In the realm of cycling, some stories are more about the journey than the destination, more about the fight than the victory. My journey through the 2023 edition of the Eastern Sierra Double Century is one such story, marked by trials, tribulations, and ultimately triumph. This was my third California Triple Crown double century of 2023, my first time as a California Triple Crown winner, and a testament to my willpower and determination in overcoming adversity.
In early 2022, I suffered an achilles tendon injury that made me a spectator, not a participant, in the Solvang Spring Double Century that year. I managed to recover—or so I believed—and rode both the Heartbreak Double Century and the Eastern Double Century on back-to-back weekends. Unfortunately, the joy of riding was short-lived. I experienced a partial tear in my achilles tendon, the old wound re-opening, transforming the last 30 miles of the Eastern Sierra Double Century into a session of grueling pain.
Incredibly, fueled by sheer determination, I managed to cross the finish line of the 2022 edition of the Eastern Sierra Double Century in just 12 hours and 19 minutes. However, my triumph was bitter-sweet; I could barely walk, and my injury mandated immediate attention. I spent the rest of the year weaving in and out of physical therapy sessions. I could ride my bike but fell short of competing in any more double centuries for the year.
Fast forward to 2023, and I faced another setback: a positive Covid-19 test result in April. My training was interrupted, and my fitness levels took a hit. Even after recovery, I have been playing catch-up to my former fitness level. This combination of events resulted in a slower time in this year’s Eastern Sierra Double Century.
Despite the hurdles, the ride on June 3, 2023 was a turning point, marking my journey towards recovery and resilience. The route of the Eastern Sierra Double Century was a constant companion, alternating between flat serene stretches and challenging climbs. This backdrop bore witness to my struggles, perseverance, and the eventual triumph of becoming a California Triple Crown winner this year.
Yet, the victory was not without its trials. My strategy to streamline the ride by minimizing time at aid stations, combined with the lack of a visual cue on my 2-liter CamelBak, likely led to under-hydration and sub-par nutrition management. As if that wasn’t enough, a sidewall cut on the front tire forced me to stop and repair it about 30 miles from the finish line. Thankfully, I managed to plug it with two Dynaplugs, which allowed me to get back on the road without much downtime. All in all, the final stretch was a grueling ordeal, a painful echo of last year’s ride.
However, crossing the finish line this year had a different taste – one of hard-earned victory and defiance against all odds. My ride time of 12 hours and 49 minutes reflected not only the physical journey of 190 miles but also my journey through injury and illness. It was a reaffirmation that I have successfully overcome my setbacks, riding the roads once again to emerge as a California Triple Crown winner.
As I stand today, healed and proud, I look towards the next challenge on my horizon: the Hoodoo 300 Non-Stop Solo race on August 26, 2023. With the lessons from the past, the wisdom of the present, and the hope for the future, I am excited about this upcoming chapter of my cycling journey. After all, every setback is a setup for a comeback, and I can’t wait to ride towards mine.
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