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!

Monday, February 7, 2011


Yes, the SurlyRando is now on Facebook! http://www.facebook.com/surlyrando You have to send me a friend request, my Facebook account is all private.

No, this blog will not be shut down. It'll still be used for regular ride reports you've loved. I'm going to use Facebook for real-time ride updates including photos as I'm out on a brevet, permanent, or training ride. I'll continue on with twitter, but it's limited, and I think Facebook updates provides a better reader experience during a ride, with the blog going into greater depth post ride.


Monday, January 17, 2011

2011 Rainbow 200K - Welcome Back Ride

Yes, welcome to 2011 and the start of brevet season here in San Diego! 2010 has left us and good riddance too. 2011 has to be better than last year, especially the last 5 months. My previous brevet was the Rollers to Bonsal 200K, then between getting sick, two trips to the emergency room two weeks apart, I amassed a total of 30 miles of training between Sept 28th and Dec 27th. I started training again the first week of January where I got 150 miles in that week, with a longest ride of 50 miles. I felt pretty good so decided to commit to the 200K, but with zero time pressure. All I wanted to do was cover the distance within the max allowed time.

It was nice to see the sun rise at Doyle Park in La Jolla. I could tell it was going to be a very nice day to be on the bike.

I brought all my cold riding gear with me but decided to leave most of that behind in the randovan. All I brought along was arm warmers and my night riding gear. It was probably the best decision I made all day - so far.

I wasn't the first to arrive, but I was pretty close.

I'm pretty sure we had nearly 80 riders at the start too. Great turn out! Got a chance to see friends that I haven't seen since last summer.

The Surly was configured just like normal. The photo isn't great since I used my phone and not a real camera.

The only changes to the bike was I rebuilt most of the drive train. After 11,000 miles of riding, I wore out the middle chain ring. It needed a new chain too and I decided to replace the cassette as well. The bike came with a 12-34 and I decided to go 11-32.

Promptly at 7 AM our RBA let us loose. As soon as I clipped in, I realized I was wearing my jacket! So, back to the randovan I go to drop off my jacket. When I turn around to leave, everyone is already out of sight! I mean totally gone. When I head down Regents towards the freeway it's sorta cold out, but not bad. I'll warm up in a few minutes as soon as I start riding uphill. It was a bit of a rough start as I was hitting every red light possible.

We made our way down the 5 to the Sorrento Valley exit and the temperature dropped rather quickly. I started second guessing my decision to leave my cold gear in the van but it was too late now. I'm not going back to the van.

Our first major climb of the day is on Del Dios highway. I was concerned that having a 32 rear cog instead of a 34 may come back to haunt me, but it didn't. I really couldn't tell any difference between the two. Maybe I should try a 30? Anyway, great views from Del Dios.

Rolling past the Lake Hodges Dam.


The route to the first control as uneventful. Temperature started warming up and I settled in to riding. I arrived at control 1 around 9:20. Not bad, I actually had to wait in line to get my brevet card signed! This was a first for me, I'm normally one of the last riders into any control. I found out there was about 15 riders behind me - not that I'm racing or anything. :)

Departing control 1 is the Twin Oaks Valley hill and a hill it is. This guy in a yellow car passed me going up TOV.


I rolled up beside him at the next light and inquired about racing for pinks. He was speechless. Seeing a guy wearing lycra and riding a Surly really makes a statement. He declined. Yeah, it's like that out on the open roads.

TVO downhill is a blast. It's straight, very nicely paved, and all I have to do is point the bike downhill. I know some riders can reach 55 MPH plus on this downhill. The terminal velocity of the Surly is about 48 MPH. I've run out of gearing to peddle, it's all up to gravity now. Believe me, 48 MPH is plenty fast enough.

I made it to control 2 exactly in an hour. I was there less than 2 minutes before departing. I didn't even get off the bike. Now, this is where the fun begins!

Leaving Deer Springs it's a slight downhill to Old Castle road and the uphill really starts. Temps are in the 80s and it's feeling like a spring day in the middle of January. I knocked out Old Castle rather easily, which surprised me. Heading down the backside on Lilac Rd it's another chance to fly. The approach to Couser Canyon Rd is at the bottom of this downhill and the turn is less than 90 degrees. I came in alittle too fast and alittle too late. I force as much weight on the outside pedal as possible and just lean into it. I'm watching as the rocks come real close to my right side. I miss skipping off the rocks by about 6 inches. I guess my cycling skills have rusted some since I was off so much. No problem, shake it off and start climbing. Couser is tough. I'm guessing it's around 12-15% grade. The good news is, it's not all that long, maybe a mile? I crest Couser and start flying down the back side too. This road is two lane, little to no shoulder, and no guardrails either. I came around a tight turn and was surprised by the road being wet. I thought, here I go. I was probably 30 MPH, came into the turn and just reacted. I tried to balance my weight as much as possible between the front and back wheels, then stayed off the brakes! That's the important part I think. Hitting the brakes would have probably caused me to skid. The Gaterskins held just fine but I won't try that again.

