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Old 10-26-10, 07:55 PM   #1
seemunkee
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Death Valley Double

Four days to go and I'm pretty nervous about doing my first double. My adventure buddy has been sick and he's not in any shape to do a double, he may go for the century instead.

Here's my battle plan:
Checkpoint Mile Time
Start 0 7:20
Stove Pipe Wells 24.5 9:20
Mud Canyon32 9:56
1000' Water stop 54.5 11:46
Scotty's Castle 68.2 12:53
Turn around 94.6 3:05
Scotty's Castle 121 5:15
Ubehebe Crater 130 6:00
Mud Canyon 169.1 9:30
Hell's Gate 175.6 10:30
Finish 196.9 12:20
Times are when I need to leave the checkpoint figuring on a 12.25mph average except for the last climb up Hell's Gate which I'm counting on 5mph

I've got the bike loaded in the flight case and have all my riding clothes washed. I hope I can get some sleep the next few nights.
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Old 10-26-10, 08:02 PM   #2
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Well, good luck. Sounds like you're psyched up and ready.

Don't forget your shoes, helmet, gloves, bike etc.

Don't neglect fluids and fuel on the ride. Take pics if you have time, and give us a report.
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Old 10-26-10, 09:56 PM   #3
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seemunkee, I'll be there. Sounds like you have a plan in place. I've never done this double before, although I've done quit a few doubles. The best night of sleep you can get is Thursday night. Don't ride over your head, it is easy to get caught up in a paceline that is going faster than you should be going. Ride your own ride. Start hydrating and eating as soon as you start riding, very important. Hydrate the rest of this week, I mean drink and stand in the bathroom. If you need any more info see me at Death Valley on Friday night, call my room I'm staying at Furnace Creek Ranch.
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Old 10-26-10, 10:31 PM   #4
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Good luck. I visited Death Valley last spring on vacation, staying at Furnace Creek with my family, while they were running the spring century - I wasn't riding, I was just a tourist, but I sure had admiration for the riders we passed on the roads.

I'm sure you've thought it all through, but your 12.25 MPH doesn't seem to include the time spent at stops? So the average rate has to be a little faster on the road?

BTW, I found that they rented MTBs out of Furnace Creek and I got in a few hours riding on that visit, but nothing like a century.
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Old 10-27-10, 12:38 AM   #5
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I'm sure you'll do fine, seemunkee. I'm not sure if there's a hard and fast rule, or what, but, if you've got lights, why don't you start earlier, so you can at least compensate for some of the time spent at the rest stops? And speaking of rest stops, do try to minimize your time spent there. You can always eat and drink on the bike, and you'll be moving.

Also, we need pictures...pictures would be good.
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Old 10-27-10, 06:45 AM   #6
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seemunkee, I'll be there. Sounds like you have a plan in place. I've never done this double before, although I've done quit a few doubles. The best night of sleep you can get is Thursday night. Don't ride over your head, it is easy to get caught up in a paceline that is going faster than you should be going. Ride your own ride. Start hydrating and eating as soon as you start riding, very important. Hydrate the rest of this week, I mean drink and stand in the bathroom. If you need any more info see me at Death Valley on Friday night, call my room I'm staying at Furnace Creek Ranch.
Thursday night is going to be very little sleep. Need to get up early to get to the airport and check the bike for a 7AM EST flight. Been drinking a lot this week and no alcohol. I booked my room to late to get in Furnace Creek I'm staying at Stovepipe Wells.
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Old 10-27-10, 06:53 AM   #7
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I'm sure you've thought it all through, but your 12.25 MPH doesn't seem to include the time spent at stops? So the average rate has to be a little faster on the road?
That's correct. Break time is not included that is why I wanted to figure out the time I needed to be leaving the rest stops. The first half is mostly uphill and the second is mostly downhill.

t4mv - The organizer does three wave starts @7, 7:10, 7:20. They dont' want you on the road ahead of time. They are also ferrying the lights to the half way point so you don't have to carry them all day. And there will be pictures.

