Devil Mountain Double


The Idea

I’m not sure when the idea of riding a double century (200 miles) first originated. I was pretty sure it was before I ordered my custom Titus bike last August. I had worked with Titus Bikes on making sure the ride would be comfortable over the long haul, a quality that my previous Trek 2300 lacked to some degree. Not that there was anything wrong with the Trek. It had served me well as my first performance road bike when I bought it at the beginning of 2002, and I had successfully ridden it on my first century (100 miles) and first double metric century (200 km, or approx. 125 miles).

Before I had even considered upgrading my bike, I was pretty sure that I didn’t want to tackle a double century. I wasn’t so much the distance involved, although doing 200 miles is no easy task, but the fact that the time to ride 200 miles would likely mean riding in the dark. I’m not much of a fan of riding in the dark. I prefer enjoying my surroundings while I’m on the bike. That’s a big part of the reason why I like ride: being able to enjoy the outdoors, riding up a shaded hillside through redwood trees, through meadows filled with spring wildflowers in dazzling arrays of colors, reaching lookouts at the tops of climbs and being able to see hills rolling into the distance, and riding along the ocean while waves crash into the rocky coast on one side or the other. Also, it’s dangerous to ride in the dark on narrow, twisty country roads, especially when going downhill. I had talked to several people in the Western Wheelers bike club, of which I was a member, and it seemed that people who were about equal to me in strength were finishing double centuries in the dark, especially in the harder doubles. Something about doing a double began to intrigue me now I was armed with the latest bike technology and ready to seek new challenges. Indeed, after I took possession of the Titus in December, I could tell that this bike enjoys going uphill, and its ride is plush and comfortable, and so I felt I was ready to face the next task in my cycling evolution by tackling a double century. The idea of riding in the dark bothered me less and less and to resolve that issue I would purchase a light and be very careful on the descents.

The Goals

Now that I had decided to tackle a double century, other decisions needed to be made, namely which one to do and then how many to do. I had heard of the California Triple Crown, where the winners of that distinction are cyclists who have finished three double centuries in one year. There are several members of the Western Wheelers who had Triple Crown jerseys so it seemed there was a reward for being able to complete three doubles in a year, namely having the opportunity to purchase more cycling apparel.

I checked out the Triple Crown website, and there they freely admit that doing a double is very hard, and that you should try one of the easier ones in your first year to work out all the kinks, and then come back the next year to attempt doing three doubles. However, given that I’m not much of a fan of night riding, I made a decision that I would do the three in my first year, get my California Triple Crown, and then promptly retire from riding doubles. Of course, I could have picked three of the easiest doubles to do, but somehow that didn’t feel right. Instead I picked the Devil Mountain Double (DMD) and Terrible Two (TT) as two of the doubles that I was going to try to ride. These are listed on the Triple Crown website as being the two with the most elevation gain, and the difficulty of each is graded as “Radically High.” My third double would be the Davis Double, perhaps the most popular double, and rated at “Moderate” difficulty.

The Training

With the doubles that I was doing picked, I was ready to train. The DMD is at the end of April, so I started ramping up my training in January, which meant riding in the cold and rain, or if it was raining too hard, spending time indoors on the trainer. With the Titus being my main bike, the Trek became my “rain” bike, and there were several times when I got pretty wet, as it was one of the wettest years on record. (In fact it’s still raining, even as I write this in May.) I even got caught in the rain once or twice on the Titus, so I was constantly having to clean the grime and grit off both of my bikes.

To further help my training, I bought a Powertap power meter. I had always trained with a heart rate monitor (HRM), and the Polar HRM I used had an option to allow power measurement, which I had been using on my Trek until it broke. Even though I got it fixed, I wasn’t going to try to put that on the Titus since it was not particularly accurate, was difficult to install, and looked clunky, marring the aesthetics of my new bike, so I opted for the Powertap. It measures power on the rear hub, so it needs a custom wheel built around it. I would use it only for training and then switch to my Mavic Ksyrium SL wheels for the double, since they were lighter and would make it easier to do all the climbs.

