Sunday, May 18, 2008

Davis Double: Done!

Davis Double. Yikes. I'd been hearing about this 200 mile ride since I was cycling in the 70s. I never thought I'd try to do it. It just seemed nuts. But peer pressure, the "bucket list" and a big ego can overcome almost any fear.
Executive summary
miles: 200.6
Climbing: 8080 ft (others report even more)
Average moving speed: 14.9
Hours on bike: 13:25
Total time out: 15 hours and change
Temperature: Over 100 (one report had 106)

What worked
  • Hammer products. I pretty much lived on a Perpetium and HEED mix. I drank it constantly, along with endless bottles of water
  • Ice socks. The Davis Club has tube socks filled with ice at the rest stops. I ended up riding with one a lot of the way. Even though they melted quickly in the 100 degree weather, they were great while they lasted.
  • The bike. My Kestrel RT700 ran smoothly. I had no flats, and I was comfortable at the end of 200 miles. Gotta love the carbon fiber. Gotta love a compact crank. I spent too much time in 34-27, but was glad I had it.
  • Sun screen. I'd be a toasted lobster without the gallons I sloshed on.
What didn't work
  • I borrowed Tricia's Trek blinkie light. It fell off the bag and broke apart. I've fixed it, but I had to run without a rear light in the dark for a while. I rode with others who had one, so no harm done
  • I pulled out my minty boost battery powered charger for my my Garmin GPS at mile 98 when the Garmin batteries seemed low. It worked perfectly, keeping it going all day. Sadly, it didn't play well with my wireless computer. It killed it. All my stats are from the Garmin, the Sigma wireless bike computer got confused by the interference the battery charger created.

I roomed with my buddy Pete from We got up at 3am to beat the heat, and because I wanted to finish before dark. We let the parking lot about 4:10.
The morning was grand. I like riding in the dark, and riding in the dark on really dark country roads is a blast. When we hooked up with other riders the bike lights made very interesting shadows. We rode along what must be rice fields as the sun came up. The yellow and red of the morning sun mixed with the sky blue reflections in the water were wonderful.

Our first climb wasn't bad, except for butterfly attack.
Youtube video

Actually, everything went really well. At mile 98 or so I was feeling good. Then it got hot and we came to Cobb Mountain. A mountain where you are thrilled when the grade backs off to 8%. The temperature was starting to soar. It was not good. I kept wondering if it would ever end. I hate stopping, but at one point, no matter how easily I tried to go, I couldn't get my heart rate down under 94%. I hid in the shade until it got to 75, which took way to long, and carried on.
(click chart for readable image) I did eventually arrive at the rest stop. The boom box was playing "Tracks of My Tears" which seemed perfect. As a volunteer was tossing an ice sock on my neck "Respect" came on. It seemed like they'd planned the soundtrack just for me.

Pete had waited, so we took off together. He quickly lost me on a downhill. The downhill was amazing. It was like blasting through an oven. Even at 40 mph it didn't feel cool. I'm not a great decender, and having such a long, steep decent wasn't exactly relaxing. I'd have hit 60 if I'd let the bike have its way. Instead, I tried to stay just under 40.

From there to lunch is just a blur. After lunch we climbed up what they call "Resurrection Hill." It was a long hot grind that seemed like it would never end. I saw a lot of folks on the road side looking baked. I was afraid to stop and carried on. About the worst part of the ride was along here where road construction had removed the shoulder. We had to ride on a high speed narrow road with a cement barrier at our right and no shoulder. I was scared to pieces. If I hadn't have been so over cooked I wouldn't have done it, but my brain was going mushy.
The Davis Club, realizing how hot it was had stationed a guy with water part way up. Even though I had some left, it was getting very hot. He was a life saver.

The decent was again, too fast for me. The road was great and I stayed around 40 for ages. From about mile 145 to 160 was slightly downhill, but with a headwind and really really hot. Painfully hot. Pete and I both ran out of water and stopped at a motor home camp site for more.

Somewhere later we had to ride on a very busy road that went past Cashe Creek Casino. It was no fun. There were lots of cars and a very narrow shoulder. I noticed the drivers with horse trailers seemed to be very careful of us, giving us as much room as they could. Pick ups were more likely to flip us off.

There's a rest stop at a fire house with about 10 or 12 miles to go where they serve chili. Seems weird, but I guess it's a tradition. And darn, it's really good too.

Near the end I was feeling so good I teased Pete into playing Team Time Trial heroes. We had a small tail wind and just blasted off a few miles, then caught a too fast pace line doing 25. I did myself in. I was just so excited.

We rolled in to the finish just as the sun slipped below the mountain.

Driving home was a real pain. My eyes hurt, my body was worn out and the other cars seemed insane. I was so happy to get home.


  1. Congratulations - you survived one of the HOTTEST Davis double on record. And thanks for posting your musing. Oh, ref your YouTube posting, butterflies don't sting by the way. They caress you with their wings.


  2. Yes, I do know that butterflies don't sting. It just seemed like a funny thing to say as we climbed cardiac hill. Maybe it was just being tired. Or maybe I'm just a cornball.

  3. Joyce6:38 PM


  4. Anonymous6:43 PM

    Impressive. Not sure that's something I'm going to aim for.

  5. WARNING: The video I posted made me exceed my bandwidth, so all my photos are gone until June.

    What? Did Blogger send you a nastygram? Where is the rule on this? Help me not make the same mistake. What does that mean "all my photos are gone"? deleted? hidden? banned from posting more?

  6. Thanks for sharing! I was under the impression you were not allowed to start early and was perplexed when the starting area was empty at 545am. Leaving at 430am makes a lot of sense...


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