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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Hell's Gate Hundred- Ride Report




Entire workout (16.2 mph):

Duration:   6:11:35 (6:55:54)
Work:.       3454 kJ from Garmin But over 3,800 kj direct from Power Tap
TSS: ..       295 (intensity factor 0.721)
Norm Power: 202
VI:         1.2
Pw:HR:       n/a
Pa:HR:       n/a
Distance:   100.543 mi
Elevation Gain:     7978 ft
Elevation Loss:   7998 ft
Grade:     -0.0 %  (-14 ft)
                    Min.....Max.... Avg
Power:       0........ 656..... 168 watts
Cadence:     31..... 246...... 77 rpm
Speed:       0........ 46.2.... 16.2 mph
Pace         1:18..... 0:00.... 3:42 min/mi
Altitude:     -253..... 4352.... 930 ft
Crank Torque: 0..... 836..... 192 lb-in

My finishing time 6:55 good for 5th place.  I was off course for 44 minutes leaves 6:11 total time and 6:07 ride time.  I had a good day on the bike. The 16 mile Daylight Pass climb is a good one!! Bring some low gears for Artist Drive! 

I arrived at the Furnace Creek Ranch shortly after 1am on Friday night.  Yes, another long day at the store.  It was Good Friday and the store was packed.  It's good for business but bad if you are racing the next morning 6 hours away-- without traffic-- at 6am.  I closed the shop,got something to eat and got on the road.  If there is a silver lining of traveling late it would be that traffic isn't as bad on the 55, 91 and 15 freeways after 8pm.

BIKE- Sasha-- Cervelo Solist SL with Zipp 808 Powertap with Continental Competition tubulars.-- then Easton Orion II with Power Tap Standard Chainrings 53/39 and 11-23 Cassette.

CLOTHING- Skins compression tights, Bike Religion Short Sleeve sleeve and AdventureCorps cool armsleeves.  

Once I arrived I had to go through the usual  routine of setting up the bike, laying out my clothes and nutrition.  Let's just say it was around 2am when I shut off the lights and closed the eye lids.  If you follow my blog you may know  from my previous posts that I wake up everyday between 4-415am.  Which means I've been up almost 24 hours by the time I hit the rack.

Why am I spending so much time talking about this?  Well because...I overslept the morning of the event.  I was so tired I slept until 6:02 am when my roomie woke me up.  Even with the prep I did the night before I still couldn't get out to the start until the 6:30 wave.  I lined up with only a couple of familiar faces.  I recognized Jennifer Scharf, and Marcus Edvalson but that was it.  I usually like to leave with the first wave when I do double centuries since most of the fast guys are in the first wave.  But this was a century and I didn't know anyone.

We take off from Furnace Creek at a really good pace.  It's Troy (I find out at the finish), Jennifer and me off the front in a very short period of time.  Then the unthinkable happens -- I flat.  I was only 7.5 miles into the event and only 29 minutes elapsed time.  I was riding tubulars and wasn't carrying a spare tire.  I know shame on me.  But honestly, I have gone thousands of event miles riding my tubulars and I haven't flatted.  The tires I was using were only one Double Century old.  I used them on the Death Valley Double Century- Southern Route. Race report here  I sat on the side of the road and tried to figure out what's wrong because there was no way I flatted.  I was eventually sag'd back to the hotel and switched out my wheels, switched out my cassette and then was dropped off at the point where I flatted.   

I had spent 44 minutes off the bike.  It was now 7:43 am and I was only 7.5 miles into the event.  Urg!! My chances of "winning" were gone.  Now I needed a new goal.  I needed something to motivate me.  I thought I want to pass 50 people from this point and before the summit of Daylight Pass.  That's it now I had a mission.


Artist Drive loop (0:57:42.05):
Duration:   57:40
Work:       693 kJ
TSS:        70.1 (intensity factor 0.86)
Norm Power: 241
VI:         1.19
Pw:HR:       n/a
Pa:HR:       n/a
Distance:   15.003 mi
Elevation Gain:     1520 ft
Elevation Loss:    1446 ft
Grade:      0.1 %  (65 ft)
Min Max Avg
Power:        0 656 202  watts
Cadence:      31 239 74  rpm
Speed:        0 43.6 15.6  mph
Pace          1:23 0:00 3:51  min/mi
Altitude:     -187 930 308  ft
Crank Torque: 0 702 248  lb-in

Artist Drive was amazing.  The climb was steep but the scenery was awesome.  It was well worth the effort.  I had no idea that road existed and it's so close to the Furnace Creek Ranch that you can ride out and back and have a great ride in a couple of hours.  The descent had loose rock but the twisty parts were really fun.  It is definitely a very cool addition to the ride.

