Archive for the 'Devil Mountain Double' category

Devil Mountain Double Results

April 30, 2008 11:30 am

They posted the results for last Saturdays Devil Mountain Double. I ended up coming in 31st place out of the 112 that were able to finish. Over 150 riders entered but many can not finish this most grueling event with 206 miles and 18,600 feet of climbing. I was very happy with my time considering only extremely fit riders enter this event. I may have been the only one my age to finish.

I posted a detailed analysis in a prior blog entry.

The times for the people I know and ride with:

  • Gary F. 14:03
  • Me 15:32
  • Brian C. 16:21
  • Lyresa P. 16:36
  • Russ and Sheila S. 17:01 (on a tandem!)
  • Kley C. 17:20
  • Paul D. 18:30
  • Uji Y. 18:30
  • Art C. 19:33

Devil Mtn Double – No Trouble with a Double

April 28, 2008 3:55 pm

I finished the very difficult Devil Mountain Double on Saturday. It is 206 miles with 18,600 feet of climbing. It is probably the most difficult double century in California. My final time was 15 hours, 32 minutes, a big improvement over last year

I was happy with my time since it was hot again. I got worried coming up Mines Road because of the heat and started to get a bad case of hot foot. There was a breeze this year that helped. I really focused on drinking all day, and took a lot of Endurolyte tablets. I was so worried about cramping again on the backside of Mt. Hamilton that I went up slower than I probably needed to, but I never did cramp anywhere on the ride.

I was also happy to make it to Norris Canyon, the last section, before dark. I don’t like biking on Crow Creek Canyon road in the dark due to all the traffic. I had carried my one pound light the entire day and could have got by with a small Cateye light.

I left the aero bars on the bike which was a good thing. It gave me an alternate position not only for my hands but when I am in the aero bars I get a different position on the saddle, which greatly helped to take some pressure off a tired butt. It was either that part of the body or my right foot that hurt the most.

This year I used my newer bike with only a double crank, but I had no big issue with the higher gearing. I would have preferred to climb up Sierra Road with a triple but the better handling of the newer bike was a benefit on the rest of the ride.


Here is a detailed comparison with doing the same event last year.

2007 2008
Body Weight 135 139
Bike Gearing Triple (30/25) Double (39/27)
Total Time (hr: min) 18:12 15:32
Riding Time (hr:min) 14:51 14:31
Avg. Speed (mph moving) 14.1 14.3
Stopping Time (hr:min) 3:21 1:01
Average Heart Rate (bpm) 136 136
Maximum Heart Rate (bpm) 167 169
Average HR Climbing Sierra (bpm) 142 146
Issues to Deal With Significant Cramping Significant Hot Foot
Weather Hot No Wind Hot With Breeze

Time Comparison

This chart shows my arrival times into the various rest stops. You can see that for the first 115 miles, up to the junction cafe, I did almost the same between both years. Last year my times slowed down considerably due to cramping on the backside of Mt. Hamilton. Click the chart below to view enlarge.

Stopping Time Comparison

This shows a comparision between my stopping time between years. Times shown are in minutes. Most of the improvement in the total time was due to a signficant reduction in the amount of stopping time at the rest stops.

Stop 2007 2008
Diablo Summit
Morgan Territory RS
Mines Rd RS
Junction Cafe
Cramping on Mt. Hamilton
Crother’s RS
Pet the Goat RS
Sunol RS
Other, stop lights, mini rest stops
Total Stopping

Last Time

I don’t plan on doing this event again. It is very difficult and takes out of you far too much. Since I had a difficult time last year, I wanted to do it again to see if I could do it right with better training and more of a focus on hydration during the event. Having accomplished that, I don’t feel a need to repeat it.

Devil Mountain Double Trouble with a Double

April 25, 2008 12:45 pm

Okay, I have finished my training program and I can’t avoid it any longer.. The extremely difficult Devil Mountain Double will start soon. At 5 am tomorrow we will start to ride in the dark towards Mt. Diablo for our first of many major climbs. I hope to finish the 206 miles in 15 hours, of which 7 hours will be climbing the 19,000 feet. It is not a question of what will hurt, but what will hurt the most.

