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!!