My First 200k


Tomorrow’s agenda. A Hercules-Winters lasso, with elevation by miles in red at the bottom.

The main reason I think I might be able to do this crazy ride is that it’s flat—flattish—well, it has +5,837 feet of elevation gain, which actually doesn’t sound so flat at all, does it? But it is a lot less than most rides of comparable length. Actually I’m sitting here playing with Ride With GPS and trying to figure out how much less, and to imagine what it might feel like.

Mount Diablo is about +3,800 feet, spread over 11 miles. And you may not even start at sea level, but let’s just say you do.

In terms of stuff I do more often, Tunnel Road has about +1250 feet of gain from Rockridge. Pinehurst feels like pure evil, but it’s only about +900 feet. The grades are around 4 and 5% on Tunnel, up to 8.5% on the last reaches of Pinehurst. If you do that whole ride, it says you gain +2,800 feet.

So okay, okay. I can imagine doing that twice in a day. I think.

Winters looks like no drama grade-wise till mile 65, then there’s some hill action till mile 80. Then miles 80 to 105 are all downhill (!), with a couple bumps before the end—the morning ride in reverse.

The truth: I’m enjoying the procrasturbatory comfort of the internet and its maps very much right now, as well as basking in past accomplishments. But no map I look at can tell me what this thing tomorrow is going to feel like—and that unknowability is giving some fear to this moment, but also a palpable, primal thrill.

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