Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sunset Beach 300K - Finally!!

Yes, finally completed a 300! It has been a few years since I've completed a 300 and did this one with plenty to spare.

About ten of us showed up at the start where the weather was overcast, cool, and misty. My plan for the ride was to just ride and enjoy the day. I've done this route before, so I wasn't expecting any surprises. Much to my surprise, there was a few along the way. Here's the route Sunset 300 Map.

If you've read my blog, I've been experimenting with taking videos during a ride. Sure, there's the GoPro but it's too bulky and expensive. I came up with a handlebar mount for my Flip so I can keep both hands free to control the bike. What a concept! :) Here's what it's like to ride down Torrey Pines:

The rider in white is Dave, there's another rider further down, that's Larry. Met both of them along the way - this was their first 300K.

The weather stayed pretty much the same, didn't need sunscreen or my sunglasses. The Torrey Pines video was the only one I could take because of the mist, it kept covering up the lens. Oh well, there's plenty of brevets coming up with lotsa downhills! Honestly, it was straight forward riding - not much to take photos of - weather pretty much looked like this all the way to Sunset:

I didn't remember to take any landmark shots until Laguna Beach:

The traffic was just as I remembered, lots of it and moving very s-l-o-w. A few more hills later I'm getting closer:

One of my favorite places to stop is a car dealership. Well, not just any dealership, Ferrari and Maserati of Newport Beach. This time though it was odd - no Ferraris! Most of the building was empty too, guess it must be the economy. I did take a few photos of the cars I got to test drive:

I preferred the black one - gotta love a 200+ MPH convertible in Southern California! I didn't have time to negotiate due to time limits for the ride, maybe next time.

Made it to the 7-11 in Sunset Beach, Sandy, Jim, and another rider I didn't get his name. Bought some snacks, water, and quickly headed out. Made a stop at one of the local beaches, the just named trio rode by and that was the last I saw of them. Made it back to San Clemente just in time for dinner. Grabbed a couple of cheese burgers at the Carl's Jr there.

I hit the road after a 20 minute dinner break, rode past all the campgrounds, PCH, 5, stopping at the rest area to refill water bottles. Made it to Carlsbad then ran into John M - well, visually, not physically. I wasn't feeling all that good, probably because I rode the first 93 miles in 6.5 hours. John was out riding seeing if he could hookup with someone on the ride. We rode together through Carlsbad, Encinitas, Del Mar, and up Torrey Pines. I don't remember Torrey Pines grade as steep on the way down as it was on the way up! It was great having someone to chat with during a ride, really makes the miles fly by. We parted ways at the top of Torrey, then I rode the last 12 miles back to the finish in Old Towne. If you ever get the chance to ride/walk on the Rose Canyon bike path while a large freight train slowly rolls by - do it! It's eerily cool. I finished at 10:22 PM - 13 hours, 22 mins overall - 11 hours, 45 mins ride time.

The nice thing about brevets is as long as you finish before the cutoff time, you're golden. Trying hard not to be a time weenie but I rode this 2 hours, 53 mins faster than last time!

Until next time...

Monday, January 23, 2012

2012 Rainbow 200K Recap - Brutal and Exciting

Quick recap of the 2012 Rainbow 200K on January 21st. Weather reports were for rain, starting around midnight Saturday and continue on for the entire day. At 9 PM Friday night, I decided to put fenders on the Surly. This was probably the best decision I had made for this brevet.

Left Doyle Park promptly at 7 AM, well, the main group did - I hung around a few minutes to finish up a few things. No rain at the start but it started around mile 8 where I stopped under a 56 freeway bridge to put on my rain gear. That's the problem with rain, you have to pack two sets of gear - when it's raining gear, when it's not raining gear. It rained pretty much for the next 4 hours. Not hard, and luckily for me, being on the bigger side of small, I can keep myself rather warm without too much effort. After about 2 hours I had noticed riding uphill was turning into an ordeal. I stopped to check my tires, no problem there. Brakes weren't rubbing. I picked up the Surly and oh yeah, most of my gear absorbed water, let alone what I was wearing. Oh well, part of being a randonneur! The rain just bothered me going uphill, fenders and rain gear stopped it from becoming miserable.

Made it to the first two controls in decent time. After departing AM/PM on Mesa Rock Rd, it was time to start climbing Old Castle Rd. About 3/4 of the way up, there was this Pit Bull barking it's head off at the gate to the driveway of it's home. It didn't seem to want to go past the threshold of the driveway gates so I kept on riding . Once I got past, I heard this "tap-tap-tap" behind me. Checking my mirror, here comes Kujo in full gallop. I up shift a couple gears, stand up and sprint. I kept my eye on him with my mirror and stopped accelerating when I noticed the mutt no longer gaining on me. The dog pulled up about 300 yards from the driveway, turned around and went home. I sat back down and made my way to the top and stopped in a driveway, then slumped over my handlebars. Couldn't decide if I was going to hurl or pass out! Eventually I started feeling better and got back to riding. After the sprint though, I felt lousy for the remainder of the day. Trying to sprint with a heavy bike takes a lot of energy.

Heading into Couser Canyon, I bonked hard halfway up. I stopped for a few minutes, grab a gel and drank. Got back to riding after a few minutes heading to Rice Canyon. Part way climbing up to Rainbow, there was a short, steep downhill and I got surprised by a hairpin turn that was wet from the rain. I hit the brakes just entering the turn, rear wheel locked up, I slid across the double yellow line into the on-coming lane. Thank the Lord there were no cars coming. I wouldn't have had a chance and no driver could have reacted fast enough to avoid me. I was out of the saddle, let off the rear brakes and shot back across the double yellow line. Didn't crash during the slide so that was VERY good!

I continued feeling lousy at the Rainbow control. Got something to eat, then some hot chocolate. It stopped raining, so I pulled out a dry set of gloves, wrung my socks out, and prepared to freeze while my clothes dried out. Left Rainbow with two other riders, one of which gave me a demonstration on how to handle loose dogs.

Riding the San Luis Rey bike path was very nice. Probably the calmest time I've had on that path. Made it into Oceanside with a quick stop at a mini mart to refuel. It was starting to get dark but not too bad. Doing the math, I was going to be very close to the cutoff time. I was still feeling lousy and I knew I had Torrey Pines to climb. I kept up my fueling until Del Mar, when my 3rd incident occured.

In Del Mar, I had to cross the Jimmy Durante Blvd merge onto Camino del Mar. I misjudged the distance and my speed so I skipped off the guard rail several times before getting control of the bike. Was totally surprised and tried to avoid flipping over the rail.

Torrey Pines was waiting for me with a huge smile. It was dark, wasn't too cold out, so I took my time. Stopped a few times to regain feeling in my legs, topping out sooner than I thought. It's rather nice climbing long hills in the dark! Riding into UCSD with about 2 miles to go, I once again made an incorrect turn, but recovered from that as well.

Overall I had a great time. Much thanks to Elaine and Lisa for waiting for me then taking off allowing me to "catch" them after they waited once again. I finished the 122 mile route in 12 hours 50 minutes overall with a ride time of 10 hours and 5 minutes. Only about 30 minutes slower than my previous inclement weather time for this route. I was the last rider in, earning Lantern Rouge, 2nd award.

You noticed no photos? Decided to leave the camera at home with all the rain.