After a week of pretty intense new-hire training (most days ran from 8am to 10pm!) I was ready for a nice long relaxing ride. The Davis Double Century was Saturday, May 17th. I've never been to Davis before, but it's a pretty nice town. Relatively flat terrain close to town, but it doesn't take too long to get to some pretty tough hills. I drove from Sunnyvale to Davis Friday afternoon and had plenty of time to get my bike unpacked and put back together.
At the Solvang double I met Glenn from Davis. He said he wasn't use to hills, but there was a lot of wind around Davis. Given that, I decided to bring my Trek 5.9SL, prepared to use my aerobars for much of the ride. So, no Powertap data this ride and unfortunately after putting my bike together I discovered my Polar CS600 speed sensor was dead. Crap. I called all the bike stores in Davis and Sacremento. No one had the CS600 speed sensor in stock. The sensors for the CS600 do not have battery replacable housings, so I was screwed. Dang, all I had for the ride was heart rate and cadence. Better than nothing I suppose, but the CS600 disappoints again. :-(
The ride passed through the town of Middleton and, with the heat, I stopped at a Chevron station to get some ice for my bottles. The lady at the counter asked where we started. When I said Davis, her jaw just about hit the counter. The next rest stop was right across the street from the Chevron Station, so I stopped there for a couple pickles, bananas and another half pb&j. They also had a hose out and were spaying people over the head and neck. That felt GREAT! My Polar was now showing 103...
At 90 miles into the ride we hit the climb up Cobb mountain. I thought "End of the World" 70 or so miles into the Mine Country Challenge was hard, but this was absolutely brutal! 8-11% grade for almost 10 miles. Ouch! My polar was now consistenly showing temperatures between 105 and 110. That's the temperature just above the road, not the ambient air temperature (when I told someone at a rest stop my Polar showed 115 degree, he didn't believe me, but it's usually not that far off). I probably went maybe 2 miles or so before I stopped in a shaded spot to rest and try to cool down. Several people joined me under that tree! We'd ride a bit, then rest in the shade. A couple times I decided to walk up the REALLY steep sections. At one point a SAG vehicle was pulled off the road and I was able to refill my bottles. A bit farther a lady was kind enough to leave a hose out at her house that we used to cool off. I stopped and rested more on that climb than ANY ride I've ever done. It was a hot, slow grind.
There was a rest stop at the top and I spent quite a bit of time in the shade. I also ran into Tony "The Yeti" Martinez. Haven't seen him since we did the "Son of Death Ride" route. He was looking pretty strong and didn't stay long. When I finally got moving again, there was a short climb before a pretty nice descent. But I was feeling pretty drained. The lunch rest stop at 117 miles was at the bottom of that long descent. It was really hot and I was cooked! I was starting to get those dreaded twinges that signal impending cramping. One of the guys I was sitting next to eating lunch gave me an advil and a couple hammer energy tablets. When I finished eating I went over to the first aid station and got some endurolytes to take immediately and some to take with me. I foolishly forgot to bring any electrolyte supplements. I also decided to try some V8 juice since I've heard people say it works for them to stop cramping. And it did!
A lot of people didn't make it to the lunch stop. It was a brutal afternoon in the sun. But there were only two significant climbs remaining before I hit the long gradual 60 mile descent back to the finish. That didn't seem so bad. I continued to take breaks in the shade during the climbs with several other riders. If I started to cramp during a climb, I'd hop off my bike and walk it off, then get back on a ride a bit more. It was pretty slow going and taking way longer than I expected. I pulled into the 8th rest stop 163 miles into the ride at about 7 pm. By far, ~14 hours is the longest it has ever taken me to ride 163 miles. With 38 miles to the finish, I wasn't going to make the 8pm finish time I told Annette to expect, so I called her and told her it would be closer to 9pm. She said I sounded good and I was feeling ok. I snacked some more and search around for some V8 juice and finally asked someone. They were out. Dang.
I headed out again and within 5 miles or so I started to get those cramp twinges, then one full cramp in my right thigh. A couple miles later I passed through a small community and noticed a gas station up a little hill, so I pulled in there for some V8 juice since it seemed to be working so well. They didn't have the little cans they used at the rest stops, by they had a 12 ounce bottle. With the heat an ice cream bar sounded good, so I got one of those too. The V8 seemed to have a different consistency, but I drank it all, ate my ice cream bar and got back on the road. Cramping was gone.
Turns out that V8 juice combined with ice cream is a very volatile combination. I turned onto Road 85B and went maybe a mile, about 178 miles into the ride, when my stomach cramped and I had to pull off the road to violently purge the V8 and ice cream from my stomach. A couple riders stopped and asked what I wanted to do. My stomach was empty, and I was feeling a bit dizzy, so I decided that was it, I was done. One of them called to request a SAG vehicle pick me up. At about 9:15 I called Annette to let her know I was waiting for a ride to the finish. Bummer. With the empty stomach, I had nothing in me to stop the onset of cramping and sure enough my thighs started to lock up. A police officer stopped to check on me and I told him I was waiting for a ride. The SAG vehicle didn't get there until around 10:30. It was a really long wait. The driver gave me some tums to relieve the cramping and that worked surprisingly quickly. His van was loaded with 9 bikes and 4 riders (including myself). He gave me a triple lined garbage bag just in case my stomach turned again. Sure enough, once we got going, I couldn't hold the tums and water down.
When we got to the finish, I laid on the grass to let my stomach calm down. I thought about eating something, but my stomach just wasn't ready, so I made my way back to the hotel and finally dropped into bed a bit before midnight. My flight back to Phoenix was at 12:30 Sunday afternoon out of San Jose. It's only about 100 miles, but with traffic the drive to Davis took about 3.5 hours, so I decided I needed to leave early. At 4 am I woke up and realized I still needed to break down my bike and pack it for the flight. At least I wasn't nauseated any more. I took a quick shower, then I'd work a bit on the bike, then lay down for a bit. I think I finished around 5:30, then took a 1/2 hour nap. At 6:30 I went across the street for some breakfast. I was still worried about my stomach, so I just had some eggs, potatoes and dry toast. I felt a LOT better after eating. There wasn't any traffic on the drive, so I got to San Jose a couple hours earlier than expected and just relaxed before my flight. Talk about a long weekend!
I've been better about training, but I'm still not training at a level that will support ultra-distance rides, so I'm going to cut my ride schedule back this year and limit myself to century or shorter rides. Jeff also analyzed some of my Powertap data and I've developed some bad habits that I need to break. So I'm going to focus on some fundamentals and take the rest of the year a bit easier. I enjoy taking really long rides, but like them a lot better when I'm actually ready for them! ;-)
Copyright © 2008 by Mike Enfield. All rights
Revised: 11/16/08 17:59:22 -0700.