|In Pursuit of the
California Triple Crown:
Written By Thomas Ward aka Batman!
I can't believe I finished three double centuries in the same year.
The feeling of accomplishment is beyond words. The decision to do it, the
planning, the research, the financing and ultimately... the execution.
It is all a serious lesson in cycling maturity and wisdom of self.
I am definitely a changed rider. I can feel it in my soul. My mind and body finally
work together without a struggle.
All energy is focused like a laser beam.
I have always considered myself a disciplined person in general, however I found
that after completing the Triple Crown it has left me with improved mental
conditioning that spill over into my everyday personal life.
My decisions are clearer and definite, the procrastination factor is completely gone. Especially, for cycling. Either you are going to do it or
not. No more sitting on the fence, procrastinating or overanalyzing the day away.
I saw some awesome sights on the road. Both beautiful
and tragic. I suffered a bit.
I laughed a lot too. Had my ego stroked a few times and also
had it handed back to me dented.
I met some interesting people and made some great friends
from all over the state of California. I was humbled by the
abilities of many, namely those already Triple Crowners
and the Furnace Creek 508 riders (yes miles!)
These riders are at the gates of RAAM, many of these riders
are doing doubles for RAAM qualifiers.
These rides are timed and the rules are strictly enforced.
My Highest Point was completing my first century in
6 hours flat! including rest stops on the Davis Double.
I ended up finishing the ride in 14 hours including stops and
HILLS! I was jumping pacelines all throughout the ride.
My Lowest Point was being disqualified attempting the Mulholland Double Century for missing a cutoff time by 20 minutes after riding 161
miles and climbing mountains all day.
My funniest moment(s): A cyclist was rolling in front of me and I could smell his funky feet! for the last 40 miles and we were in a
Another incident, a lady cyclist was rolling 25+ in front of me in fierce paceline and all of a sudden... she threw up chunky tomato juice and
before I could get out of the way I rolled right through it! SWOOOOOSH!, DAMN! all over my white KHS Flite 2000 frame.
It splattered all under my aerobars while I was in aero position too. I was more concerned that the homemade slugde would cause an
uncontrollable skid and crash! CAN YOU IMAGINE THAT? The paceline was hot!, had I gone down, I would have been just runover and
ground into that tomato vomit. I wouldn't have known where the vomit ended and the blood began.... I thank God, and kept on rolling.
Lucky for me I was moving way too fast to catch a skid. That woman kept on rolling too! Now that folks, was a woman with real guts
(pardon the pun) Turns out she vomited two other times on the ride and kept on rolling. AW MAN! I saw her drinking a V8 tomato juice at
a restop. She apologized so much afterward I said "Forget about it"
Earlier in morning, like the first 25 miles the ride, I was heating up fast and my nose started running like crazy! I was in a pace line blowing
6 foot boogers....... IN THE DARK! Every now and then you would hear "HEY DAMN IT!"
After a few times of sliming guys they gave me space. I shot over to the right, let a ghostbuster go and jumped back in the paceline. One
dude passed the paceline on the right.....HA HA HA ....He passed without saying a word......SWOOOSH SPLAT!.... he got hit, if it were a
bullet he would have landed in the bushes!
MIRACLES: No FLATS for 600+ miles.
THE HARDEST PARTS OF THE DOUBLE CENTURY: The Hemet Double, had SAGE ROAD, which was a canyon road that was
waiting for you at mile 118. It was longer than Latigo Canyon and less winding. It was more of a straight up and over type hill.
The Davis Double, had COBB MOUNTAIN, in the Napa Valley, this was like climbing Palisades Drive. The hill was so steep in some parts
that SAG trucks were stopping half-way up to monitor riders.
It took me and hour and a half to climb Cobb Mountain, when earlier I had covered 25 miles in one hour! The Grand Tour had CASITAS
PASS at Mile 120 and or Potrero Rd. just past the ROCK, The route along PCH to Carpenteria in Santa Barbara County Line was headwind
coming and going. Especially through Rincon Park.
Rolling from the Rock to Malibu Pepperdine hill at mile 170 was a real challenge as well.
FAVORITE DOUBLE CENTURY: The Davis Double; This ride had more riders. The crew was much larger, they had route crews at
every I mean EVERY critical turn, even at night. Davis has lots of turns so it really helped that people were there so we can focus on riding.
The Grand Tour had the hills spread out enough for you to get some recovery time and actually enjoy the ride. The people were really nice
and the food was good too. I got my money's worth with these rides and a challenge too.
The Hemet Double is a good first double. It's basically flat, but it is a wakeup call for the rider thinking of doing a double and ultimately
going for the California Triple Crown.
BIGGEST IMPRESSIONS: I saw groups from The Furnace Creek 508 riding up these big hills (mountains) in a fixed gear. WHOA! Some
guys and girls left 2 hours behind our group, caught us, passed us, had lunch and beat us to the finish before dark! Many vans had Race
Across America stickers on their cars. Nice bikes, REAL NICE bikes.
I saw guys on skates, tandems, fixed, recumbents all doing these doubles. In fact, the double century is the staple ride for the ultra
endurance athlete and rides like the Furnace Creek, and RAAM (aka RACE ACROSS AMERICA)
On the Grand Tour, there were riders doing 300 and 400 miles! when I was finished doing 200 miles they were going back out again in the
dark to do 100 or 200 MORE MILES......how does that song go WHAT KIND OF FOOL AM I?
I met other Triple Crowners, I met Hall of Famer Big Ring Dave who has completed 110 double centuries, I met another lady who
celebrated her 50th double. FIFTY DOUBLES.......FIFTY!!!!
LA Wheelmen has many members who have done triples and Quads (400 mi)
Thanks to all who inspired me to go after the triple crown:
DOCKRIDERS TRIPLE CROWN HALL OF FAME (Updated!)
Norma Pringle - 2007
Steve Neuburger - 2007
Robert Chillous - 2007
Alex Blake - 2007
Jaycee Cary - 2007
Debbie Protho - 2006
Thomas Ward - 2006
Alan Eskovitz - 2002
Thaddie Frazer - 2002
Virgil Ford - 2000
Linda Jacobson - 2000
Jim Canedo - 1999
Special Thanks to Debbie Protho. We did it. I remember the first 140 miles we did in the rain. What were we thinking of?
How we felt after we did our first 200 miles. I slept like a bear. We didn't talk each other out of doing it. We didn't quit.
We pushed each other. I am grateful for that.
Thanks to Virgil Ford for the inspiration and tactical approach to surviving 200 miles and going for the Triple Crown, you are right,
it is an elite group. You are always a triple crowner, the double century crowd is fantastic! To Alan Eskovitz and Thad Frazer for their
insight on Davis Double and the Hemet Double.
Thanks to all the Dockriders who supported us the entire time riding in spirit. I can feel the vibe of those wanting to go after the 3
crowns,all I can say is GO DO IT talk about it later. It feels much better AFTERWARDS.
For more info on the California Triple Crown visit www.caltriplecrown.com
|Crankin' Time Cycling LLC, Copyright - All Rights Reserved
ON THE ROAD TO THE TRIPLE CROWN: Daybreak during the Davis Double
Century in Davis, CA. The California Triple Crown Series is a life changing event.
Welcome to the Club: CTC Virgil Ford congratulates new
California Triple Crown winners Debbie Protho and Tom Ward.
Crankin'TIME's Tom Ward "Completing the California Triple
Crown was a life changing event"