Archive for April, 2008

Mt. Hamilton Challenge and DMD

| April 29, 2008 8:47 pm

by Deborah Hoag

David and I rode from the house at 6:10 to meet Pete Klein and Dennis at the base of Mt Hamilton. I thought 4 hard doubles in one year would be too much for me in one year. So, we decided Mt Hamilton Challenge would be fun. We could see our friends going the other way and we could ride with friends we have not riden with in awhile. My time up Mt Hamilton was a little slow compared to my best time. I knew I had picked the right ride for me then.

We reached the Junction at 10:45 and had lunch. The reststop was not opened yet, but we talked to one of the sag drivers. It was so much fun watching everyone past by us. We saw Gary Franck at 11:40 on Mines Road, before the county sign (4 miles from the junction). At the time it looked like Gary was in about 4 th place. We saw Franz on Mines Road at 12:15. Yes, we thought Franz is going make it under 15 hours. Then it was Sheila and Russ at 12:34, Dave B at 12:36, Udi at 12:37. Steve Saeedi at 12:43 leaving the Mines Reststop, and Art at 12:47 the reststop. David and I stopped and talked to Art. We thought we may see some DMD riders on Calaveras, but no. We finished climbing Calaveras at 3:30.

We rode down Piedmont road and saw one DMD rider turn up Sierra. We then rode back to Willow Glen and had dinner at one our favorite places. We reached Willow Glen around 4P. As we were having dinner 5:30, David asked me where would I be on DMD at this time. I said I be starting to climb the back of Mt Hamilton. Great Job for DMD riders. The Mt Hamilton Challenge is a big party. We did have alot of fun. We rode with Barry S, Granger, Pete Klein.

Mt Hamilton Challenge

| 1:19 pm

By Louise McCracken – April 26th, 2008

Arriving @ 6:00 at Wilcox High School in Santa Clara with three set’s of “goodies” to place in drop at bags designated for the rest stops, the 39th annual Mt Hamilton Challenge was about to commence.  Unlike other rides, you were required to check-in with your bicycle as it was subject to examination.  Once you were given your number, printed on a file folder size label with your name and contact information you are instructed to affix the label to one of your brake lines, and directed to the designated bike inspectors before starting your ride.  This was not a hard-core assessment; the primary concern was the condition of your brakes.  I met John Kaplan as we wait for our bike check-up’s and agreed to start the ride together.

There was no organized staggered start as individuals and groups alike ventured onto the course.  I was very comfortable with this ride as I cycled the route in parts and pieces with other rides. Having lived my childhood in Santa Clara, I found that diverting off course temporarily on a better road was very tempting.  The weather was very nice!  Clear skies the mooring chill was quite calm, it was going to be a warm, but beautiful day for a bike ride.  Once we approached the overpass on Lawrence Expressway towards Central Expressway, John and the group of riders was painfully slow.  Sorry John for dropping you so early, I can take only so much before I can’t stand it anymore.  That was the last I saw of him for the rest of the day.

It was not long before another group of riders caught-up to me as we were able to keep a steady pace about 22mph to Alum Rock Park.  Someone got a flat and I suddenly found myself riding with two other riders.  This was a first to ride through Alum Rock Park like this, it was nice.  Before I knew it, I hooked up to Alum Rock Avenue leaving the park and onto Mt Hamilton road a few moments later.  This is where the “climbers” separate themselves from the pack.  I felt good and thought I was doing well until a group passed me as they were carrying a casual conversation about whatever was gong on with their lives.  Okay, this was the incentive that I tend to become easy on myself if I am climbing alone as opposed to working together with a group.  Much to my amazement, I was able to pick-up the pace without feel too strained.  When I reached the top at the observatory, I was happy to see Barry S. who was about to start his decent. I .The winds were mild and quite warm.  Should have put a small tube of sunscreen in my bag, the application earlier that morning was worn off, I’m sure.

Finding you bag of goodies can be challenging if you do not remember the drop-off bag number when you first arrived to start the ride in Santa Clara.  Water and Lemonade was made available, no energy powder.  This is bare to the bones basic ride for the more experienced, self supportive cyclist.  As I was eating my last cookie and topped off my water bottles, I was happy to be leaving the rest-stop as a group was arriving.  The route sheet strongly cautioned to be alert on the decent ear-marking the cattle-guards at various mile-markers.  I was happy to be one of the very few descending the mountains at the time as the debris of falling rock from the hillsides would suddenly appear.  I was starting to cross paths with DMD riders.  I did not recognize Gary F. right away as he was wearing his Death Ride jersey.  Called out to him the moment I passed him, best of luck, it’s a warm day today.  From that point forward the acknowledgements from the DMD riders were common.

When I reached the Junction, I thought it was the next designated rest stop, but there was no canopy to be found or a truck with cylinder jugs of water.  Another cyclist informed me that I had another 20 or so miles to go.  As I was shedding my jacket, I met up with David H. who was ready to catch-up with Deb L. after making a pit-stop.  “Okay, see you soon, right behind you.”  Ahem!  Yea right, I’ll be far behind you, see you on the next ride.  Leaving the Junction, Arriving to the next rest-stop was surprising.  A dirt turn-about area off the road that is not the friendliest to road bike tires.  I was so happy I did not get a flat.  Donated half the cookies as I left to continue on course, I was so happy to be wearing a sleeveless jersey, but wish I had that tube of sunscreen.

