Friday, March 21, 2014

Joshua Tree Double Century.......The fun times...

Packet pick up, Lorraine and RD Anny Beck
So after LA Marathon on the Sunday I wondered about doing Joshua Tree Double Century despite my lack of distance cycling this past year with only one long ride at Palm Springs I signed up on the Wednesday evening...after all it was flat and would be easy way of getting back into double century riding.....

My fuel plan....

I was lucky and went with my friends Rory, Lisa and Lorraine we arrived the evening before so we could check in and prepare for the 5am start at 29 Palms. Due to repaving the event would not go through Joshua Tree National Park and had to be re routed... Little did I know just what an adventure waited ahead...

So here are some pearls of Wisdom when signing up for a double century:

It really helps to look on the web site and check out elevation etc......this was not a flat course it had over 9,500 feet of climbing.... 

It really helps to have some long rides in check and be riding consistently to truly appreciate the beauty of a double century than just the beast....lets not kid our selves here there is nothing easy about doing double centuries but you sure can make them a little more easier on the body!
Feet: I rode a portion of the climbs with my feet on top of my cycling shoes, they were cramping so badly just from being on the bike for SO long!!
Cycling into Desert Center ...while not beauty it was like stepping back into the 1950s!! Desert Cafe with its old gas pumps, weathered train carriage and totem pole ...a ghost town of sorts...I wondered if all the riders on this double realized this was were CARS was filmed!! and General George Patton trained 100,000 troops near by would often visit the cafe to eat! It was a booming town but when route 66 was built the tourists to the Colorado river bypassed it! Still a lot of fun at the aid station!Were Anny had the volunteers making fruit smoothies!!
Hitching a ride in the abandoned ghost train cab!

Lorraine and I outside Desert Center

General Patton monument and his dog.

4 flat tires on the interstate 10..... from long metal objects which went through my tire and tube thankfully not harming my Williams wheels! But I was super glad I never fell off my bike...there was horrendous side winds my bike was leaning into the wind at almost 45% angle...I truly hate side wind.. it was made worse by semi trucks they would fly past at warp speed suddenly no side wind but the semi would suck you into their vortex, the next minute they had past and the wind was there again!!! I nearly quit... But when I had made it to more than the half way mark in such awful conditions I just had to finish!!!

Making new friends and seeing old friends every one is helpful in a double century.
Sharona at Gen. Patton museum.
Grand Tour  Kermit..and face book friend Wesley
Having fun at mile 70..

The aid stations were WELL stocked with my favorite Hammer Nutrition products I lived on the Caffe Latte Perpetuem and the Hammer gels. I also had a Hammer bar. 
Once we had left the side wind and been treated to the oasis stop in the Desert we were treated to 26  miles of direct headwind which I did 22 miles by myself...I wanted to quit but after the Interstate and side winds no way!
Once onto the hwy 29 which would lead to the finish line some 60 miles away I refueled and Lorraine pointed to a nice long climb in the distance....the last 60 miles were hard!! I just seemed to climb and climb wondering when I would see the crest. The sun set, I put on my rear lights and finally rolled into an aid station. Here there was soup I ate some noodles took my Hammer endurolytes, Anti fatigue caps and back into the saddle.....
I knew to keep moving forward, the road was long narrow and eerily lonely. I could see flashing red lights and head lights in the distance it took all my metal strength to move forward. The last station was at mile 185ish....I did not stay for long I sprayed my feet with Kool n Fit, it was getting a little cold, it seemed I had been on the bike all day I had started this adventure at 5am....the last 10 miles were spooky my head light illuminated the road in the distance I could see 29 palms....then pitch black! My headlight had done its job...I stopped and wondered what I would do know alone in the darkness I started walking and soon 2 cyclists came by and let me use their lights I was so darn grateful and finished around 10.30pm at night!!!
 I had finished, the longest ever double in my last 14 in total... A huge thanks to my friends Rory for the drive down there and Lorraine for the hotel room and company on the bike. Thanks to Hammer Nutrition for fantastic race fuel, To Rudy Project for the Fluro helmet and glasses, To Ocean Potion for the sun-care, to Kool n Fit for the sport spray, to Williams Wheels an excellent ride! Also Polar USA, Profile-Design and Serfas tires. The 2014 Synapse was the perfect ride I just never in my wildest dreams thought I would be out there for 17 plus hours!!! As soon as I was off the bike I took my Hammer Recoverite and reflected on my long day!

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