Let me first say a HUGE thank you to Dennis Stryker the RBA and all the volunteers. You make it possible for us to ride our bikes.
Next let me say that aside from the 2006 300km this was possibly one of the worst rainy, wet and freezing cold brevets I have ever ridden. Here is the link to the 2006 300km Ride Report where it not only rained on us but it hailed on us as well. On the 2006 300km we climbed a few hundred feet higher in elevation than this year’s 300km mainly because we climbed from Lake Henshaw to Santa Ysabel on Mesa Grande Road.
177 miles 13,000 feet of climbing. I was the first rider to come in. I came in with an official time of 12 hours 3 minutes. There was a 1.5 hour time gap between me and the next riders that came in. Approximately 35 riders were registered, 30 or so rolled and about half them DNF’d.
*A worker’s ride was held on a different date with better weather. Drew Peterson I’m sure you had better weather BUT you rode the course solo 10:56 which is an excellent result!!
Resorted by time
BIKE SETUP— Cervelo Soloist SL with Orion II Power Tap wheelset, no aero bars. Chainrings 53/39 Cassette 11/23, two water bottles
WEATHER– mid 40’s and dry at the start, rain throughout the rest day, high 30’s – low 40’s at elevation and high winds
CLOTHING— Skins Compression Cycling Tights, Woolistic Long Sleeve Base layer, Woolistic Cinzano Long Sleeve Jersey, Defeet wool gloves, Defeet wool socks
NUTRITION— Infinit Nutrition. Customized formula for Ultras. Use discount Code “Vireo” for 10% off your order.
Screen Shot from Training Peaks Software WKO 3.0
Some very quick analysis of the numbers from the Power Tap.
1. Of the total time of 11 hours 51 minutes. I only spent 21 minutes off the bike or wheels not rolling. When you consider there were 3 controls and multiple traffic controls that really isn’t much time off the bike. Let’s assume 5 minutes per control that equals 15 minutes. That would leave 6 minutes for traffic controls and my stop in McDonald’s.
2. 6231 kjs is very closely related to the amount of calories expended. A power meter is much more accurate than the calories consumed calculations done by Polar, Garmin and the like.
2A. The 6231kjs/12 hours equals 526 calories per hour. Knowing that we can only really digest 250 calories an hour this calculation shows how I was going in the red by 270 calories an hour. On a really hard century my kjs are about 700 calories an hour.
3. 181 Normalized Power- is equal to 2.66 w/kg. Low when compared to shorter races like the 200km in January when I held 3.05 w/kg.
We rolled from the start about 30 riders strong. Jerry Brown and another rider were on a tandem. I slowed my pace just enough to let them take lead and set the pace through Otay Lakes Rd. It was funny when they rolled off the front and expected me to pull. I said “You’re the tandem you should be driving the pace on the flats”.
Anyway as soon as we got that sorted out I stayed tucked in as second wheel getting sprayed even though they had a rear fender installed on their bike. Approximately mile six I looked behind me and the group was nowhere to be seen. As we turned onto Honey Springs Rd, I looked back across Hwy 94 and as far as Otay Lakes Rd but didn’t see anyone. I thought maybe there was a crash or something. The tandem was not going THAT fast to drop so many riders so early and by so much.
Screen Shot from Training Peaks Software WKO 3.0
From the start to the Honey Springs Rd. Climb
MILE 11– HONEY SPRINGS RD. CLIMB— This climb is a good 8 mile 7% climb. I tried riding with the tandem but my largest cog was only a 23T. I was turning a 40 RPM cadence and was barely pushing 200 watts. I climb around 260-280 watts (3.8-4.0 w/kg). I climbed at my own pace and then descended Lyons Valley at my own pace. The twisty roads which are usually so much fun to descend were nerve racking. So I slowed my pace and decided this is what the ride is going to be like …SLOW AND CAUTIOUS.
The Honey Springs climb is featured in the San Diego Grand Fondo from their site, “The timed climb in the Gran Fondo Colnago San Diego — located at approximately mile 40 to 46 on the route – is 10 km (6.2 miles) long, up the winding Honey Springs Road. The climb ranges in grade from 3% to 8%, with the steepest portion very near the summit.”
Looks like they only time a portion of the overall climb. But any way you slice it, it’s a good climb.
Screen Shot from Training Peaks Software WKO 3.0
MILE 20-23 LYONS VALLEY- One of my favorite curvy roads to descend. It was drizzling, the road was covered with rocks and water running across the road. I had to take it really slow. It was on this road that I got my first real soaking. The rain was heavy for just long enough to get me throughly saturated. Even though I was soaked the wool felt great and soon as that downpour ended I did dry off pretty quickly.