Continuing down Mines Road, I was crossing paths with a concentration of DMD riders’.  I started shouting out to each and every rider “Good Luck!” as I was passing them.  Wish the battery on my camera didn’t die on me; the looks of their faces were something else.  They were climbing; with many more mile miles under their belt and it was warm regardless of the wind-tailwinds for them, headwinds for me.  I did get a smile from most of them as they appreciated my words of encouragement on such a tough ride. Much to my delight, expressing myself to the DMD riders turned out to be beneficial as I approached a motorcycle club.  Each HOG had a passenger who informed the rider that I was on their tail about to pass them.  I am sure that was a surprise.  They quickly passed me once we were down the mountain; I was in the middle of the pack.

Met Alan and Dennis from Fremont on the road towards Pleasanton; since I had not seen markings on the road, I was concerned about staying on course.  Dennis reassured me he knew where he was going and pointed out the markings when we came across them.  Not that many, but the course was familiar from the Primavera Century ride the week before.  Pace-lining with Alan and Dennis made the ride more enjoyable until we approached the last rest-stop.  Alan mentioned something about grabbing a beer after the ride.  Sorry, I don’t drink beer, but thanks for the offer.  The group who easily passed me climbing Mt Hamilton were mounting their bikes and leaving the rest-stop.  I felt better, not too far behind them, I am keeping a good pace.  A dousing of water over my head was heaven.  As I was gearing-up to continue, Alan asked if I would like to continue riding with them on Calaveras.  Sure!  But don’t wait-up for me if I am too slow on the incline.

The guy proved to be gentlemen nonetheless.  Made sure I was connect to their pace line if I started to fall behind.  As we left Sunol, I reassured Alan I knew the rest of the route and he can cycle at his own pace.  Told Dennis the same when I got the chance, he turned to me and said “Hey!  I’m old, I need a rest every now and then.  Just completing a ride is good enough for me!’  Oh give me a break dude, I am a few years shy of 50 and had been cycling for seven months.  You’re not THAT old.  Did not cross paths with DMD riders again, they must have been on Sierra Road.  Made it through Calaveras on my middle ring and had the energy to blast down the wall.  Yahoo!

Took advantage with my knowledge of the neighborhood and took some side streets returning to Santa Clara. It was the same mileage, less time on Montague Expressway.  As I approached the cafeteria at Wilcox to check-in, it was about 4:15pm and completed 130 miles.  There was a group of young girls and their mothers greeting us with cheers and smiles.  Too cute!

Whipped by the Devil & the Club

| 5:38 am

by Brian Chun on 4/26/08

The Diablo interrupted a dream I had the night before D Day and persuaded me to rise early, pack my provisions, and ride from home. Would I be allowed to rest, or would I perish, as many others had, along his infernal Mines Road, or elsewhere along his spiked and serpentine-shaped circuit? His temptation offered no consolation: “Cycle 225 miles and ~18,500 ‘ in 17 hours from Los Altos and return no later than 9:00 pm,” he rasped, his voice dry with dust and humming with the high voltage power lines of Patterson Pass. Then a cool angel appeared, from the clear waters of Calaveras, waving the petals of the rare snow orchid, sprinkling jeweled water droplets and a vision of me gliding, via hybrid, homebound, across freeway 237, with my sweet wife, my legs still and resting. No longer were they rotating on a relentless ride with the devil.

I awakened and found myself spinning past 2175 Grant Road (base camp for the classic Java Jive Monday ride) at 3:40 am, with 4 bottles and enough food & gear to add 10 pounds to my XRL double (53-39 x 32-11), crossing the sleeping Santa Clara Valley at its width. Then I saw cows, standing silhouetted against the valley’s sparkling city lights, silent under a half-moon lit sky, witnessing my march up Sierra Road with my mini LED torches and tail light. My plunge down Felter road pierced pockets of warm thermals, hinting towards more heat to come. Too early to kiss goats. Far to the right, the flickering jeweled city lights of Pleasanton beckoned.

I snaked along Calaveras reservoir for the sunrise. It was bright, clear and in the low 60s by the time I reached Norris Canyon. Free range turkeys jaywalked. Proud stallions stood tall, strong and silent, like Tang horses from the sentries of ancient China. And except for their “crumb trail”, the good Quackcyclist folks were gone, leaving the entire route as “free” as they found it. After my first of four 25 minute meals in one of Blackhawk’s jog-path pagodas, my tank was full and I was ready to roll up dazzling Diablo. This time, there were just a couple of rattlesnakes to furtively glare at me, basking in the fresh sunlight on butter-like asphalt. Would hawks or condors suddenly swoop from above and would my helmet protect me? I stopped for my second 25 minute picnic just below the summit, then continued, reaching the top by 11:00 am when my cell phone chirped in celebration!

