2014 Dead of Winter Double Century

The LA Wheelman, Dead of Winter Double Century is held on two days, Saturday and Sunday on the first weekend of December. This year we had a big storm the week before the event and Pacific Coast Hwy was closed but we got lucky. They opened it up on the Thursday before the event.

I volunteered to staff the lunch stop in Ventura on the first day of the event. I had a great time seeing all my friends who were doing the event on Saturday.

Here are a few pictures I took while working the lunch stop.

Rick and Tony stopped by to say hi.
Dennis talking to Mike Sturgill with the Bull-Shifters

John Clare checked-in all the early starters then did the ride himself before helping with check-in during the evening until after 1am


Teri Boykins

Kevin Walsh doing his first double century since his bad crash

My Hoodoo 500 crew chief Vic Cooper

Our friend Brutus

Roland and Teresa crushing it on the tandem

On Sunday I arrived at about 4am in Malibu for a 4:30am start. I was planning to ride with my friend Rick Jacobson and just take it relatively easy. I really ate a lot on the Thanksgiving holiday so I was feeling a little sluggish. Instead of riding my usual distance bike, I decided to do the event on my old steel bike which I now use mostly for short rides and long training. My “Davidson” has seen many double centuries back in the day.
I was originally going to do the event with my daughter Cherisse on my tandem. Cherisse and I did the Grand Tour Double Century about 17 years ago when she was in high school. We smoked the course. She is a really strong rider but was so busy with work during the fall that she was not able to train. She opted not to do it.

I arrived at the start and saw my friend John Clare and his wife Melinda checking the riders in. I had checked in the night before after working the ride. John helped with the ride in the morning on Saturday checking riders in between 3-5am then did the ride. He then checked people in until one in the morning Saturday. He and Melinda slept in the car for a couple hours then were checking us all in Sunday morning. Yikes…..they must have been tired.
I think I woke John up from sleeping in the chair......or is he reaching down for a gallon of coffee!

Dead of Winter Course Map
Rick and I at the start

Part one: Malibu to Port Hueneme, 36 miles

Rick and I rolled up PCH at about 4:35 on a beautiful morning with the moon setting in the ocean.
It was absolutely beautiful along the coast and nice and cool. About 50 degrees.

PCH at Zuma Beach
Riding along where the closure was near Point Mugu
We rolled past point Mugu Naval Air Station and into check point one in Port Hueneme. We got water and headed inland for our next stop in Moorpark.
Here is a little video of Rick and Tim Sullivan in the Port Hueneme area around sunrise.


Part two: Port Hueneme to Moorpark, 60 miles

This double century is a combination of the Lowland course of the Grand Tour and the Highland course of the Grand Tour. We do a very similar course to the lowland with a little more climbing around the orange groves of Somis, Ca. before heading to lunch in Ventura and finally to Ojai.
Then from Ojai we do the highland course over Casitas Pass to Carpentaria and Rincon Point. Then back to Malibu and the finish.

Rick and I cruised up the hill to Moorpark into a fair head wind along Pleasant Valley Road and through the Santa Rosa Valley.
The sunrise was beautiful.
Rick was again riding his “Tern” folding bike as he did on the Oceanside Double.

Rick riding his "Tern" folding bike, up Pleasant Valley Road at sunrise.

We rolled into check point 2 at Peach Hill Park in Moorpark, got some water, talked to the staff and friends and headed out.

Part 3: Moorpark to Ventura, 98.2 miles

For me, the toughest part of this ride is this next section. We had some good climbing on Grimes Canyon then up Balcom Canyon to Broadway in a nice “Orange grove” loop. Then it was through Somis and Camarillo before heading into Ventura. The long flat section between Somis and Ventura was boring and tiring. Long flat roads with headwinds kind of take the wind out of your sails.
Normally when I do rides from home in the valley to this area I am not pushing it too hard and not riding as many miles. On a double century event, many times, you have already pushed pretty hard for a while so you really have to pace yourself in the hills on sections like this, especially at my age. We were riding the event at a little over a 6hr century pace up to this point.
Cruising up Grimes Canyon with David Hartson and Pete Harnish

We got to lunch a little after 11am feeling really good but I really needed a break.

Everyone on the ride brought a bag lunch which was taken to the lunch stop by the support crew.
We grabbed our lunch and relaxed for a while before heading back out.

Part 4: Lunch to Ojai. About 22 miles to mile marker 120

We headed out for the easy gradual climb to Ojai. The temperature was perfect on this stretch. Normally when we do this section on The Grand Tour in June, it is very hot and over 100 degrees many times.

This time of year the weather was perfect. Only in the low 70’s so it made it seem much easier. Rick and I rode with a couple new comers on this section. We were about to turn on to Creek road for the last stretch to Ojai when we saw a rider coming up behind us very fast.
I was thinking…..this guy must not be doing a double century…..he is going too fast and not pacing himself on the climbs. I was wrong. It was our friend Joel Sothern.
He went by us like we were standing still and made it look effortless on the hill approaching Creek Road.
Up Creek road we went toward Ojai. About halfway up we saw our friend Ken by the side of the road with his camera.
Rick and I climbing Creek Road.                                             Picture by Ken Mathis

We rolled into Ojai and Sarzotti Park for the check point at about 120 miles.

