Sunday, January 16, 2011
In preparation for the first brevet of the season, I cleaned and lubed my bike on Friday after work. I had fresh tires, two tubes, two CO2 cartridges, and a mini pump. I didn’t want flat issues to cause undo delay or a DNF.
With the bike ready I went to bed about 9:00. I set the alarm for 5:00 AM so I would have time for breakfast, kit up, and make the short drive to Doyle Community Park for the start.
I pulled in at 6:15 and there were already several riders in the parking lot. Looks like a good turnout for my first event of the year, and first since October. Keith J, @cyclewarrior pulled in right behind me. More and more pulled in! Our RBA had 47 registered as of Thursday night. I’ll bet we had at least 60 roll out at 7:00 AM.
It promised to be a nice day, but it is still January 15, so the start was cool. I left my jacket in the van; as I didn’t want to have it stuffed in my jersey for seven hours. The quick descent into Sorrento Valley was downright cold, but I warmed back up on the modest climb up Vista Sorrento Road, and knew I made the right decision to leave the jacket behind.
A look back at a stoplight, and our group looked like a peloton! Riders as far as I could see, in a variety of colorful jerseys. Most from events like the Solvang double, Grand Tour, and breathless agony. Some, like mine were in California Triple Crown jerseys. I saw at least one Furnace Creek 508 jersey. I shared quite a few miles with Kirstin, @cyclelobo, in his Heineken jersey. What did he have in his bottles?
Around mile 20 the ride gets your attention for the first time with the ascent up Del Dios to the Lake Hodges Dam. The ascent continues off and on all the way to Via Rancho Parkway. Right before Via Rancho I thought I was alone when I hear ding-ding!! I about jumped out of my skin. It was a cyclist from the Seattle Randos. I know this, because he had a classic styled wool jersey that said Seattle Randonnuers on the back. One look at his bike, and you could tell he lived in rainy country. A classic Rivendell with full fenders and a mud flap. He kept it old school and had pedals with toe clips. No, I didn’t take all that detail in the first time he passed me. We passed each other several times throughout the day.
After a fun blast through Harmony Grove and Elfin Forest we hit the first control of the day. I filled my bottles, and pocketed a bagel. The three mile climb up San Elijo Road to double peak loomed. This climb just seems to kick my fanny every time I do it. I have to say when I hit the summit today, I thought I did okay. There is a fire station at the summit on the other side of the street. Right in front there were police investigating a bad looking car accident. I said a quick prayer for those involved. Zipped up my jersey for the descent. There is a sign that shows a truck descending with a 9% grade warning. The descent is straight, and non-technical. This makes for a fast trip. Except there is a stop light at the bottom. Which means a work out for the brakes. I hit 49.2 MPH, and would have gone over 50 if there was no light there. After the ride I talked about the descent with Keith, he hit 55 going down!
The pedestrian ride through San Marcos followed by a short climb up Deer Spring road brings us to the second checkpoint. Just 9 miles after the first, but the last place to fill up before the trifecta of climbs known as Old Castle, Couser Canyon, and Rice Canyon.
Before hitting Old Castle, we get about a three mile blast down Old Hwy 395. About a two percent grade down, in a paceline, we were cooking. Then the right turn onto Old Castle, about another mile of flat road before the ascent begins. Old Castle would be a great cycling road, except that it is a through street from the I-15 corridor to Valley Center and the casinos. Drivers sure are in a hurry to go give their money away.
After summiting Old Castle we descend, but keep the speed scrubbed as a left turn onto Lilac is needed while the road is still going down. A short journey with some rollers on Lilac takes us to Couser Canyon. Shift, into your easiest gear right now! Couser greets the rider immediately with rough road and an eight to nine percent gradient. The climb goes for about three miles with several 10-13 percent grades. It is a quad-buster. Then you get rewarded with a technical descent on a narrow road. This is really cool, as Couser has little traffic. Extra caution today though, as several areas were still getting run-off from the hillsides even though our last rain was two weeks ago. Couser ends at Hwy 76, which we are on for all of 500 feet, then a right onto Rice Canyon. Rice starts out tame, but also has its share of double digit gradients. I suffered on Rice Canyon and was thrilled when I got to Eight Street and the end of the climbs. A short trip through Rainbow on flat roads took us to the third control.
We get great volunteers on our brevets. At Rainbow we had soup, bread, even Cytomax available for the riders. Who says rando riding is unsupported? Of course, I was on my plan of using Perpetum, so, other than grabbing a V8 at the store, I just filled my bottles, and departed.
Another short blast down old 395 takes us to Mission Road. A pedestrian climb to Live Oak seems much tougher after the Couser/Rice quad busters. We make a left on Live Oak, which was a challenge for me. There was a huge convoy of military vehicles coming through. Of course, since they go slow, then there was a ton of traffic to wait on. Once on Live Oak, it’s mostly downhill or flat, except for a few rollers all the way to Torrey Grade. We had a pretty challenging headwind on the San Luis Rey bike path, which is normal. I stopped in Oceanside to fill my bottles, and then headed south.
The trip south was aided by a cross/tail wind. I had ridden from Rainbow through Encinitas without seeing another rando, but then in Encinitas I came up on a trio. I didn’t recognize them at first and went by. Then we pacelined for a bit into Del Mar, where I made a light and they didn’t, We regrouped after the summit on Torrey Grade and more or less rode in together. No flats, no mechanicals!
My pedal time was 7:55; my total time was 8:40. 23 minutes better than last year, and a personal best for this route, which I have done 12 times. Really happy that my non-pedal time was under an hour. This includes controls and stop lights.
A huge thank you to Dennis and all the volunteers on this event. It was really cool to see how many riders hung out after they finished and chatted for a bit. I wish I remembered names and faces better than I do. I tend to remember people by their bikes, so once they are off them, I’m at a disadvantage.
Average pedal speed: 15.4
Max Speed: 49.2
Elevation gain: 6,978
Temperature range: 46-86
Specialized Roubaix Expert
Ultegra Drive train – Compact crankset 50/34, 11-28 cassette
Continental 4000S tires
Shimano RS80 wheel set
Garmin Connect: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/63585795
Follow me on Twitter, I am @stevecycles200