Grand Tour Highland Triple or maybe I should say Double.
2:30am, hell of a time to get up for a bike ride. Oh well, what we do to do these rides. I had decided to start at 4am to do the triple. 4am comes along and Frank Neal logs me in and off I go. There is high fog and itís around 55 degrees, would you expect anything else for Malibu on a June morning. First rest stop is in Port Hueneme, 35 miles away. I was riding alone until just after Mugu Rock then I met up with a rider and paced into Port Hueneme. Just under 2 hours and 35 miles, right on schedule and I was feeling good. I stripped off some of the clothing I had on, itís going to get warmer since we will be heading inland, the headlights and left them in a bag for my wife to pick-up. Sheís doing SAG work and is going to recharge my headlight batteries for me.
I head out of the rest stop towards the first big climb of the day, Potrero Road. Itís not a long climb, about 3 miles, but itís steep. The first Ĺ mile is 9%, then it goes to 4% for the next 1 Ĺ miles. Itís the next section that is the killer, a mile of up to 20%! Finally at the top, what a climb and Iím doing some pretty good sweating now. I get to the next rest stop ahead of time and everything is going great. Out of the stop and heading towards the Moorpark rest stop I met and talk with a few local riders that help make the time pass quicker. I make it to the Moorpark stop, again ahead of time and feeling great.
The next big challenge is Grimes Canyon and on to Santa Paula. I was supposed to meet my wife at Moorpark, but she got held up helping someone with a flat. No problem, I re-watered and went on. She called me and said she would meet me some where on or after Grimes. Just as I topped Grimes my wife passed me. Halfway down Grimes she was parked along the side of the road, but I didnít stop. I was in a line of traffic with a horse trailer in front, 3 cars behind him, another rider and myself and a van behind me. My wife quickly pulled in behind the van. Grimes is a twisty downhill, but can be fast. The horse trailer had been only going around 30, but were now close to the bottom and the road was opening up with one last right hand turn before the straight-away to the bottom. As I entered the right turn, a nice open turn with great banking, I was rolling along at 40 mph. Suddenly I heard a noise that chilled my poopy-doo, it was my rear tire exploding. The rear wheel of my bike took and immediate left turn, remember I was in a right turn. I looked down and all that was going through my mind was how hard the pavement was going to be and how much skin it was going to eat. I quickly steered left and caught the bike before I went down. Oh hell, now the rear wheel went right and Iím steering left. Damn the ground again and it looked harder this time. I caught the bike again and was thinking about the van behind me and if he was braking or just figuring on hitting me. I got the going straight with the flat tire and the tire hadnít peeled of the wheel yet. As I started braking the bike decided it wanted to go across the lane and into the head-on traffic. Lucky no one was coming up the hill, I let it go and found a small driveway to finally stop the bike in. What a ride, I donít ever, ever want to do that again. My wife pulled in behind me, jumped out and wanted to know just what the heck I was doing. She had watched the whole thing, but didnít see the now exploded tire. I was visibly shaking, I could hardly talk. I asked her for my spare tire, a tube and my pump. Quickly I changed the tire and off I went.
I did realize how much that took out of me until I started to ride towards Santa Paula into a headwind, I could barely turn the cranks. I didnít want to be on the bike, I started to think about just what had happen. I could have gone down to 40+ mph, I have been run over by the van behind me. Ok, maybe a few miles and Iíll be ok. It didnít happen, the day just got worst and I couldnít keep my mind in the game.
After that my day just when down the tubes. At the turn for the extra 100 mile loop I decided to make the ride a double and headed towards the finish line. I had a tailwind and was rolling along pretty good. Then it was just last 10 miles into the finish line at Malibu. My legs died, I could hardly pedal up the hills. I hadnít felt this bad after a double in a long time. I finished, checked-in, jumped in my vehicle and my wife drove back to the hotel. Along the way she picked-up dinner, some wonderful food that tasted great. Then it was a shower and a great nightís sleep.
All long the way I ran into many of Bike Forum double riders. Many of them I know and remember their names, like Rick and Steve, and some I met for the first time and canít remember their names, old age.
Update, ran into to a friend of mine from Des Moines doing this ride. He was taken to the hospital after the 100 mile mark for dehydration and given 3 units. When I saw him this morning he was feeling much better.
Lemond Chambery/Cannondale R-900/Trek 8000 MTB/Burley Duet tandem
Man, that's along ride! I still say you double ridersa re CRAZY!. I did the fishtail and headon into traffic before in Carbon Canyon. I saved myself from hitting the pavement but somewhat tacoed the rear wheel. Luckily traffic stopped and spared my life. I carried my bike to the side of the road and sure enough, my legs were shakin' BIGTIME! Scary feeling. Good thing you weren't hurt!
Unfortunately there was a ride killed doing this event. A father and son were about 10 miles from the finish of the son's first double century when both were hit by a drunk driver. The father was died at the scene and the son is in the hospital.