At least the weather is looking pretty good. Upper 70s to low 80s with some cloud cover. Better than when I did the single a few years ago when it was in the low 90s
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Old 10-27-10, 10:33 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by t4mv View Post
I'm sure you'll do fine, seemunkee. I'm not sure if there's a hard and fast rule, or what, but, if you've got lights, why don't you start earlier, so you can at least compensate for some of the time spent at the rest stops? And speaking of rest stops, do try to minimize your time spent there. You can always eat and drink on the bike, and you'll be moving.

Also, we need pictures...pictures would be good.
Doubles have starting times, you can't leave early. To get credit you need to checkout and checkin at the start and most rest stops.
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Old 10-27-10, 10:44 AM   #9
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God luck guys! You are truly bike beasts!
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Old 10-27-10, 10:46 AM   #10
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I am glad the weather sounds temperate. The seventies and eighties sounds almost ideal. Personally, for long rides, I like it on the cool side. Good luck on your double. Doing a Death Valley double sounds a bit ominous. But it will probably be fine because I just bet that there will not be much traffic.
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Old 10-27-10, 10:55 AM   #11
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Good luck on your Death Valley Double! Should be a fun day on the bike and it sounds like you have a very reasonable plan for your ride.

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Old 10-27-10, 12:13 PM   #12
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Good luck on the ride- but I never plan anything. Never done a double but 100 miler offroad is almost as good. Only thing I do plan on is "extra" food and "extra" water. So keep the plan flexible and enjoy yourself.
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Old 10-27-10, 12:17 PM   #13
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Good Luck Gents!
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Old 10-27-10, 05:15 PM   #14
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We'll see how I feel. I had a bit of a flu bug Sunday night that kicked my butt. Been lying low all week, we'll see Saturday.
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Old 10-27-10, 08:12 PM   #15
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The weather forecast for Saturday calls for partly cloudy, which will be a gift. The Furnace Creek temp range is for a high of 81 and an overnight low of 38. Yes, it does get cold on the desert! The relative humidity is going to be high about start time - 0700 - at 41% but that coincides with a 10% chance of rain [not likely according to our local weather guessers]. It will decline over the course of the day, as the temp hots up. Winds on the valley floor will be in the 6-8 mph range, mainly from the south. With that said, the course heads north, up Scotty's Castle Rd to the Castle, and thence onward up Grapevine Canyon to the Nevada/CA state line and the "slog" across the Bonnie Claire Flat to Scotty's Junction at Hwy 95. Then it's back across the Flat to the Castle, and the somewhat direct return home. Scotty's Castle is approx. 3300' above sea level so the "climb" from the start point is 3500'. Bonnie Claire Flat, 5 miles further up the canyon above the castle is at 4000'. The temps, once you're that far along, will bare no resemblance to the Furnace Creek temps; count on 5-10 cooler, depending on what the winds are doing up on the Flat [it's true high desert country - wide open and subject to slight weather changes]. There is no real way to forecast wind conditions up on the Flat as it is a remote as it can get. I have experienced snow showers [unlikely this year], strong winds [always a possibility], plus the unrelenting "slog" for the 42 mile round trip from/to the state line. It is exposed ground, nearly flat with only a few small rollers. Tedious is how I describe it. There have been instances where the return leg back towards the castle have been "improved" by a tail wind; not frequently, but it has happened. Once back at the state line it's all down hill, more or less. There's the drop to the Castle for a CP, and then the leg out to Ubehebe Crater, another mandatory CP [all new road completed this past spring!] and then the e-ticket ride back to Mud Canyon - 33 miles - which is followed by the climb up to Hell's Gate. This is the one true challenge - 7 miles at between 6-8%. Once at the Gate, it's a 10 mile descent on the Beatty Cut-Off to CA190, and then an 11 mile run back to s/f. The key to any "desert" ride is to stay hydrated, and like any other distance ride, fueled. Make sure you stop at each CP and keep your bottles full; take your Endurolytes and grab food to take with you and eat on the bike [no trash disposal on the desert please!]. I find that this, the north course, is much more interesting than the south course to Shoshone. But then, I ride that section pretty much weekly.