Several groups, strong or recreational , were charging up from the North Gate as I ripped and rattled down Diablo’s northern switchbacks. Later, after running the highway gauntlet through Clayton and Diablo Valley, I piqued and passed a couple of grey-haired bicycling veterans, midway amidst the cool tree lined shadows of Morgan Territories. Last year I chased a strong local rider’s vortex to rapidly prance by pedal through this pelvis- pounding equestrian ranch wilderness. On yet another ride it was Russ and Sheila Stevens whirring before me like an express Caltrain, myself in tow.

Yet this afternoon’s experience was more placid as I bobbed and weaved this rural rutted road in relative reticence. My passage was occasionally punctuated by some full throttled motorbikers or rumbling truckers, who alerted me with their lights on, little beams sparkling in my bug-like mirrors. After emerging from this shaded sanctuary and slipping further behind schedule, I lounged for lunch at the Carl’s restaurant on North Vasco Road, Livermore, for another undeserved yet luxurious, 25 minute, lunch break #3. I had lost significant time in the territories, and did not start pushing up into the parched passes until 2:30 pm.

Altamont and Patterson passes were warm and breezy, with the excitement of the Wente Bike Racers descending lower Altamont Pass Road. After removing a pesky popped drive spoke, I reached the “Oh My *” summit by 4:00 pm. My wiggly rear rim held, and I descended into Livermore to cross Mines Road at 4:55 pm, more than a bit too late at this rate to complete the entire route by 9 pm. So like my snapped spoke, I broke my pact with the Devil, skipping the climb to the Junction, Isabel Creek, and Mt. Copernicus!

I set sail due west along Concannon, a relaxed run amidst vineyards to stop and dine for my fourth 25 minute layover at the Taco Bell across from the Raley’s supermarket in Pleasanton. It was just before 7:00 pm when I went over to visit the local tandem shop. From there it was a cooler cruise along the tree lined roads to Calaveras. I was climbing up past the dam in time to spot Russ and Sheila Stevens at 7:20 pm at one of the Calaveras Road hairpins, shooting by me on their tandem pro-tempore. I also saw about 15 other riders, mostly travelling singly, many whirring along in focused “DMD” style with Triple Crown jerseys. I did not recognize any of them as ACTC members.

Later I would read that many of our stronger members, such as Steve Saeedi, Franz Kelsch and Gary Franck, were already well on their way to the finish in San Ramon. Then the red DMD SAG Chrysler van came cruising down Calaveras with just one bike on top, a good sign for the day. Earlier, the Mt. Hamilton Challenge SAG van driver passed me in downtown Pleasanton, and later, on Calaveras Road in Milpitas, unladen. I reached my Mandalay Noodle finish line by 7:45 pm, enjoyed tea and a second dinner before sundown, then rested in the car as my relieved wife drove home. We were back by 9:00 pm!

So I did my best to honor my pact with the devil, but the angel prevailed once again. I was glad to hear that the rest of our fabulously strong club members were quite swift this year in completing their DMD “trial” with a “verdict” of “fast and faster”, instead of “did not finish”. My day was actually a pleasant Tri-Valley tour, with so much food and good climbing, everything a ACTC sherpa could wish for in one day! With a little more proper conditioning, better mechanicals, and similar weather, I should be able to meet the devil’s worst and angel’s best wishes for me, and I hope that many of you will be able to join me for your own challenging adventure!

My thanks to (not in any particular order) Franz & Ann Kelsch, Russ and Sheila Stevens, my brother Dr. Stephen R. Chun, Patty Dougherty, Joe and Rosa Farinha, Gary Franck, Steve Saeedi, Nina, Austin and Tyler Yeats, Jon Kaplan, Patrice and Steve Carney, Mark Pryor, Michael Khaw, Roger and Hisako Coombes, Bikemaster Donny Axtell, Spencer Frink, Deborah Lefferts and David Hoag, Quackcyclists, the Jorgensens, the McGeoughs, Google Maps, our Amazing Brevet Bikers, Ken Emerson, Cristin Sohm, Guy Neenan, Paul Duren, Benjamin Waters, David Lee, Bob Schultz, Mani Harihara, Steve Ching and family, Megan Nguyen, Nancy Kenny, Mylo and Pat Stenstrom, Lane Parker, Melanie Clark and family, Udi, Patrice Courtier, Ravi, Kevin Kozar, Granger Tam, Lou Mason, Linda Matsuhiro, Barbara Murphy and Fred O’Leary, and all of the rest of our members and friends, young and young at heart, who, in our club and biking communities, continue to energize us with the spirit of this sport and system of travel. Thanks to you and countless others, it has been an amazing two years for me in our club.

May the force propel you!

Ride Data (info only):

Physicals: Sore rear and feet (shoes a bit tight when hot). More high RPM speed training needed.

Perhaps too much to eat/drink. Start training on the tandem & recumbent and do track wind

sprints (running).

Mechanicals: Broken drive spoke. Stronger rear wheel needed.

Weather: Clear, light breezes, warm afternoon. Near ideal conditions, especially for Patterson Pass.

Total Distance: 180 miles

Total Time: 17 hours, 5’ Biking Time:15 hours, 10 ‘. Alternative Time: 115’.