The Powertap was very easy to install, but my Polar speed and cadence sensors interfered with it. It took a while to figure that out, and even necessitated a call to the Powertap support line. However, once I got it up and running, it was very beneficial for my training. While the HRM is very useful training tool, it doesn’t measure changes in effort as immediately as the power meter. Also, I noticed if I pushed my HR to above my threshold that the additional power I produced wasn’t as high as I had expected, so it was beneficial in identifying the best zone for training around my threshold. Moreover, I was able to see points on a climb that were easier where the power went down, so I could make sure that I didn’t slack off too much. All of this information was useful in improving my endurance and my power levels at threshold, both of which I would need if I wanted to finish these doubles, or at least finish them in as reasonable amount of time as possible, so that the ride organizers didn’t need to send out a search party for me.

The Date Approaches

As the date of the Devil Mountain approached, I ramped up my training, and I successfully finished the Tierra Bella double metric century (132 miles) in early April. I also continued to do the long distance training (LDT) rides with Western Wheelers. I kept an eye on the weather, given that there had been showers earlier in the week. By late in the week, the forecast was for mostly sunny, but there was the possibility of a weak front moving in later in the day, and cool temperatures. Since the DMD goes up two of the highest peaks in the Bay Area, it would likely be cold descending the mountains, but nothing I hadn’t seen already in training. In fact, I had ascended one the mountains, Mt. Hamilton, on New Year’s Day, where it was cold enough to be snowing at the top. No danger of snow for this ride, but it would be cool enough so that overheating wasn’t going to be a problem.

The night before the ride, I prepped in my usual way, preparing Powerbar energy drink and Perpetuem food drink in baggies to mix with water at the rest stops, except that I needed more than for my usual long distance rides. Tina made me a delicious pasta dinner to help me load up on carbs. (No low carb diets for us cyclists; the more carbs the better.) She also made up some potatoes and recovery drink for after the ride, and then drove me to the ride start at the Marriott hotel in San Ramon. Her support was great, and made a big difference in my believing that I could do this ride.

The Ride

We arrived at the Marriott while it was still dark. Check it was quick and efficient, a quality that the Quackcyclists, who were running this event, excelled at throughout the day. After assembling my bike and checking that everything was working, I was set to go. I had a 29 cog on the back, and a granny triple on the front. My middle ring was a 39, so that would be good enough for everything except for the really steep stuff during the second half of the ride, in which case the granny would suffice. I rolled up to the start with the rest of 5:00 am starters. (The faster group would start at 6:00 am and pass us later in the ride.) I met fellow Western Wheeler Rob Schmidt there, and he’s an experienced doubles rider, doing DMD the year before, and did quite well, finishing in about fifteen and a half hours. If I did that well, then I figured I could finish before it got too dark. With the organizers giving out last minute instructions, we were set to go, and we promptly departed at 5:00 am. With the number of starters, we were a big peloton rolling down the rode, which was a new experience for me. I made sure to be careful not to clip a wheel and end my ride real quick. It was still dark and would be until we were on the slopes of Mt. Diablo, and my light seemed to be working fine, although it was not a high powered unit. However, my satisfaction was short-lived, and as I hit a few bumps the light came flying off. I circled back and managed to find it, but it was broken and I chucked it off the road so no other cyclists following me would hit it. I quickly got on the back of a line of passing riders and pondered my options without any lighting system at all. I quickly decided once it started getting dark near the end of the ride that I would join any rider who had strong lights and I figured that would probably get me back to the Marriott safely. As for the morning it was getting lighter as the sun was rising so I wasn’t too worried except for a brief bumpy downhill before reaching the gates to Mt. Diablo State Park. My bike and I rattled through that section without any problems, and soon I was past the gates and climbing.

