Each time I had done the Mt Hamilton Challenge, I had run into riders climbing Mines Rd. Since I learned they were doing the “Devil Mountain” Double Century, I got curious… I had done double centuries before (13 since 1999), but one that included the two big summits of the Bay Area, Mount Diablo and Mount Hamilton, sounded appealing. It became a bit scarier when I learned that the organizers, not quite satisfied with these two mountains, had included all the climbs they could find in the route: Mt Diablo, Morgan Territory, Patterson Pass, Mines Rd, Mt Hamilton, Sierra Rd, Palomares and Norris Canyon!
In particular Sierra Rd was a particularly nasty inclusion: by itself it’s a tough hill that climbs more than 1700 feet in 3.5 miles with some long parts approaching 20%. But putting that at mile 150, after you’ve climbed already 15000 feet, that ought to be considered an “unjust and cruel punishment”.
The other thing was that it is a bit early in the season, so I hesitated a few years before taking the plunge this year. I tried to log as many miles (and feet) as possible during the Saddle Challenge, did the Solvang Double Century as a training ride (!) and try to ride all the parts of DMD separately in the weeks before (to get a sense of what that means, you can view my GPS logs here for the south and here for the north part).
It seemed to have paid off. In the first climb, Mt Diablo, I got a bit worried because I kept seeing many more riders ahead than behind, so I was not sure I could make it to the 1 PM cut-off at Mines Rd. That’s also at the top of Diablo that I saw Will for the last time – I was not going to see until the finish, where he had been already asleep for 2 hours when I arrived!
As a matter of fact, during the entire ride (the 19 hours of it…) I felt surprisingly good. The hardest part was probably the back side of Mt Hamilton, because it was still pretty hot. Even Sierra Rd went ok, and I got rewarded by a beautiful sunset on the whole Bay.
What about the title? Oh, it’s just that I had done as a training ride the north part of DMD and my most difficult moment was something nobody had warned me about: Patterson Pass. On paper, it seemed like a reasonable little climb. The problem was the headwinds: near the top, they actually prevented to ride, and I had to walk! So I was very happy, last Saturday, to notice that the windmills (they haven’t put them here by accident!) were still. At that point, I felt it was going to be a good ride.
If you want to get a sense of it, you can view the logs on my Garmin .
You can also see the results: Will finished a brilliant 52nd position, before 10 PM!, whereas I was happy to arrive around midnight, with some 20 riders behind me 🙂
Now, I can get back to normal activities…
A view of the course with Google Earth