Once back down on the flats, it's an easy ride to Rice Canyon, and another tough climb. By now the temps are up to 88 degrees. I'm still feeling pretty good by this point. Last year I was totally hammered at this point in the ride. I was surprised to reach the top so quick. It was tough, but not what I remember last year.

I made it to control 3 in Rainbow. This is the final control for this brevet. I stayed about 10 minutes to refill my bottles and to hit the men's room. I got cleaned up and left. There's a slight climb going over East Mission. Temps are holding at 88 degrees but once at the summit, it's a nice downhill to the 76. I came to the 76 and 3 other riders pulled up behind me. The 76 usually has a ton of traffic and it's made worse due to the construction. Safety in numbers as they say so I stayed with the other 3 while going through the construction zone.

I quickly made my way to the San Luis Rey bike path. It's a very nice bike path, not too crowded, very nicely paved. The only problem is the headwinds! It's always a headwind and makes it seem like I'm riding up a nearly infinite hill. The path looks like this:


I roll into Oceanside and decided I need to take a short break. I stopped at Pappy's Liquor store and grab a chocolate milk. While drinking about 5 other riders pass me. I didn't stay too long, about 15 minutes and hit the road. The next 18 miles look like this:

It's one of my favorite routes to ride. Crowded with people, cars, dogs, cats, gerbils, and a sundry of other unleashed animals, I have to pay close attention so I don't hit anything.

It's starting to cool off and I put my arm warmers on. I look at my watch and start thinking I could possibly finish in daylight! Wasting no time I cruise my way to the final climb of the day, Torrey Pines hill. I just went for it and when I summited, I realized I'm not going to make it before dark. I stop at the top of the hill and put on my night gear and flip on the lights. No biggie. I make my way to the finish in due time - still missing the turn on Voight Dr at UCSD just like I normally do. It was a great day to ride and I'm very happy to be back on the bike.

Here are the ride stats:

Mileage: 121.55
Overall time: 10.5 hours
Ride time: 9.33 hours
Calories Burned: ~7000
Calories consumed during ride: ~2500
Total Elevation: ~8700 feet

I finished this ride nearly 45 minutes faster than last year. Wait, am I sure? Why, what happened? I've barely trained this past 6 months! My ride time was 3 minutes faster than last year so it looks like I've really not lost anything due to all the time off from training. I also did much better at the controls not spending so much time, plus I didn't stop as much during the ride either. Long story short I've lost 17 pounds since last July. Currently I'm weighing in at 177. Now the hard part starts, keeping the weight off!

Until next time, thanks for reading!!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

3H Ride - Heat, Hills, & Headwinds

I have a love, hate relationship with riding to Dudley's Bakery in Santa Ysabel. It's our turn around control during the annual San Diego Randonneurs' 300K. The last time I was at Dudley's was during a 200K permanent back in August. Both times, I quit. Man, I hate quitting a ride! It's for one reason or another. The next day when I reflect on the reasons why I quit, those reasons don't seem like such a big deal.

Since I'm not bike commuting to work any longer, I actually have to get out and train. I don't ride as many miles training as I did commuting, but it's not by much. I've been able to extend my training rides to 25-30 miles a few times per week, then every other Saturday throw in a longer ride of at least 80 miles. My goal is to maintain this "training" program for the fall and see how well I do in the upcoming brevet season starting in January 2011. I do have goals of completing a 600K ride, approximately 372.822 miles in a single weekend.

As most of you know, I had several trips to the doctor and emergency room throughout the month of August. No worries now, everything is fine, but it has been a bit of a recovery to get back to training. This ride culminated in my first full week of training rides and it didn't disappoint! Here's the profile for this ride:

Alarm goes off at 5 AM. I have to take my new medication 30 minutes prior to eating anything. This means my pre-ride fuel. So, I just go back to bed and think about the day until 30 minutes are up. My plans are to leave at 6 AM to head to Dudley's Bakery. It's an awesome drive, and breathtaking ride from our home. It's 40 miles away and all uphill. I live at about 250' above sea level, Dudley's is around 3000'.

I'm ready to go and step outside. I'm instantly greeted by a stray pitbull out on the sidewalk. As the door closed behind me, I had my bike between me and the dog as I'm standing on the porch. We both just look at each other. I know what you're thinking - did I lock the door before walking outside? Oh yes I did! Mr pitbull starts growling and gives me somewhat of a weak bark. So what do I do? I growl and bark back even louder! Dog turned tail and ran back down the sidewalk. Now I'm thinking - is it gone, or laying in wait? I walk the bike out to the street and no signs of Mr pitbull. I think I'm safe! It was a cool moon to get the ride started.

I make my way to the base of the first climb out on highway 67 headed towards Ramona.

The sun starts rising and I grab a self moving portrait still riding up the 67. Shortly after this video, I had a bee fly down my jersey. When this happened, I was going about 35 MPH on a downhill. I looked into my jersey and saw the bee. I grabbed it with my left hand making a little pouch to keep it away from my skin. I squeezed the heck out of it to kill it, all the while keeping an eye on the 60 MPH traffic on my left, one hand on the bars - all at 35 MPH. I safely come to a stop at the bottom of the hill, which bummed me out because there's nothing like a bunch of kinetic energy to help get me over the next hill! I flick the bee out and I squirt water on the spot where the formerly alive bee resided. The bad news is the venom of it's stinger was in my jersey which proceeded to irritate me all throughout the ride.

