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Death Valley Spring Double ride report

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Death Valley Spring Double ride report

Old 03-05-12, 04:00 PM
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Death Valley Spring Double ride report

(Scroll down for some pics if words hurt your brain )

For the sake of those that don't know what you're missing out on, I took some pics out in Death Valley this weekend during the DV Spring Double event put on by Adventure Corps.

It was my first Double Century, and up till the event the longest I'd ever gone was 114mi 3-4 months prior. I knew I could optionally quit at mile 150 so I figured what the heck, I'll give it a shot.

The morning started out pretty nippy, with temps in the mid 40's and the sun hiding behind the mountain range to the east, but within a few miles I was properly warmed up and enjoying life. I got a late start and ended up in the 4th wave of 70 to start, which put me pretty much in the very back of the pack for the double riders. This turned out to be great as each person in front of me ended up being a 'goal' to catch up to and pass. The guy that started next to me was John Marino, the founder of RAAM (Race Across America). Turns out he rides the same bike, with the same aerobars as I do. Great minds...

Anyway, the climbing started at mile 45 and I was pumped. I *love* to climb, and I was really moving up the mountain at a nice clip. The climbing is nice and easy, and pretty steady so you can just get into a rhythm and enjoy the ride. 16 miles later, we'd climbed about 3,500 ft and got to Salsberry pass. The view down into the next valley was impressive, with the road just trailing off into infinity.

Had a quick rest and a snack at Shoshone (population 31) and hit the road again, 56 miles back to badwater basin where a lunch of Subway and soda awaited us. The climb up again was nice and steady, and the descent on the other side had some lovely curves to it which made it less mind numbing than the descent into Shoshone. As I neared Badwater CalamariChris rode by on his motorcycle and we did an at-speed water bottle hand-off. The sports drink in my camelback was starting to taste like hair spray, so it was a nice treat to have plain water. Dunno why it happens, but my tastebuds get hyper sensitive after 6-7 hours of exercise.

I finished up my Subway lunch, and at this point I had only 66 miles left to go. I was feeling utterly fantastic. The camelbak really makes me drink so much more, and I made sure I took in ~200 calories at each water stop. I used my power meter to pace myself all day and made sure to not blow myself up anywhere on the climbs. For better or for worse, I've become very dependent on power data for pacing.

I rode the 18 mi back to Furnace creek where I could optionally quit and just call it a 150mi Ultra Century. I grabbed a couple twizzlers and felt so great I could hardly wait to get back on the bike. I headed out to Stovepipe wells, about 25 miles away for the final leg of my trip. During this section, I ended up mostly not seeing any other cyclists. No century or Ultra century riders would be on this section of road, and 10 hours into the day the remaining field is pretty spread out. I loved the serenity as the sun began to set behind the westerly mountain range. As I rolled into Stovepipe wells, nighttime had officially arrived, and the volunteers were handing out hot cups of Ramen. Best. Ramen. Ever. With Jupiter and Venus following the sun down behind the mountains, Mars rising up to the east, and Orion and the moon overhead I was in heaven. This is what I signed up for - night cycling in death valley. I'd trained for this, and now I'd earned it.

The remaining 25 miles back to Furnace creek under the stars is something I'll never forget. No human interaction. Very little car traffic. No noises. No lights (aside from cyclists going the other way). Just a man on a bike enjoying life.

Thanks to all the volunteers and Adventure Corps for making such an event happen.

Anyway, final stats:
Ride time: 11:39
Official Elapsed Time: 13:01
Dist: 196.6mi
Elev Gain: 9,450ft
Avg Moving Spd: 16.9mph
Calories: 6,300
AvgWatts(no zeros): 187w
AvgWatts(zeros inc): 170w
https://connect.garmin.com/activity/154626355

And now for a few pics (click to enlarge if you wish):

Traffic coming into Death Valley. An 18 wheeler hauling rock down a 4% grade with a tailwind lost its brakes, plowed into a truck in front of him and crashed into the desert in a ball of fire. I chatted with AdoboVelo guys out of long beach while we waited the hour or so for the road to open.


Gas prices at furnace creek


A view of the Death Valley basin just north of Bad Water. As you can see, there's some pretty nice pavement out here. The views aren't bad either.


The long descent from Salsberry pass into Shoshone. The picture doesn't really do the scale of this descent justice.


And this is headed back up to Salsberry pass, 72 barren miles from Furnace Creek.

Last edited by jmX; 03-05-12 at 04:04 PM.
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Old 03-05-12, 05:11 PM
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Wow!! Very impressive. Thanks for sharing. Do you think it would have been so enjoyable without all your training in the local mtns ?
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Old 03-05-12, 05:39 PM
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Beautiful report. Yeah, I didn't know what I was missing.
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Old 03-05-12, 05:58 PM
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Sorry about the wall of text. Brain dump.

Genaro, I think my SART training would have been mostly sufficient. I'm a mup rider, it's in my blood. When I go hard, I'm at the same watts whether the landscape is flat or pointed up, so GMR or not I would have probably been almost the same.