8 goats: Sierra, Palomares, Norris Canyon, Mt. Diablo South, Morgan Territories, Altamont & Patterson Passes, Calaveras North.

Devil Mountain Double Ride Report

| April 28, 2008 4:39 pm

by Russ and Sheila Stevens

In many respects, participating in the Devil Mountain Double Century was much like riding any other bike ride in that it was a day of seeing friends, enjoying beautiful scenery, eating lots of food, suffering and achieving a great sense of accomplishment. The only difference was that in the devil mountain double century, there were a lot more of all of these things, especially the suffering. OK, the sense of achievement was also quite high, especially when we (Russ and Sheila) rolled our tandem into the finish line having completed 206 miles and 18,000 ft of climbing in 17 hours.

We started at 5:00 am with many familiar ACTC faces including Franz Kelsch, Gary Franck, Art Cruz, Paul Duren, Udi Yuhtjman, Steve Saeedi and hopefully soon to be member, Larry Garvey, and his friend Colin. Larry has ridden with Mike McGeough and has recently started coming out for LDTRs.

The chill of earlier in the week was replaced with comfortable 50 degree morning temperatures. We started out wearing arm warmers and our AWESOME Furnace Creek 508 vests that we got from Franz and Paul V. as a thank you for crewing (and likely an incentive to repeat this year). It was a comfortable, social pace out to the base of Mount Diablo when someone in the peloton quipped, “Hey are we done yet?” Russ responded, “Well, we are remarkably close to the finish.” Who knew how witty he could be at 5:15 am.

The ride up Diablo was beautiful. We could hear all sorts of critters in the dark and could see a long trail of red blinkies going up the mountain, followed by a spectacular sunrise that illuminated the hillsides and valleys below. We didn’t mess around trying to push big gears, we spoke to granny early and often throughout the day. Between 1 and 2 miles from the top, we saw Gary and then Franz descending. That would be the last we saw of them.

It was breezy at the top so we did not stay long before starting back down with Larry. Downhill is a new experience on the loaner bike (most of you know our tandem has been in the shop for two months now with a cracked frame). Now the drum brake control is in back so Sheila has more influence on descending speeds than simply making whimpering noises and high pitched screeches. It is a bit of a balancing act, but we seemed to work well together and our descending skills really improved as the day progressed.

We had an uneventful climb up Morgan Territory and saw Dave B (I think this is new guy Dave from the LDTRs, but not sure), Steve S. and Udi at the top. After a safe, controlled descent down the backside (Russ commented he, David Hoag and Gary Franck basically dive bombed this part last year) it was on to Altamont Pass with Larry. Despite cruising at a pretty good clip into a mild headwind we were easily passed by about 20-30 riders doing a road race on that same section of road. That was fine, as we were still a little ahead of our prediction to be at the Mines rest stop by noon, an hour before the 1 pm cutoff.

Patterson Pass was remarkably calm (wind speed wise) which was a pleasant surprise. It was warm, but not crazy hot like last year. Sheila thought it was the best she’s ever felt on that climb – then again Russ doesn’t usually put a rest stop right before the “Oh my *!” summit. We saw Steve Saeedi and Udi again at the water stop. We never saw Steve again, but he must have passed us somewhere because he was loading his bike onto his car when we got to the finish. We chatted a bit before pushing on to the summit and to Mines Road. We did the summit fairly quickly (for a tandem), picked up some serious speed on the descent, and unfortunately lost Larry in the process. We spent a few minutes waiting for him at Mines, but decided we needed to just press on at our pace.

While climbing the first pitches of Mines we slowly caught up to a rider named Reeve from Tahoe. We were surprised to catch him because he had a really low jersey number indicating that he not only finished DMD last year in the heat, he must have had a really good time (as a side note, Russ’ number was 4 — Sheila’s was 135). Sheila complemented Reeve on his low number, and he dejectedly responded that this year was not going nearly as well. Turns out he had a derailleur cable and bolt problem that cost him a side trip to a bike store and 1.5 hour delay. We rode with him for about 5 minutes when his chain suddenly dropped. We stopped up ahead, waited for him to get rolling again and in the process quickly made a new friend. He was so taken aback that we stopped that it seemed to really improve his attitude. As we were cruising with a tailwind though the mellow portions of Mines, he commented on how we really made a difference in his day and allowed him to physically and mentally recover. We were so surprised at the effect that just a small pause and a little company could have on another rider … it made our day too.

We saw LOTS of friendly faces going in the opposite direction on Mines because of the Mount Hamilton Challenge. First was Dave and Deb (and probably others I did not pick out) who were cruising along at a really good clip, followed very closely by Barry Schwartz. A while later we saw Kryia Adams and Guy Neenan. By far our most memorable encounter was when our friend Wyatt (who we met on the Patterson Overnighter) actually turned around and rode back up the hill with us for maybe a mile or so – that deserves some sort of award! By this time Reeve was asking if there were any cyclists out there today that we didn’t know!!!

As we neared the last summit before the junction, we inched up on Paul Duren who we hadn’t seen since Diablo. We broke away on the descent (of course) but we met up again over lunch.

