Sunday, August 17, 2014

Dudley's 300K Reduced to 90K


Hard to believe it's been over 2 years since I've posted a ride, so I thought it was about time for an update! I dedicated this ride to my grandmother - Rose Lauciello (Ambrose) who passed away at the age of 94. The white bike is a ghost bike for the passing of Paul Fleck who collided with another rider and died from injuries sustained from the collision. This memorial can be seen just west of the Sycamore Canyon Bridge on 52W.

We started at the Von's shopping center off Otay Lakes Rd. Our Regional Brevet Administrator (RBA) said there were a total of 9 riders signed up for the ride. I was stoked! Although brevets are not races, I had the chance for a top 10 finish - all I had to do was finish!

Sure, we were all laughs and giggles at the start.


There was a husband and wife attempting the route today. Don't think I've ever heard of a husband/wife riding on a brevet, let alone one that was going to brutal due to the route and the high heat expected. I know I would never bring my wife on such a ride, I could never afford the divorce!

We depart right on time at 0600. I've learned to leave a few minutes after the main group has left. Why? Too easy for me to get sucked into a pace I can't sustain, then blow up later in the day. I don't need any help in blowing up, I can do that all by myself. Lets get started on the ride!

Riding towards Otay Lakes

Otay Lake shorline

Otay Lake

East end of Otay Lake
I wasn't 3 miles into the ride and I was already pouring sweat. I knew it was going to be a huge factor on the ride so I started preparing about a week before making sure I was hydrated as much as possible without running to the bathroom every 10 minutes. I had a stop or three during the first 7 miles - mainly small things. Jamul was first on the list.


That's it, just a sign, not much else to see. The next sign starts to get riders a little anxious.

Turn left here
The next right is Honey Springs Rd. It has a nice name to it but don't let that fool you! The road starts like this.

Deerhorn City Limits

More Honey!

Still more but the pavement rocks!

Yes, that's uphill

Pretty close to the summit
About 6 miles total and already the Surly felt like it was going backwards. There's a small downhill until Lyons Valley Road. When I got to the stop sign, there was a herd of bovine waiting for me. I stopped to take a photo and was shocked at what they had to say!


I was totally shocked! I didn't know cows could talk!! You see the strangest things looking over handlebars that's for sure.

The road turned into more of what I like to ride on.

Mark's scenic road
Shortly after this, things started to unravel for me.

Lyons Valley Rd has hills too

Looking back down on what I rode up - follow me?
I was staying up on my hydration - starting my 5th water bottle. I had settled into a pace that would put me at the first control with about 30 mins to spare. Unfortunately despite all the prep for the ride and staying up on my on-bike hydration/electrolytes, I had my first bout of heat stroke - stopped sweating, feeling way overheated, and in just a few short minutes, I couldn't push the pedals over no matter how hard I tried. I knew what was going on, so I pulled over, took of my helmet, and poured my first bottle over my head, and soaked my jersey. My second bottle went over the rest of me. I sat down on a rock and waited for the bike to cool off. While sitting there a kind soul driving past stopped and asked if I was OK and would I like some water? I took that opportunity for a refill and sat there until I started sweating again. I guess I was really looking rough because 10 minutes after I sat on the rock, these guys show up.

Turkey Vulture One

Turkey Vulture Two

Turkey Vulture Three
I knew I felt awful, but didn't think I looked bad enough to draw the vultures. :) So, I needed a new plan. Looking at the route sheet, I had 45 minutes to ride 28 miles to the first control. Not gonna happen. A pro cyclist couldn't pull that off. I noticed I had a nice view of downtown San Diego, so that meant I had cellphone coverage. I texted the RBA and let him know I wasn't going to make the cutoff time. My plan was to ride back to the start. I texted my bride and told her my predicament; I was actually contemplating riding home, then driving back to the start to get the van. I decided to ride back to the start because the distance, heat, and hills were about the same. 

