I finished the Fall Death Valley Double and was 6th Double Century finisher home in a time of 11H58m. It was a funny old event characterized by an unusually wet start then more usual sunshine and strong winds. Temperatures were pretty mild all day.
The event started off fast as usual with 4-5 guys hammering at the front. It was raining and pretty miserable for the first 15 miles and pretty soon I was on the back of a leading group of 5 riders. We had a good fast paceline going but one guy was just too strong and kept ripping everyones legs off. Unfortunately I got dropped on the first rolling climb of the day but managed to chase back on by the Mesquite Sand Dunes near Stovepipe Wells. We all worked together pretty well until the drag before the turn off for Scotty’s Castle where the strong guy put the pace up and I got dropped. 30 miles in and I ended up riding the rest of the event on my own.
The climb up to Scotty’s Castle was characterized by a strong tailwind and I got caught and passed by two riders but I knew better than to go too hard on this section. The climb up to 4000 feet was long but not too bad. The next section (the 267) was horrendous as usual with a bumpy road surface, strong winds and featureless roads. You can see the turnaround for about 10 miles but it never seems to get any closer. I passed one guy on this section but got passed by two others who were really hammering it. A recumbent should have been an advantage here but the road was so bumpy it was miserable.
The way back to Scotty was characterized by strong head/cross winds but the surface was better so I enjoyed it more. The descent was much bumpier than I remembered and had such a strong headwind that you had to keep pedalling hard to make progress.
I was dreading the next section up to the Uhebe crater as last time I rode it was worse than Paris-Roubaix but they had resurfaced it and it was now pretty smooth. The climb up to the crater is pretty steep and my legs showed some signs of cramping. I also got lungs full of dust from passing vehicles that caused me some difficulty for the next 20 miles. I didnt get caught by anyone on this section and by my reconning I was running about 6 or 7th on the road. The descent back to valley had strong headwinds but I just concentrated on keeping my speed up. I actually enjoyed this section as it was also nicely resurfaced. I was tired but kept up a good speed and caught 4 riders.
The last section included the climb up Mud canyon which was absolutely horrendous. It starts of at 5% then increases to 6% then 7% and the last two miles are 8%. My legs were screaming at me from mile 5 and the last mile and a half were pure torture and I was relagated to a very low gear. There was nothing I could do on this section but watch conventional bike riders ride away from me. I passed one at the rest stop at the top but never saw two of them again. The descent down Hells gate was spectacular and gave my legs some time to recover before the final 15 miles back to the finish in pitch black. I finished pretty strong but very tired.
I only saw one other recumbent out there. That was my 5th double of the year and my third on the Bacchetta. Triple crown goal on a recumbent in the bag. I got 6th Place finisher overall.