Sunday, March 28, 2010

Solvang Spring Double Century

This week’s event was the Solvang Spring Double Century. One of the most popular double centuries on the schedule with 550 riders. It is a Planet Ultra Event.

They had an open start between 5:00 AM and 7:30 AM. The course closed at 10:00 PM. The fast riders would go out at 7:30 for “official times.” I went out at 6:00 with @pedalobo, it was his first double century. According to my garmin it was a balmy 36 degrees at the start.

We start by heading east then turning into the Foxen Canyon area. Rolling hills, vineyards, and farmland. Quiet roads, minimal traffic. Cycling at its best. The downhills were cold, but fun. The sunrise was spectacular.

About 9:00 it started to warm up, it wasn’t long after that it also got windy. I mean really windy. With crosswinds that would push your bike, and headwinds that made doing 15 MPH a daunting task.

The second aid station was at mile 88, 48 miles after the first. This was a bit long for me as my bottles were empty with about 7 miles to go. I fought a bit of a hydration deficit for the next several hours.

After the 88 mile stop we headed to Morro Bay, a great little tourist beach town, known for Morro Rock. We then stayed along the coast through Pismo and on to Guadalupe.

Eventually we headed back inland. The final aid station was at mile 177. Immediately after that we turned on to Drum Canyon Road. Have you ever watched pro cycling in Europe? You know, narrow bumpy roads barely wide enough for two cars, no markings? That is Drum Canyon. Oh, and by the way, it a 3.5 mile 800 foot climb. By gradient, I’ve done many tougher climbs. But factor in the condition of the road, and that the climb started at mile 178, this was a grind. Then the descent! 180 degree switchbacks on roads that looked like the geological society had been testing earthquake damage on it. Needless to say, I took it easy on the descent. Finally the road straightened, and smoothed out a bit. Into the drops and full tuck, Yahoo! Back to Highway 246, about eight miles and done!

Congrats to my friends @pedalobo on finishing his first double century. Next stop, Triple Crown. And of course @cyclewarrior who started with the speed demons at 7:30 and caught us by mile 120.

This was the fifth double century I’ve done. And it was most scenic, a route I would enjoy doing weekly without getting bored. Especially the back country.

The stats: 193 miles. Average pedal speed 16 MPH. Max HR 161. Temperature Low 36, high 90 per Garmin. More like 36-82. Pedal time 12:08, total time 13:26. Max speed 40 MPH. Elevation gain 7,201. With the exception of Drum Canyon, mostly through rollers; the short but steep leg softening type.

A big thank you to the great Planet Ultra staff and volunteers, especially Mel at the lunch stop. (I spent about 100 miles with Mel on the PCH Randos 400KM).

Pismo Beach. The Pacific Ocean
Drum Canyon. Narrow, rough, steep in spots. The "Pain Cave."
The first control a popular place!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Dudley(s) Do-Right

It was an interesting week. I woke up Monday morning with a sore throat and fever. Perhaps the 400KM depressed my immune system, or perhaps I was just due for a case of the crud.

Started to feel better late Tuesday, so back to work Wednesday morning; and back on the bike Wednesday after work.

Had a good training ride on Saturday. Did 100.44 miles going up to Santa Ysabel, which is at 3,000 feet. Hit some strong winds, especially the final five miles approaching Santa Ysabel. These were head/cross winds; it took quite a bit of strength and concentration to keep the bike upright and on the road.

Going up Scripps Grade early in the morning was a treat. Watching the sun come up over the mountains to the east made for a spectacular sunrise. Not sure my photo does it justice.

The best part to this week’s training was I went back out Sunday, and did 33 miles. Could have done another 100, but had stuff to do off the bike. Feels great to do 100 miles and be able to bounce right back the next day.

Why was this titled Dudely(s) Do-Right? The famous Dudley's Bakery is in Santa Ysabel. It is one of four buildings in the town. Since I was on a training ride, I stopped at Don's Market for water and a bananna. No treats for me this week.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter @stevecycles200, or DailyMile.

Upcoming Events:

March 27: Solvang Spring Double Century
April 17: SD Randos Solana 600KM Brevet
May 1: (Several Events, not sure)
May 15: Davis Double Century (tentative)

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Early in the route. The mountains lurk.

