Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Knoxville Double Century 2012 followup

Knoxville Double Century 2012 elevation profile
Elevation profile. Click for larger image.

Maybe wasn't the best idea to attempt a ride report the day after a double when my brain was still mostly mush, but I did. Of course, I left out half the insightful thoughts and adventures I had. I'm going to try and correct that, despite knowing it's only a few days later and I'm still not 100 percent.

Carrying stuff and dealing with it is a pain. My bike is beautiful, but once I get the lights, Garmin battery extender, Banjo Brothers bento box and giant seat bag on it it's just ugly and heavy. Adding a "miners light" and blinking light to my helmet doesn't make me look any better either.

I am a fan of being as comfortable as possible on these uncomfortable rides. I don't want to be cold, or hot, so I try to take the appropriate clothes. On the early morning hours that means:

  • Headsweat head cover
  • Underamour short sleeve base layer
  • Lightweight arm warmers
  • Knee warmers
  • Super-lightweight jacket.

As the day warms I peel things off. But it takes so long and I have to stash them in my pockets or bag. I end up carrying quite a load.  Still, when the temperature swing is near 50 degrees, it's hard to be in the right clothing all day and not have to carry it about. I did make use of the Quacks drop bag to send my knee warmers and base layer from rest stop two to five, but I still had a pile of junk. Maybe I should HTFU, but I think I'd prefer a team car, or some solution to all my extras.

I normally don't like ice water too much. Having it closer to room temperature seems to shock my body less, but this time I was so hot all day long that I wanted ice, ice and more ice. I was hot enough I had trouble forcing myself to eat. Before the heat came on I was doing fine with Hammer Sustained Energy and HEED. Once the day heated up I couldn't choke it down. That's odd because in the past I've done entire doubles on their products. I ate a Bonk Buster for lunch and tried to chew a peanut butter bar. I finished, so I guess I ate enough, but it was hard.

At rest stop one. Check the stylish head lamp.
My finish time seem to reflect the weather as well. Fellow rider Jay (Read his blog entry on the ride) says it's really the weather that makes a ride hard or harder, and I think he has a point. My moving time this year was 16:19 opposed to  16:12 in 2010. That's only 7 minutes difference for the same distance. And the Garmin said there were 500 feet more of climbing on this years route.  But actual time on course was 19 hours. In 2010 it was only 18:22, meaning I spent 38 minutes more not riding this year.

I have a few styles of riding. One is the "I feel strong" flavor where I can stand up and knock off a big climb. The other is what I think of as "Survival riding" where coasting is my friend. It isn't pretty, but it keeps me moving. I did too much of the latter and not enough of the former during this ride. I thought I'd trained enough, but whether it was the heat, or just me having a less than optimal day, this ride was a bear and I spent a lot of it riding ugly.

RickOCR, a rider I know from Bikeforums, sent me a message after the ride telling me he's glad I made it, and that I didn't look real good at the lunch stop one hundred miles in. I think he was right. He also said his Garmin reported 104 degrees on the hardest climb of the day, which hadn't even happened when he saw me.

After climbing Cobb Mountain in the heat, coming down  should have been a delight, but it wasn't. Having had my friend Lance Oldstrong crash this summer, and having a 25 mph downhill front tire blowout made my descending a little (ok, really a lot) more cautious. If I'd have bombed the downhills I might have finished 20 or 30 minutes sooner. Or not all if I got killed. As it was I only got close to 40 mph once, and not for long.

After the last rest stop I was riding along in a base layer and knee warmers when suddenly I was so hot I couldn't believe it. I wondered what was happening to me. But twice riders nearby commented "What is this? Who turned on the heat?" I guess we went through some weird night time heat packet. It was really odd, not just warmer, but actually hot. Fortunately it didn't last long.

As I rolled into the finish I though the cones directing me to the pavilion were warning cones, so I rode past them. I saw a cut through to the area a moment later and took it. It turned out to be a horse shoe pit, filled with sand. I darn near fell over, but made a few ugly balancing turns and didn't. I was have felt pretty silly landing on a horse shoe spike twenty feet from the finish.

Injury and aftermath report:
I'm always amazed my buns are fine after a ride like this. I think my Selle Italia SLK saddle gets credit.
My right shoulder aches a bit.
My right Achilles tendon pretty sore.
All my leg muscles are telling me they've been abused. Going up or down stairs hurts bunch.
That said, I did manage to bike commute to work Monday and Tuesday, though the trip took a lot longer. I barely rolled, but I made it.
I'm still not mentally back 100% yet as of Tuesday afternoon. I'm really enjoying sleep.

I just realized I spent money for ride registration, two hotel nights, dinner for Tricia and myself, a new tire, magic food products, and helmet headlight, all just for this ride. I paid money to hurt. This cycling thing really is sick.

Knoxville Double Century 2012 route map
Route. Click for larger image.


  1. Excellent detailed report. I think you should break down and just write a cycling book of all your experiences. Wish I had the fortitude for the doubles still. I think I'm enjoying very intense pain for shorter duration's these day's. Still want to do a double on a a single before I croak. I need to try your eating plan sometime for a long ride.
    Great ride, accomplishment and so on Professor!

  2. Midland3:40 PM

    Enjoyed your report of the suffering. You Sir, are a trooper.


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