Saturday, February 12, 2011

Life is tough, and then you die

I ride my bike. Kind of. After completing five double centuries last year I was starting to think of myself as a cyclist. Apparently that's not the case.

The Devil Mountain Double Century has a couple of time cut offs. It's roughly 20,000 feet of climbing and 200 miles. There's a time cutoff at around mile 90. You need to be there 8 hours after the start or you can't go on. With my pals Dan and Steve, I decided to ride that first 90 miles to see if I could hit the cut off time. Kind of a test run for the "DMD." Starting in San Ramon, we rode to the Mt.  Diablo  Summit, through Clayton and over Morgan Territory Road. The route continues out to Livermore and over Patterson Pass.

I failed miserably. I did  6700+ feet of climbing and 63 miles in at such a slow pace — 11.3 mph average,  5:53:31 total time — that I bailed in Livermore and didn't even attempt Patterson Pass. I'd never have made it to the cutoff point in just two more hours.

It's got me rethinking this whole cycling thing. This isn't even a race, it's just a bike ride, and I can't even go fast enough to have a chance to finish. And it isn't even that fast.

Maybe I've deluded myself into thinking I could ride, or maybe I just have a faulty memory and think I used to be able to, like that old line "The older I get the faster I was."

In any event, today was a wake up call. Or maybe a go-to-sleep call. It's time to take stock and admit this whole cycling thing just isn't working out well. I've got a summer cycling tour planned, and I hope to be able to struggle through that, but after that, it's time to hang up the cleats, read more books, drink more beer and just take it easy.

Here's all my fail data, in all it's ugliness.


  1. It's only February.
    I'm laid up with a bum knee wishing I could ride slow.
    Take it easy on yourself :)
    Ride on.

  2. Anonymous11:38 PM

    Curtis your being way too hard on your self.

    First off, that s#%* is hard. Diablo for breakfast is no joke and I think people underestimate Morgan Terr.

    I was in Starbucks when you got to your car.

    We could of split a turkey sandwich and worked together on Altamont & Patterson and made the cut-off, cause with 3 rest breaks going up Patterson Pass I ended up about 12-15 minutes short.

  3. Anonymous6:35 AM

    DMD is just feakin' hard. Worry a little bit less about the time cutoffs. We've worked the ride every year since 2003 and if you're still moving and looking good they will let you keep going.

    You've still got 2 and a half months to train. I think you need to start doing some speed intervals - Spinervals is great for this and you can borrow some from us (and a Kinetic trainer)if you want.

    OTOH maybe you're getting burnt out. Doing nothing but the hard rides and focusing on cut offs can take the joy out of cycling. Believe me, I know! That's probably why I will never do another double. :-) There's nothing wrong with taking a little time off or just riding easy and for fun with your honey.


  4. At first I thought I had overslept and this posting was an April Fool's Day prank, but in the event that it is not I can only offer my encouragement and support. The peculiarities of speed and its' inverse relationship to age are well documented. But we all know it is about the bike! Whilst climbing Mt. Diablo on a particulary nice day recently, I was reminded of words from Walt Whitman poem who said, among other things:

    I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable,
    I sound my barbaric YAWP over the roofs of the world.

    I can only add that after yawping for a bit, I went home and had a beer.


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