I sat on the rock for about 20 minutes. There wasn't a good way to prop up my bike, so I sat on the rock, with the toptube on my thighs. This gave me an interesting look at my frame. Down at the conflagration where the bottom-bracket shell and downtube are welded together, I noticed a bubble of powder coating. Weird I thought, so I scratched it with my fingernail. It came right off and there was rust under it! An even closer inspection, there was another one 90 degrees around the downtube. Since the powder coating wasn't broken, I'm guessing my frame had rusted from the inside out! That might explain the weird cracking noise I've been hearing this past 6 months. I thought it was the original bottom bracket, but the cracking happened again after replacing it. I couldn't find a pattern to this cracking, it would happen very randomly. I haven't pulled the bottom bracket out of the shell yet, but I'll be doing so in a couple days to get ready for my new frame. I bought a Surly Cross Check frame before I discovered the rust.

Once I got cooled off enough, I mounted my steel steed and started riding uphill again. I knew there was a convenience store just outside of a campground about 4 miles away. After about 5 minutes of riding, I stopped sweating again, and pulled over in the shade of somekindofmanzanita tree. So I would leapfrog from shaded spot to shaded spot to not allow my heart rate get too high. Right before the summit, I couldn't ride any longer, so I got off and pushed. By hook or by crook, I was gonna make it to the store.

I arrived at the store and bought a large gatorade and water. The plan was to stay here until I started sweating again, then let the normal cooling off process happen. I stayed there about an hour and a half. I started feeling pretty good so I mounted my ride and pedaled a whopping 250' up a small hill and pulled over into the shade. I was going to do this for the remaining 25 miles back to the start. Ride from shady spot to shady spot and cool off. This was a doable plan, slow, but doable. 

I made it up the smallish hill to the summit of Honey Springs then started coasting downhill. I stopped at a fire station, that has become my oasis many times.


I rode around to the east side of the building into the shade. Sat down by the water faucet and kept drinking and pouring water on myself. I had about 16 miles back to the car. I spent about an hour there enjoying the quiet and looking out into the wilderness. Only two vultures showed up this time! That's progress my friends!

Have you ever been outside, enjoying the scenery, and all of a sudden, get this feeling that someone or some THING is watching you?? Looking around then up I found what was checking me out.

Hi! I'm Mr Mantis

Mr Mantis! Giving me the thousand eye stare. 

I got back on the bike and started the descent to the 94. I made the left, then right onto Otay Lakes Rd. I took another stop at the Pio Pico campground - they had slushies there! They were heaven. I sat there for another 30 minutes, then got back to riding. I really started feeling better, it started cooling off, and made it back to the start around 5:30 PM. So it was 11.5 hours for about 57 miles.

Not the desired outcome but I did spend back-to-back weekends riding in the hilliest and hottest parts of San Diego. Good training!

Until next time.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sunset Beach 300K - Finally!!

Yes, finally completed a 300! It has been a few years since I've completed a 300 and did this one with plenty to spare.

About ten of us showed up at the start where the weather was overcast, cool, and misty. My plan for the ride was to just ride and enjoy the day. I've done this route before, so I wasn't expecting any surprises. Much to my surprise, there was a few along the way. Here's the route Sunset 300 Map.

If you've read my blog, I've been experimenting with taking videos during a ride. Sure, there's the GoPro but it's too bulky and expensive. I came up with a handlebar mount for my Flip so I can keep both hands free to control the bike. What a concept! :) Here's what it's like to ride down Torrey Pines:


The rider in white is Dave, there's another rider further down, that's Larry. Met both of them along the way - this was their first 300K.

The weather stayed pretty much the same, didn't need sunscreen or my sunglasses. The Torrey Pines video was the only one I could take because of the mist, it kept covering up the lens. Oh well, there's plenty of brevets coming up with lotsa downhills! Honestly, it was straight forward riding - not much to take photos of - weather pretty much looked like this all the way to Sunset:










I didn't remember to take any landmark shots until Laguna Beach:


The traffic was just as I remembered, lots of it and moving very s-l-o-w. A few more hills later I'm getting closer:


One of my favorite places to stop is a car dealership. Well, not just any dealership, Ferrari and Maserati of Newport Beach. This time though it was odd - no Ferraris! Most of the building was empty too, guess it must be the economy. I did take a few photos of the cars I got to test drive:




I preferred the black one - gotta love a 200+ MPH convertible in Southern California! I didn't have time to negotiate due to time limits for the ride, maybe next time.

