Having ridden the Knoxville DC two weeks previously, common wisdom says it’s actually pretty easy to keep doing doubles at two-week intervals. They say that you’ve already done the work to get there, and riding regular doubles is just maintenance. I tested that theory.
So at 5:15 AM on October 11, we started in Clovis in a mass start with a motorcycle tripping off traffic lights. This year’s Bass Lake registration topped last year’s by 15 at 175 riders. I rode with Kris and Don, my riding buddies from the Knoxville DC. We regrouped at mile 34.7, the first rest stop. I saw Gwen Tunzini and Robert Thompson of SRCC at the rest stop, and we exchanged hellos. Time to check in our lights. Rest stops 1 and 2 were the same. Our paceline group of 15 or so rode the flats around Winton Park; I knew we were riding in circles as I kept encountering the same street signs from different directions (Piedra, Navelencia, Minkler). At rest stop 2 (mile 72.3), my Garmin read an average speed of 20.1 mph. Soon the climbing was about to begin.
Part of the fun of riding double centuries is meeting the other crazies. Take Joe, for example. He started riding bikes four years ago and has since ridden 37 doubles. He did seven the first year, nine the next, 11 the third year, and the BL double was his 11th for this year. But he planned on riding three more for a total of 14 for the fourth year, a grand total of 41 doubles. Then "all" he needed was nine more to be inducted into the California Triple Crown Hall of Fame next September in Knoxville. Now, that is obsessed. And then there were the "Three Stooges" from Manhattan Beach, three racers who came to the double so unprepared it wasn't funny (first double for all three of them) and met with a calamity of errors. They still managed to finish.
Pretty lame water stop at mile 91. Just water and no additives, plus they almost ran out of water! Hey, the people running this ride are cyclists from the Fresno Cycling Club.
Scenery was beautiful. The roads had light traffic, and we climbed above scenic lakes like Pine Flat Lake. In the distance we caught views of the Sierras.
Rest Stop #3 at Mile 107.4 was our lunch stop. Tasty burritos awaited, but knowing that most of our climbing lay ahead, I decided to eat only half and carry the other half with me. The hardest climb came right after lunch, about six miles long. It was a fairly steep hill that we climbed in the mid-afternoon heat. Fortunately, right when I worried about not having enough water, I rounded a bend and there was a SAG vehicle providing an impromptu extra water stop.
With a little more climbing and then a short descent, we rode into rest stop #4 at mile 131 near Bass Lake. I waterfalled some Hammer Gel (who brings her own gel flask?) and ate the rest of my burrito, swigging it down with some Dew. It was only about 4:00 PM, with a good three hours of daylight remaining, but this is where the Fresno Cycling Club had us pick up our lights, with no option to forward them to Rest Stop #5 (mile 161).
We circled Bass Lake in a paceline of five and then flew down a pretty awesome eight-mile descent. Then we had another four-mile uphill before coming to the penultimate rest stop at mile 161.6.
This was the same rest stop as the lunch stop, so there were some leftover burritos from lunch. Here I ran into Rico Boccia, who rushed off because he didn’t have good lights and therefore wanted to minimize his time riding at night. By this time, I had worked up a pretty hefty appetite, and I was hankering for some “real food.” But then Renee, who manned the rest stop told me about the final rest stop: “You know, the next rest stop has the Filipino food. They’ve got 38 volunteers helping.” I had ridden Climb to Kaiser last year, and the Filipino cycling club manned the lunch stop for that ride, and I could still taste the mouth-watering food they stir-fried up for that event. I also had the foresight to ask Renee about the end-of-the-ride dinner at the Veterans’ Hall. Was it some heated lasagna from Costco, I asked. She said, “Worse, heated food from Walmart.” So I left Rest Stop 5 having eaten nothing but a crummy dried-out PBJ half sandwich and half a marshmallow treat. I wanted to be primed for the feed at Rest Stop #6.
And primed I was. I rode 23 miles in the dark as fast as I could with hunger in my belly. The only thing prodding me on was the promise of delectable adobo and stir-fried noodles. Final rest stop at mile 184.6 meant that there were only 15 miles to the end, most of which were downhill. From last year’s C2K, I remembered that the Millerton rest stop to the end was easy, so I ate with reckless abandon. I gorged on three bowls of wonton soup, three plates of cellophane noodles with stir-fried veggies, and two plates of rice with adobo chicken. Despite the vast quantities of food I consumed, I knew I had not overeaten as there was no stomach distension whatsoever. I was just running a massive caloric deficit that I merely neutralized. So we made great time riding into the finish, arriving at 8:50 PM.
It’s a good thing I ate so much at the Filipino feed because the final dinner lived up to its reputation – worse than heated up food from Walmart.
Final stats: Ride time 13 hr. 14 min. Total time 15 hrs. 35 mins. Avg speed 15.1 mph with 10,500’ climbing.