Last Saturday I flew out to Las Vegas for a business trip. I got back home Thursday, and when I finally got caught up on my cycling e-mails on Friday, one caught my eye. A group of the rando riders was going to do the San Luis Rey Revival Permanent route.
This route starts at the Oceanside pier, where RAAM starts, and follows the RAAM route to the first time station at Lake Henshaw. The difference is we then turned around and went back to Oceanside, as opposed to going another 2,950 miles to Annapolis.
We left Oceanside at 6:00 AM; it was myself, Kelly, Jaime, and John. We headed out the SLR bike path and were on our way. It was a pleasant morning with the temperature about 65 degrees according to my Garmin. That would soon change, as there was little or no marine layer, and the sun was out in full force early.
We cruised through Bonsall and headed toward Old 395, which meant the first climb of the day was near. A turn onto Old Castle Road, and up we go. I enjoy the Old Castle climb, mostly about 6% over about 3 miles. I also knew when I hit this climb today; I didn’t have my “A” game. While I am far from a strong climber, I was struggling on this one, being a Clydesdale, steep climbs usually kick my fanny, but 5-6 per centers, I can usually keep a descent cadence. Not so today. Summit Old Castle, a short downhill, and back up to Valley Center. The temperature is rising. Garmin shows 99.
Turn onto Valley Center and we are headed to Route 76. A nice fast descent on Valley Center. We are now 39 miles in, and hit the first control. Ultra Cyclist extraordinaire, George Vargas pulls in, he is going to climb Palomar Mountain. George has done 2 person RAAM, and will do the Furnace Creek 508 for the fifth time (I think) this year. With full bottles, we head east on 76 for a five mile climb to the base of Palomar Mountain. This climb has some 9 and 10 percent sections, so you can imagine if I was struggling with cadence on the 6 per centers, I was really grinding it out here. Route 76 takes us all the way to Lake Henshaw where we regroup, fill up and head back out. Garmin now shows 100 degrees.
Returning on 76, after passing the base of Palomar, we now get a rip-roaring descent. Light traffic made this a ton of fun today. We roll right by Valley Center Road, as the route has us return via Cole Grade Road. Cole Grade Road was part of the Tour of California route, stage 8 in 2009. It was rated as a category 1 climb. And its not real long, which means it is STEEP! 9-13 percent. Talk about grinding it out. Jaime, John, and Kelly all were way up the road, I just kept plugging along. Finally hitting the summit, we regrouped and took a short break. Garmin shows 113 degrees. John says his hit 118!
One more climb, this time up Lilac to the back side of Old Castle. I look back and don’t see the other three. Wondering if all is okay, Jaime catches me and said Kelly has a flat, but said is okay and will catch up. We pull into Bonsall to fill bottles, and Kelly and John are right behind. 14 miles to go.
This should be uneventful. An easy 14 miles or so to the finish. With less than 3 miles to go on the SLR bike path Jaime finds a second wind and takes it up to about 19 MPH, I decide I can’t hold his wheel any longer and pull up. I guess my brain pulled up too, and I drift off the path onto some jagged rocks, A strong jolt through the body, I’m back on the path, somehow I didn’t crash, but my left elbow is searing in pain, I look down and my front wheel is wobbling. Stop. Hold the elbow. John asks if I am okay, I say no and he stops. The elbow starts to calm down, so we look at the wheel. The rim is bent. Spin, in the brakes. John opens the brakes, pulls out a spoke wrench and works on the wheel a bit. While still wobbling, John gets the wheel so I can limp home the last 3 miles.
Thanks to Kelly, John, and Jaime for the company. John and Kelly are experienced randos, and great knowledge. I think Jaime has been doing this for about as long as I have, but really made some strong gains lately, he was riding great today. Props to you, Jaime.
Okay the stats: 114.99 miles. 6,526 feet of elevation gain. Max HR 162. Max speed 40.5. Temperature range per Garmin: 64-120. 12 bottles of fluids consumed. (Water, Heed, Gatorade). Equivalent of another 2 or 3 bottles of water poured over head on body.
You can see the ride on Garmin Connect: http://connect.garmin.com/player/40789501
Observations: I’ve lost 155 pounds over 4 years. It’s time to make another move. The only way I’m going to get up climbs faster is by loosing more weight. I’m tired of being way off the back on all the climbs. I’m also considering talking to my mechanic about a wider range cassette, maybe the SRAM 11-32? Whenever the grade is at or over 7 percent, I no longer spin, I just grind.
Thanks for reading! If you like you can follow my cycling exploits and other musings on Twitter, I am @stevecycles200.