There are 3 things that I think I did correctly for this event:
1) I do my training via wattage, and thus I knew exactly how to pace myself without blowing up or petering out. My GMR training did help here I suppose, because often I want to hammer up the mountain...but the last 2 times I've been pacing myself up trying to keep X watts the whole day.
2) I managed my TSS, and came into the double century at peak freshness with great fitness
3) I used a camelbak and *forced* myself to eat and drink every chance I got. I never had to piss during the entire ride, but within an hour of finishing I was fully re-hydrated. I nailed the nutrition aspect. This was the most important factor by far.

I may have said it above, but due to the 3 things I just listed I felt so good at the finish I could have probably gone another 50-100mi if I had to. The finish line was bitter sweet. I was sad it was time to stop, but also happy that it was time to stop.

volosong, much like the grand canyon, the pictures really don't do the place justice. Add on the lack of any real traffic or intersections and it's cycling heaven.

Last edited by jmX; 03-05-12 at 06:02 PM.
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Old 03-05-12, 06:11 PM
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Great pace jmX!!!
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Old 03-05-12, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by jmX
volosong, much like the grand canyon, the pictures really don't do the place justice. Add on the lack of any real traffic or intersections and it's cycling heaven.
I've lived all of my sixty years in Southern California ... and never once went out to Death Valley. I usually try to fly someplace during the spring break at school, but with airfare so expensive these days, I'm looking for somewhere closer to home. I was just thinking last week that this might be the year I finally visit Death Valley.

During non-event times, when there would be a much lower profile of cyclist around, are cagers fairly respectful of bikes?
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Old 03-05-12, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by volosong
During non-event times, when there would be a much lower profile of cyclist around, are cagers fairly respectful of bikes?
Hell's Gate Hundred is coming up on 3/31.
And to answer your question, yes, all of the motorists in Death Valley (both of them) are indeed quite considerate, especially if you don't FLAP with hostile intent.

Very impressive Jmx. Great work!

Here are a few more pics from the Fall Century in October to entice you...


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Old 03-05-12, 06:57 PM
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That sceanery looks sureal! I want to do rides likes this. My only concern is the seat time and my bum.
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Old 03-05-12, 07:57 PM
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Nice report , nice ride jmX!
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Old 03-05-12, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Lesper4
That sceanery looks sureal! I want to do rides likes this. My only concern is the seat time and my bum.
Sceanery... I read that as "Sean Connery"!
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Old 03-05-12, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by idoru2005
Great pace jmX!!!
Thanks dude. I was surprised myself at the average pace I kept. Before I started I was hoping just to finish, but by mile 130 I was kinda hoping to finish in the top half. No results posted yet, but there were quite a few people ahead of me. Fingers crossed. I shouldn't have hung out so long at lunch!

The guy that won was so far ahead of everybody else my jaw nearly hit the pavement. He must have been 35 miles ahead of me. Very inspiring.
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Old 03-05-12, 10:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz
Sceanery... I read that as "Sean Connery"!
The deshert schenery was shurreal...?

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Old 03-05-12, 11:00 PM
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Originally Posted by calamarichris
The deshert schenery was shurreal...?
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Old 03-07-12, 12:41 PM
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Too funny!

So as I have been getting in better shape I would like to expand my ride event schedule. I am aware of most of the rides in the Southern Californa area for the most part but I know there are a lot of rides north of here (like the DV Double). Plane Ultra has a few out to the NE but where do I find a list of the other rides, there are a few up on 395 I think. Does anyone have a list or link to these rides?
Thanks,
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Old 03-07-12, 12:49 PM
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Outlandishly shpectacular perhapsh...

Here ye be, Lesper. (Click)
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Old 03-07-12, 01:26 PM
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Thanks jmX. Now I'm going to be a little less impressed with myself every time I pedal 50 miles.
Nice stats!
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Old 03-07-12, 01:47 PM
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Thanks Chris I didnt realize there were so many ofther rides lsited on there. But I thought there were more then 2 rides on 395 (Bishop and Alpine)?
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Old 03-07-12, 02:05 PM
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Woohoo, I finished 52nd of 180 that entered the double. Got that top half finish I wanted. Probably shoudn't have hung around at those water stops so long, but I was enjoying the day.

Now it's time to prep for Hells Gate Hundred....I'm upping the goals and am working for a top 25% finish on that one.


PS, over 10% of Saturday's participants uploaded their ride to Strava so far

Last edited by jmX; 03-07-12 at 02:16 PM.
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Old 03-07-12, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by jmX
Woohoo, I finished 52nd of 180 that entered the double. Got that top half finish I wanted. Probably shoudn't have hung around at those water stops so long, but I was enjoying the day.
Yep, grab that Subway sandwich and shove it in your jersey pocket. Eat that thing on the bike. If you sit around eating your sandwich, your first 10-15 miles back on the bike will be much slower and difficult (even going downhill)!

See you at HGH! Hopefully I'll be posted in Rhyolite like last year. Looking forward to volunteering again!
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Old 03-08-12, 09:03 AM
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jmX,

Been looking for DV results. Where did you find yours?

Ron
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Old 03-08-12, 10:41 AM
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Awesome pics and report! You rock bro! (that car is okay)
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Old 03-08-12, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by UMan
jmX,

Been looking for DV results. Where did you find yours?

Ron
https://www.adventurecorps.com/deathv...2dvspring.html
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