Three weeks before the
70.3 I broke my foot. Six weeks later
the doctor cleared me for activities, but I had to ease into running.
Okay, but I was cleared to bike, so resume I did!
That takes us to the San Diego Century. 105 miles and 6100 feet of climbing, so says the event information page.
My friend, Sugarmagnolia, was doing it. It was her first century. Her previous longest bike ride? 80 miles three weeks ago as part of her preparation.
When I met her, she biked only because she wanted to do triathlons, and biking was part of it. She hated hills like nobody ever hated hills before. I suggested repeats once. I can’t print the response I got, but the PG version is why would anyone do that?
But I think the bike has grown on her. Not unlike running has grown on me. So, she signed up for the century. And as it worked out, I agreed to ride with her and encourage her along the route for the day.
At the start I also met her friends D&G. It was their first century too.
The early morning was promising with cool temperatures, and cloud cover. Even a hint of fog as we rolled out of Encinitas and into the rolling hills toward inland
Carlsbad, Vista, San Marcos,
and Escondido. I was happy to see the mile 18 aid
station. I guess I pre-hydrated
properly! Sugar was doing great, and in
good spirits. You can see her ride
< Churning up Paseo Delicious near El Montvideo>
Cruising along we flew down
Del Dios Highway and hit the mile 30 aid
station. Topped off the bottles. We were still under overcast skies and
delightful temperatures. The bikes were
mechanically sound, and we all felt good, as we exited the aid station and
headed up the “Three Witches” I took
Sugar on this climb as part of a route about a year and a half ago. We stopped at every one of the mini-peaks and
she yelled at me. How much has she
improved? We hit Camino Del Sur, and she
is laughing at the once vaunted and scary witches. The witch is dead, long live the witch.
Camino Del Sur meanders into Camino Del Norte and its endless rollers. Up, down, up, down. So nice of the route to soften up the legs before the climb up
Poway Parkway (SPP).
Cruising down Pomerado we hit the mile 43 aid station. This would be Sugar’s favorite of the day as her family met her there. After that, it was up SPP. Fine time for the skies to clear, the sun to come out in full force, so bright you had to squint with sun glasses. Fine time for the temperature to go up 20 degrees. Yes, fine indeed, as we began the ~2 mile ascent. Sweat dripping off me and pelting the top tube of my blue Roubaix as if a rain shower had begun. Carnage all over the hill as I lost count of the number of people walking up. It was well over a dozen. I looked over my shoulder and could see the once flatlander, chugging up the hill with a determined look. She reached the summit not long after I did, with just one question. Why did it have to get so BLEEPING hot? I had no answer, but Hwy 67 beckoned our attention, so off to Ramona we go.
67 is mostly uphill to Mt Woodson. Sugar, are we at the top yet? Me, no. Sugar, why not? How much longer? How soon to the lunch stop? Me- about 9 miles. Sugar: BLEEP! Sugar: Will they have soda. A soda sounds good. Me: I don’t remember, but a lot of rides do at the lunch stop.
, and the descent
into the Ramona valley. Sugar made the
observation that if we descended into Ramona we would be climbing back out of
it. I confirmed she was right. BLEEP!! Mt.
We get to the aid station at mile 63. Mediocre (at best) sandwiches. No soda. (BLEEP) and….they were out of sports drink. That is inexcusable! The poor volunteers looked dumbfounded as to why they were not supplied with enough sports drink. How does an event in its EIGHTH YEAR not have the planning to have enough sports drink at its furthest point from the start, and the point where virtually all the 105 mile riders would need and want refills? I wonder if these people ever participated in an event? How does that happen? Oh, and by the way, since we are paying to ride, break down and get bottled water.
Diego tap water tastes like crap. In
short, a big thank you to the volunteers, they were great. And a grade of D to the ride organizers for
under-supplied, poor aid stations.
Out of the aid station I told Sugar I knew there was a little grocery store on 67 about 5-6 miles away, so we stopped there, got some proper food, sports drink, and a soda. Ahhhh.
Fueled up for the climb out of the Ramona valley. Then the fun descent down 67. Just before SPP I had a first for me. While in my seven plus years as a cyclist I have had the occasional driver yell at me, I never had one yell F**K YOU out of a truck window, going the opposite way on a highway. Stay classy lady.
Down SPP: WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. 9% grade downhill!! (I did control the downhill speed, my max was just 42 MPH)
We hit the mile 83 stop, picked Sugar’s friend D back up (my friend too, now) and the three of us headed for the finish. Of course, five miles later I had the obligatory puncture. I told them to go, I would catch up, but they didn’t leave until I was putting the wheel back on. They took a breather! There were some struggles, especially on the uphills, but as the finish got closer and closer spirits were picking up. Soon enough I pointed to the college and the Finish banner. Hugs and tears, and celebration. My friend is now a century rider. Through the good, bad, and ugly of the day, props to her for adhering to rule #5 when needed. And kudos, not finding a flat boring course, but tackling the purple monster and well over 6,100 feet of gain. My Garmin showed 6,188. Hers showed over 8,000! Either way, it is a hilly and challenging route.
Continental 4000S tires
Williams SX30 wheels
Sun Rype fruit bars