Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Rollers to Bonsall 200K - The Rehydration Ride

Arriving at the start around 6:30 AM on Sat July 18th and there were plenty of people getting prepared for our departure. Our newly fearless RBA, Dennis, gave us some last minute instructions, and off we went!

Riding our way through Mission Bay. Not much traffic, just getting settled in.

We made our way through Pacific Beach, then up through La Jolla and on our way to Miramar.

Typical Mira Mesa traffic

Entering Rancho Penasquitos

The budding metropolis of Olivenhein
Encinitas - it's starting to get warm out.

Carlsbad - getting warmer!!

On the way to Control #3 at mile 44.6, I got royally dropped on a climb to the Aspiration Learning Center. The guy was riding a beach cruiser, with a bucket of golf balls, and a few drivers in his rack. I wasn't simply passed on a hill, I was totally dropped - much like Alberto Contador can do to Mark Cavendish on a climb! Once he goes clear, I hear this high pitched whine! Oh, it's an electric assist bike!! Whew...

Cal State San Marcos.

The temps are starting to climb! I'm dumping as much water over my head and back as I'm drinking. It's easily approaching triple digits. For once, I feel really strong. In my previous rides, riding in the heat hasn't been good to me. Leaving Control #4 up over Jesmond Dene, it's extremely hot on the Dene climb. It's easily triple digits, it feels like I'm riding in an oven. I stay hydrated and dump some water over my head. Luckily, there's a slight headwind to help keep me cool.

Old Highway 395, alongside the 15 heading into Murietta Hot Springs


Taking a left off the 395 to head towards Bonsall.

I stopped under the 15 freeway bridge to chat with a couple of riders. They told me the temp on their bike computers was 106! I knew it was hot, but oh my!

Almost there!

Once again, I didn't get any photos of a Control. I'll have to remember next time. I'm thinking it was the heat and the fact that wearing a helmet is really just a grade or two below of just riding with a styrofoam cooler on my head.

Leaving Control #5 - very slow moving traffic on the 76.

Simulating what my vision looks like after riding in 106 temps!

San Luis Rey bike path. Plenty of headwinds to contend with, but it's way cooler.

Riding with Mike.

San Luis Rey River

5 freeway and beach traffic.

Leaving the bike path and riding past Oceanside Pier. Must be a 20 degree temperature drop.

After all day feeling like a hamburger under a heat lamp, the beach feels fantastic.
Leaving Oceanside, I rode through the coast towns of Leucadia, Encinitas, Solana Beach and Del Mar. Probably not in that exact order! :)

Torrey Pines hill. The last hill of any significance on this brevet.

Torrey Pines didn't seem so bad this time. I'm pretty much toast by now, just doing whatever it takes to keep turning the pedals. I'll have to ride through La Jolla, then back through Pacific Beach.

Almost done! About 5 miles left.

Once again, I didn't take a photo of the final control! I'm blaming it on the heat! I'm done, that's for sure. I don't feel totally hammered like I have in the past and I think I have the reason why.

Post Ride Analysis

I'm an IT Professional, I have to analyze, it's part of my genetic code! :) When I first started riding brevets summer 2008, I used a rack and trunk bag to carry stuff I thought I needed. After a couple of DNFs, I had a couple of people tell me I was carrying too much stuff. I wore a camelbak too, great for hiking the Grand Canyon, not so good on a bike. Here's the analysis of my previous total riding weight:

Previous Config
Surly: 29 pounds
Rack/Trunk/Fuel: 5 pounds
CamelBak: 8 pounds (100 oz + weight of backpack)
2 waterbottles: ~2 pounds.
Rider: 203 pounds
  Total weight: 247 pounds going down the road!