Climbing Mt. Diablo Mt. Diablo goes up to 3850 feet, gaining about 3300 feet in 11 miles. The grades are not particularly tough, so I made sure I stayed within myself and not expend too much energy at the start of the day. I had my Polar HRM on to help me pace myself, and I stayed in the 140-150 range for the entire climb, which was just tempo pace for me. Soon I hooked up with a couple of riders, and then we managed to catch a larger group further up the mountain. The climb was uneventful, but pretty as we ascended through some fog and then above it to watch the sun rising above it as well. The views on Diablo are excellent and this morning was no exception as the fog draped the valleys below. After some pleasant conversation, we soon reached the top, just as the lead riders were coming down. The pace had been such that even the short 18% grades for the last 200 yards or so at the top weren’t too tough. The temperatures on the summit were mid-to-low forties, so I donned my gloves for the descent. I also mixed up some Perpetuem energy food drink and got back to riding. The downhill was definitely bone chilling, and my fingers and toes started to get a little numb. Also, I started shivering, which doesn’t make for a fast downhill, as I needed to slow down more than normal so I didn’t lose control in a corner. I passed several riders on the way down, and it seemed like I was in front half of the 5:00 am group based on the number that I passed. Given the cold and having other riders on the road, I made sure to concentrate on my descent, however chilly it might be. Soon enough I reached the bottom where the temperatures were warmer and I quickly recovered the feeling in my fingers.

After skirting around the northeast side of Mt. Diablo on suburban roads, I joined up with Rob again, and then we caught some of the same riders I had ridden up Diablo with, as they had left the summit before me, while I was putting my gloves on. Soon we were in Clayton, where the locals were setting up a street fair on the main street, and we had to weave our way through tents and people setting up their booths for the day. The game of Dodge-the-Local ended quickly and then it was onto the back roads again, and up Morgan Territory Road. It wasn’t a particularly hard climb, ascending about 1300 feet over nine miles. The road was amiable, passing ranches, and then into a narrow tree-shrouded canyon along a pleasant creek. A section of the road had recently washed out partly from the recent rains, and was closed to through traffic, although the ride organizers had secured passage for us and made sure we all checked in at the bottom and then at the top, I suppose to ensure that no one fell into the creek. The washed-out section was not in really bad shape, with plenty of room for bicycles, and even for cars. (Or pickup trucks, which is what I’m sure all the locals drive.) Even so, closing the road will probably keep the local traffic, as light as it is, from damaging the road any more and causing it to disappear entirely into the creek.

Rest Stop #2 Soon we reached Rest Stop #2. It was only about 8:40 am and I had just finished about 52 miles and was still feeling good. I filled up my bottles with more energy drink and Perpetuem, and enjoyed some of the food. I tend to graze on a long ride, trying not to put too much food in my stomach, and use the Perpetuem in my water bottle while on the road to keep topped up. The rest of the group I was with on Morgan Territory Road departed as I applied some sunscreen to my face. I knew that the next part of the ride would offer little shade, and the day was long, so I didn’t want to end up looking like a cooked lobster. Soon I was ready to go and was looking forward to the next section, where the road plunges steeply down with few sharp bends that allowed me to get up to 45-50mph. I don’t know for sure, because my bike computer locked up after the plunge. I was cursing silently at my lousy luck with equipment so far on the ride, and was hoping it wasn’t a sign of worse things to come. Fortunately, the Titus was performing flawlessly and before long I reached the flats outside of Livermore and started turning my gears in the big-ring to make up some time.

Soon I was in Livermore, and after a brief annoying section of suburbia, I turned on Altamont Pass Road and began to catch up to two riders. It was Rob again, with another rider, and we traded off pulls while ascending the gentle grade. The wooded slopes had given away to grasslands, and we started to pass the wind generators perched on the hillsides. Where there are windmills, there tends to be wind and the Altamont pass is famous for being windy, not a good thing to be facing while on a bike. However, today was relatively calm, and with three of us to trade pulls we were making good time. Soon we had almost reached the Central Valley, before turning back south, and then west towards the hills and Patterson Pass.