First 2 miles of Artist Drive:
Duration:   16:16
Work:       264 kJ
TSS:       25.8 (intensity factor 0.976)
Norm Power: 273
VI:         1.01
Pw:HR:       n/a
Pa:HR:       n/a
Distance:   2.192 mi
Elevation Gain:     913 ft
Elevation Loss:   0 ft
Grade:     7.9 %  (913 ft)

                 Min Max Avg
Power:       0 362 271 watts
Cadence:     39 99 61 rpm
Speed:       5.5 12.2 8.1 mph
Pace         4:54 10:58 7:24 min/mi
Altitude:     -126 787 261 ft
Crank Torque: 0 661 386 lb-in

I was passing people on Artist Drive as they suffered on the 10-12% ramps.  I started counting 1...2...3... I pulled into the checkpoint to see Elizabeth and Steve Barnes and posed for a few pics.  But then back on the bike and back on with my mission. I  finished the loop and got back on the 127 and 7...8...9...passed more riders.  I was riding well and felt like I was going to have a good day on the bike.

I rode past Furnace Creek Ranch on the slight downhill and motored to Daylight Pass Rd.  17...18...19...I was reeling them in. Along the way, I saw Dean K on the eliptigo. I thought wow that must be tough.  I'm so lucky to be on the bike ;)  I made the right turn onto Daylight Pass Rd and see a SAG vehicle.  I refueled and saw Marcus.  Oh good, I was making good time since he left in my 6:30 wave and I caught him.  I keep the intensity pretty high on the bottom of the climb and I'm passing riders I'm well over 40 now and I stopped counting.  It's obvious to me that I will accomplish  my goal of passing 50 riders.  Ok what's my next goal?  Just keep pushing and something will come up.


Daylight Pass to Ryholite turn (2:04:22.10):
Duration:   2:04:21
Work:       1370 kJ
TSS:        109.2 (intensity factor 0.726)
Norm Power: 203
VI:         1.11
Pw:HR:       n/a
Pa:HR:       n/a
Distance:   25.27 mi
Elevation Gain:     4539 ft
Elevation Loss:    1030 ft
Grade:      2.6 %  (3518 ft)
Min Max Avg
Power:        0 501 184  watts
Cadence:      36 186 72  rpm
Speed:        0 32.7 12.2  mph
Pace          1:50 0:00 4:55  min/mi
Altitude:     -187 4352 2406  ft
Crank Torque: 0 613 224  lb-in


Detail of Daylight Pass Climb:

Duration:   1:39:09
Work:       1223 kJ
TSS:       96.5 (intensity factor 0.764)
Norm Power: 214
VI:         1.04
Pw:HR:       n/a
Pa:HR:       n/a
Distance:   16.079 mi
Elevation Gain:     4539 ft
Elevation Loss:   0 ft
Grade:     5.4 %  (4537 ft)
                   Min Max Avg
Power:       0 501 206 watts
Cadence:     36 177 70 rpm
Speed:       0 19.4 9.7 mph
Pace         3:05 0:00 6:10 min/mi
Altitude:     -186 4352 1748 ft
Crank Torque: 0 613 255 lb-in

I reach Hell's Gate and see Picachu and his Adobo Velo club members.  Thank you guys for volunteering.  I've done the 10 mile climb and there is still 6 more miles to go. I refuel and leave quickly.  Up the road I'm zoning out when a rider passes me and I decide to jump on his wheel.  I had been gradually slowing down and this rider helped me ride faster.  This rider was really strong.  As I was watched my power in the low 300 watts I was beginning to doubt whether I could stay with him.  It was hurting me and being 12 miles into the climb didn't help either.  I let him go.  As I reached the summit I saw him sitting at the checkpoint. I waved over to him and rolled through that checkpoint. Actually I think it was more of a water stop.