MILE 31.8 WILLOW GLEN— As I turned onto Willow Glen the tandem caught me. I wasn’t really trying to stay away… not yet anyway. I remembered the last time I was riding this brevet solo in 2008. It was at this turn where I caught up to Bruce Taylor. I had had rear derailuer issues on the Honey Spring climb and pulled over to try and fix them. Bruce continued to climb and gradually created a gap between us. I thought about all the other times I had been on the same course as Bruce. Sometimes we would ride together and have a little chin-wag. I was hoping Bruce’s head injuries would not be as severe but I found out later that evening that Bruce had passed away. It was sad…really sad. I’ll miss you Bruce.
MILE 55 EL MONTE PARK CONTROL #1– I arrived approximately 9:15 am 3 hours 15 minutes elapsed time. Thank you Tim Sullivan for volunteering. I rolled in with Jerry Brown and his tandem partner. I was riding conservatively and using their draft. I filled two bottles with water and two Infinit Nutrition packets and I was off. The key to fast Ultras is staying on the bike. I was in and out of the control in less than 4 minutes. My Power Tap is set for Sleep Mode after 4 minutes. It is my goal to be in and out of a control before those 4 minutes elapse.
MILE 64.5 HIGHWAY 67– From Willow Glen to here I had ridden with the tandem team. At the base of Hwy 67 I knew the first 1.5 miles of the next 8 miles was steep. It is about 8.5% grade and I knew I could drop the tandem here and create a big gap. I accelerated, (didn’t need to “attack”) rode the tandem off my wheel and didn’t see them for the rest of the event. Climbing Hwy 67, I thought of the previous year’s event when Brandy and I flatted on our tandem partway up the climb. I felt good on the climb. Rain and more rain throughout the climb.
Screen Shot from Training Peaks Software WKO 3.0
Hwy 67 Climb
MILE 76.5 DYE ROAD– It felt like I had a tailwiind so I pushed hard to take advantage of it. Rain rain and more rain.
MILE 84.2 OLD JULIAN HWY— One of my favorite roads in San Diego County. It avoids the heavy and fast traffic of Hwy 78. It’s a rolling climb with good pavement. I felt OK but the miles and being wet for five hours was starting to get old. The winds were starting to pick up and the rain was steady now. I was getting cold but since I was climbing it wasn’t so bad.
MILE 90.3 JUNCTION TO HWY 78— This is when things started to go bad. The winds were really strong with no specific direction which then made the rain come at you in all directions it seemed. I was getting really cold. I had been thoroughly soaked on and off for hours but the colder temps and the winds were really bad at elevation. There are lots of open spaces as you near Santa Ysabel and the wind can be brutal in the high plains.
MILE 96.1 SANTA YSABEL CP#2—I had reached the turn-around in 6 hours which was my goal. 96 miles and approximately 7,000 feet of climbing DONE! I was happy with my progress considering the weather conditions. Tom and Tina Reynolds were at this checkpoint with that now famous soup of hers. I only had one objective– check-in and get down from elevation. Santa Ysabel is at 3,000 feet. I was offered soup and the warmth of Dudley’s Bakery but I declined and rolled out as soon as possible. There was no way I was going to spend any time in Santa Ysabel.
My stop was less than 4 minutes. Tom wanted to take a picture so I posed and quickly got back on my bike. I remember this lady getting out of her car and her coat and billowing in the wind. She was struggling to get from her car in the parking lot to the front door of the bakery. She yelled out “you’re going to ride your bike in this weather?” I responded “I’ve BEEN riding in this weather!” She must have thought I was nuts! That’s ok most people think I’m nuts for doing Ultras.
MILE 101.9 OLD JULIAN HWY– The 12 mile out and back section of Hwy 78 was definitely the worst section of the ride for me. From mile 90.3 to 101.9 I was drenched to the bone. The wind and the cold was unbearable. I was suffering but I needed to get down from elevation. Old Julian Hwy is a curvy fast descent. I couldn’t enjoy because the wind and the rain and the uncontrollable shivers I had. Words can not express how terrible I felt.
MILE 111.3 MAIN STREET RAMONA– In every race I feel there are defining moments. They are moments of crucial importance and how you handle them decides your fate. They are moments when you have to radically change what you are doing “or die on the vine”. Every ride has a few of them and this ride was no exception. Some defining moments are positive– like pulling yourself inside out to catch a faster rider or paceline and now you are in “the winning break”. Some however are truly a challenge that if not faced head-on and overcome can mean the end of your ride. For this ride the DEFINING MOMENT was now! I was so cold I was shivering like mad. I couldn’t safely control the bike. I was cold to my very core. My feet had been wet from the very beginning but now my hands were frozen, my wrists were frozen stiff and my core temperature (in my estimation) was dropping into dangerously low territory. I needed to do something STAT!