The forecast for the inland area is a high of 89 degrees. Last year we had a similar heat wave and it caused most everyone to have serious cramping issues. We should also have some stiff winds, especially going over Patterson Pass. They put windmills there for a reason.

Yesterday I was trying to decide which bike to take. I have now decided to take the newer bike with only a double crankshaft. Unlike the recent Solvang Double, this is going to be a slog it out type of ride where just getting through will be the main focus. Although there may be times that I wish I had my triple, the new bike handles better and fits me better, and is lighter even with my aero bars attached. If I can finish in 15 hours, that will be more than 3 hours faster than how I did last year.

Trying the DMD with just a double crank may be a big mistake. Ask me tomorrow what What Hurts the Most!

Which Bike for the DMD?

April 24, 2008 9:34 am

I rode my older bike, with the triple crank, on the ride up Henry Coe last night. I was thinking to use it on the upcoming Devil Mountain Double this Saturday because it has the lower gearing. It was making some rattling sound, the speed pickup came loose, and it just doesn’t fit me like my new bike, even though both are a 52 cm Trek frame. I was thinking last night to go ahead and use my new bike for the tough double this Saturday, even though it only has a double crank. I can climb all those hills with the double, but I am not sure about doing all of them the same day with a double. I had to use the triple last year for this event due to cramping in my legs.

I spent this morning putting a new tire on the front and moving the front tire to the rear to replace that worn tire. I reattached the speed pickup for my Polar heart rate monitor and I tightened the cassette, which I think was the source of the noise. I had used a torque wrench before but I guess I had the wrong setting.

I weighed both bikes, loaded as I would ride them, sans water bottles. The new Trek Madone is a lighter bike but I have aero bars on it. On my old bike I have put on new wheels and a new Durace crankset so it is lighter than it use to be. I was surprised that both bike weighed nearly the same, within half a pound.

  • Trek Madone 5.2 18.65 lbs (with pack with 2 tubes, CO2, mini pump, aero bars
  • Trek 5200 19.35 lbs (with pack with 2 tubes, Co2, mini pump)

Part of the difference is the weight of the Syntace C2 aero bars at 358 grams, close to one pound. I could remove those since there is not that much drafting on this event. That would bring the wieght of the new bike down to 17.8 lbs, or 1.5 lbs lighter, both on an equivalent basis.

I set up both bikes next to each other to see if I should make any adjustments to the old bike to match the ride I like on the new one. I ended up moving the saddle forward slightly. I notice the handlebars one the new bike are a bit higher and the 10 speed shifters really do have a better angle, but without getting a new stem for the old bike there is little I can do there.

I just finished 24 mile last ride using the old bike. I fixed the rattle and it seems to be working fine. I calculated that the difference of 1.5 lbs will only mean 4 mintues total time difference for the entire DMD. I recall when I did the Furnace Creek 508 going up Townes Pass with my double and having a difficult time. Later I thought I should have used the older bike with the triple (which was on the support car). I expect the climb up Sierra Road after already doing 140 miles and 15,000 feet of climbing will be similar. But I did the entire Furnace Creek 508 with only a double, even Townes Pass. I used the double on the Death Ride and the Cimb to Kaiser. So I have decided to tough it out and go with the faster and lighter bike.

Whipping the Devil

April 21, 2008 8:24 am

It is the final countdown to the Devil Mountain Double, which I will ride on Saturday. At this point all my training needs to be finished and what I do this week is more about tapering and trying to keep the edge. Yesterday I decided to not do the long distance training ride with the club because it would have been back to back 100 mile days and I felt it might do more harm than good. So instead I did the normal ride out of Sunshine Bicycle store with my friends who live in the area.

Because of the visit from John and family, I was not able to get in as much biking for a week. I mentioned in my last entry about doing a hot ride the day after they left that had a lot of climbing and miles. I continued to ride a lot during last week, including doing the Tierra Bella Century on the tandem on Saturday. It was not quite the most miles I have ridden in a week, but close. With the week being bookended with long rides, I ended up with 483 miles and 30,000 feet of climbing. This keeps me on plan for both miles and feet of climbing for my training program. The total miles I have put in is slightly above my training plan but well above what I did last year.

