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First double century yesterday.... I'm still alive !!(14 posts)

First double century yesterday.... I'm still alive !!PeterRider
Feb 16, 2003 3:53 PM
well, I did it yesterday, and surprisingly I'm still alive. Was the Butterfield double in SoCal, the route sheet advertised for 192 miles with 8000ft climb, but I measured 199 miles and 11000ft climb. Not sure my altimeter is right, but the distance is, I compared with other people.

So my conclusion is, a double is much more difficult than a regular century. I made a pretty good time on the first 100 miles, was feeling good, riding in a group, so I did it in 6h18. I was happy to see that somebody inexperienced like me could drop the other guys when going uphill (of course, they dropped me back on the flats). After lunch, things were not all that easy. At about mile 110, alone and climbing steep roads at about 5-6mph in a park, I was seriously depressed. Not wanting to quit, but more like "what am I doing here", and "never again" and "I hate this climb" and "I hated the previous climb and will hate the next one". Fortunately somebody told me on this forum a couple days ago that I would feel depressed, so I knew it was normal, but still I was not doing the proud guy, and not enjoying the ride at all. Then somebody caught up with me, we rode together, rest stop, some energy back, and was feeling better. At the last rest stop at mile 167 I had some instant noodles.... wow, they were the best noodles in my life, it was soooooo good !!! Then I was lucky and found a pack to finish. I finished in 15:08 hours.

I noticed that at night reading the map and finding directions is seriously annoying. During the day I was riding in a group in order to draft, but at night it was only for not having to read the map and get lost.

Now, my ass hurts a lot, the muscles don't hurt so much since I applied arnica oil, and my right knee and ankle hurt. Hope I'll be in shape for the 200km brevet next saturday...

Thanks to those who gave me some advice before the ride, it was highly useful.

Feb 16, 2003 6:06 PM
That is awesome!! I've done 2 centuries this past summer but never a double. I was hoping to maybe do a double metric century but I doubt I'll be doing that this year, as I'll be having ACL surgery next month.

and we have a foot of snow on ground.. oh boycyclopathic
Feb 16, 2003 6:31 PM
plus it's been so cold I quit road riding 6 weeks ago :-(

Congratulations and take good care of knee and ankle. Put some heating cream, massage, stretch you don't wanna get tendonitis.
Feb 17, 2003 7:16 AM
Just one question, by way of learning and maybe enjoying it more next time. You mentioned happily out climbing some folks in the first half. Did any of them pass you on the second half? If so, you may want to slow the climbing a bit on the first half. What feels good is not necessarily what's good for you in the long run.


not many people passing me in the second half...PeterRider
Feb 17, 2003 11:59 AM
... well, when I say outclimbing, the climb were not very long so it was more like "I climb 5 minutes faster than the others", then "they come back slightly later". In the second half, the groups seemed pretty much separated, only one group caught up, I rode with them during a while, but then they were too fast on the flats and too slow on the climbs, so I dropped and continued at my own pace until I felt better.

Good job!irregardless
Feb 17, 2003 9:02 AM

Looking back, is there something you would have done differently? Any lessons learned that you can share with others? For example, did you go out too fast, or was the first century easy because you were with a group?

lessons learned....PeterRider
Feb 17, 2003 12:12 PM
1. maybe I should have stayed 10 minutes longer at the lunch stop. I went off early to keep with the group I was in previously, but I was still tired and I bet this is one reason why I was so depressed and tired and slow at mile 110. I don't think I went out too fast, it's probably a good thing to go out slightly fast in order to have plenty of time for the second half.

2. food is really important, much more than on a century. It seemed to me that the combination cliff shot/you are what you eat fruit bars worked well.

3. except for the lunch, I stopped only shortly at the rest stops. That's something I don't like with doubles, people are in a hurry all the time, you don't really have time to stop and chat and rest unless you are a fast guy. I like staying 30 minutes at a rest stop and being lazy...

4. I'll have to study for a nice setup for lights. In particular something for reading the route sheet while riding, at night.

5. being in a group is nice, but when the group goes to fast better drop. In the second half, the group I was trying to follow was going about 20mph, this was too fast for me, I was comfortable with 15mph but not above that. Very strange, at the end I was feeling better, and found a group that was going at 18-20mph, this time it was ok.

6. having some warm clothes is important. I used my gore-tex parka only during 30 miles at the end, but I was really happy to have it.

I think I'll do it again, this was a nice ride. But also, I won't forget how bad I was feeling at some point, not enjoying the ride at all. Probably this doesn't happen all that much the second time...

lessons learned....Rich_Racer
Feb 17, 2003 12:25 PM
Thank you for that - I feel like that could be used as good advice. I haven't done a double century but i want to do one this year sometime. I live in SoCal now actually - what's the next one coming up?

Solvang Double Century on March 29...Lon Norder
Feb 18, 2003 12:41 PM
It's a beautiful course in rural Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. One of the "easiest" doubles. Not much climbing and you often get a nice tailwind later in the day.
I'll go... want to earn that Triple Crown jersey !!PeterRider
Feb 18, 2003 1:53 PM
Very nice summary, thanks. (nm)irregardless
Feb 17, 2003 12:50 PM
Some lessons are repeated over and overDougSloan
Feb 18, 2003 7:20 AM
Yes, you will get that depressed feeling like "Why am I doing this?" over and over. I get it at some point nearly every double. You just realize that it's not real, it's only low blood sugar.

Sometimes it's hard to find a group that goes at "your" pace. I'm the opposite of you. I get dropped on the climbs, then pull away from everyone around me on the flats. That's why I look for tandems. They slow on the hills, then we go 28 mph on the flats. Fun! In any event, you are better off riding along that too fast with a group, as you'll pay for it later.

Don't think of lunch as "rest" time. It's solely for refueling. Get you food, then get back on the road and ride slowly for a while while your food settles and to recover a bit. Going 10 mph is better than stopped, and you'll likely recover better spinning slowly than standing around some table talking to other riders.

I think your over all time might have been faster if you'd actually gone slower in the first half. You don't "bank" time by going out fast; rather, you wear yourself out and deplete glycogen. Plus, with a negative split you feel better on the second half, too.

Of course, do it any way it's fun for you. If you want to hang out at lunch for an hour, go for it. It's not a race.

agreed, and another perspectiveJS Haiku Shop
Feb 18, 2003 7:52 AM
last year i learned without realizing it that to let others set the pace for me was beyond futile--it's disruptive to my ride. this year i read sheehan's "running and being", and realized on a conscious level that setting the pace for myself regardless of surroundings was the way to go.

on the second double last year i was offered a tow several times by another double group, but turned 'em down. logic behind this was i'd expend more energy trying to match other's riding style *and* spend too much time (for my riding style) at SAGs. turned out this was right, and all in the last 80 of 200--i'd pull into the SAG and they'd be leaving, i'd spend maybe 40 seconds refilling bottles, and would catch them at the next one (if i stopped). we leapfrogged 'til the end. it was four or six of them and one of me, but i fared better out in the wind alone than working to regulate speed and share the pulls. besides all that, i don't think i was really in any condition to safely ride in a close-knit group.

something(s) to consider.
congrats!JS Haiku Shop
Feb 18, 2003 6:37 AM
lunch? ouch. i'd leave a "lunch stop" with stone legs.

following advice from do(u)g, i set my watch to beep every 15 minutes, and ate 1/4 clif bar when it went off. drank 1-2 bottles of diluted sports drink per hour, and used powergels for a little boost when needed.

btw, flat coca-cola can be compared to rocket fuel after 150 miles.