DMD 2010

Had my strongest ride in a tough double yesterday finishing in 14:33 and hit many walls imaginary and real, broke through more than one, and smacked hard into some that will probably keep me doing this stuff as long as I can. The 6 AM start was much more subdued and had about 30 or so cyclists in it. I was chatting with Rick Jacobson who I will be racing against in the Hoodoo 500 Voyager and he is in the shape of his life at 52 having just broke 14 in Mulholland. The ride to the base of Diablo felt much calmer and relaxed than previous 5 AM starts as the guys in charge here had the experience to know what was ahead and kept things orderly and sane. It took about 33 minutes to get to the base of Diablo and we started to split up. I road with the lead group for 15 minutes or so and could not hold them safely and fell into my own rhythm. It took me 1:03 to get to the top and and I felt pretty good the whole way up. I was maybe 3 minutes behind the top group and started the long descent down. I hooked up with 5 or 6 guys from the Wells Fargo Racing Team and got a quick ride out to Morgan Territory with them. Compared to years past we made very quick work of Morgan Territory and we got to the aid station at 9:25 or so. I jammed down the Plunge at 45 MPH which was a lot of fun and started the wind aided flats towards Altamont Pass. I was trading pulls with Massimillano Poletto down Altamont and this guy was an animal on his 66 CM Rivendell and I could barely hold him, but tbe draft was worth the pain.

I had heard an interesting podcast the Thursday before the ride that a 2/1 glucose/fructose feeding strategy was best for Endurance sports with a goal of 90 gms of Carbs an hour and I wrecklessly decided to apply this w/o testing on DMD. It seemed to work great for 60-70 miles but my stomach was rebelling a bit on the Altamont climb. I was feeling awful actually, but was mindlessly stuffing in the powerbar gel candy to stick the the 360 cals an hour schedule and got a massive spike of energy that shot me up Altamont and towards Mines Road. The gels work ok for a normal ride, but trying to ingest a 2 cases like I did, I would not recommend to anybody I consider a friend.

The 20+ miles to the Junction is one of the toughest parts of the ride and this was no exception. I was still trying hard to keep the 360 calories an hour pouring in, but it felt a bit like force feeding a prisoner 6+ hours in. I got a huge energy spike about half way up the Mines road climb and caught back with the giant Rivendell and traded some pulls into the Junction. I also got a chance to chat with David Jones and he was nice enough to let me pick his brain on his RAAM wisdom. The few nuggets I got were:

1. Do RAW first as you dont know whats going to go wrong until 600 or so miles and you might was well learn this lesson first
2. Dont take too much salt via enduralytes or s-caps or gain 15 pounds of water weight and bloat
3. He recommends 6 person for a viable crew that can work 8 hour shifts with 2 vehicles + an RV

I thought I would bypass a long rest at lunch and sneak in and out. I was out within 3 minutes, but the strategy might have back-fired as I was passed easily by faster 5 AM people and had little strength. I avoided any real food at lunch and was sticking to my Power-Gel diet. The burgers and hot dogs looked great, but I was not sure they would be good food to take on the painful backside of Mt. Hamilton. I think I believe in the 360 calories an hours, but the sickly sweetness of the powerbar gels was starting to bug me. I noticed immediate boosts of energy and then quick drops yoyoing after my force-feeding, but was more grossed out by the taste. This was the most spiky energy pattern I ever had where I would go from feeling like death to passing people on a climb in the heat like the were standing still. Very strange. It took me 50 minutes or so to get to the base of Hamilton which was not horrible, as I climbed pretty well on the last bump before the bridge at the base of the climb. I was passed by Marco a guy i follow on Twitter but managed to pass him back. There were several guys riding around us at that time, and a lot of Terrible Two jerseys. I managed to handle the dreaded back side of Hamilton climb pretty well. I was pulling away from a lot of people but was running low on water. I had to bum some of a guy which is always embarrassing, but in a double, you don't mind as much asking for help. I managed to snag a bottle from a sag wagon. It was pretty hot as usual on the backside with on the bike temps in the mid 80's. I got to the aid station and slammed some liquids and noticed alot of very tired people. The descent of Hamilton was typical for me, not so fast, and I noticed I was passed like I was barely moving by fast descenders which was annoying. I flatted 3 miles or so down and quickly replaced it as I was now starting to worry about breaking 15 hours. A ton of police, ambulances, fire trucks, and such were racing up the hill. I hoped it was not somebody from the DMD, but sadly enough, somebody died . I am sure I passed the person and said hello or something to them a few minutes before they died as the guy I follow on twitter and apparently witnessed it and was on scene for the emergency and was unable to finish the ride. Information on Rider who passed away.

I hooked up with Steve LaChaine whom I shared the infamous $350 cab ride from Loa to St. George in the 2009 Hoodoo 500. He is a really funny guy and a strong rider and he led up Sierra in his 39/27 as I barely could hold him. This was better than last year where I self-desctructed as it took us about 40 minutes to climb it and then drop into the aid station. I was panicky to break 15 hours and was quickly in and out of the aid-station without much goat-petting and Steve caught me and we shared pulls into Sunol where we arrived at 6:50 PM. A 15 hour finish was in the bag as long as things went well. We got into a 5 man train down Niles Canyon road and all of us climbed Palomares very well like we were at the beginning of our ride. It was still light out on the descent and we rocketed up Crow Canyon to Norris Canyon. I dropped a chain on Crow Canyon and lost Steve, but was able to pick up the gap on Norris pushing extremely hard and grunting up the hill knowing the end was near. Those guys hit 50+ on the descent, but I held back and rolled towards the hotel. We finished together at 8:33 for a solid time of 14:33.

Considering I did this in almost 19 hours in 2006, this was a big breakthrough. I had a lot of fun and was able to push hard through most of the day. I am going to keep working on the food strategy as I did not bonk nearly as bad as I have in the past and was strong most of the day.



mthead said…
Great job, great write up!
David said…
Hi Chris. Very nice write-up, thank you for sharing. We were the only tandem doing DMD this year. What a perfect day for an extremely challenging ride. Interesting comments about David Jones. He had similar comments when we talked with him out at Mulholland.
Chris O'Keefe said…
Nice work out there. I think I saw you climbing up Mines. Have a great time out there..
jmilliron said…

Interesting that you were taking in so many calories. I was doing 200 an hour with gels on my 6hr mountain bike race on Saturday. Was going great until I got tired of the GU packets and had a Cliff bar. Total energy crash for over half an hour.

Planning on doing a 12hr mountain bike race in two months, will be interesting to see if 200 an hour is enough for me. Probably will try and up the calories slightly and suppliant it with something like Hammer Perpetuem that has a bit of protein in it.
Chris O'Keefe said… Jason M., check out this podcast for an interesting perspective on nutrition for events like this.