DMD Training - Accumulated Miles as of 4/19/08

When looking at the feet of climbing, something more important than just miles when training for the DMD, I am well ahead of both last year and my training plan I established.

DMD Training - Accumulated Feet of Climbing as of 4/19/08

One aspect I hope will pay off is the training I did last week. In 2008 that week was spent in Atlanta to watch the Tour de Georgia. We went there after running the Boston Marathon. When I returned to California I tried to jam in some ridding, and maybe did too much the week of the DMD. This time I have a full week to recover. In 2007 you can see I biked over 400 miles the week of the DMD, which means 200 miles the days before the DMD. That was too much. This time I have moved the extra miles a week earlier.

DMD Training - Weekly Miles as of 4/19/08

It is a similar story with the feet of climbing.

DMD Training - Weekly Climbing as of 4/19/08

All of this is mainly to give myself some confidence. I know that doing the DMD is going to be most difficult, no matter how much training I have done. It is a long ride with a lot of climbing. Last year I measured 206 miles with over 18,600 feet of climbing. I think it is the most difficult double century in California.

Last year I did the 206 miles in a total time of about 18 hours and 15 minutes. I looked at last year’s heart rate chart to see how I did at the midway point. At 103 miles, I had biked half the distance and more than half the climbing and had reached that at 12:10 pm, about 7.2 hours from the start (we started around 5:00 am). So if I was able to keep that pace for the second half I should have finished in 14.5 hours. Since I took nearly 4 additional hours, it is clear why I felt I did so poorly. Click on the graph to enlarge.

2007 DMD HR Chart

During the first half my average heart rate was 145, but you can see from the above chart I let it go into the red zone too often on some of the clmbs and even some of the flatter sections where I was trying to keep up with a paceline. I need to be smarter this time about monitoring my heart rate and drop off the pace line if necessary. I feel that if I keep hydrated, watch my heart rate and eating, I should be able to finish within 15 hours. That might not be a fantastic time, but more than 3 hours faster than I did it last year.

Devil Mountain Double

April 28, 2007 5:16 pm

This turned out by far the most difficult bike ride I had ever tackled. I learned the hard way, don’t try a tough double century only 12 days after running a marathon, especially one with hot temperatures. I also learned that general conditioning is not sufficient. Targeted training for distance, climbing and riding in the heat are needed. With the hot weather I should have taken a Camelbak in addition to two water bottles. Most everyone was running out of water between some of the rest stops. That is the receipe for dehydration.

I felt good in the morning as we climbed Mt. Diablo and then Morgan Territory, and was riding fast enough clear to the Mines Road rest stop. After another brief stop there I headed for the junction. I looked at my watch when I hit about the half way mark of 103 miles and roughly 10,000 ft. of climbing and saw I had taken 7.5 hours. Not bad, I thought,so that meant I could finish in about 15 hours, our around 8 pm. But then the problems began. People were dropping like flies. I usually do well in the heat, but something seemed to have gone wrong suddenly. I started to feel weak and sick.

I was completely out of water by the time I hit the lunch stop at the Junction. I decided to take a long lunch, maybe around 30 minutes, unlike the Solvang Double were I was shoving food down and then jumping back on the bike. I was feeling a bit better as I headed toward Mt. Hamilton were I was able to draft behind a tandem. I started the climb up the backside of Mt. Hamilton and felt strong again, but I was worried about running out of water again so I was conserving it, but probably too much.

About half way up I started to cramp, big time. All of a sudden I couldn’t even peddle and I felt sick to my stomach. I had to get off the bike and sit in the shade. I looked at my legs and they were drenched in sweat. I had never seen that before because usually in California the sweat evaporates about as fast you you can generated it. Then I started to lay down on the dirt along side the road. Some other riders were stopping around me, doing the same. The SAG drove by and I motioned to them all was okay, becasue I was NOT going to be SAGed in. After about 10 minutes I tried to get back on the bike but the cramping started again and was very painful, so another 10 minutes on the ground. I then tried a 3rd time and I could not peddle. I decided to start to walk the bike and try to work it out. I walked to the spring and drenched myself. That plus the walking helped and I was finally able to get back on the bike and finish the accent. I knew once I reached the summit it would turn a bit cooler and I was then confident that I could make it, but would need to do so with a slow pace and lots of resting.