I have ridden most of the roads on this ride, but I’ve never been on Patterson Pass Road before. It cuts through grassy hills, and then eventually reaches a hillside known as “Oh-My-God.” Pictures don’t do it justice, but from the point of view of a bicycle seat, the road is like a finger up the side of the hill. (This picture from the website of a DMD finisher might give you an idea of what it looks like.) I managed to drop both my companions before the top even though I was not pushing myself hard. I passed a checkpoint at the top and then plunged down again and skirted the south side of Livermore. I took advantage of this relatively flat section to apply more sunscreen while on the bike as the sun was starting to climb high into the sky. Soon enough I reached Mines Road and turned south and the next rest stop.

Rest Stop #3 Rest Stop #3 was at about the 91 mile mark, and it was barely 11:00 am. I scarfed a PB&J sandwich, and filled up my bottles. I then pulled the battery from my cycle-computer, put it back in, and then reset it, and it started to work again. I wasn’t going to be able to track the entire ride on it after that, but at least I could get my speed and some mileage information for the remainder. After a quick bathroom break and applying some sunscreen to my legs, I was ready to go. At this point, the 6:00 am starters blew into the rest stop, taking 91 miles to make up the hour difference. I left them behind and continued on my way, but they would soon pass me on Mines Road.

Mines Road is another lovely back road that climbs gently through hillsides covered in shrubby brush, eventually rising above the valley to give some superb views. I eventually caught up to another 5:00 am starter who had experienced some cramps earlier in the ride, and was slow to leave the rest stop with the rest of the front-runners, due to needing to replenish his fluids. We chatted for a while, and I found out that he was nearly 60 years old, with his 60th birthday less than one week away. I commented that he was doing quite well for almost 60, despite his earlier cramping. He was relieved to have me pull for a while, although he had me confused with a 6:00 am starter. He might have been a little disappointed to discover I started the same time as him, as he was feeling quite good about being able to keep up to me at that point. It was a pleasant journey nonetheless, and we made good time towards the next rest stop. Along the way, other riders started to pass us going in the opposite direction, who were part of the Mt. Hamilton Challenge.

I rode the Mt. Hamilton Challenge the previous year, and it is a 125-mile ride over Mt. Hamilton, and then along Mines Road to the north towards Livermore, and then along the Calaveras Reservoir back towards Santa Clara, where the ride had started. I recalled watching DMD riders passing me by last year, not realizing that I would be one of those riders one year later. I saw plenty of my riding buddies from Western Wheelers at this point, and we managed to get a few quick greetings off before flying past each other.

The Junction Lunch Stop The miles wore on, as it was 25 miles of gradual uphill until dropping down to the Junction Café and Rest Stop #4. It was about 12:45 pm and I had covered 115 miles in less than 8 hours. It had been a long hard haul from the Mines Road rest stop, and I was definitely feeling the miles in my legs. Not any cramping though, as the Powerbar energy drink was taking care of my electrolyte needs quite nicely, just general fatigue. I grabbed a turkey sandwich and topped off my bottles and enjoyed a few minutes more rest, spending more time here than at the other rest stops. It was lunch after all, and the Junction Café was basically in the middle of nowhere, at least 25 miles from the nearest civilization, and was frequented mostly by motorcyclists who are like to ride the empty roads away any traffic that gets in the way of their need for speed. I think they enjoyed sharing the café with us though, as I’m sure they don’t see such a large group of bicyclists that far away from everything.

