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.


Aushiker said...

An eventful brevet by all accounts. Well done on the time!

BTW Happy Time in Thailand has a solution for chasing dogs; not exactly political correct but.


Jerry said...

Standing in line at Best Buy reading your post. It made waiting in line a go by in a hurry. Great story.