Yesterday I survived the Knoxville Double, all 202 miles and 12,600' of it, riding a giant figure eight through and around Napa Valley and its beautiful and isolated environs, like Lake Berryessa. This was my last long ride before the Furnace Creek 508 in two weeks, and my best chance to concentrate on eating and drinking all through the ride. That worked well - I finished hungry and thirsty, but not famished and dehydrated. Unfortunately I also suffered from "hotfoot", a common cyclist ailment wherein the pads of your feet hurt right where they press on the pedals. It was bad, and I'm going to have to find a solution or it will be a real problem in the 508.
This is an interesting ride because it doesn't have too many defined "climbs", but instead just goes up and down all day, so that you can't believe you've climbed over 12,000' at the end of it. I found myself loving the 34x28 granny on my borrowed bike, same as I'll have on my new bike; even when not in the granny, having it caused me to dial back and spin instead of powering along. Maybe a bit slower, but certainly a lot faster over the course of 200 miles. I finished in 13:53 which is pretty respectable for a hilly double, especially considering I went into it determined to "take it easy".
Here are some pictures:
A highlight of this ride is the California Triple Crown awards breakfast the next day (this morning). And a highlight of the breakfast is the part where cyclists who have completed 50 or more double centuries are inducted into the hall of fame. 50 doubles! that's unbelievable. I loved hearing their stories, and thinking about all those years and all the miles they've ridden. Wow.
A great story was told about the first winner of Paris-Brest-Paris, a famous 1200km brevet; when asked "how can you ride so far?" he answered, "if a pedal comes up, I just push the bastard down, and then if the other pedal comes up, I push it down too." I love it.