On Friday I headed up to Moorpark for the Pacific Coast Highway Randonneurs (PCHR) 400KM brevet.

I signed up for this event since I had to take a DNF for the San Diego 400KM last week due to a mechanical.

Once in Moorpark, I gave the bike a final inspection, lubed the chain and took a short test drive. All seemed well, so now it was up to me.

We rolled out Saturday morning at 5:30 AM. It was cold, but dry, and no rain in the forecast!

We rolled out and quickly the faster riders took off, everyone settled into their pace and rhythm. I felt good, and felt like I was riding strong. I hit the first control with the idea of getting in and out. A line to buy water. A line to use the restroom. Then I had to reconfigure my clothing since it was warming up. Finally I took off. That was a theme throughout the day. I took way more time at the controls than I like to or wanted to. I also lost time when I missed a turn. Since several folks missed it, I’ll blame the cue sheet.

The hardest part of the day? Casitias pass. Big climb. By the time I got over the pass and into Ojai, daylight was waning. Ojai was mile 157. Almost a century to go, starting in the dark.

I think it’s better and safer to ride with a couple of riders in the dark. I hooked up with Mel and Jamie. I know Jamie from the SD Randos, and met Mel. We rode together for the entire final 100 miles. Good company for the long ride, and good to have companions while trying to navigate Ojai. Thanks, guys!

So the results: I finished. 253 miles, 248 officially, and about 5 bonus miles. 18 hours of pedal time. 21 hours plus actual time. My goal was sub 20, and my stretch goal was 18, so I’m a bit disappointed there. Gotta figure out how to get out of the controls quicker. Should have been sub 20 based on 18 hours of pedal time. Hats off to my friend Keith who came in with the lead group at 15 plus hours.

This was the first brevet I have done that had information controls and secret controls. I guess since the route was not a straight out and back or defined loop these are needed to ensure everyone rides the entire route.

East Mtn Road. Time to climb

A big thanks to the Pacific Coast Higway Randos, the Jones' and all the volunteers.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Five Percent

All ready to go for the 400 KM brevet. The forecast all week called for rain, but as the day approached, the time the rain was going to hit kept getting pushed back. At least we would start on dry roads!

4:00AM, depart Santee. After a bit of wandering through Santee and El Cajon, we were on Olde Highway 80 heading to Alpine. And the road starts to go up.

A turn to go under Interstate 8, and now we are on Alpine Road. Parallel to I-8. A short descent, and now we are climbing again. And will be for the next 30 plus miles. Peaking at 6,000 feet. A short flat section, so I go into a bigger gear, and another. One more. Okay. Now we are climbing again. Downshift. Click….Funny noise. Harder to pedal. Click the shifter. Nothing. Damn. The rear derailleur cable broke. When that happens it throws you into your smallest cog. For me that’s a 12. No way can I climb 6,000 feet over 30 miles in a 34x12. This was going to be a good challenge doing most of it in my 34x27. It’s only 5:30 AM. No bike shop open for another 3 ½ to 4 hours. That would put me past the time cut-offs. My day is over. 14 miles out of a scheduled 250 plus. I did barely over 5 percent of the ride.

Words can’t describe my disappointment. I felt like a little kid when their parents tell him “no.” I take great care to make sure my bike is ready for an event. I keep it tuned, I always inspect it, especially the condition of the tires. I just didn’t think about the cables. I took the bike to my shop, which took them all of five minutes to fix, and I learned based on the mileage I am riding, I should replace my rear derailleur cable ever other month.

The real bad luck is if this happened with a long straight or downhill section, I could have kept going, at least to where there was a bike shop, and gotten it fixed. No way is this hill slug climbing Mount Laguna in his 12 cog.

Okay, time to bounce back. The PCH randonneurs have their 400KM next weekend. I signed up. I want my 400KM!

It started to rain about 4:00, I feel for the riders still on the course. It is a cold rain, and after all the climbing they did early, the cold is going to bite. They are also getting a head wind through areas we would get tailwinds in normal weather.

My friend Keith, a very strong rider, was out in front of the field took a DNF about 300KM into the ride. He punctured while doing about 35 MPH. Luckily he kept the rubber down, but damaged his sidewall. Cold, wet, and a bad tire he called it a day.

If you are going to have something that happens that causes a DNF would you want it to happen early, or late?