New Config
Surly: 29 pounds
2 waterbottles: ~2 pounds
Rider: 196
Fuel: <1>
Total Weight: 228 pounds.
So, 19 pounds less! I lost another bike worth of weight, or to put it into perspective, I stopped riding a tandem alone! I think the main reason why the heat didn't bother me as much is I bought a rusa.org jersey. It's very thin compared to the jersey I used to wear and made a huge difference. Cycling has been a surpise for me body weight wise. Since I started commuting daily to work, 28 miles per day, I've gained 17 pounds since I used to run marathons. After the DNF on both the 400K and Loop 1 on the 1000K, I changed my diet to use fruits and veggies as my main source of carbs. I then heard about the Paleo Diet for Athletes, and gave that a read. Seems I've discovered that on my own. I does work to loose weight. I've not had any issues commuting daily and doing a brevet. So, time will tell to see how much weight a can drop. I do have a record of weighing 179 a few years ago. I'd flip if I could reach that once again. I also changed my ride day fueling too. I've read all about Hammer Nutritionals and their guide to fueling, but I must say, I've not had great results by following their directions. I like their gels and Heed, but Perpetuem eventually leaves me nauseaus. I had Perp with me, but by the time I got to Swami's I tossed what I had in the trash. I drank water for the rest of the ride. My pre-ride meal consisted of a regular egg muffin sandwich and and iced coffee within 30 mins of departure. Talk about jet fuel, I rode without any issue for almost 5 hours. I grabbed a similar snack at 7-11 too. I should have refueled in Bonsall, but I didn't feel like I needed to. Skipping the fuel made itself very evident once I got back to La Jolla and was riding to the finish. This was by far my best ride to date! I chopped off nearly 3 hours of my previous 200K time. I know brevets are not races, but it's nice to ride a 200K briskly. Thanks for all the help from Mike B, John M, Kelly D, Robert L, and George V on how to improve my riding! Also thanks to Dennis for his first Brevet. Great job!
Up next in Aug, 300K. I might stretch that out and try to break 200 miles in a single ride.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Bike To Work Day 2009

Just some photos of Bike to Work Day, 2009. This year went much better than last year. Long story short, last year, my work security badges fell out of my trunk bag, and I had to ride my route back home to try and find them. Luckily, I sure did. They were run over, one was all broken into pieces. Thankfully, none of that happened this year!

Being the overachiever, I made it Bike to Work Week instead! Logging 152 miles for the week that included not just commuting to work, but also making it to two of my oldest son's swim meets that were held on top of some fairly solid hills, into headwinds, AND upper 80 temps. Never a dull day on the bike, that's for sure!

I went to the first Pit Stop held at Grossmont Junior College in East San Diego County. For some reason, I forgot to take a photo while there. I arrived around 7 and the only one there, with 6 people signing the roster. Once done there, it was off to the Pit Stop in Mission Valley. A very nice downhill from the college down to Mission Valley. More traffic than I was expecting, but the ride was uneventful.

The Art Institute of California in Mission Valley Pit Stop is a gastrointestinal delight! By far the best food spread of the Pit Stops I made it to on Bike to Work Day. A good half dozen commuters were on hand refueling.

I left Mission Valley for Old Town San Diego Pit Stop held at the Caltrans building and sponsored by REI. REI still had some water bottles left and tire tools. So, I was early enough to get some cool schwag. Channel 10 News van was there too, but they were packing up. Oh well, I'll have to ride faster next year to get myself and the Surly on television.

That's it for Bike to Work Week/Day 2009! Until next year...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Grand Canyon 2009

Yes, we finally made it to the Grand Canyon! Our goal, descend South Kaibab, cross the Colorado twice, then ascend Bright Angel Trail. How did it go?

It actually started out kinda rough for me. Herb and I arrived at the parking lot in front of the lodge and grabbed our gear. When I walked up the little driveway to the bus stop, I immediately sat down. My heart was pounding, I was dizzy and generally not feeling too good. I decided just to stick it out and see what happens. Could be the altitude.... 

Our course on the map.

You got it?

Here we are at the start taking pictures of each other taking pictures of each other, taking... Well, you get the idea.

This is at the top of South Kaibab Trail. It's roughly 6.9 miles and 4700' of elevation loss down to Phantom Ranch. The view from the trail head:

There are some directions to follow in case there's an encounter with a mule train:
Spectacular views looking south:

Plenty of warnings... We didn't listen...

Herb making his way down:

Most of of South Kaibab Trail looks like this:

We still have a ways to go:Still great views:

Colorado coming into view:

About halfway down:

This phone predates twisted pair! Emergency use only!!

Mule train!

Still great views:

Colorado getting bigger!

Black Bridge coming into view. We still have a ways to go to get there.

Very close to Black Bridge!

North view from Black Bridge:

Looking south from Black Bridge:

The Colorado was flowing pretty good.

We're at the bottom!

A flat easy hike to Phantom Ranch:

We've arrived! No fanfare, and I'm very surprised at how empty Phantom Ranch is. About a dozen or so people just hanging out, the cantina is empty. Herb and I hang out for about an hour. They make great lemonade, and only change $1 for a refill! That washed down some peanut M&Ms nicely. Herb has his patented peanut butter and banana sandwich with that awesome lemonade. We hung around for about an hour, then headed out.

Great shot of the American Flag with the Grand Canyon as a backdrop:

Taking a right:

Walking around the Ranger House, we saw a sneaky deer looking for lunch. Not afraid of us at all.

Silver Bridge comes into view:

Looking south from Silver Bridge:

Looking at both bridges from Bright Angel Trail:

Colorado is really flowing from the north:

Another way to see the Grand Canyon:

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