Made it to the 7-11 in Sunset Beach, Sandy, Jim, and another rider I didn't get his name. Bought some snacks, water, and quickly headed out. Made a stop at one of the local beaches, the just named trio rode by and that was the last I saw of them. Made it back to San Clemente just in time for dinner. Grabbed a couple of cheese burgers at the Carl's Jr there.

I hit the road after a 20 minute dinner break, rode past all the campgrounds, PCH, 5, stopping at the rest area to refill water bottles. Made it to Carlsbad then ran into John M - well, visually, not physically. I wasn't feeling all that good, probably because I rode the first 93 miles in 6.5 hours. John was out riding seeing if he could hookup with someone on the ride. We rode together through Carlsbad, Encinitas, Del Mar, and up Torrey Pines. I don't remember Torrey Pines grade as steep on the way down as it was on the way up! It was great having someone to chat with during a ride, really makes the miles fly by. We parted ways at the top of Torrey, then I rode the last 12 miles back to the finish in Old Towne. If you ever get the chance to ride/walk on the Rose Canyon bike path while a large freight train slowly rolls by - do it! It's eerily cool. I finished at 10:22 PM - 13 hours, 22 mins overall - 11 hours, 45 mins ride time.

The nice thing about brevets is as long as you finish before the cutoff time, you're golden. Trying hard not to be a time weenie but I rode this 2 hours, 53 mins faster than last time!

Until next time...

Monday, January 23, 2012

2012 Rainbow 200K Recap - Brutal and Exciting

Quick recap of the 2012 Rainbow 200K on January 21st. Weather reports were for rain, starting around midnight Saturday and continue on for the entire day. At 9 PM Friday night, I decided to put fenders on the Surly. This was probably the best decision I had made for this brevet.

Left Doyle Park promptly at 7 AM, well, the main group did - I hung around a few minutes to finish up a few things. No rain at the start but it started around mile 8 where I stopped under a 56 freeway bridge to put on my rain gear. That's the problem with rain, you have to pack two sets of gear - when it's raining gear, when it's not raining gear. It rained pretty much for the next 4 hours. Not hard, and luckily for me, being on the bigger side of small, I can keep myself rather warm without too much effort. After about 2 hours I had noticed riding uphill was turning into an ordeal. I stopped to check my tires, no problem there. Brakes weren't rubbing. I picked up the Surly and oh yeah, most of my gear absorbed water, let alone what I was wearing. Oh well, part of being a randonneur! The rain just bothered me going uphill, fenders and rain gear stopped it from becoming miserable.

Made it to the first two controls in decent time. After departing AM/PM on Mesa Rock Rd, it was time to start climbing Old Castle Rd. About 3/4 of the way up, there was this Pit Bull barking it's head off at the gate to the driveway of it's home. It didn't seem to want to go past the threshold of the driveway gates so I kept on riding . Once I got past, I heard this "tap-tap-tap" behind me. Checking my mirror, here comes Kujo in full gallop. I up shift a couple gears, stand up and sprint. I kept my eye on him with my mirror and stopped accelerating when I noticed the mutt no longer gaining on me. The dog pulled up about 300 yards from the driveway, turned around and went home. I sat back down and made my way to the top and stopped in a driveway, then slumped over my handlebars. Couldn't decide if I was going to hurl or pass out! Eventually I started feeling better and got back to riding. After the sprint though, I felt lousy for the remainder of the day. Trying to sprint with a heavy bike takes a lot of energy.

Heading into Couser Canyon, I bonked hard halfway up. I stopped for a few minutes, grab a gel and drank. Got back to riding after a few minutes heading to Rice Canyon. Part way climbing up to Rainbow, there was a short, steep downhill and I got surprised by a hairpin turn that was wet from the rain. I hit the brakes just entering the turn, rear wheel locked up, I slid across the double yellow line into the on-coming lane. Thank the Lord there were no cars coming. I wouldn't have had a chance and no driver could have reacted fast enough to avoid me. I was out of the saddle, let off the rear brakes and shot back across the double yellow line. Didn't crash during the slide so that was VERY good!

