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|
|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|
|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.