … first, we have Sage Canyon, which wasn’t too bad.  We go through some flat stretches … and at that point, it got pitch black, which makes climbing and descending interesting.  The next climb we face is Cardiac Hill.  Now we have done Cardiac Hill from the other side on Davis, but this time, we are climbing it in reverse.  This is definitely much tougher.  This was just sheer cruelty, throwing in this climb at mile 180.  This is the point where you are breathing hard, stating all sorts of expletives, and in general, just wishing this ride was over.

We finally got back to Adobe Pena Park at 10 pm.  Dang, this was a really tough ride … yeah, I know, it’s a double century, but this is still a very epic ride.

I’d like to say a few things about the support.  It was just great!  All rest stops were fully stocked with just about everything an endurance rider could ask for … Heed, Perpetuem, Hammergel, e-pills, Ibuprofen.  Then, they had SAG wagons, driving up and down with ice and water.  In fact, I saw them coming into a general store, just to stock up on ice.  The food layout was second to none … I love those potatoes.

The highest temp of the day was 106 F (most likely when I was finishing on Knoxville Rd).  I don’t think it was nearly this hot when we did our re-con ride 3 weeks ago.

Ok, 2 down … do I go for my third?  If so which one?  Bass Lake is in a couple of weeks … then there’s Solvang Autumn, and later, Death Valley Double.