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Thread: Knoxville Double Century (part 2)

  1. #1
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    Default Knoxville Double Century (part 2)

    While Im at the stop, a fellow Id been riding with earlier introduces me to a woman named Deborah. I know you. Weve met on a few other doubles. Good to see you again. She had stopped by our shop 2 days before the Devil Mountain Double and was looking to get outfitted with something climbing friendly. I ran into her again on the Tam Double. Id friended her on Facebook, after noticing that several friends had her linked as a friend. As were rolling along, I notice the name below her number reads Debra Pogran. Oh shit. Did I do it again? I friended the wrong person! The person I met on Facebook was Debra Hoag.

    So Mick (the guy Id mistaken for Rick) and Debra Pogran (the woman Id thought was Deborah Hoag) peel off as my legs start cramping again. The rollers are short but are certainly taking their toll on me. Finally I can see the skyline and I know Im at the top. I pick up my cadence, and have locked into my big ring by the time I crest. Its a fast and fairly straight descent. I tuck and gobble up at least half a dozen riders.

    Things flatten out and Im rolling solo when about a mile from lunch, a cylist whizzes by me and yells Hey Jason!. Its my friend Bruce Carroll who I crewed for on 2 Ultras. What time did you start? I ask. 6ish he says. Geez. He made up an hour and 15 minutes on me! I tell him Ill see him at the rest stop and he flies off. Goddam him. Nobody should be allowed to be that fast.

    I roll into the lunch stop and am definitely feeling the ride. Id originally wanted to blow through lunch and rest at the top of the climb that follows lunch but my legs are just too cooked. I drink an entire bottle of water, 2 V8s and a devour bag of Shotblocks. Theyre offering up burritos and sandwiches but solid food just doesnt seem appealing to me at the time. I see another Ultra veteran, Graham Pollock, and wave. He and about 6 others (my friend Bruce included) are all wearing their 25th Anniversary FC508 Jerseys. I grab a seat next to Bruce and ask how hes doing. He tells me the heat is getting to him and I concur. It must be at least high 90s by now. And we still have a nasty climb less than 2 miles ahead of us.

    I take a quick bio break and decide to roll on. I run into the guy in the Tam jersey that Id met on Howell and we climb the first section of Siegler together. Then the leg starts to twinge and Im forced to back off. The climb rolls for a bit and then kicks up. I dump my gears and turn on the MP3 player to take my mind off of the pain in my left quad. It works for all of 5 minutes. I see a shady spot on the other side of the road , so I cross and dismount. I let the legs cool off for a couple of minutes before I hit the climb again. Up, up and up. I see the signs to Loch Lomond. This is what might be considered the signature climb of the day. About 1.5 miles of relentless 10-12% grade. I remember cramping severely on this section last year and having to traverse the last section, even with a 34x28 low. I thought this would be a cakewalk with the 30x29. Nope. I make it about a mile up the climb and for whatever reason, decide I should stand up. The second Im out of the saddle, BANG! Both legs completely seize up on me. I position my legs at 9 and 3 and double unclip as fast as I can, both cleats touching the ground simultaneously. Oh fuck, of fuck, oh fuck. The pain is unbearable. Maybe I should sit down. Heres a good spot. NO-ow-ow-ow! I cant sit, I cant stand. As Im dancing from foot to foot to relieve whatever pressure on my legs that I can, Kitty and a few others roll by. She asks if Im ok and I inform her of the double leg cramp situation. She throws some advice my way as she passes but theres nothing I can do about it now. I walk about 20 paces just to stretch things out and remount the bike. The legs are still searing but I can see things level out ever so slightly ahead. If I can just get my cadence up, it wont hurt as bad. Just DONT STAND UP!.

    I finally make it to the top. Sweet RELIEF! I drop down the backside and see a convenience store before the T junction. I buy a V8 and a 7up. I throw back the V8, drink half of the 7up, and put the other half of the bottle in my jersey pocket. I may need that later. I grind through the next few miles of rollers and hit two steep descents. Trucks on cheese someone points out as we pass the sign with the 11% grade on it. My legs are still a little wobbly so Ive got my hands firmly grasping the drops for full control. And good thing too as I hit a ridge in the road at about 45mph that tosses my bike about. Holy crap! If Id been a little more relaxed, Id have lost my shit and gone down! Uncool. I shake it off and pick up speed again.

    Theres not really much to recall about the next 15 or so miles. Flat with a mild headwind all the way to the next rest stop. A few groups pass me, but Im unable to get into the line as I still cant stand and sprint. So its basically solo TT time. I suck it up and hit a comfortable cadence. DIY.