Rhyolite Checkpoint

On my descent towards Rhyolite I realized it was quite chilly at elevation.  I was expecting riders to be heading back by now but I didn't see any riders.  This was a good sign.  As I approached Rhyolite I started to see the first few riders were now heading back.  I count 1...2...3...4...ok it looks like I'm currently running between 12-14th.  I make the turn off the main road towards the ghost town and see a tandem exiting.  I'm thinking damn they are only 3 miles ahead of me.  I now have a new mission.  CATCH THE TANDEM FOR THE DESCENT INTO DEATH VALLEY!

From Rhyolite to Daylight Pass Summit

Climb to Daylight Pass (0:37:27.07):
Duration:   37:26
Work:       448 kJ
TSS:       33.4 (intensity factor 0.732)
Norm Power: 205
VI:         1.03
Pw:HR:       n/a
Pa:HR:       n/a
Distance:   9.133 mi
Elevation Gain:     894 ft
Elevation Loss:   87 ft
Grade:     1.7 %  (810 ft)
                                 Min Max Avg
Power:       0 404 200 watts
Cadence:     51 144 81 rpm
Speed:       0 23.4 14.7 mph
Pace         2:34 0:00 4:06 min/mi
Altitude:     3401 4304 3649 ft
Crank Torque: 0 510 212 lb-in

I refuel very quickly in Rhyolite and boogie out of the checkpoint.  I want to catch at least 5 riders on this climb.  It's a milestone goal to help me achieve the greater goal of catching the tandem.  I'm working as hard as I can without blowing up to catch that tandem.  Of course this is all relative since I'm starting to feel realy fatigued.  And then I see it ...we are less than a mile from the summit.  I turn myself inside out and I'm almost there.  They reach the summit before me and I'm hoping they will pause just enough to put on jackets or something for the descent.  YES! They are doing just that and they are still there when I crest.  I have about a minute to catch my breath and then down we went.

The tandem I drafted on the 16 mile descent.

The descent was really fast.  We were moving at 40 plus mph.  At one point we hit a top speed of 46.2 mph.  With 5 miles left of the 16 mile descent we catch Troy who was in my 630 wave and who had set a hard pace at the start.  I'm now feeling satisfied with my effort for the day. Troy and I stay with the tandem until the finish.

My total time was 6:55.  I know from my Power Tap that I spent 44 minutes off the bike with the flat issue.  So my total time is 6:11 (6:07 rolling and 4 minutes at the various checkpoints).  The winning time was 6:31.  Yeah I would have crushed it by 20 minutes!

Overall I loved the event.  This new route showed me parts of Death Valley I was never exposed to before.  Artist Drive was a nice treat.  Also knowing that there is a 16 mile climb just 11 miles from the Furnace Creek Ranch is very good for future training.  I've been doing the spring and fall double centuries since 2003.  I like the diversity of this new century route.  Great climbs and being able to see riders continuously throughout the route are great bonuses.

I haven't done many organized centuries since 2004  because my training consists of solo centuries as I get ready for the 508.  One reason I like doing doubles is so I can work on my nutrition strategy and of course my pacing.  But this year my training time, and racing time are both limited.  I'm really enjoying doing century routes instead of doubles.   One reason would be less gear needed for a century as opposed to a double.  I don't need lights, and the staff doesn't have to work the course for 18 hours.  As far as training, riding a fast climbing century has plenty of training value and stresses my system just enough but yet I can recover possibly overnight and do another hard century the next day.

Another reason I'm diggin' centuries this year is I'm actually hanging out at the finish line and meeting riders and hearing their stories of their journey.  When I finish  doubles I am completely spent, as I should be, and don't have the energy to be social.  I'm usually off in a corner just trying to recover from the 11 odd hours of punishing my body.  You know riding a bike is supposed to be healthy but when I first finish my doubles I swear nothing about it feels healthy ;)

As always I am open to questions about my ride and welcome comments on my blog.  Thank you for visiting my blog.  I'll be riding the Mount Laguna Bicycle Classic on April 17th.


  1. Hi George,
    What gearing did you run on the bike?


  2. Matt,

    Thank you for visiting my blog. I have updated the post but here is your answer Standard Chainrings 53/39 and an 11-23 Cassette.

  3. Great ride George. Your speed and climbing power is tremendous.

  4. Thank you Steve. I wish I would have stayed with the lead pack and saved a whole lot more energy and actually gone faster.

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