Thursday, April 5, 2012


Goals. They’re like dreams that you have to work for. More accurately for me, it' putting just the idea of a challenge into the head of someone with a bit of OCD. It would be like saying to an alcoholic, “Hey, I bet you can’t drink 12 beers at the party tonight.” Challenge accepted.

Two weeks ago I rode the Solvang Double Century, my very first organized double. OK, OK, my first double ever, boosting my 1 day record for miles from 180.6 to 203.3. Good numbers.

Now, my time on the Solvang Double wasn’t great, but it was my first ride, so I took it easy in some spots, and was patient and relaxed at the 5 rest stops. My total time was 14:25:31, which was nearly 1.5 hours longer than my goal of 13 hours. There are good reasons for that, it was extremely windy that day, and on these distances, that can mean having a headwind blowing in our faces for 80+ miles.

Which we did. They say the winds were 20+mph sustained, with gusts to 30-35. It was the worst wind they have had on the Solvang Double in many years, some said.

So, I’m not too surprised that my time was on the low side, since I spent hours out there struggling to keep my speed over 12, and at some times found myself cranking full out and cruising at just over 8. In the end, I figured it was a good thing I train so much in the wind down in South County. A LOT of people sagged and got a ride back after rest stop 5, some even after 4. It was a tough day all around.

Of course, people were doing whatever they could to keep spirits up. I over heard a guy with a thick German (?) accent who was standing next to his fixie at Rest Stop 4 getting ready to head back out say, "Yeah, it's time to head out and help pull people through this wind. It all feels the same on the fixie, headwind, tailwind, uphill, downhill, it's all the same old shit. It all sucks." Everyone around laughed as we realized just how shitty it would be for us all very soon.

It was just a tough day. It was the first 100 miles that I did in just under 5:15:00 that saved my day. Hot damn that first half felt great.

And I won’t even get into my bonus miles. I stopped to read my que sheet (directions) at a turn with about 10-15 miles to go, when I rider passed me who said, “You’re going the right way, trust me, I used to live here.” Famous last words. He did know the roads, so we did get back into town, but it added about 3-4 miles to our total. Also more hills. Glad I like climbing...

That being said, my total ride time was 12:26:14. So, I lost about 2 hours in a combination of rest stops, an early stop to help a tandem fix a broken chain, and a couple other short pauses. In the end, even with the wind, I managed to keep my moving average at 16.3 mph for the day.

So, the next double I’m signed up for is the Davis Double Century on May 19th. The Solvang and Davis Doubles were the two I really wanted to do first in order to get into this part of the sport, since I’m a huge fan of both towns, and have heard great things about both rides.

So, my goal for Davis is as follows: If the wind isn’t a killer the day of the ride, I’d like to beat 12 hours. That’s the lofty goal. Screw 13. If I’m going to make a goal, I’m at least going to make one I have to work for. My mild OCD will take care of the rest.

If it’s windy, well, we’ll just have to see what happens.

Now for the fun part of training. I took last week off to chill and relax, and then I ended up taking this week off as well. Next week I’ll be in Hawaii with the STHS Band. Which means I will have had 3 weeks off, and then 5 weeks to train for the Davis Double. Hopefully that should work out just fine, if the weather can be nice enough to cooperate.

Knock on wood.

In the hotel getting ready to head out.

Rest Stop 4, 10+ miles into the crazy wind.