2004 California Triple Crown Stage Race Results
Are you ready to test yourself in Three of the Hardest, Most Grueling Double Centuries on this planet? Are you ready for Two Hundred Miles with tons of Steep Climbing? Then a couple of weeks later, Two Hundred More Miles with more Steep Climbing? Then if you have any strength left, are you ready to tackle the Terrible Two with Two Hundred More Miles, 16,000 Feet of Climbing, White Knuckler Descents, and Temperatures over 100 Degrees?
If so, then we've got a deal for you!!
This is how the Stage Race works: Riders have to complete Three of the Most Difficult Doubles in the California Triple Crown: Mulholland, Central Coast, and the Terrible Two. The Total Elapsed Time from each of these grueling Doubles is then added together and the rider with the fastest overall time for all Three Doubles wins the Stage Race.
WARNING: These rides are NOT for the inexperienced or occasional rider.
On the Schedule Page, you will notice that the Difficulty Rating by the "California Triple Crown" for each of these rides is: Extremely High. Do not make any of these rides your first Double Century -- because if you do, you may not want to do another one!! However, if you are in the best shape of your life and you are looking for the ultimate one day tests of your physical and mental fitness, then these rides are for you!!
How hard are these rides? Brutally hard. Hard beyond description!!
In 2004, the Mulholland Double was a true challenge of over 13,200 Feet of Climbing. Only 106 Riders Started this brutally hard ride and only 88 Finished ... 18 Riders Did Not Finish this First Stage of the Stage Race!! Ride Organizer Chris Kostman reported, "This year, Mulholland was the first event of the 2004 California Triple Crown Stage Race ... and oh, what a race it was. The initial lead pack of seven riders eventually dwindled to a quartet before Balcom Canyon: Lasse Bjerga, Robert Choi, Jeff Landshark Landauer and Graham Python Pollock. They rode together most of the day, battling it out for the early lead. Lasse and Jeff surged ahead on the long climb up Mulholland on the way back, but missed a turn about 40 miles from the finish. Graham Pollock, riding strong, took the lead and never looked back ... winning the first stage with a course record time of 11:18. Way to go, Graham! Robert Choi came in second, with Lasse and Jeff getting back on course and finishing together with the third best time of the day.
In 2004, the Central Coast Double was a challenge as always with 210 Miles and over 13,200 Feet of Climbing!! Of the 163 Riders that Registered, only 127 Finished ... 36 Riders Did Not Finish this Second Stage of the Stage Race. The Lunch Times for the Central Coast Double have traditionally been subtracted from the times of the Central Coast Double. Unfortunately, the Lunch Times were lost for the 2004 Central Coast Double so the times below include the Lunch Times. In the future, if the Central Coast Double is in the California Triple Crown Stage Race, the Lunch Times WILL NOT BE SUBTRACTED for this event. Brian Stark, the ride organizer of the Central Coast Double, has decided to stop the clock for the Lunch for his event in the future. However, the California Triple Crown will add the Lunch Times back into the results for the Stage Race. This will then make the clock for the Central Coast Double run from Start to Finish so that all of the Stage Race events will be handled consistently.
Cool weather, great support, and a little good luck conspired to make the 2004 edition of the Terrible Two double century about as close to perfect as it could be. 272 riders set off into the sunrise at 5:30 am on Saturday, June 19 which is the largest field in the history of the Terrible Two. This year's riders caught a break with the weather. At midweek, it was 104° in Cloverdale, but in two days the temperature dropped over 20°, and on the 19th, the official high was a comfortable 82°. The only downside to the weather was a bothersome headwind that seemed to pop up all over the place, regardless of which direction one was riding (except for the brief run down the coast: that at least was a tailwind). Overall, the pleasant weather was a nice change from last year’s inferno, and it played a big part in allowing 216 entries to complete the course (203 within the "I Did It!" time limit). However, let there be no doubt about it, the Terrible Two is loaded with 16,000 Feet of brutally steep climbing and white knuckler descents.
The 2004 California Triple Crown Stage Race yielded total of over 600 Grueling Miles with over 42,400 Feet of Climbing!!
Results are in from the Mulholland Double held 4/17/04, the Central Coast Double held 5/08/04, and the Terrible Two held 6/19/04. The report below shows the "Leader Board" of those riders who completed all three Stages of the Stage Race, ranked by Total Overall Time.
|2004 California Triple Crown Stage Race|
|11||CLARE||JOHN T||62||LONG BEACH||LIGHTNING||14:14||14:32||13:04||7:36|
|19||BOYLE||CRAIG||42||SAN JOSE||ALTO VELO||14:58||15:33||15:12||11:29|
|26||ELLIS||BILL||45||SANTA ROSA||SANTA ROSA||16:28||16:45||16:03||15:02|
|29||ANDERSON||BRUCE||48||SAN LUIS OBISPO||16:02||16:38||17:17||15:43|
The competition was closer than ever this year with just 17 Minutes separating the top 3 Finishers after 600 Miles and over 42,400 Feet of Climbing!!