Lunch at the junction was a nice, albeit quick break. We didn’t want to spend more than 20 minutes at the stop, so ordering a burger was out. Turns out, in true Quackcyclist form, the rest stop workers had ordered burgers and fries in advance. Sheila was very excited about this and quickly grabbed a burger to share with Russ. Russ thought it was one of the best tasting burgers he had ever had. Paul Duren left lunch before us and Udi was at lunch when we left.

We rolled out of the junction right on schedule and went easily down San Antonio Valley. We were admiring all the YELLOW poppies (compared to orange) and Sheila made the comment, “I wonder if Gary and Franz had time to notice any poppies today”. We caught up with Paul D. again on San Antonio Valley, but slowly pulled away as we started the climb just before Isabel Creek. As usual, the backside of Mt. Hamilton was where the real suffering began. From the start of the climb at mile 5, we eagerly anticipated each decreasing mile marker. Reaching mile marker 4 took forever. Mile marker 3 seemed to take even longer, so just before we reached it, we took a break at Donny’s well. Russ was very excited to see the well running again as it was stopped during the LDTR two weeks early, but we were dismayed to see that the “Donny’s Backside” sign was no longer there! We both stuck our heads under the ice cold water. It was AMAZING. Another biker stopped to do the same and the three of us might have looked ridiculous, but it felt like heaven. We couldn’t entice any others to stop there, but everyone we saw on the backside took at least one stop somewhere on the way up. Clearly, we were not the only ones suffering. After cooling off, getting to mile marker 2 seemed much easier and Russ even commented how we did it fairly quickly compared to the last two miles. We stopped at the official water stop 1.5 miles from the top. By this time our schedule was slipping and Russ wasn’t looking too good. We made a final push for the top but were ground to a halt literally 50 ft below the real summit when Russ’ legs cramped severely. Knowing lack of salt was the issue, Sheila force-fed Russ some salty cheese crackers. After a brief pause we were finally able to make it to the top, now about 20 minutes behind schedule. The descent offered some much needed recovery as did the Mountain Dew and potato chips at the Crothers’ rest stop. Many thanks to club member, Tim Schacher, for once again hosting the stop at his house.

Thinking we felt pretty good, we left Crothers and headed off towards the dreaded Sierra Rd. We didn’t even make it to the first plateau by the church before Russ cramped up again. We downed our last salt packets and started to pedal on. Fifty feet later, we looked to our left and noticed Eric and Connie Jorgensen’s garage door was open and looking oh, so welcoming. Sheila said, “Maybe we should stop in”. In a complete departure from his driven nature, Russ totally surprised her by immediately turning the bike into their driveway (remember, we were only 5 downhill or flat miles from our last rest stop). We sheepishly rang their doorbell and asked for some salt. Eric, always the host, complied and even raised the ante by offering bananas and potassium tablets. It was like Bicycling Trick-or-Treat. We kept our stop short, but that five minutes of laughing and smiling was an incredible spirit lifter. Eric and Connie continued to work acts of kindness by cheering on later riders as they passed.

Somehow, we actually made it to the top of Sierra. Without going into too much detail, we will admit that there was some walking involved on one of the steepest parts, but it was only one of us and for less than 50 yards. Sheila was relieved when Russ admitted it was just about as hard to move the tandem uphill when she was not on it. Regardless of what the truth is, being able to talk sweet on a tandem at mile 160 on Sierra is a remarkable trait!

With the tough climbing behind us, we met Alta the goat and got our picture taken. Ken Holloway was at the rest stop and everyone was cheering us on.

The wall at the turn onto Calaveras was miserable, but short and the rest of Calaveras was downright pleasant. We saw several of the final Mt Ham Challenge riders going the other way and on one of the corners, passed Brian Chun who was clearly finishing up whatever combination of roads he had strung together to take photos of the riders from both DMD and the Challenge. We were now about 50 minutes behind of our original schedule, but the only thing that mattered was still getting though the twisting of Calaveras before dark. Russ could already taste the hot dogs to come in Sunol at the rest stop. After a quick cruise down the flat part of Calaveras, we arrived at Main Street at 8pm just as it was getting dark. Ben Waters was volunteering and served up some fine food. We quickly (in our minds) refueled and pushed on. We were really going to do this!!!

Niles Canyon stinks on most days, but it is awful in the dark. Palomares was a welcome relief even though it meant more climbing. We traded bright headlights and the sound of rushing traffic for a pitch black rural road and chirping frogs. Descending in the dark was very controlled as there was NO WAY we were going to risk an accident this close to the finish! Only 15 miles to go.

Norris Canyon is really just a kid (baby billy goat), but in the dark and starting at mile 200 we still noticed every last bit of it. We can’t express the excitement we felt when we reached the summit and knew that it was literally “all downhill from there”. We rolled into the Marriott parking lot at 10:00 pm – exactly 17 hours after our 5 am start, and 1 hour behind schedule. We were the fastest tandem for the day, but I guess also the slowest if we got all technical. We were the only tandem stupid enough to attempt the DMD this year.

