On Saturday I rode my first double century (200 miles). After moving in to the A-House about 3 years ago, I swore never to wear spandex, and the thought of riding all day was not one that crossed my mind, oh how things have changed. There is a 17 hour cut off for the double century, which winds its way through Death Valley. Thankfully the weather was perfect (not too hot, no strong headwinds, well mostly), and my non-fancy, non-carbon, heavy and slow bike held up. My goal was merely to finish, and hopefully within 14-16 hours. Somehow I managed to roll in at 13hrs 5mins, thanks largely to an exceptionally awesome crew who gave me invaluable advice and support all day. There were some rough patches where I was ready to give it up, but thankfully they were short. Starting at sunrise, finishing in the pitch black of the high-desert night, arduous climbs, super fast descents in the dark, coyotes, giant craters, and no traffic lights for 200 miles made it an amazing ride.
Ubehebe Crater at around mile 130 (Adventure Corps)
The climb up the Grapevine and out to Nevada (Adventure Corps)
Scotty's Castle was the rest stop at mile 68 and 120 (Adventure Corps)
Not many race shots as of yet, but this was the start line at 7.10am, rolling out with the 'medium-pace' group
The start line at Furnace Creek, just above sea-level. It gets well into the 120/50+ degree range here, but was only in the 80s/low 30s for the race
Megan and Jack represented Swarm! on the tandem, riding the 100 mile route
Matt (Desert Locust) and Morgan (Goat), both have ridden the 508 mile version of this ride, 200 miles for them is a walk in the park
The top of the 6.8 mile, 2000 foot elevation gain climb, at mile 180. It was dark when I got to the top of this. You can see the road up to the right, and then straight back down on the left (Adventure Corps)
A coyote similar to the two I saw on the ride, both while I was out on my own, thankfully they werent too hungry (Adventure Corps)
A description of the course from the DV Double website:
Double: Starting about sunrise, double riders will also head north from Furnace Creek on Hwy 190, but will go straight to their first checkpoint at mile 23 at Stovepipe Wells. Then they'll U-turn and head back nine miles to the turn-off to Scotty's Castle. DC checkpoint two will be just after the turn, at mile 33.
After replenishing themselves at their checkpoint three at Scotty's Castle, the double riders will continue up Grapevine Canyon onto the Bonnie Claire Flat in Nevada. At Scotty's Junction at Hwy 95, mile 80.6, double riders will refuel at their checkpoint four. They will have climbed 5300', but now will turn around for a flat or downhill ride back to their "lunch" at Scotty's Castle. But it's not a straight shot back to FC from there. Double riders will enjoy two little bonuses on their return route that century riders will not do. The first is just three miles after Scotty's Castle: the out-and-back 11.7 mile route to see the incredible Ubehebe Crater. Then it's a fast ride back to the morning's second checkpoint just before 190, which is now checkpoint six for the double.
But wait! Before hitting 190, the double riders will enjoy a 6.8 mile, 2000' climb up Mud Canyon to Hell's Gate. Come on, you didn't think all those free miles from way above Scotty's all the way practically to Hwy 190 were really free, did you?? But the view is worth it, and so is the bombing downhill back to Furnace Creek on the Beatty Cutoff! Dedicated race staff and an incredible sunset will help keep you motivated and in good form throughout the day! Total distance for the double: 197. Total elevation gain: 9,000. So about the same as the "normal" route in the south end of the park, but perhaps even more beautiful and fascinating!