Sunday, January 10, 2010

Rainbow "Best Weather in the Nation" 200K

The San Diego Randonneurs started their season January 9th with the Rainbow 200K, probably the only January brevet in the continental United States that required sunscreen! 

I sat in the new (to me) SurlyVan contemplating even wearing a jacket. It was cool, around 46 degrees. So, I threw caution to the wind, left my jacket in the van, donned sunscreen instead. I put my arm warmers in my jersey pocket just in case.

Plenty of people for this brevet, plus we had several riders from Seattle too.

Some parts of the first two hours were on the cool side, but not bad. Up we go! Bill and (I think) Kathy leading the way uphill.

Still riding up the dam hill!

Lake Hodges in the morning. Beats yard work any day!

Entering Harmony Grove, riding through Elfin Forest.

42.8 miles Control #2. I missed taking a photo at Control #1 - 29.9 miles. I was tied up with a very slow leaky front tire, so I changed it out while it was daylight and my hands were warm. You never know when the weather could change and become like last year!

A one, and a two – there's much more riding to do! (Sorry Mr Welk, I couldn't resist.)

Entering Valley Center, where all the uphills live!

To prove we needed sunscreen, I stopped near the summit on Old Castle Road. Clearly visible on my new cycling computer is the temperature – 82 degrees! Notice, no shoe covers either – it was a grand day to ride.

Up Couser Canyon – yeah, right, I'm gonna ride 20 MPH up Couser!

67.4 miles Control #3, a hair past halfway.

Heading back down 395 to the coast. Blue California skies.

More uphill on E Mission Road...

Just leaving the McDonalds in Bonsall. I was starving and needed something solid to eat. My fuel of choice? Cheesburger and iced coffee. Total rocket fuel!

The sunsetting as we approach Oceanside. Last year, I arrived after dark due to many issues along the route.

Oceanside Pier – this is what brevets in January are all about here in San Diego!!

Sunset & surfing...

It was on uneventful ride to the finish. I finished nearly 2 hours faster than last year. So, I did some analysis to see what I did to make improvements. My total ride time was 11 hours and 8 minutes. Riding time was 9 hours and 24 minutes. Not too bad, but trying to get my control time down.


The first thing that was different was the weather. Last year, it rained nearly the entire time, but this year was awesome! I bought fenders in anticipation of a rainy ride, but didn't need them. Figures. Southern California will be in the worst drought ever because I bought fenders for the Surly.

Order of improvements:

1. I started working on making the engine lighter. I don't know if a pound of rider weight, equals a pound of weight lost on the bike. I think a pound of rider weight is better. Essentially all I've done to loose bodyfat is to have natural carbs only – from fruit and veggies. I've cut way back on processed carbs from grains and dairy. The first week I started eating this way, I felt lousy. Headaches, sensitive to light and loud noises, a tad grouchier than normal. It was weird. I kept bike commuting and was expecting to run out of gas midweek, but that didn't happen. By the end of the second week, I started feeling much better. I've been averaging about a pound a week lost. I only indulge in high glycemic foods during a ride, not inbetween. I started right after Thanksgiving. Lets see how it keeps going. I'm down just over 7 pounds. I'll blog more about my progress as the brevet season rolls on.

2. I brought slightly less fuel. Normally I'd arrive at the finish with 3 or 4 bars/gels, Shot Blocks, etc. This time I came home with just one of each.

3. For hydration, I made sure I had emptied both bottles before arriving at a control. Forced me to stay better hydrated during the ride.

4. I figured how to read a route sheet! I only missed one turn by 40', right near the end.

5. I started riding the hillier route to work each day. I've worked my way up to riding over Mission Gorge hill 3-4 days per week going to work. I have to ride a much shorter/steeper hill on the way home. Planning on working my way up to riding both ways over Mission Gorge hill. I figured out a much better cadence for me when climbing. I would spin above 85 RPM going uphill, but I found out if I choose a slightly higher gear that will give me a cadence around 70, I have a much easier and faster speed going uphill.

New Technology

I added some new technology to the Surly. My wife got me a new cyclocomputer, a Trek Incite for Christmas. I like the Cateye Strada Wireless, but really wanted some additional features like cadence, temperature, and larger display. The Cateye was great during the day, but difficult to read at night. The Incite does altitude - but it's not accurate at all, plus it'll do percent grade, and has a backlight. I didn't use percent grade during this brevet, but I'll check that functionality out. Once I got the roll out test done and figured out a new wheel size, it's pretty accurate. Over the 121.8 mile route, the Incite was just .28 miles short. Not too bad for mechanical distance measurements.

I've replaced my old LED Cygolite 100 with a new Shimano DH-3N70 generator hub powering a Busch & Müller Lumotec IQ CYO R. It's a fantastic combination. I can tell a slight difference between the stock Surly front wheel, and Salsa rim with the generator. I can't tell if the light is on or off when riding. Huge difference in lighting, I have way more confidence in riding downhill in the dark.

The aforementioned fenders. I bought a pair of Planet Bike Cascadia Hybrids. I've had the chance to use them during two smallish rains we had a few weeks ago. I have to ride past a quarry on my way to work which means even the slightest rain turns the bike lanes near there into a muddy slush that just coats everything. Having fenders on really keeps things clean.


Much thanks to our new RBA – Dennis, and his fine crew at all the controls. Great job, you all make it look easy! It was a great day, and a well organized brevet.

Next up is the Dudley's 300K brevet on February 6th – you riding??