Dinner at the ride finish was a delicious selection of four pastas, garlic bread, brownies and Martinelli’s cider served in the classic Quack glasses. The real treat was being able to sit on something other than a hard bicycle seat. We found out that Gary finished at 7:00 and Franz finished at 8:30. We later found out Larry stuck it out and also finished at 2 am. We are not sure how everyone else fared, but we look forward to reading any ride reports people feel like contributing.

We really want to express our appreciation to the Quack Cyclists and all the volunteers out on the course who did everything in their power to enable people to finish short of turning the pedals for them. This was the hardest thing we have ever done, but the Quacks really helped us to finish (the good weather did not hurt, either).

A few parting statistics as to what it took to complete the DMD:

  • 1 borrowed Co-motion Speedster Tandem (thanks to Bicycle Outfitters) with an 11-34 rear and a 30-42-54 front.
  • 206 miles
  • 18000+ feet of climbing
  • Temperature: 49-92 degrees
  • Rolling time ~15 hours, total time 17 hours
  • Average power output (when pedaling): 248 ft-lbs/sec (combined)
  • Calories expended: ~17,500 (10,500 for Russ, 7000 Sheila)
  • Calories eaten during the ride: 6900 for Russ, ?? for Sheila (yeah like I am going to ruin a guilt free eating day by listing it all out just to count up the calories!!!)
  • 0 flats or mechanical issues

Devil Mtn Double – No Trouble with a Double

| 4:33 pm

by Franz Kelsch

I finished the very difficult Devil Mountain Double on Saturday. It is 206 miles with 18,600 feet of climbing. It is probably the most difficult double century in California. My final time was 15 hours, 32 minutes, a big improvement over last year. Gary Franck was way ahead of me, finishing in 14 hours, 2 minutes. Before the start we saw Steve Saeedi, Paul Duren, Brian Canali, Lyresa Pleskovitch, Art Cruz and Russ and Sheila Stevens on a tandem.

I was happy with my time since it was hot again. I got worried coming up Mines Road because of the heat and started to get a bad case of hot foot. There was a breeze this year that helped. I really focused on drinking all day, and took a lot of Endurolyte tablets. I was so worried about cramping again on the backside of Mt. Hamilton that I went up slower than I probably needed to, but I never did cramp anywhere on the ride.

I was also happy to make it to Norris Canyon, the last section, before dark. I don’t like biking on Crow Creek Canyon road in the dark due to all the traffic. I had carried my one pound light the entire day and could have got by with a small Cateye light.

I left the aero bars on the bike which was a good thing. It gave me an alternate position not only for my hands but when I am in the aero bars I get a different position on the saddle, which greatly helped to take some pressure off a tired butt. It was either that part of the body or my right foot that hurt the most.

This year I used my newer bike with only a double crank, but I had no big issue with the higher gearing. I would have preferred to climb up Sierra Road with a triple but the better handling of the newer bike was a benefit on the rest of the ride.


Here is a detailed comparison with doing the same event last year.

2007 2008
Body Weight 135 139
Bike Gearing Triple (30/25) Double (39/27)
Total Time (hr: min) 18:12 15:32
Riding Time (hr:min) 14:51 14:31
Avg. Speed (mph moving) 14.1 14.3
Stopping Time (hr:min) 3:21 1:01
Average Heart Rate (bpm) 136 136
Maximum Heart Rate (bpm) 167 169
Average HR Climbing Sierra (bpm) 142 146
Issues to Deal With Significant Cramping Significant Hot Foot
Weather Hot No Wind Hot With Breeze

Time Comparison

This chart shows my arrival times into the various rest stops. You can see that for the first 115 miles, up to the junction cafe, I did almost the same between both years. Last year my times slowed down considerably due to cramping on the backside of Mt. Hamilton. Click the graph below to enlarge.

Stopping Time Comparison

This shows a comparision between my stopping time between years. Times shown are in minutes. Most of the improvement in the total time was due to a signficant reduction in the amount of stopping time at the rest stops.

Stop 2007 2008
Diablo Summit
Morgan Territory RS
Mines Rd RS
Junction Cafe
Cramping on Mt. Hamilton
Crother’s RS
Pet the Goat RS
Sunol RS
Other, stop lights, mini rest stops
Total Stopping

Last Time

I don’t plan on doing this event again. It is very difficult and takes out of you far too much. Since I had a difficult time last year, I wanted to do it again to see if I could do it right with better training and more of a focus on hydration during the event. Having accomplished that, I don’t feel a need to repeat it.

Davis 24 Hour Challenge

| April 20, 2008 5:34 pm

by Joe Farinha


Here is my lengthy… ( it’s long distance) report on an event that although it’s not a Double. It’s a fun event that, I would recommend to anyone who is planning to train for endurance races. ( i.e. FC508, Hodoo500, RAAM, etc)

The Davis Challenge is 12/24 Hr is a low key bicycle race promoted by the Davis Bike Club, with guidance from the infamous Lee Mitchel. The main object is to ride as many miles as possible within the time you’ve registered for. The course is divided in two loops, the day loop is a 162 mile long section of the Davis Double. The night loop is a flat 18.3 mile section around the Winters area. We were surprised to find out that we would be competing against some top notch endurance riders. A couple of RAAM veterans showed up, and there were also a few FC508 veterans present as well. Here is a link with more info about the event:

Gary Franck & I decided to ride in this event as a team, just to see how we would do by riding at night, and to ride in the same manner as we would at the FC508 later on this year. Each one of us would ride for approximately as long as the FC508 stages.