    I finally get to Rest Stop 4 at Butts Canyon. I give my number and am greeted by the same friends who were at Rest Stop 2. Alfie parks my bike. Friends Lisa, Mike and Joan all ask how Im doing. Stupid legs I tell them. Well you look like youre fairing better than Bruce. He threw up right next to where youre standing. Doh. I look down and see a moist spot to my right. Blech! I grab a seat on a cooler and look up, only to see fellow distance rider Sean Smith. Ugh. Suffering. I tell him. I went through that last weekend. he tells me. I grab some potatoes and start munching. Im pretty hungry at this point, as I had passed on lunch earlier in the day. As Im contemplating whether or not to get back on my bike I see Mick, Kitty and a few others roll out. Deb Pogran rolls up. I thought you were way ahead of me! I tell her. I was feeling ill back there. Needed a breather. Another victim of the heat. I mull about a bit longer. Drink a Coke. Then a V8. Top of my Hammer Gel flask. Take some Enduralytes. Whatever I can do to NOT get back on the road. But its only about 25 or so miles til the next rest stop, so I get on the bike, take a deep breath and press on.

    Nothing much to speak of til rest stop 5. Nothing to do but find a good cadence and lock into a groove that wont tax the quads. Surprisingly only about 4 riders pass me during this entire stretch. Either everyone else is hurting, or Im at the tail end of the pack, because Im not averaging more that 14 or 15mph. I finally get to a point I recognize. Its the big descent into Rest stop 5. I tuck and relax and let gravity do the work.

    Im starving at this point. I put my bike in the stand and make a b-line for the hot dogs. Mick is sitting in a chair in the shade. I could be done with this ride right now. he says. Me too. But its only 41 miles to the end! Thats the distance of a mellow Sunday club ride. I can do that. I wolf down a hot dog. Then use the restroom. Upon exiting, I tell the guy manning the dog station to hook me up with another. Thats rather suspicious, he comments as I wait. Im bulimic. I joke. Ill be back in there after the next. I take a last look around before I get back on the saddle. Lots of suffering. At least Im not alone.

    Im probably on the bike for about 5 miles when someone pulls up next to me. Fixie Dude! he yells. Its Robert, whom Id met on Solvang and Eastern Sierra. Does it seem like weve been climbing all day? he asks. Yeah, this definitely feels like more than 12,000 feet. I reply. He eases up his pace and we climb and chat for the next hour. Definitely good to take the mind off of the climbing. A fellow hed been riding with since morning catches up to us and they take off at the sight of the crest. I dont have the juice, so I dawdle my way up to the descent to the dam. Its dark already. I was already at the final rest stop at dusk last year. I can forget about a personal best. But at this point, Im just glad to know Ill finish.

    I pull into the last rest stop and see Kitty and Becky. Wow. You caught up to us. You mustve been cooking! I tell them the only thing cooking are my legs. They take off. V8 time again. And I smell Cup O Noodles too! I start feasting, but about two mouthfuls in, I see Robert and his friend saddling up. What do I do? Finish my meal, or roll out. Fuck it. These last few miles could be miserable by myself. I take a final fork full and leave the rest behind. Its pretty dark at this point and we all have our lights on. Nothing but a 2 by 2 paceline from here on out to the finish. I even take a few pulls! Almost there. We hit the last turn at the T, make a left and ride over the Highway. Home sweet home!

    We pull in at 8:45. Exactly 16 hours from when Id started. Ive rarely been this happy for a ride to be over. I shake hands with the 3 other guys Id pulled in with, park my bike, and simply stand around for a minute. I did it. Suffered through another double. 130 miles of lousy cramps to boot. Joan and Mike are there. Youre not ready for team DNF yet! she kids. Go get some food. I grab a plateful of pasta and chicken and nibble at whats on my plate. But Im not really that hungry. I do drink 2 Mountain Dews and a Red Bull though. I hang out for the next 3 hours and watch my fellow Knoxville riders roll in. Nicole pulls in at 10:30. She finishes. I knew she would. Big grin on her face too. Shes hurting and tired, but shes definitely got the right attitude for this kind of thing.

    Its near midnight and the effects of the caffeine are wearing off. Time to head home and sleep. Another one in the books. I think Ive found my Achilles Heel of doubles. But Ill be back next year. Im already re-strategizing :D
    Sharp as a lemon, with the zest of a knife

  2. #2
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    Oh, come on! It's a non-competitve moderate double ;) (that only shows how sick DMD is).

    Honestly, Knoxville is generally tough for a number of reasons:

    1. End of the doubles season, and many folks just have a lot of doubles in the legs. Normally this would be a good thing but even with three done I am leaving the cycle computer at home or putting it in my pocket most rides so I only see data after the fact

    2. It's 200 miles with 12,500 feet of climbing (some of it steep), and heat generally become a factor somewhere on the course, if not from very early

    3. People psych up for rides like DMD, TT, CCD, Tam, but Knoxville is about as tough as CCD in all honesty, so people figure "why the fuck am I suffering on this ride?" and have repressed the intense suffering on those other doubles so it seems tougher than it is.

    Finally, sometimes you just have a bad day -- Vlad was kicking my butt all over the circuit but just had a relatively bad day on Knoxville, so I never had to feel how bad Loch Lomond was ...

    As for heat, it was hotter Sunday and I just had to ride Skaggs and run out of water, so I feel you. I have done a climb each day this week but I am still recovering (and the excess drinking isn't helping)

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