I continued feeling lousy at the Rainbow control. Got something to eat, then some hot chocolate. It stopped raining, so I pulled out a dry set of gloves, wrung my socks out, and prepared to freeze while my clothes dried out. Left Rainbow with two other riders, one of which gave me a demonstration on how to handle loose dogs.

Riding the San Luis Rey bike path was very nice. Probably the calmest time I've had on that path. Made it into Oceanside with a quick stop at a mini mart to refuel. It was starting to get dark but not too bad. Doing the math, I was going to be very close to the cutoff time. I was still feeling lousy and I knew I had Torrey Pines to climb. I kept up my fueling until Del Mar, when my 3rd incident occured.

In Del Mar, I had to cross the Jimmy Durante Blvd merge onto Camino del Mar. I misjudged the distance and my speed so I skipped off the guard rail several times before getting control of the bike. Was totally surprised and tried to avoid flipping over the rail.

Torrey Pines was waiting for me with a huge smile. It was dark, wasn't too cold out, so I took my time. Stopped a few times to regain feeling in my legs, topping out sooner than I thought. It's rather nice climbing long hills in the dark! Riding into UCSD with about 2 miles to go, I once again made an incorrect turn, but recovered from that as well.

Overall I had a great time. Much thanks to Elaine and Lisa for waiting for me then taking off allowing me to "catch" them after they waited once again. I finished the 122 mile route in 12 hours 50 minutes overall with a ride time of 10 hours and 5 minutes. Only about 30 minutes slower than my previous inclement weather time for this route. I was the last rider in, earning Lantern Rouge, 2nd award.

You noticed no photos? Decided to leave the camera at home with all the rain.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Montezuma Mesa Espresso 205K Permanent - AKA: My Wife MADE Me Do It

I'm very dedicated to my goal of the R-12 award, but my lovely wife demanded I ride on March 5th. I was coming up with all kinds of excuses - the check engine light came back on the randovan. The check engine light came on the Taurus, lawn mower, and on the morning of the ride, the Surly. She even threatened to throw the Surly out the front door, then me, and lock the door behind. She wouldn't have anything about me worming my way out of riding this weekend. I HAD to go.




The 1st control is a mere 8.1 miles from the start. Quickly in and out departing on Friars Rd heading towards Mission Bay I see Team in Training out for their marathon training program.



Sue Krenn 15K has also started and Mission Bay is very busy. I pull up to the light E. Mission Bay Dr and another rider on a recumbant rolls up next to me. He asked me if I rode the Rainbow 200K, which I did. We chatted trying to get the light to change, but this was one of the lights the Surly couldn't get to change. Luckily a car pulled up behind us and tripped the light. The right onto Damon then Sante Fe which changes into the Rose Canyon Bike path. Making my way to UCSD, then up to North Torrey Pines Rd. A few miles and there's this nice downhill to the beach.



There's no way I'm going to one-hand ride down Torrey Pines. We'll be seeing this hill again on the way home.

Making my way up Coast Highway/101 is rather uneventful. The tough part is the near constant 15-20 MPH headwind. It was relentless for 50 miles! I made my way through Del Mar, Solana Beach, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Encinitas, Leucadia, Carlsbad. As I approached Oceanside, I somehow got mixed up with a group of time trialists! I've never tried to time trial on the Surly so I gave it a try:



I don't think I'd find that position very comfortable for a 200K, but it was fun while it lasted!

I make my way through Oceanside, find the on-ramp to 5N and keep heading north. The headwinds are still howling but I'm used to it. I exit into the rest area but ride right through. I hit the off-ramp to Las Pulgas, aim the Surly through the opening of the fence on the Old 101 and I get a slight break to eat and drink. Plenty other riders are out. I duck under the 5 and make my way through the various campgrounds, past San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant, and notice all the traffic on the 5. Beach traffic in March!



I finally reach Carl's Jr - the northern terminus of this permanent. I grab a chocolate milk shake and wash up. I took about a 20 min break and chatted with some other riders. I depart Carl's Jr shortly after noon and can already feel the tailwind!