In First Place was Robert Choi, Age 43, from Rohnert Park: he was 2nd on the Mulholland Double, tied for 1st on the Central Coast Double, and tied for 7th Place on the Terrible Two!! This is Robert's third year on the Double Century Circuit after finishing in 3rd Place in the California Triple Crown Stage Race in 2002 and 2nd Place last year!! Congratulations to Robert!!
In Second Place this year was Lasse Bjerga, Age 50, from Cedar City, Utah. Lasse was 3rd on the Mulholland Double, tied for 1st on the Central Coast Double, and tied for 2nd on the Terrible Two!! This is Lasse's third year on the Double Century Circuit and his first year competing in the California Triple Crown Stage Race. Congratulations to Lasse!!
In Third Place was Jeff Landauer, Age 36, from Fair Oaks. Jeff was tied for 3rd Place on the Mulholland Double, tied for 1st Place on the Central Coast Double, and tied for 7th Place on the Terrible Two!! Jeff won the California Triple Crown Stage Race last year. Congratulations to Jeff!!
An Honorable Mention goes to Graham Pollock, Age 36, this year. Graham came in First Place on the Mulholland Double with a Course Record Time. Most impressively, he came in First Place in the Race Across Oregon on June 5, 2004. On top of all this, he came back and cranked out a very fine Terrible Two just a couple of weeks afterwards!! Congratulations to Graham!!
In the Women's Division, Janet Christiansen, Age 43, from Palm Springs came in First Place. Janet completed her first Double Century in 2002 with the Heartbreak Double. She came back in 2003 completing two Doubles but those were just warm up rides for her excellent Furnace Creek 508 completion in 37:51. Janet came back this year with three excellent Double Century rides. Congratulations on a great California Triple Crown Stage Race, Janet!!
In Second Place was Doris Bingo, Age 41, from Anaheim. Doris completed her first year of Double Centuries way back in 1996 and has now completed over 32 Doubles!! Congratulations to Doris on a great California Triple Crown Stage Race!!
In Third Place was Margie Biddick, Age 45, from Aptos. Margie completed her first year of Double Centuries in 2003 including the Terrible Two. Margie came back this year with three excellent Double Century rides. Congratulations to Margie!!
An Honorable Mention goes to Michelle Kashima, Age 44, from Irvine. Michelle completed her first year of Double Centuries in 2001. She came back this year and tackled the three hardest Doubles in California and was only 48 Minutes behind Margie. Congratulations to Michelle!!
In the Tandem Division, Mike Chester and Karen Koppenhaver came in First Place. Mike and Karen are long time California Triple Crown Double Century riders: Mike started riding Doubles in 1992 and Karen in 1991. Mike has completed over 43 Doubles and Karen has completed over 54 Doubles. They were flying on the Stage Race this year and a big congratulations to Mike and Karen!!
In Second Place in the Tandem Division was Dan Crain and Anny Beck. Dan and Anny are also long time California Triple Crown Double Century riders: Dan started riding Doubles in 1996 and Anny in 1990. Dan has completed over 70 Doubles and Anny has completed over 29 Doubles. Congratulations to Dan and Anny!!
In Third Place in the Tandem Division was Bill Ellis and Evelyn Buchwitz. Bill started riding the Terrible Two in 1994 and has ridden it 8 times!! Evelyn has completed 11 Doubles since 2001!! A tip of the hat to Bill and Evelyn who tackled these extremely tandem unfriendly rides on their tandem!!
California Triple Crown Plaques will be awarded to Robert, Lasse, Jeff, Graham, Janet, Doris, Margie, Michelle, Mike, Karen, Dan, Anny, Bill, and Evelyn. These will be presented at the California Triple Crown Awards Breakfast to be held September 26, 2004, the morning after the Knoxville Fall Classic Double, in Vacaville.
Everyone who completed the 2004 Stage Race is to be commended. Our hat is off to each of the 30 Finishers ... just to complete these three Extremely Difficult Rides is a major accomplishment!!
Jeff Landauer wrote the following Insider's Report to the competition in the lead peloton, "Let me begin by congratulating Robert Choi on his first place in the Stage Race, second place Lasse Bjerga and all those who competed this year... well done! Stage 1: Mulholland was an awesome course and a great test for the CTC Stage Race. After a very early start the peloton wasted no time in setting a blistering pace and hitting the first climb everyone was very motivated. As we charged up the hill the group really started to split up and by the 1st check point the lead group had been established. As the race continued the lead group was shrinking and entering the flat middle of the course our select group started working in a pace line to continue to open a gap on the chasers. As we headed towards the final climbs of the day it was down to a group of four (Choi, Bjerga, Pollock and me), heading up the Mulholland climb from the coast Lasse and I broke free but took a wrong turn and we thought the race was over for us, but we managed to do some damage control and finish in 3rd position.
