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...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Rough Ride - Plenty of Turkeys on the Road

Normal training ride out to El Monte Park, except for all the turkeys out on the road.

Watching the sun work it's way around the peaks.

All in all, nice ride.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Cowles 3-Way

Team Geezer went out for a 10 mile hike 3 ways over Cowles Mountain this morning in preparation of our Grand Canyon hike that's fast approaching in 35 days. I've been working with my new Flip Mino HD video camera. I normally bring a digital camera along for hiking and riding, but that just seems so old fashioned these days. Video is where it's at! I've put a protective silicon skin on the Mino in case I should drop it. I have run into a few challenges though.

One thing I've noticed with the camera is that if I delete the video files using my computer, the camera won't reset how much recording time is available. I use Ubuntu as my OS of choice and the Mino shows up as USB drive. The installed software on the Mino that would automatically run when inserted into a computer running Windows won't work under Ubuntu.

The other thing I've noticed is that uploading videos through this blog causes YouTube to issue an error message part way through the conversion process. If I upload the videos straight into YouTube, the conversion process doesn't emit any error messages. I just have to copy the URLS to each video. Not a big deal.

We started the hike at 7 AM from Mesa Road in Santee under very heavy marine layer conditions, which made the hike have some really cool video opportunities. Keeping up with my bionic partner can be challenging! Before we knew it we're at 1592 feet above sea level, the highest point within the City of San Diego.

On our way to the Beckhelm Lookout, AKA Pyles Peak, we passed this interesting formation Herb and I dubbed the Albino Rainbow. It's probably some kind of fresnel lens made by the mist in the air with the sunlight coming from behind us refracting into that shape. But I digress, I'm not a physicist...

With all the mist in the air from the marine layer, several spider webs had caught some of the mist. This guy meant business with his web!

As we made our way back to the summit of Cowles, the marine layer was just starting to dissipate.

The surrounding peaks were poking through the top of the shallow marine layer.

Another 360 degree view from the summit of Cowles.

Departing the summit, we hike the most popular trail on Cowles Mountain. Lots of people and dogs make it very crowded, it's by far the most popular and the shortest route to the summit. Once at the top, I took another 360 degree video showing how the marine layer had dissipated out into the Pacific Ocean.

All in all, I'm really liking the Mino. It's easy to use and works a tad faster than a regular digital camera. I think it takes better video than some digital cameras take photos. I can always grab a still out of the video if I needed. Two hours of video can be recorded.

The hike went very well. 10 miles with about 4800 feet of climbing in 3 hours and 47 minutes. Our next adventure is the Palomar 12 Miler in two weeks! This will be our final prep hike before our Grand Canyon trip October 22nd.

Until next time...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

New Bike Videos

I used some of my American Express Card reward points to get a Flip video camera. I normally take a camera with me on every ride, but thought it would be fun to take videos instead. The Flip takes real nice videos so I thought I'd try it out on my morning ride.

I left Santee at 6:10 AM. Not much to video as the marine layer was in full strength. I just rode through Alpine and was heading east on Alpine Blvd to Willows Rd. That was my turn around point for this ride. Thought the sun reflecting off the power lines was rather cool looking.

It's exactly 20 miles to the turn around from my home. It's all pretty much uphill to this point. Which means...

20 miles downhill!! Yes, this is an unedited video!

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