Normally when you have such a long headwind and you turn around, usually the wind turns around with you and there's more headwind to ride back with. Not this time! I took full advantage of this tailwind!! Soft pedaling it was easy to maintain 20 MPH. That's rather fast for a 32 pound bike and the Surly surely rides very smooth at this speed. It seemed like a blink of an eye I was flying down south 5, not stopping through the rest area, back to Oceanside and the Coast Highway. Carlsbad, and the remainder of the beach cities are a blur. I stop at Swami's to refill my bottles and just keep going. It's not too much longer and I face riding up Torrey Pines hill at mile 103. It didn't look as steep riding down as it does when you're at the bottom of the hill and you have more than 100 miles in the legs.



Torrey didn't seem so bad this time. I actually passed a few riders on the way up, not that I was trying. I just got into my rhythm and up I went. Once at the top, it was riding past UCSD, Rose Canyon Bike Path, then back through Pacific Beach & Mission Bay. Stopped quickly at the 3rd and final control, then I left to ride through Mission Valley. Finally there was Montezuma Road.

No, I'm not talking about the opera or the fifth or ninth Aztec Emperors, I'm talking about a significant climb with only 3 miles left! Same with Torrey, it didn't seem so steep on the way down but man, it was tough on the way up! I could smell the barn so all I did was grind it out. You know what the most depressing thing about cycling? When you try to shift into your lowest gear and you find out, YOU'RE ALREADY THERE! It was one of those climbs at just that time of day. I was rather tired, traffic was busy, and the sun was setting. Soon enough I was at the top and looking for the Starbucks to finish off this permanent.

I arrived at the finish. Here are the stats for this ride:

Distance: 205K (128 miles)
Overall Time: 9:51
Ride Time: 8:32
Average Speed: 15.1 MPH
Calories Burned: ~6500
Calories Consumed: ~2000

This was my first 200K where I finished under 10 hours! One of the changes I made to the bike was a slight adjustment to my saddle. Since I've lost all this weight, I kept sliding forward on my saddle, then using my arms to slide back up. Doing that for hours on end really makes my upper body tired. I don't know if the sliding is really related to the weight loss or not. I slide the saddle about 1/4" closer to the handlebars. What a huge difference! My back, hands, arms, and neck didn't get near as tired. The other thing is, I think I'm using more of my legs. At the old position, my glutes and back of my legs would get very tired but my quads wouldn't. Moving the saddle forward, I could feel more of my quads getting used. Not sure if that's all in my imagination but I'm sticking with it!

One other change I did was lower the pressure in my tires. Before I would run them near maximum of 115 PSI. I've been reading where lower pressures make tires roll easier and make the ride smoother. I didn't believe it at first but I gave it a 30 day try. I can say I don't think I notice the tires rolling easier or the Surly is easier to pedal, but the bike sure does ride much nicer! I've settled on 95 PSI in the front tire and 105 PSI in the rear.

So, that brings to an end --- oh, wait, there's more.

I had to ride home too. Oldest son needed the randovan for work with my wife and younger son at a track meet. That left me with no other option but to ride the 9 miles home. I hung out at Starbucks for about 30 minutes. I bought a Chocolatey Creme and a bagel. I donned all my night riding gear, powered up the lights and rode home. The ride home took me through La Mesa, past Grossmont Community College, then downhill to Santee. It was an awesome night to ride too. I think the 9 miles back home was as great as the 128 I just finished.

Another ride next month too. I've completed 3 out of 12 so far. Haven't decided on a route as of yet. I'm planning all my permanents the 1st or 2nd Saturday of the month. That way if something goes wrong on either of those weekends, I have two more Saturdays I could ride. Much thanks to Mike Berry for this new permanent. If you plan on riding it south to north, be sure to save alittle for the end. :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sunset Beach Safari 228K Permanent

It's February and that means another brevet! Problem is, it's the Corona 300K and with all the time off I had over the fall, I wasn't too confident in riding that distance along with the 8000' or so of climbing. One of my goals last year was to work on the RUSA R-12 award. Since I had a 3 month gap, I needed to start over. I decided to ride the Sunset Beach Safari Permanent which starts in La Costa, ends up in Sunset Beach then returns. A permanent is like a brevet but can be ridden at anytime of the year with permission of the route owner.


