Death Valley Double Century - Fall 2009

This was an important ride for me. Why, you ask? Because it was to be my fifth completed double century for 2009..if I finished. Death Valley hasn't always been kind to me in the past. I've DNF'd the "spring" version a few times. The "fall" version is the northern route which I've done only once which was last year. I finished then at 11 pm . This year, I finished at 9:56 pm and personally felt great on the entire ride. My ride time was 13 hours with an average of 14.9 mph and 9300' of elevation gain. Not great, but for me who is not the fastest rider, a very respectable finish. I rode with my friends Doug Goodwin and Dave Clemes. Actually that is a false statement. I rode alone except for a brief encounter with a pace line that was actually too slow for me. Yup, you read that right. I appreciated the help, did my pull (my turn in front of the paceline) and bid them farewell after a few minutes.

This years ride weather was perfect. Not too hot and not too cold. Just right in the mid 60's in the morning at our 7:10 am start and never got over 90, which for Death Valley is downright chilly. It was such a beautiful ride, I look forward to driving another 550 miles to come back for the "spring" version in February.

So, enjoy the pics. I took over 185 of them. No, they are not all posted here.


Click on the pictures to expand them

Elevation Chart the the Death Valley Double Century Fall Edition

These shots from left to right are of me, Nicole & Jason, Jason on his fixed gear bike, Dave & Doug (my roomates fro this trip) and the 7 am riders who left ten minutes before we did. We started at Furnace Creek.

It was a 24 mile ride north of Furnace Creek to our first rest stop at Stovepipe Wells. It was turning out to be a wonderful day.


The next check point was 8 miles a way at mile 32. We would again be here this evening on the return at mile 169 before heading up to Hell's gate, a seven mile climb in the dark of the night.


The next 37 miles to lunch at Scotty's Castle would at first be pretty flat BUT at the end, we would gain 3,000'!

Here's a shot of me taken by Adventure Corps chairman, Paul Kosman on the climb to Scotty's Castle. Then I pulled into lunch at mile 68 at Scotty's Castle, a truly welcome sight. Love them Subway sandwiches! Scotty's Castle is really an oasis in the middle of the desert!

After lunch at Scotty's, we climbed another 1000' to the top of a plateau in five miles. Then it's a 21 mile ride to Highway 95's rest stop. Really, it's almost a straight line from the Nevada border to the rest stop. Then about 10 miles out before the rest stop, we hit a headwind. I was only hoping it would be to our benefit on the way back...


On the return trip, we would travel the same 26 mile trip we had just taken. But I was correct about the tailwind. Here's a shot of my speed on the way back. A lot faster than going out! Now that was great news! Also a shot of my two roomies, Doug on the way out and Dave, who I had caught up to. We would be hop scotching all day. Dave beat me in at the finish by a minute.

After stopping at Scotty's on the way back for yet another sandwich, Dave took off a minute before I did for Ubehebe Crater, a volcano in the park. Here's a shot of me and me and Dave at the rim of the crater.

After the crater, we had to ride that same 38 mile ride back to the rest stop we had been to earlier in the day at mile 32. Last year I did the entire 38 miles in the dark (with lights of course). It seemed as if it would never stop. This year however, I was much faster and only had to travel five miles in the dark. Much better. And it was incredibly beautiful! At the rest stop at mile 169, I refueled with hot soup and a Coke. Then it was time to make the seven mile ascent to Hell's Gate up Mud Canyon Road. It was a 2200' climb in seven miles. What was really cool was looking behind me , I could see other riders coming up with their lights. It was quite a site to see. After that, it was an 11 mile descent in the dark and then the last 11 miles to Furnace Creek.

At the finish, Dave and I mugged for our finale picture. This was to be Dave's seventh double he finished this year and his 49th life time double. It was my fifth for the year and my 27th lifetime double completed.