2012 Central Coast Double Century

The Central Coast Double is one of my favorite rides. I could not make it last year so I was real excited to do it again. This would be my third time doing it.

This year I decided to do the lowland course option which has a little less climbing and distance. It is just a hair under 200 miles and has about 12,700 feet of climbing.

I drove up to Morro Bay the day before to visit with my cousin Ken and his wife Terri. They have a nice place right across from Morro Rock. I spent the night at their place.
I drove to Paso Robles in the morning and checked in at 5am then got ready for the event.

We had a pre-ride meeting then we were off at about 6:45am. First light.

I was feeling fantastic right out of the start and warmed up quickly.

I decided to ride “Old Dave” my 22 year old steel Davidson bike I had custom made for me back in 1990. I do allot of distance in training and did many of my early double centuries on it. The older “Dura-Ace” brakes are not too good and I would regret my decision on some of the descents to come.

We had a beautiful ride out of town and into the lovely Santa Lucia Mountains and the central coast wine country.

I ran into Brad who I met on the 2011 Eastern Sierra Double. Part of our head wind busting train to the finish in Bishop.

 Mostly rollers for the first 20 miles or so before we hit Hwy 46 west bound, York Mountain road with some good climbs then THE WALL on Santa Rosa Creek Road.
The wall on Santa Rosa Creek was not long but had some kick ups to over 20% and I’m glad it was nice and cool.
Climbing the wall on Santa Rosa Creek Road

I had plenty of water in my camel bac and food so I decided not to stop at the top of the wall, Check Point One. I called out my number and started the descent into Cambria.

The main warning that they gave at the pre-ride meeting was.....SLOW on Santa Rosa descent. I already new this from years past so I just kept it slow but even that was a challenge because “Old Dave’s” brakes were not too spiffy and I really had to clamp down to slow down well on this pot holed drop.


I made it though and finally got to the nice road in the town of Cambria. As I was coming into Cambria by myself I caught up to Wade Baker.
 Now I knew something must be wrong if I was catching Wade. He is just an awesome ultra rider with many accolades to his name. We talked for awhile and he said he had not been riding much so his legs were already bothering him so he was taking it easy.

 I hit the coast highway and started the trek north toward Big Sur. I got in a fast group for awhile and made it up the coast real fast and there was no head. That was a plus!

The ragged cliffs

 On the way we passed San Simeon, the beautiful Ragged Point and Gorda before the final check point before our climb up Nacimiento- Ferguson Road.

Nacimiento climb is a seven mile climb that goes from sea level to over 2,000 feet. You pass through a number of micro climates on this climb.
Helge is a rider from Germany. He was pushing a huge gear up this climb. Ahh....I remember my younger days. Used to do these rides with a 12-23 on the back and a 53-42 chain ring. Times have changed.
You cant help but check out the view.....just awesome.

Last view of the ocean before we climb into the ridges.

Get this.....It was 55 degrees at the Mill Creek check point on the bottom of the climb. About half way up it was already close to 90 degrees on the bike. Almost a 40 degree difference in about 3.5 miles. I went from feeling really good to feeling mediocre at this point. I felt much better once I got to the top.

I got some water and started the long descent into Fort Hunter Ligget, a huge military base that takes up a large portion of these mountains.
While I was getting my water, Wade crested the top of the climb.

I kept him in my sights all the way to the base entrance near the lunch stop then never saw him again. I guess he got his legs back.

I stopped for a short time at lunch still feeling OK, had a coke, had a potato, got water and then hit the road. (In retrospect...I should have relaxed for awhile).

Now at mile marker 116, I started the long 11 mile slog up Jolon Road.

This climb is not steep and on paper is not tough at all but from previous years I knew this section of the ride from lunch to the next check point is the most difficult of all. This is due to the heat and the usual hot winds on the climb coming out of the Salinas Valley . These winds are in your face on Jolon road but at your tail on the 12 mile Lockwood climb so you don’t get any cooling at all. It’s like you are in a furnace.

Almost immediately I knew I was in trouble this year. I had a thermonuclear melt down as this year’s ride logo came to mind. My stomach got queasy, I started getting dizzy and I got off the bike in the only shade I could find for miles.

I sat there for 30 minutes just wishing I could throw up or something.

I finally got back on the bike as I was only about half a mile from the summit but I couldn’t push hard at all without getting the stomach upset again. I couldn’t even drink water....not even a sip....I was in for some miserable final miles with allot of climbing still to come. (Good thing I wasn’t doing the highland this year).

The descent to the next turn helped me recover some but the next climb up San Lucas road kind of did me in again. We then had some nice flat roads with some tailwind to the water stop on Lockwood. I rested again under the freeway bridge. They had ice too so that helped cool down my core some.

The next climb up Lockwood was even tougher in the heat with the wind at our backs. I just geared down and went slow. MADE It......whew!!

After the Harden Square rest stop I had a long flat and rolly section of roads for about 18 miles to the town of Bradley and the final stop.

I had a quick hot dog hoping the sodium would help and hit the road for Hare Canyon the final major climb. Again this is not a steep climb but it was so tough this year.

I almost hit a very large live rattlesnake on the way up. I was going real slow and I was kind of day dreaming I guess. He didn’t care much that I was there though. Darn I should have got a picture. He was a real beautiful one.

I made it over and then bombed down to the final water stop before rolling on the last rough roads and into San Miguel around sunset. Next town.....the finish.

I pulled in just as it was getting dark about 8:20pm

I must have been moving really good in the first hundred miles because my moving time was just over 13 hours which was real good for me. Even with the real slow moving on the final 80 miles it averaged to 13 hours. That made me feel a little better.

I was off the bike sick so much in the last 80 miles that it made my overall time suffer big time. About 14:44 hrs overall. Still not too bad for this geezer on a tough double.

Glad I didn’t quit!

Here is the Garmin link to my stats:  http://connect.garmin.com/activity/177917028
Link to all the pictures: http://stephenpaul.shutterfly.com/cycling

Side note: I found out later that I had some type of food poisoning acquired sometime before the ride and that is what caused the problems. I was sick with a fever a couple of days after the ride and took about a week to recover


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