My good friends Teresa and Terri were the support crew at this stop along with a couple of our Velo Viet club friends. Teresa and Teri were part of my crew on my 2013 Inyo Ultra 466 event along with my crew chief Ken. Teresa and Teri did the event on Saturday. Teresa, as you know, stokes my tandem once in a while.
Teresa and Teri with us at Ojai
Rick and I made it quick at the stop…took a couple pictures…..and headed out for the final major climb of the day. The weather was still perfect. Nice and cool. In fact, I still had my smart wool base layer shirt on and was not overly warm in it. Wool is the best for regulating temperatures and breathes really well. I stayed just warm enough all day when it was cold but not too warm.

Part 5: Ojai, over Casitas Pass, to Rincon Point, 142 miles

We stopped at a gas station in Ojai for some more refreshment before the climb. I got one of my favorites, a Cherry Coke, and Rick got a Coke and chocolate milk. We hung there for about 15 minutes. (We were in no hurry)

Off we went for the pass. Again, I can’t mention enough, how perfect the weather was for climbing.
We cruised over the summit. Rick went up much faster and I was going to have to chase him down on the descent. He is a great climber and much lighter than my 175 pounds on this day.

Here is little video of the start up the Casitas Pass:


Casitas pass has two summits. There is the first summit above the lake and then there is a nice downhill before another, smaller, summit in the avocado fields before dropping to Carpentaria.

I descend much faster on my Specialized Roubaix, in fact, it is an incredibly fast and responsive descending bike compared to my steel bike.
I caught Rick, nonetheless, on “Old Real Steel Dave” just as we started the second climb.
He burned up ahead of me again like he had been all day on the long climbs but I caught up to him just before the final little bump by the beach.

The check point was at Rincon Point at Bates Road just next to the freeway overpass bridge. My friends, “The Bull-shifters” from Arizona were manning this check point. I saw my friend and Bull-shifter Jim Pettit there. My friend and 466 crew chief Ken Mathis was there too. He had been driving roving SAG support all day and taking pictures of everyone. Thanks Jim and Ken!!
The Bull-shifters stop had soup, sandwiches and all kinds of goodies. I opted for the very salty soup and made a mess eating it. I got noodles all over their green carpet they had laid out for us. I kept apologizing to Jim and he would laugh about it.
I'm slurping down some soup and Rick just had his soda go up his nose
My friends Jim and Ken at Rincon Point

The Bullshifters from Phoenix are the best!!

Part 6: Rincon Point to Port Hueneme, mile 169

Now comes the fun part at least for me. I am a much stronger rider on flat to rolling terrain being built more like a sprinter than a climber. In fact, I usually get my second wind at about this point in an ultra-event with about 60 miles to go. Don’t quite know why but I get stronger as I get older toward the ends of events unless I am really suffering for some reason.
To top that we had a nice smooth tail wind. There was a much better tail wind at this time on the Saturday ride. I was driving down the coast to the finish and there were white caps and the flags were pinned from north to south at this same time.

We had a pretty good one though as we left and headed on to the new bike path along the PCH freeway. The new bike path was beautiful!!

Rick and I flew down the coast as the sun was getting lower on the horizon. It was spectacular and we made it to Ventura faster than I can remember in many years. As we approached the end of Rincon Parkway going into Ventura we caught up with my friend Anthony and one other rider.
We rode all the way back to Malibu with Anthony for a great finish.

Here is a short video compilation of us rolling into Ventura and across the bridge just south of Ventura Harbor:

Just before we reached the next check point, we all stopped at Wendys for some refreshment. Rick wanted French fries!! We stopped there for over 20 minutes and also put on our cool weather gear as it was getting a little chilly.
From there we rolled over to the check point at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in Port Hueneme.
I was going so fast I missed the turn into the parking lot. They yelled at us from the check point, I slammed on the brakes and the guys behind me almost hit me. That was a stupid tired thing of me to do. I should have known better. The other guys were following me at high speed and they knew I knew where the check point was although I still missed it. My bad!!!

We filled up with just enough water to finish the ride. My friend Brook was there manning the stop as well as Dennis Miller, another good friend. I did the inaugural Dead of Winter Double with Brook and my friend Kevin Walsh last year. We did it as a pre-ride to scope out the course for the LA Wheelmen.
I have great memories of that ride, the strong winds, and trying to stay with those two BEASTS all day at my young age.

Part 7: The final stretch

The final stretch, like on the Grand Tour, goes straight back to Malibu via PCH. There are some good short hills along this stretch that can really kill you when you are tired.
It’s amazing how hills that your ride in training, and seem so easy in training, can just kill you with so many miles in your legs.
We paced ourselves on this final stretch. Short of having a “hot foot” nerve problem in my left foot again for the final 100 miles, I felt pretty good.
Riding this stretch on a Sunday evening was just amazing. Hardly any traffic and no cars parked at the beaches or along the Malibu mansions. On Saturdays there are usually all kinds of parties or weddings going on at the houses with hundreds of cars on the shoulder of the road and many people still hanging out at the beaches.
This was perfect and there was very little stress going down PCH. I loved it.

We rolled into the finish at the Starbucks in the Malibu shopping center at about 7pm.

Rick and I had an, on bike, 12 hour century time which was a pretty good pace. We did take about 2.5hours off the bike and had plenty of rest.

This was a great ride and really well supported considering the low cost of the entry fee.
Thank you to everyone who helped out on the ride. It was a very memorable ride with perfect weather conditions. There was a very long waiting list to get into this ride and I foresee that this is going to be a really big event in the future. We really dodged a bullet with the weather this year but I would have loved it just as much even with bad weather.


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