Monday, October 18, 2010

Double Trouble

Monday, October 18

The Double Trouble double century on Saturday was my second-longest ride ever on the tandem: 181 miles. Lots of things were learned.

If you’re thinking of trying your hand/legs at ultra racing or riding, try something in nice cool fall weather. While I complained about the lack of toasty sunshine, really it was nice to not worry about dehydration (I drank maybe 3 bottles during the 13 hours we were out) or heat exhaustion or sunburn or excruciating hot spots on my feet.

If you think tunes would be a nice distraction on your way up an 8-mile climb and hold your iPhone out to the side of the bike in your left hand so your captain can hear the music too, be prepared for your left arm to be even more tired than your right arm the next day.

If you really dread the high-speed descents more than the climbs, pick a number to represent how many tight, fast turns you have to survive and then count on your way down the hill. There will be a lot fewer alarming moments than you think. I chose 20 for the drop after Fossil down to the John Day fossil beds and there turned out to be more like 2.5. (Sometimes I was a good descender and sometimes not; flying into Condon I was in full tuck position out of the wind, but in a few places I was sitting up as tall as I could to try to slow us down.)

If the sun goes down and you’re panicked because the road ahead tips down and disappears into black way too fast for comfort, or even moderate discomfort, and you think the captain is absolutely overdriving the headlight on his helmet, take off your dark glasses. (That was a real “ah ha” moment.)

I don’t wear trousers. At least that’s what one gentleman at the retirement home in Fossil told me as he figured out why our pants didn’t get caught in the two chains on the tandem.

Bruschetta is very nice to eat at a sag stop in the middle of a double century. Cookies get tiresome after the first dozen or so. Unfortunately, it is possible to ride 181 miles and gain weight. I heard from other riders that beer is not such a good thing to drink on a long ride, although the only other woman to finish the whole route thought the swig of whiskey for the last 5 miles was the best way to get down a very fast, twisty descent in the pitch dark.

From my captain’s perspective, towing me along on the climbs was as good as having 400 miles in his legs. Our speed up the Clarno climb was the same as his on that stretch of road during Race Across Oregon…in mid-summer heat…after pedaling mostly nonstop for about 30 hours….

Thanks to Mick and to George and Rob for an amazing day (and to a couple of FB peeps for the pix I borrowed here)!