In any event, enjoy the ride! Death Valley is something to behold.
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Old 10-28-10, 07:47 AM   #16
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Thanks for the insights 200miler. I did the single century two years ago, but I know this is going to be a whole new experience
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Old 10-30-10, 06:10 PM   #17
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Go seemunkee! I had to bail, just wasn't feeling well Friday.
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Old 10-30-10, 06:22 PM   #18
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200 miles AND 9000' of climbing is more than I could do. Impressive!
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Old 11-01-10, 02:01 AM   #19
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Didn't make it.
It was cold, rainy and windy when we woke up in Stove Pipe Wells. By the time we got to the start in Furnace Creek we could see some clear spots coming over the rim but it was still cold and a slight drizzle. I made good time for the first 40 miles but faded so much by the time I got to Scotty's castle I knew I couldn't do the double. Ended up doing the single century plus the 25 mile loop to Stove Pipe.
My buddy had been sick the week before and still wasn't 100% so he turned around at the 1000 ft water stop. Unfortunately he didn't know I had abandonded the double and didn't come to back to the finish for a few hours. I watched the first 200 miler come in before it was evendark. Which means he did it in 9 hours. Amazing performance. Bill Walton His bike is the biggest frame I have ever seen.
I had a nice trip and while disappointed that I couldn't do the double was there and hung around the finish chattingI still had a really nice time. This makes my 3rd trip to DV and I'm sure I'll be back again to hike or bike.
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Old 11-01-10, 04:50 AM   #20
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You did a great job seemunkee! 125 miles is something to be very proud of!
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Old 11-01-10, 10:05 AM   #21
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Sorry to hear of your DNF seemunkee,

But I know how it feels! I DNF'd on Death Valley in 2003 at mile 150, just too dehydrated to go on. Unlike you, however, I've never felt a need to go back and try again. Guess I'm just not a desert guy.

Good try though, and hopefully you'll have a better result next time!

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Old 11-01-10, 10:32 AM   #22
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I was woundering about the weather in DV since that storm blew through Bakersfield early Friday evening. Sorry to here you didn't make it. It's tough to do all that flying then get on a bike and ride a double. Next time come out a few days earlier and get a little rest. If you're still interested in doing a double look at the Triple Crown site and maybe work in the Grand Tour or one of the easier doubles for a starter double.
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Old 11-01-10, 11:04 AM   #23
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Thanks Rick and Dante. There is a fairly new double that is out of DC that I have heard about that I may aim for next summer that is a relatively flat course.
I have no regrets for flying out, I have a conference in Vegas this week so work is picking up the airfare, just needed to cover the weekend.
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Old 11-01-10, 11:17 AM   #24
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I agree with Dante,

A relatively flat course, and one closer to home, would be an excellent place to start. My first double was out of Litchfield, IL so very flat farm country (at least it was farm country back in '85).

Since moving to CA in '95 I have learned to love climbing doubles and enjoyed the support of the CA Triple Crown community. Still not that much into the desert scene, as I re-learned on the White Mountain double this year.

Hoping for more doubles next year!

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Old 11-01-10, 01:03 PM   #25
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I have a 100 miler that I used to do. I have attempted it 11 times now and only failed twice. Once down to personal fitness not being there and once down to weather.

If you are not going to make it- then it is best to call it a day- no matter what the reason. I did finish it once with a Mate that became ill at around the 90 mile mark and as soon as I saw the state of him at the finish- I decided that it was not worth going over the top of personal abilities. When i saw him 3 days later- I became doubly convinced.

Just so you don't think I am a wimp- That 100 miler is the hardest one day off road ride that is possible for mere mortals in the UK. I trained for it- 3 years worth. Have to admit that the 65 mile training rides were worse than the Actual ride. But they were being done in Winter/early spring with plenty of rain and winds to add to the "Enjoyment"

So find an "Easier" Double to attempt as your next one. Sounds as though this one was not be the best intro to what is going to be a hard ride for anyone.
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