Sunday, February 7, 2010

Super Epic

Epic. The most overused word in cycling. But what makes a ride epic? Is it distance? Is it difficulty, i.e. lots of climbing? Is it conditions? Is it struggling?

Saturday was our San Diego Randos “Dudley’s 300KM Brevet” So named since the farthest point out is in the small town of Santa Ysabel, which is mostly known for Dudley’s Bakery and their famous bread.

I thought I'd start my day like the pros do:

Rain moved into our area Friday afternoon, and was in the forecast for most of Saturday. We started at 6:00 under cloudy skies. Here is my bike, just before roll out. Ready to roll. Or is it?

About 10 minutes in we hit a stoplight. I unclip and look down. Son of a – I left my bottles in the car. I also took off without my gel flask and Hammer Heed. Turn around, start over. My ride starts at 6:22.

The ride starts in Southern San Diego County, in the community of Chula Vista. We immediately go east and start to gain some elevation. About 10 miles in, is Honey Springs Road, Honey Springs Road gains about 1,600 feet in 6 miles. Good Morning!

Here is the profile for the ride

Light rain, mist, and an occasional shower have fallen for the first 55 miles. The 55 mile mark was the first control, El Monte Park. I pulled in, and the skies opened up. It rained heavily on and off for the next 3 hours. There were many times when I thought about throwing in the towel.

For me, it’s all a mind game on a long ride. So, as the rain was coming down sideways and stinging, the wind was picking up and cold, the legs were sore from the climbs, with more to come; I broke the ride down into chunks.

Just get to Ramona, and “fuel up.” Okay, 15 uphill miles to Santa Ysabel. You can do that. Lots of folks gave it up at Dudley’s. It was COLD in Santa Ysabel. That's me, pulling into Dudley's.

I told myself, Ramona is back down the hill, just get there. My gloves were soaked, my feet were soaked, and so I had an idea. There is a bike shop in Ramona. I stopped, and got a fresh pair of socks, and gloves. Forgetting my bottles at roll-out earned me the moron of the morning award. Getting fresh dry gear gets me the genius of the afternoon award. Happy dry feet and hands, and we rocketed down to Lakeside. I pulled into a mini mart for fuel and rolled right out. Onto Alpine. Lights in full effect, it’s dark out there!

We had a control at a Carl’s Jr. in Alpine. I had been riding alone, but there were several riders at Carl’s. I went back out with John M. and Jack T. Two very strong, experienced randonneurs. I rode the last 37 miles with them, and it was most enjoyable despite continuing showers, getting really cold, especially descending Honey Springs, and being tired and sore. It was a pleasure to ride with John and Jack, thanks for the company, guys.

To sum up the day:

300 kilometers (176.8 miles), 13,141 feet of elevation gain. Water logged gear.

This ride, qualifies not only as epic, but I would say Super Epic!

I would be remiss if I did not thank all the volunteers. It was a tough day out there, with lots of coordination with all the DNF's, and keeping track of riders. Thanks to all.

A couple of pics I managed early before the skies really opened up:

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