Stage 2: Central Coast is a beautiful course and up until this year the strategy has been the same, race till lunch and then stick with the group after... oops not this year. From the start the lead group consisted of approximately 20 or so riders and the long pace line lead us into the 2nd rest stop of the day. A few riders snuck out of the CP early and the chase was on. I was caught behind the lead group and thanks to my super domestiques (Rich Boettner and Dave Roth) we bridged the gap at the base of the days longest climb, but by that time I was cooked. I tried a feeble attempt to surge forward but was swallowed up by the group and waved goodbye as they disappeared up the road. At lunch we regrouped and rode to the finish at a more humane pace. As I alluded to earlier the Central Coast Double is decided by lunch, but after the times were misplaced this year the overall times were counted towards the Stage Race.
Stage 3: What a difference a 20+ degree temperature change makes! After last years scorching conditions this years TT was a welcome change and I thought for sure the course record would fall. I had a little added motivation because I had to catch an 8 o'clock flight from Sacramento Airport to San Diego for the start of RAAM, I crewed for Andrew "Octopus" Otto (6th place RAAM '04... way to go "octobunny" - Andrews totem for the 508 is Octopus and he was sponsored by Energizer so I came up with a little twist for RAAM). The race started off real mellow and going into the first climb of the day the group split up but everyone knew no one was going anywhere until the Geysers or Skaggs. Unfortunately at the rest stop before the Geysers I had a problem with my cleat and the lead group disappeared up the road, Robert Choi had stopped for a nature break and came rolling into the rest stop as I finished fixing my problem and the chase was on (again... ahhrrr). As we reached the Geysers I decided to just settle into a comfortable pace and not waste everything before lunch, I wasn't feeling great and needed all the reserves I could muster, Robert and I managed to pick off some riders on the climb and by the top had found the tandem (Paul McKenzie & Ray Plumhoff) to pull us to lunch, a group of about 10 riders rolled into lunch for a "dine and dash" stop. As we began our assault up Skaggs the real players of the day started to pass by me and I figured if I could just find a rhythm I could scrape and scrounge to hold on for a 3rd place finish in the Stage Race. Last year Skaggs was hot, steep and tough and this year, feeling like I was, it seemed longer. I saw the tandem along with Rich Boettner ahead of me and thought if I can hang with them till the decent it will make my life a lot easier. We rolled out to the coast and picked up some riders that had been spit out of the lead group and worked together to Fort Ross. Fortunately at Fort Ross my day started changing and I started feeling real good climbing, I joked with Robert Choi that "sure, now I start feeling good" and wished I had found my climbing legs earlier. Robert and I rode to the last check point together where we were joined by the tandem, Rich Boettner, Allan Armstrong, and Pete Burnette and we rode together to the finish. Well there was no rest for the weary and thanks to the volunteers preparing a plate of yummy food for me I jumped in my car and headed to the airport and made my flight!"
You don't have to do anything special to sign up for the Stage Race: In 2005, all you have to do is to sign up for and ride your heart out on the 3 Doubles in the Stage Race!! Of course, that's much easier said than done!! Also, if you ride any Stage on a tandem, you must ride all three Stages on a tandem with the same partner.
The California Triple Crown lays down this challenge: be among the select few who are able to finish the Stage Race!!
The Organizers of the Double Centuries have approved the following plan for the future:
In 2005, the California Triple Crown Stage Race will consist of the Mulholland Double, Devil Mountain Double, and the Central Coast Double.
In 2006, the plan is to have the California Triple Crown Stage Race consist of the Devil Mountain Double, the Central Coast Double, and the Terrible Two Double.
In 2007, the plan is to have the California Triple Crown Stage Race consist of the Devil Mountain Double, the Heartbreak Double*, and the Terrible Two Double like in 2003.
* In 2004 and beyond, Planet Ultra may wish to subsitute the Mulholland Double or the Ridge Route Double into the Stage Race rotation instead of the Heartbreak Double. In terms of difficulty, the Mulholland Double and the Ridge Route Doubles are plenty tough enough with lots of climbing for sure.
The advantages of this plan for the future is that there will be variety in the Stage Race from year to year, it allows Southern California cyclists to more easily participate in the Stage Race, and it is fair to all of the toughest Double Centuries in California. For example, the Tour de France does not go over the same tough passes every year, and now the California Triple Crown Stage Race won't go over the same tough passes ever year either.
The California Triple Crown lays down this challenge: be among the select few who are able to finish the Stage Race!!
Checkout these Photos from the 2004 Awards Breakfast Showing the Stage Race Winners Being Awarded Their Plaques
Congratulations to all Finishers in the 2004 California Triple Crown Stage Race!!
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