I got started around 7 AM departing La Costa.

View of a lagoon, can't remember exactly where I was but somewhere on Coast Highway. Coast Highway takes me through Carlsbad and Oceanside. Once through Oceanside, there's an option to ride through Camp Pendleton or take the 5 freeway.

I decided to take the freeway!

Look mom! I'm finally playing on the freeway!

Riding the freeway isn't all that bad. It's very noisy and the shoulder is littered with all kinds of junk just wanting to puncture my tires. What's cool is semi surfing. If there's enough large trucks spaced just right and I have the Surly at just the right speed, I can use the bow wave of the truck to push up the speed!

One requirement of riding the 5 is that riders have to exit the freeway into the rest area. This is for safety as the on-ramp from the rest area is blind looking into the shoulder. It's not a bad thing to exit, good place to top off my bottles.

Surly taking a break.

After departing the rest area, it's about 4 miles until the Las Pulgas exit. Bikes must exit here.

Then quickly get on Old Highway 101 northbound. It's nice to be off the freeway. There are plenty of other riders out too, just not in this photo.

Pretty soon I'm riding past the San Onofre Nuclear Powerplant. It appears to be leaking something and I can feel a warm sensation. Oh well, I'm sure it's nothing...

Very nice paved road passing the plant.

Heading into San Clemente, then making my way north towards Dana Pt.

Dana Point State Beach
Uphill into Laguna Niguel. Laguna Beach is always jammed with traffic and this ride was no exception. Made a quick water stop at a local grocery store then started threading my way through Laguna Beach. Once north of Laguna Beach the road opens up nicely with a set of rollers but wide bike lanes.

Before I know it, I'm just a few miles south of Newport Beach. From here on to Sunset Beach, it's all a headwind! Plenty of traffic from time to time but not bad.

I happened upon this sports car at the Newport Beach Ferrari dealership. Yes, it's a Ferrari. The only thing I could read on the sticker was the price: $339,000. I didn't see any factory rebates or trade in allowance. It did say "DO NOT TOUCH" in very big letters across the top of the sticker. I didn't note what model it was so I emailed the dealership. No response so far.
Entering Huntington Beach

Making my way through Huntington Beach.

For some reason riding from Huntington Beach to Sunset Beach takes a long time. After 5 hours of riding, I arrive at my turn-around point, 7-11 16919 Pacific Coast Highway. I didn't stay very long, watered up and had some chocolate milk.

Southbound beach shot.

Backside of Laguna Beach -- getting ready for more traffic.

The southbound trip was uneventful through Dana Point & San Clemente. By this time of the evening, there are fewer riders out as well. Making my way down Old 101, I'm back on the 5 S. Problem this time was a CHP had someone pulled over. They were blocking the entire shoulder and I had no chance of "merging" into the slow lane of the freeway was just not an option. I was ready just to come to a stop and wait it out. As I approached, the car moved down off the shoulder, I rode past the officer, and he promptly stopped behind the car. I just kept riding on.

Once back in north Oceanside, I had to stop again for some food. I was really starting to tank and I still had 13 miles to go, but it seemed much further than that. Downed a cinnamon bun and I was off. Riding near the Oceanside Pier, the sun was beginning to set.

It's tough living out here...

While stopped, I donned my night riding gear. I was in very familiar territory but there was going to be some traffic as the night evolved. I had about an hour left of riding. I ride down Coast Highway for about 7 miles and make the left turn on La Costa Avenue. The temperature was dropping rapidly but I didn't have far to ride to the randovan. Soon enough, I was done!

This was my first, longest, and completed permanent! Here are the stats:

Miles: 141
Overall Time: 11:06
Ride Time: 9:06
Average Speed: 15.5 MPH
Average Temp: 72 degrees
Calories burned: ~7000
Number of Ferraris: 4 (not including the dealership)
Number of Lamborghinis: 2
Number of 1963 Jensen Healys: 1
Number of Mercedes: Who cares.
Number of Audis: See Mercedes
Number of BMWs: See Audis
Number of Surlys: 1

Planning my next permanent on March 5th. Stay tuned for more!