I finish my lunch and left soon after seeing Rob pull in. I said hi, and was on my way again. The road split here and I turned onto San Antonio Valley Road, knowing that my next major challenge of the day was less than 20 miles ahead, which was the backside of Mt. Hamilton. This was a brute of a climb, ascending about 2000 feet in less than 5 miles, to reach an altitude of about 4200 feet, the highest point in the Bay Area. I had plenty of time to ponder this climb after lunch, but the valley was covered in wildflowers, seeming to quilt the landscape with vibrant yellows, oranges, blues and purples. There were a number of people on the side of the road with cameras taking pictures of this marvelous display, and I could detect a faint scent of flowery aroma in the air. It helped make the next few miles pass by more pleasantly.

Ascending Hamilton I was starting to get pretty sore by now. My butt was sore, my feet were sore, and my hands were sore. I kept the legs moving and ticked away the miles and soon I turned west and headed over two small hills before crossing the bridge that marks the backside of Hamilton. I dropped into my granny gear for the first time, and started to spin my way slowly up the hillside.

I felt okay as the road kicked up a notch or two, and I quickly passed the number 5 written large on the road, meaning there was 5 miles to go until the top. I thought to myself that the countdown of the numbers was going to be a really long one and tried not to keep wondering when I’d see the next number. Soon I passed two riders, including the near 60-year-old rider I had rode with on Mines Road. The other rider was in a Furnace Creek 508 jersey, and I had last seen him on Morgan Territory, many hours back. He was climbing with Powercranks, and not going too fast. Powercranks are special cranks for the bike where the crank arms are independent from each other, so the leg muscles have to pull up on the up-stroke in order to get the crank over the top. This is a great workout from what I understand about them, helping to develop a more efficient pedal stroke, but they’re really hard to learn to use, and you suffer badly when you first start using them. He was training for the RAAM (Race Across America), which is considerably longer than the measly 200 or so miles that we were doing this day. I wished him good luck and soon left him behind and never saw him again. Another rider passed me soon after starting the climb, but I managed to stick with him for the rest of the way up. Later on I saw a rider in a Webcor kit lying on the side of the road, apparently sleeping. I figured he must have bonked pretty badly to need a nap at this point of the ride. The more I thought about it, though, the more I agreed that a nap wasn’t such a bad idea.

Sometime during the climb, I started doing some mental calculations about my progress. It wasn’t even 2:30 yet, and I figured that if I could make it to the top of Hamilton by then, I stood a good chance of reaching the bottom of Sierra Road by 4:00. That would give me about 4 hours to reach San Ramon before it got dark. Of course, on the climb it didn’t seem like I was making great progress, but slowly I was catching up with some other riders in front, and then I was at the summit of Hamilton. Normally I like to spend time at the observatory up there, but not today. It was cold, and high clouds had been moving into the area all during the climb. The wind also was picking up a little, so I tucked down and started the long descent without wasting any time to look around at the top.

Down Mt. Hamilton The next rest stop was 10 miles away, albeit 10 miles of mostly downhill. One guy in black was just in front of me, and he was descending a little faster than me. I passed one other rider, and then rounded the corner to see the rider in black getting back on his bike at the side of the road. I asked if he was okay, and he said he was and that he had misjudged the corner a little and gone off the side there. Fortunately, he only had a few scrapes on his leg and he was quickly behind me but not trying to go faster than before his crash. The descent was plenty cold, but not as cold as the morning’s downhill on Mt. Diablo. I was looking forward to warming up at the rest stop. Soon enough we reached Joseph Grant park, and turned into the rest stop area.

It was now about 3:10 and we had gone 144 miles. However, I was cold and shivering, but they had little cups of noodle soup, which was exactly what I needed: lots of salt to replenish what I had sweated away and lots of carbs from the noodles. I also enjoyed a couple of small cans of V-8, downed some Advil with some Endurolytes, which are electrolyte replacement tablets. I stayed about 15 minutes at this rest stop, longer than any of the others, but I definitely needed the time to recover before finishing the descent. Soon I was ready to leave and I looked down at my bike computer and saw that it was completely dead. The battery must have given out on the descent, so I wasn’t going to get any more information for the rest of the ride. I shrugged to myself at this and got on my bike. Just then, the Webcor rider who had been asleep at the side of the road was coming in. He said that he had lost his lunch on the ascent, and indeed he looked a little worse for wear. I wished him well and went on my way. The rest of the descent was great, as I had warmed up considerably and was able to take on the twisty road at full speed.

