This event, the first Double Century of the year is a ride that I have done 6 times previously. It has perhaps the most unpredictable weather of all the double centuries on the calendar due to it’s early in the year position on the schedule. What will it be like this year?

In the weeks leading up to the event the weather looked like it was not going to be very good so I did not do the discounted early registration. Closer to the event it appeared that there may be a window of decent weather so I did a late registration with full penalties applied. Yikes!

The day of the ride the weather was a bit cool, but fine overall with generally light winds. My two riding buddies Craig and Joe (also from Utah) joined me as we departed at the 5:30 am start. The route snaked it’s way around Orange County and then down the coast to Oceanside. Later, after a loop inland through Fallbrook we headed back to the coast. Although I expected that on this, a mostly urban route there would be traffic, it was heavier than I expected. It seemed to me that there are simply more cars out there these days! Some of the roads used on this ride have quite narrow shoulders and are also now very busy traffic corridors. I found this year that the road conditions exceeded my comfort levels in several locations on the route even though I was familiar with it overall.

Joe at Craig at about mile 120

My own preparedness turned out to be a bigger factor than I expected, and not in a good way. Even though I had done a 200 km brevet just a few weeks before and felt pretty good on that ride, this time out I really struggled. Ongoing digestive issues kept me riding poorly all day long and I was never able to generate any real power. My fellow riders, Craig and Joe were good sports and stayed with me throughout but as a result we were among the last riders in. It ended up as a really long day on the bike, and not all that much fun at times!

Anyway, thanks to Planet Ultra for putting this first California Triple Crown 200 mile event of the season. There were about 110 finishers for the event this year and a few DNF’s. I was glad NOT to be one of those and to have finished the course in a personal record (longest) 17 hours 18 minutes. Yikes again!