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. :)