When I reached the bottom, I phoned Tina on my cell to update her on my progress. She had returned home after dropping me off at the start and grabbed some more shut-eye, and then had gone out and done a ride herself and was just finishing. I told her that I might be done by 8:00 pm and she said that she would be at the Marriott by then, with some tasty snacks for the drive back home. After chatting on the phone, I downed my Extran energy drink, a nice dense bundle of quick-acting sugary carbs, which I was saving for the moment where I thought I would need it the most. Tackling Sierra Road after 155 miles was one such moment.

Soon I made the right hand turn onto Sierra and the road kicked up immediately. It was 4:05 pm, and I had made good time, almost where I hoped I be when I did my figuring on the backside of Hamilton. Of course, I had to still had to get up this brute of a road, which climbs about 1800 feet in just over 3 miles. I put it in the granny and kept a steady pace for a climb I knew was going to take a while. Soon I was catching up to two riders and passed both although very slowly. The clouds in the sky muted the views, which are usually very nice, featuring rolling grassy hills overlooking the urban landscape sprawling across the Santa Clara valley to the Santa Cruz Mountains in the distance.

I didn’t find this climb as hard as the backside of Mt. Hamilton, even with more miles in my legs. I think the reason for that was that the approach to the back of Mt. Hamilton was more of a grind over rolling terrain, whereas I had reached Sierra Road after having rested descending Mt. Hamilton and riding easily on the flats. Still, I was thankful to see the top and knowing that the hard climbs of the day were behind me.

Pet the Goat I rolled into checkpoint at the top of Sierra, and quickly filled my bottles and quickly grabbed some tasty strawberries. This checkpoint is also known as the “Pet the Goat” stop, because someone (one of the volunteers working at the rest stop, presumably) had brought a goat and there was a sign encouraging the riders to pet him. This reminded me of the “Sprockets” skit on Saturday Night Live, where Dieter would encourage his guests to “touch his monkey.” The sight of a goat hanging out at a double century rest stop was a tad surreal, but he was just hanging around, enjoying his straw, oblivious to the suffering of those of us who took the time to come over and see him. He was quite friendly as I approached and I, of course, had to pet him.

Ken Holloway, who I’ve seen occasionally on Western Wheelers rides, was working at this rest stop, and I chatted briefly with him. He’s done 50 double centuries, and I thought about the contrast between that and me not even finished my first. Hearing that there was about three hours more riding left to San Ramon was good news, as that meant, barring any mechanical breakdowns, or rider meltdowns, that I would reach San Ramon with some daylight left. After losing my headlight, I was worried about doing the descent down Palomares in the dark, but now that worry was fading away. However, I didn’t dawdle and soon I was back on the road, and enjoying the nice descent down to Calaveras.

Calaveras starts out with a short “wall” of a climb, then levels out to a gently rolling road that skirts the west side of the Calaveras Reservoir, winding its way through wooded gullies and exposed hillsides. There was nothing really difficult about this road, but soon I passed another rider whom I had last ridden with on Morgan Territory that morning. He didn’t have much left in his legs, even finding the gentle ups and downs of this road difficult going, which wasn’t much of a surprise considering that we were about 170 miles into the ride. I kept my pace up, and soon I was descending down towards Sunol, and the last rest stop of the day at mile 180. It was only 6:00 pm, although the light was gloomier because of the cloudy skies.