Gary was the first rider to leave downtown Winters at exactly 6:30AM. His first “stage ” would be 73 miles long, He would have to climb a couple of tough climbs including Cobb Mountain. The weather prediction for the day was right on target, and it started to warm up real soon. By the time Gary was into his sixtith mile the temperature was well into the eighties. I was driving vehicle support during that time, and leaped frog every 7-10 miles to make sure Gary had every thing he needed. When we hit the rider exchange (second rest stop) we were sitting in 4th place with the two RAAM riders, and Graham (Pythom) Pollock just ahead of us. Gary did a terrific job in always staying in contact with them.

Of course now I would have a tremendous advantage over them ( they were riding solo), and since I was rested, and they were not, I should have been able to reel them in real easy right?, Not so fast!… these are well accomplished,and fierce competitors, and as soon they see someone is gaining on them they are not about to let you pass them without making you work for it. I was finally able to first pass Graham, and finally the RAAM veteran (Brett Walker)

The temperature was now well into the nineties, and as usual I was not drinking enough water, I was also hearing an unusual noise coming from my bike. but thought it was only just a rattle from the cables that were hitting the aero bars I had installed for this ride. I was only about 9 miles from my second reststop, and I was descending at a pretty good clip, when my head tube collar fell from my bike. I immediately stopped, and went back to search for it, while looking for it the two riders I had passed, who where now passing me. I found the collar, and installed it on my bike, but now my head tube assembly had a lot of play on it. I had lost one of the spacers.

I rode ahead anyway albeit a little slower, and rode up to Gary which was parked a couple miles ahead, and we did our rider switch ahead of schedule, so I could take care of my mechanical. I drove to the reststop where the switch was originally to take place There I was able to find help from another support crew, and we were able to fix my problem, but by this time Gary had ridden ahead chasing the 3 leaders.

I caught up with Gay now only a few miles from Winters were the day loop would end, and the night loop would begin, but it was only around 3 PM, and HOT with luckily no more climbs, but also no more shade.

It was so hot that some of the registered 24hrs riders decided then to switch from 24hrs to the 12hr race. ( Graham Pollock was one of them). Gary pressed on to do the first night loop, and I would do two loops when he would return. He was back real soon within one hour! When I jumped on to do my first loop I was rested, and decided to make up some time I had lost. This loop was well marked by Lee Mitchel with good to excellent pavement, so riding at night wouldn’t be a problem. I finished my first loop in under 1hr, and pressed on for our third night loop, but the afternoon heat and pace started to catch up with me, so on my second loop I managed only to do it in 1Hr & 5 minutes. The two riders ahead of us, and now two FC508 recumbent veterans were hot on our heels. Gary jumped on for our fourth loop, and I took a much needed rest. I was cramping bad, and needed something salty, and also some form of liquids. I came to find out there were these huge pots of homemade delicious soup. There were also plenty of goodies, like bread, and cold cuts for us to make sandwiches,cookies,fruit, etc. Gary was back too soon, and I was on the road again. the recumbent were racing each other, and on the process passed us. this was by far my slowest night loop. I was cramping within 3 miles, from the community center, but pressed on sometimes pulling my left leg from the pedals, and only pedaling with my right leg.

We rode through the night and, managed to complete 14 night loops, It cooled down at night, and became very comfortable to ride. The top two solo riders ( David Holt, Brett Walker), and the recumbent riders stayed in front of us for most of the night, and we continued to switch at the completion of every loop, wich was a little over an hour each time. The impressive show of endurance is that the top solo riders ahead of us were matching us, and sometimes even riding the night loop faster than us!

Finally the sun was rising when Gary pulled in at the community center at 6:20 AM, and we had accumulated 420.1 miles, so in the spirit of competition I was not going to let those ten minutes go to waste, and told the race official that I would ride out the remainder of the time and try to reach at least the two mile mark. So I went out to ride our final two miles.

We managed 422.1 miles, and possible would have done a bit better if we hadn’t ridden as we would be on the FC508 format, but it was a great way to learn what we need to improve on.

Gary did great, and is in his usual good form, but I need to improve on my endurance riding. Afterwards we went to the local Coffee place for a big breakfast, and we were joined by most of our friendly competitors, and race organizers.

All in all the Davis Challenge is a competition that I would recommend, and would like to do it again.

Mulholland Double Century

| April 17, 2008 6:18 am

by Deborah Lefferts

The week before I cleaned my bike and started backing my bag. I had scoped out my time by comparing myself with the other women. I knew Kitty had completed Mulholland in 15:51 last year. Kitty I knew was not fast, but she keeps her breaks short and has done the stage race before. So, my plan was to complete it in 16:30, because I had completed Terrible Two in 17:04 a few years back. And I thought if I could complete Mulholland in 16:30, I could complete TT in 16:30 and earn that I did it T shirt. David and I had checked the weather before the ride, which the weather gods were right, 96 degrees. David and I both drunk a gallon of water on Friday, and I could not stop eating, which is usually for me. When I get nervous I do not eat.