I've lost a bunch of weight since I change my way of eating back in November 2009 and it's reflected in my newly found uphill speed!

It doesn't take me too long to make it to Ramona and make a pit stop at Stater Bros market to refill my water bottles. I don't stay long and depart Ramona.

Departing Ramona takes me onto the Old Julian Highway and up through the back country. Not many cars, plenty of motorcycles.

The problem is, Old Julian Highway is all uphill, and it continues.

Nearing the end of Old Julian Highway is this way cool horse ranch.

Old Julian Highway intersects with the 78 which used to be the 67 in Ramona. Old Julian Highway has way less traffic than the 67/78, but it's a tad longer.

There's still more uphill to go with not much longer until I cross 3000' in elevation.

With just a little more uphill I can see Dudley's in the distance with a nice downhill approach too!

Still feeling pretty good at this point, I arrive at Dudley's Bakery.

I hang out at Dudley's enjoying the air conditioning and of course I bought a cinnamon bun! I ate about half and got some plastic wrap from their deli to wrap up the leftover. I down a water bottle full of water then refill both - one with water and ice, the other with my fuel mixture, water and ice. From my door to Dudley's took 3 hours and 27 minutes. Not bad for me! I decide to get going.

Not too long after my departure the temperature starts to climb.

I make it back to Ramona and stop at Stater Bros again to refill my bottles. The thermometer on my bike was reading 105. It's mostly flat to the 67, but there are a few roller coaster short hills before the decent into Lakeside. This is where the fun began.

My departure from Ramona should have been uneventful. It's a fast decent back into Lakeside with a few small hills thrown in. By this time though the temps had reached above 110 degrees and I was riding into a 25 MPH headwind. Needless to say that really zaps my energy! I decided to climb the first small hill and find some shade in a drive way. I stop and notice I have a thorn in my front tire. I pull it out and can hear the faint hissing that it made it through to my tube. 15 minutes later I have a spare tube in and I'm back on the road. The temps by this point was 115 on the bike thermometer with the headwinds even stronger. I make it about 8 miles down the road and my bike starts having this funny bounce to it. I know exactly what this means, I have a flat in my rear tire! I pull over at Scripps Poway Parkway, but there's zero shade. I pull out my 2nd tube and notice that the stem has dirt on it. Now I'm thinking - did I leave an unpatched tube in my seat bag? I look over the tube and see a patch, so I'm crossing my fingers there's not a second hole in this tube. I'm totally baking and I have the final decent into Lakeside to deal with.

I put the bike back together and hit the road. I'm flying down the road into Lakeside. The headwinds are even stronger and the temps are still showing 115. As I ride the flats into Lakeside, I'm feeling nauseous and have a slight headache. I know exactly what this means. I know there's a Circle K about a mile down the road and I stop. I grabbed some cold Gatorade, refill my water bottles with ice and water. I spend a good 20 minutes there rehydrating and cooling off.

I leave the K and head home. It's about 8 miles to get home, it might as well have been 100. I slowly ride through Lakeside still fighting very hot headwinds. I'm running through my head which route to take to get home that has the fewest hills. Problem is, there's a lot of traffic on the flatter route, plus it's about 2 miles longer. I decide to ride the safer route with less traffic. I make it a couple of miles, but have to pull over and cool off in the shade of a driveway for 5 minutes. Once I feel good again, I head back out. Smaller hills that normally don't present much of a challenge to ride up now might as well have been Mt Everest. Every turn of the pedals sends searing pain up my legs. I can't take a deep breath due to the hot air. I make it to one of the local junior high schools and grab some shade for 10 minutes under a tree. Temps 109. I drink about half of what's left of my bottles and feel better. I head back out onto a smallish hill that leads me to a nice downhill for about 1/2 a mile. I catch the light with some speed, make the right turn onto Mast Blvd with enough momentum to carry me over another smallish hill. At this point, I'm about 2 miles from home. I can barely manage 15 MPH going downhill, then uphill, then downhill. There's a smallish hill right before my street that looked nearly vertical. It was all I could do to make it up - but I did.

I made it home about 90 minutes longer than I wanted, but I was very determined not to get defeated by this ride. I quickly got inside and jumped on the scale. I lost 6 pounds, no wonder I felt lousy!!

Here are the stats from this ride:

Mileage: 80.33 miles
Elevation Change: 2500' (approx, not cumulative)
Overall Time: 8 hours 40 minutes
Ride Time: 6 hours 23 minutes
Calories Burned: 3966
Weightloss: 23 pounds ( Since November 2009 )
Average Speed: 12.55 (mi/hr)
Temp high: 115
Temp low: 58
Tubes used: 2
Bees in jersey: 3
Maximum speed of an unladen European Swallow: 25 knots

It was tough - but I wasn't defeated...