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Bass Lake Powerhouse Double Century


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Last year when we were deciding which double would be our 5th of the year ( 3 of us were wanting to qualify for the gold 1000 mile club) my long distance mentor, Jim, said that the Bass Lake double had 10,000 ft of climbing, but it was the hardest double with 10,000 ft of climbing that he had ever ridden.  Based upon this recommendation, we decided to ride the Fall Solvang Double last Oct.  It was a hard ride, and had 10,000 ft of climbing, but I was ready for it and felt  good.

 
This year I had not planned to ride 5 doubles, but, after the 4th (the Grand Tour in Malibu in June) , I guess I started thinking about 5 again.  By August I had not travelled a lot, and my fitness was holding, so I began to consider Bass Lake.  I wanted to try it while my conditioning was at a good level.  I had to travel to Dallas for 2 weeks in August, but, with no other travelling on the radar I registered for Bass Lake in late August.  The first week of September my supervisor called, and Reader's Digest version, I needed to work from our office for 2 weeks, leaving home on Sept 10,and returning Sept 24.  I did take some things with me and rode 1 Saturday, and my return home was extended a couple of days so I could attend my uncles funeral in Indiana.  I had 10 days to prepare for Bass Lake.
 
it was a 10 hour drive from Phoenix to Clovis, CA (just east of Fresno).  I got there just before 4 pm, met with my ride partners, registered, and went to dinner with them.  We decided to start at 3 am, the earliest you could officially leave on the ride.  
 
It was 54 when we left.  The first 60 miles were relatively flat, and went past pasture, produce fields, and orange groves.  I wore a wind vest and lycra arm warmers. My fingers never got cold,and while I didnt feel cold, I didnt want to feel any colder than I did.  Sag 1 was not open when we got there (because of our early start), so I ate Shot Bloks and a Cliff bar.  There were other cyclists who started at 3, including a tandem.  The riders were from the Bay area and Sacramento, and we had seen them on several different doubles.  
 
What makes Bass Lake difficult is most of the climbing is in the middle 100 miles , from about mile 70.  We started climbing into the western Sierra Nevada's, first past Pine Flat Lake, then nortwest toward Auberry, where the lunch stop was.  I felt pretty good at this point, and we rode into Auberry between 11:30 and noon.  
 
We left the lunch stop by 12:30, and after some easy climbs and a 5 mile downhill (that we would need to climb later) we started the biggest climb of the day at mile 116;  9 miles, the first 4 of which were double-digit grade.  It was warm; I am guessing the temps were in the low 80's.  The climb up Powerhouse Rd was every bit as hard as I was led to believe.  I cramped twice, in the quads and hamstrings.  I was able to walk them off both times, and I stopped a couple of more times to walk and rest.  I was kind of feeling my gap in training due to the work trip.  
 
The next sag was at the end of Bass lake, and we regrouped and recovered there.  After riding around the rest of the lake (which was full, btw.. a good thing considering the drought in CA), we road down Powerhouse Rd, then up that 5 miles back toward Auberry.  I cramped again, took more Enduralytes, walked it off, then rode to the next sag.   I was pretty tired by then, and not hungry.  This was kind of a red flag.  I drank a coke, then had a berry smoothie that they were making at the sag.  That smoothie helped to pick me up.  We got our lights ready, and I decided to put on my arm warmers and wind vest, and left that sag at 6:30.  We had some rollers and short hills, but the big climbs were done.  By 7 pm we were riding in the dark again.  
The last sag was ran by the CA club Adobo Velo, a Fillipino club, and they had Fillipino food.  I was not sure how much of that I wanted, but they had a rice porridge, that was pretty good. I ate a half bowl of that.  I had brought my wool arm warmers with me, and was a bit concerned about riding thru the fields and orange groves as it got cooler.  I decided to switch to wool, and loaned my lycra arm warmers to Jim.  That worked for  both of us.  
 
The half bowl of rice porridge was good, and I started feeling stronger as we rode the last 17 miles.  We pulled into the finish at about 9 pm.  They had Itialian food, and I had some lasagna.  Jim asked if we wanted a milk shake, and called his wife and asked her to pick some up for the  4 of us.  We met back at the hotel , sat on the benches near the entrance, and enjoyed Foster Freeze shakes.
 
it was a challenging double.  For all the others I have ridden, and I still think the Central Coast double is harder than Bass Lake, by the next morning I was ready to say I would ride it again.  This time it took me until Tuesday to decide I would ride Bass Lake again some day.  I think it did hurt that I didnt really ride between Sept 10 and Sept 27.  
 
My GoPro video should be done this week.  I guess I was tired enough I didnt turn it on at the end of the ride.  oh, and the Jeep got 20.5 mpg for the trip!
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