I remembered that McDonald’s is an Eco-friendly company and they don’t have paper towel dispensers in their restrooms. McDonald’s has hand dryers. And I just learned from a fellow Rando that the floors are heated. I will look into that the next time I am thoroughly drenched. I walked straight to the bathroom and parked myself in front of the hand dryer. I began by warming up my hands and attempting to dry my gloves. Then I worked my way up my arms– first the wrist then the forearms. I then managed to get my upper arms and my thighs under the warm air. Eventually, I knelt down under the hand dryer in the fetal position and got the warm air on my back and shoulders. As a reminder the only thing I was wearing a long sleeve wool base layer and a long sleeve wool jersey. If I had had one more base layer I would have been fine. The only mistake I made all day was thinking it wasn’t going to rain that heavy or at least not ALL day.
As soon as I walked outside it was raining again. But psychologically I was back in the game. My stop was about 5-6 minutes. But it was probably the best 5 minutes of the whole event. I had been cold . I had been wet. But during the 12 mile section from Old Julian Hwy/Hwy 78 junction I actually considered a DNF. But I was on the return leg — can I really DNF’ on the return leg? I kept thinking “it will get warmer, it will get warmer, it will get warmer it HAS to get warmer. It can’t be this cold and rainy at the lower elevations. I mean Lakeside is like 110F in the summer”. Since I was heading down another 1500 of elevation I thought if it just got 10F warmer I would be fine. Honestly, that was the only thing that kept me going.
MILE 137.2 ALPINE BLVD– From here on out there is a lot of climbing. The first three miles of which get you to Alpine and to our third checkpoint. The climb is gradual and probably not more than 6% at any one time. It parallels the US 8 Interstate.
MILE 140.1 CARL’S JR CP#3– I arrived at the control at 3:00pm I was not looking forward to the next climbing section but it had to be done. I left the control remembering that all I had was an 11/23 cassette. Living in Huntington Beach and doing a lot of coastal rides you get used to riding close ratio cassettes. I don’t get out to the mountains as much as I used to.
The ramps on Japutul Rd are at least 10% with many being in excess of 12% grade. I used to love riding on Japatul Road when I lived in Santee. But there is quite a difference between climbing that road on a 50 miler as oppossed to being 150 miles into the ride. I struggled on the rollers but I was expecting it. It took me an hour to climb the six miles from Alpine to Japatul Rd.
MILE 150 LYON’S VALLEY ROAD– Lyon’s Valley is a good rolling but generally down descent. I was getting warmer but the rain was coming back. By the time I got to Honey Springs Rd it was raining steadily AGAIN! URG!
MILE 157.7 HONEY SPRINGS ROAD– A short one mile climb and then a screaming descent for 7 miles. The rain was steady I was warm and heading for home. I couldn’t hit the high speeds I usually hit on HSR because of the winds but I maintained 30ish mph. HSR is at least a 45 mph descent when I’m in a tuck.
MILE 165.6 OTAY LAKES ROAD – I was on the home stretch and still in daylight. I was racing the sunset. The rain was steady with sporadic downpours. I had been thoroughly wet many times during the day and it was quite demoralizing to get so wet just before the finish. I continued on just counting down the miles. I had a goal of finishing in under 12 hours and I was cutting it really close.
MILE 177 FINISH– I finished in 12 hours and considering the conditions I was very happy with my result. I was fearing getting caught by the tandem or any of the solo riders if they would have gotten organized but they never caught me.
1. WOOL WORKS!! The only thing I should have done differently is I should have worn one more thin base layer. I was warm and cozy for good portions of the ride. And in the other sections I felt the chill but it was more tolerable for the convenience of wearing one garment for cold, rain and warm and dry climate. I had no need for rain gear or any other clothing. Thank you Woolistic. But there was the one section from Old Julian Hwy/Hwy 78 Junction to Santa Ysabel and back that I was just miserable. I really was miserable.
2. INFINIT WORKS! The only thing I might have done differently is dial up a little more calories in my formula. With the colder temps you use more calories to keep your body core temp up. I will bump up the calories and a little more protein for winter rain storm riding. Maybe that is what I will name the formula too. 😉 I had made my own gel by taking scoops of Infinit powder and mixing it in tablespoons of water. It was easy to sip and was packed with calories. This is the longest event I have used Infinit Nutrition and I was happy to not have experienced any stomach upset. Additionally, in the stormy weather it would have been a a pain in the ass to have to reach back in my pocket periodically for electrolytes and solid foods. Thank you Infinit Nutrition.Other than that I really can’t think about anything I would have done differently.
The 300km is the second in a series of four brevets. They include the 200km, 300km, 400km and the 600km. This year I will only do the 200 and 300 because there are schedule conflicts with the other events and I also work more weekends now that I manage Bike Religion
, a bike shop in Newport Beach.
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