Saturday Morning at the start, I felt great, a hot bath that the night before and a good night sleep with an excellent dinner, and a 1 scope of Spiz, 1 hard boiled egg, a bananas, 1 capsule of Endurolytes, and several fig cookies for breakfast, I was ready to roll. I talked to Patty, Richard, Ken Emerson, Udi Yuhjtman before the start. And then 5A hits with a temperature of 45 degrees, I am focused on what I have been training for several years. I focused on moving up to the front and hanging on to the fast group, but I did not fry myself. So, I roll off the front with David behind me hanging on to Ken Emerson’s wheel. What I have learned from David, during the roll out is this is the time when a cyclist can create a great advantage. David had told me to dress as minimum as I could, because it was going to be hot. And I did not need to carry all that gear all day. So silk glove liners, leg and arm warms, and a vest is all I wore. My hands had no feeling for the first half hour, due to the cold. What went through my mind was my hands were this cold before when I descended the backside of HWY 9 with Lane Parker in December, and they would warm up, so I stopped focusing on my cold hands. This would pass. Within an hour, I was very warm.

Another item about riding smart for me is, I read Franz’s article on heart rating monitoring, and I applied the part about keeping a rider’s heart rate at an aerobic level (for me is 150 to 160). I never let my heart rate get above 140 on the roll out and on the climbs I tried to keep it to 158, which I was able to do this at the beginning. We hit the first rest stop and second rest stop before they were opened, so this meant we were shooting for under 14 hour finish time. I could dream. So, we hit the 3rd rest stop (62 miles) at 9:30 A.M, half hour after it opened, not bad we were doing well. However, between mile 62 and 90 before the lunch stop, the headwinds kidded up and the dream were over.

It did matter which way a rider turned the headwinds did not stop, even on the climbs and descends. The headwinds played a big head trip on me, and I fell into a big negative hole. However, we hit the descended out to the coast on a hill that I would not want to climb, and I was still ahead of Kitty. What a beautiful ride! The coast was clear with ocean dark green blue water with a lot of wild flowers yellow, orange, and purple mixed with green grass on rough hills. Kitty caught me at the bottom of hill. Then we headed north with the headwinds in our faces again on HWY 1 coast, I was pulling David and Clyde while the two talked, which did not set well with me So, my comment was if you are talking you are not working. David picked up the pace to fast for me, and I fell behind and fought the headwinds by myself.

As we turned off HWY 1 on to the nasty climb of the day, I was ready. I hit a heart rate of 167 standing on a triple with a nasty headwinds and 24% grade, Potrero Rd  (Rolling Hills with a headwind).. Most people were walking, but I climbed it. I reached the top and David was surprise, because I was right behind him. I got to the top and I said let’s roll. The negative hole was gone for awhile.

When we reached the lunch rest stop, David had a flat and I could not eat the sandwich. I took one bite and through it out. Ken Emerson was there and could not eat either. I drank everything I could and we rolled. The dark cloud was still over my head. It just seemed if we were not climbing, we were dealing with headwinds, if were no headwinds it was the heat. I do not remember where, but David and I run out of water. And we stopped at a school to fill up, before the climb up Balcom. We saw no sags with temperatures in 90’s to 100’s degrees; you would think there would be sag with water. However, David ran out of water before the climb up Decker. I gave him my water bottle. We got to top of Decker and the only thing to drink was water at 163 miles. Decker was a hard climb, because the heat had set in. I got to the top David grabbed my bike and I lay down on the ground for 15 minutes, wanted to give up any food I had in my stomach.. Kitty was there, but I did not care. I stayed laying there. Utd rolled up after 10 minutes. He was surprised I dropped him on the climb. I told him I had trained climbing hills like this on a double. So, instead of climbing in a double during the ride, I dropped into my low ring (30/23). Kept a nice steady spin with a heart rate of 156 to 158, and stayed seated and relaxed my upper body. Another Article Franz posted.

At mile 173, I missed Peter Strauss rest stop (required check in) and added about 20 minutes to my time, plus 4 miles. I learned it is marked with cones only, no sign or lights, and it is dark. At mile 183, we hit our last climb for the day, 5.7 miles (just like HWY 9, but shorter). Utd and I climbed the last climb together talked into the night. He said, this was good training for Devil Mountain Double. Kept saying we are going to finish. And we counted the markings on the climb, 4K, 3K, 2K, 1K. I kept saying we are getting closer to the, because the wind is picking up again. We reached the last rest stop at 10:35P, which should have closed 5 minutes before, however, they were still people behind us. The last 2 miles, I was able to big ring it in through the rollers. David, Utd, and I rolled into together at 18:19. Kitty rolled in at 17:48. 72 riders completed the ride and 52 DNF.

This is one of the most beautiful rides, however, just not well supported. If you lose your map, there are no maps at the rest stops. And about water you need to take care of yourself. David had two water bottles and I had 1 bottle with a camelback, and we still had problems with water.

Another item riding smart for me, was to eat small bites all day on the bike. Thanks Gray Franck for this information. It worked for me.
One out of three completed. Terrible Two will be real test.