As Americans we love almost anything that is bigger and better than its smaller counterpart from the double scoop of ice cream to the double-double. Seems that for most of us just the word double sets off fireworks in our heads saying this must be good, right? I’m easily one of these people and maybe you are as well but lets stop before we bite off more than we can chew and look at this word before we carry on.
Double in many cases is meant as twice as hard or twice as bad. The double back flip, double cross, double taxed, double trouble, double duty and to double dip a chip. Double seems to seem ominous if we talk about how hard something could be but yet better if we talk quantity or quality of something.
Enter the Bass Lake Double Century brought to you by the Fresno Cycling Club already famous in FresYes for my personal favorite The Climb to Kaiser.
Now maybe you don’t know what a century is, that’s a fancy name for a 100 mile bike ride so a DOUBLE century is you got it……….a TWO HUNDRED mile bike ride. I’m quickly thinking twice as hard and having done a few in my time its an easy route to take. Doubles are hard and rightfully so. The average rider will be on the bike for 15 hours with only the best dropping under the 12 hour mark on any 200 mile course. But to the hard core rider the double is also twice as awesome, twice as challenging and twice as rewarding. So in the double century we have a sporting chimera a challenge of both beast and pleasure.
This year being the 9th running started in town and then set off on a meandering tour of both the valley and foothills. With a 70 mile starting loop heading all the way down towards Orange Cove riders got some pleasant miles in before climbing up to Pine Flat Lake. Easy flat miles are almost always a blessing early in the morning. You can cruise along at a nice pace, wake up, talk to friends and get your body geared up for what is next up. This ride is no different but this 70 mile appetizer is quickly followed with the meat and potato’s of this ride meaning the next 130 miles are filled with just over 10,000 feet of climbing and trust me……….that’s a lot.
Once into the foothills the ride took small mountain roads from Pine Flat to Prather, Auberry, North Fork and looped around Bass Lake before heading back the way it came. While this isn’t the big climbs of Tollhouse, Big Creek and Kaiser Pass the lumpy profile is in many ways just as challenging. Instead of being able to settle into an hour long rhythm riders are constantly having to switch gears from climbing to flat and back again which is not an easy task.
Once back to the valley floor riders were met by fruit fields and stop signs on the way back to the finish where they were greeted with a large party of all the crew and riders telling battle stories of their day on wheels.
Next year will be the 10th annual and if I know Dennis Ball and the Fresno Cycling Club they will pull out something special.
For the riders of 2014 I tip my hat. You have all met a challenge that is doubly hard and I hope it was a double reward as well. Its a badge of honor you have earned one mile at a time and I salute you.
My friends Stephen and Brian after the ride.
One worked all day in the shop the other worked all day on the bike.
Brian definalty has the look of a man who just rode 200 miles! Well done.