I spent a long time at the Crothers rest stop. I was trying to get my stomach feeling better, give myself some time to hydrate and hopefully have it cooler before doing the last major climb up Sierra. Four riders were being SAGed in from there. When I did start up Sierra it was still 85 degrees but I was able to keep from cramping again by riding slow. I was very glad I had followed the advice to bring my old bike with the triple crankshaft. I don’t think I have ever climbed up Sierra so slow before. Lots of people were walking their bikes. A rest stop past the summit is where I had sent my lights forward to and it was a good thing because I needed them. The sun was just setting and I had to ride half of Calaveras in the dark. It was cool now and I found myself riding fast again, like in the morning.

I arrived at Sunol, the last rest stop at 9 am and learned from a club member there who had DNFed that several others had also. I was not going to give up at that point, so continued on chasing some riders in the dark. I was close behind two fast riders and noticed the lead one didn’t have any lights at all. They made the right turn to go up Palomares and bam! they both went down hard, slipping on gravel (which was hard to see at night). I was lucky that I avoided hitting them. I helped them to get up and used my lights for them to check themselves and their bikes. We then started the climb and I went ahead, not wanting to be around those guys any more. I was climbing well now but most people were still climbing like a tortoise.

I found one other rider who I had ridden part of Caleveras with and we rode together to the end. He mostly was drafting off me, but he didn’t have a very bright light so I didn’t mind waiting for him at the top of the climbs. The last 10 miles seemed to go on forever. It was a great feeling when I finally arrived at the end, just past 11 pm.�

Here is the graph from my Polar HRM. You can see that my heart rate was much lower the second half of the ride. While on the bike, I averaged 14.4 mph, which is not too bad considering the climbing. It was the stopping time that really added up.

Devil Mountain Double HR Graph

Cramming for Finals

April 25, 2007 7:20 am

I feel a bit like in college burning the midnight oil cramming for the final exams. With the Devil Mountain Double (DMD) fast approaching and being mostly not riding for 3 weeks due to the marathon taper and post marathon recovery, I did get in some good miles this week with 75 on Tuesday and 62 today. But just like staying up late to study for an exam, I am wondering if this is going to help or hinder me come Saturday. The body does take some time to repair itself after a work out and without getting through that repair time, I suppose you do more damage that good. I guess I will take it easy today and tomorrow.

I am planning on doing the 5 am start. The start location is over an hour from my house so that means getting up at 3:15 am and out the door in 30 minutes. I am not expecting to finish until past 10:30 pm. That who period will be on the bike except only about an hour total at the rest stops. It is going to be some day. I only wish I had another week to get ready for it. It would have been much better to do the Mt. Hamilton Challenge this Saturday and the DMD the following, but they fall on the same day. I did the Mt. Hamilton Challenge a couple of times before and recall seeing the DMD riders going the opposite direction on Mines Rd. and thinking how stupid could anyone be to do that ride!

To put this in perspective, this is what they say on the DMD website: “THIS SHOULD NOT BE YOUR FIRST DOUBLE! This is a VERY TOUGH RIDE. On average, riders who have done the Terrible Two say the DMD takes two hours longer. The staff will do all they can to pamper you at the rest stops but THE COURSE WILL SHOW NO MERCY! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!”


DMD Crazy

April 24, 2007 2:57 pm

What was I thinking when I decided to do the Devil Mountain Double this Saturday. It is one of the most difficult one day bike events in California with 206 miles and 20,000 feet of climbing. My original plan was do the Mt. Hamilton Challenge this Saturday which is tough enough with 125 miles and 9,000 feet climbing, but the DMD is like twice as hard. I am not sure I am in shape so I did a 70 mile bike ride today, biking from home and then doing the Metcalf Mauler. I tested out a light system I borrowed for Saturday because unlike the Solvang Double Century, I WILL be riding in the dark. I anticipate starting at 5 am and not finishing for 17-18 hours, which means past 10 pm. Some people I ride with did not finish until 11:30 pm last year.

Normally I would not even do this ride if I had trained specifically for it, but I have not been on the bike that much lately because of the Boston Marathon. I just must be crazy!