Push to the Finish I grabbed some more water and food in the form of seasoned potatoes. The man in black who had gone off the side of Mt. Hamilton was there along with another rider. He had left the Joseph Grant rest stop earlier than me, which was normal for my day, as I seemed to spend slightly more time at rest stops than most of the other people I spent time riding with that day. After the ride, I checked the log on my HRM and it turns out I spent just less than an hour total off the bike at the rest stops, which is not a lot of time off the bike. Basically, I would let riders get ahead of me that way, and then I would make up time on the climbs, especially the tougher climbs like Mt. Hamilton and Sierra Road. However, this time the three of us rolled out together down Niles Road, and we efficiently traded pulls, getting us down the road quickly. This was good since there was lots of traffic on this road, and we wanted to spend as little time as possible on it. Soon we turned right onto Palomeras, and started the uphill through a deep canyon alongside water cascading down over a rocky creek bed. The hills rose high above us, and one of the other riders wondered if we had to make for the summit of one of them, a very daunting task at this point of the ride. I’ve been on this road before, and I assured him that it was a pretty reasonable 5-mile ride to the summit, gaining only 1000 feet over that distance. I always enjoy this kind of backcountry road that are common in the Bay Area, trafficked by few cars, with varied landscapes and views, hidden only a few miles away from the suburban sprawl on the other side of the hills. The deep canyon opened slightly to a wooded valley and we passed some very small wineries that appeared to have very few vines, making us wonder just how many bottles of wine one could expect to get from the resulting grape crop each year. Maybe a bottle or two?

This quandary was forgotten as we reached the top, and began our 7-mile descent to Castro Valley. Once again we traded pulls, and soon we returned to the suburban streets and turned right onto Crow Canyon Road. From here, it was about 700 feet of climbing left in the ride, most of it on a gentle grade until we reached Norris Canyon, and the final push uphill push towards the finish. As we turned onto Norris, we caught sight of another rider ahead of us. We pushed a little to try to catch him on the up and down rollers before the final sustained climb, and soon we were a group of four. However, the effort had taken the last of my reserves, and I started to tail off the back. Soon there was 10 yards, then 20, then 30, as I tried hard not to lose any more time on them. I didn’t have anything left, so I decided not to push too hard and keep my own pace, since the ride finish was less than 5 miles away. After a little while at my own pace I began to feel better and started making my way back to the group ahead. However, the summit came too soon, and they darted down the hill before I could reach them. As I reached the streets of San Ramon, I could see them not too far ahead, but a traffic light denied me the opportunity to rejoin them before the end. It was no matter as I quickly reached the Marriott and the end of the ride. I had finished at about 7:32 pm on my watch, and it was at least half an hour before sunset. I was very happy about this and even though no one was around to see it, I raised my arms in the air briefly as I road into the parking lot. Tina soon arrived and I had some recovery drink and some salty chips, and a glass of bubbly cider in lieu of champagne. Soon we were heading home, both of us happy at the achievements of the day.


Looking back, I was surprised at how good I felt at the end, although I was not interested in going out and doing another ride for a day or two. I’m not downplaying the difficulty of this ride, as this double is extremely tough, and I was lucky not to suffer any mechanical difficulties such as a flat tire that would have likely delayed me enough that I might not have made it back before dark. However, I felt that my training prepared me well, especially when I felt strong at the end of the Tierra Bella, giving me confidence about being able to finish the DMD. Also, the Titus performed flawlessly, allowing me to chew up the miles in relative comfort. Finally, the support on this ride was flawless. Fortunately, I didn’t need any mechanical help, but the rest stop crews were enthusiastic and very helpful. I didn’t need to pack my Perpetuem as they had plenty at the stops, so I’ll probably not take any with me if I know it will available along the way. I would even consider volunteering for a future DMD, just because I appreciated the support so much that I would like to return the favor. However, even though I finished strongly and enjoyed the ride, I’m not entertaining any thoughts of doing it again, at least not until after my goal of completing the Triple Crown is completed. However I gained some confidence from this ride, and now my next goal is the Davis Double in three weeks.


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