Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Desert Double

Death Valley Double Century
By Katie Norton
Sacramento, California

But you, by the grace of an ordeal in the night
which stripped you of all that was not intrinsic,
you discovered a mysterious creature born of yourself.
Great was this creature, and never shall you forget him.

—Antoine de Saint-Exupery, "Wind, Sand, and Stars"

Double #13, 197 miles, 9000' of Climbing, 13 hours and 20 minutes

1st Solo Woman Finisher! Woo-hoo!

Moon Units Excited to Start at Furnace Creek: Mile 0

The First Half: Mile 96
It was a very mild day in one of the hottest places on the planet. A lot of people started with arm warmers and it only reached the mid 70s. The overcast sky hid the famous stars of Death Valley that I have yet to see. I was feeling super until the D-train drilled it and left a whole pace-line crossed eyed and shattered in lawn chairs at the Nevada border. Luckily, I have a knack for recovering. We needed someone to set the pace.

Lunch was at Scotty's Castle (Party Pad in the Middle O' Nowhere): Mile 120
We passed a really fluffy coyote on the climb up to lunch. He wasn't concerned about us at all. I had to tip-toe (you can do that on a bike, right?) around a tarantula in the road. I felt a lot better after a turkey sandwich.

Onto Ubehebe Crater (OOO-BEH-HEEE-BEE-- Say it! It's FUN)! Mile 130
It was a quick out and back with bad roads and a little climbing. You feel like you're in a parallel universe. It looks like you are going downhill but you are going 8 miles per hour generating 250 watts. Trippy. It can really mess with your mind. I think our minds aren't built to process the scale of a landscape like this. I felt like a little ant at the beach.

Down the Hill to Stove Pipe Wells: Mile 170
Finally some downhill after all the climbing. Thanks to Adventure Corps, the water bottles were always full and we had a nice little group. I was starting to get a little tired of the concentration required for drafting though.

Hell's Gate: Mile 184
It was about dark when we hit the last climb of the day. 6.5 miles with a couple thousand feet of climbing. So dark and so quiet. I felt like I was going to have a seizure when a ride came up behind us with a flashing front light. I let him pass to get away from it. They should ban those things. It was peaceful after that. Nice pavement and not as freakin' scary as it sounds.

Finish Line: Mile 197
There was a big group cheering our arrival including a group of women who had ridden the century who wanted to talk to me. They asked me why I do these things. My answer was that it teaches you a lot about yourself and I'm a little nuts.

It was a long but beautiful trip home up Hwy. 395

I got to stop at one of my favorite places, The Whoa Nelly Deli at the mouth of Tioga Pass


Post a Comment

<< Home