2010 Tour of California Stage 6 Recon

On today’s ride I previewed a portion of the Tour of California Stage 6. I began my ride from Encanto Park in Duarte.  The TOC will start in Palmdale but I didn’t want to drive all the way out there 😉  So my ride started in Duarte which is 617 feet above sea level.  I then climbed Hwy 39 to Hwy 2, Angeles Crest Hwy.  I then continued on Hwy 2 up to Dawson Saddle 7901 Elevation.   From Dawson Saddle I descended towards Wrightwood.  Along the way I climbed up to Blue Ridge at 7381 Elevation.  I rode through Wrightwood and descended until I made the junction with Hwy 138.  From there it was basically 20 mile climb back to Dawson Saddle. From Dawson Saddle it is essentially a 35 mile downhill back to Encanto Park in Duarte.

From Training Peaks the entire activity with Elevation, Power, Cadence, and Heart Rate

Lap times

You’ll note the third lap says “3000 to water stream” which stands for from the 3,000 feet elevation sign until the water stream.   So let’s talk about nutrition and planning your fluid stops.  The key thing you need to know about this ride is that services are VERY LIMITED.  Once you leave Encanto Park in Duarte there aren’t any stores until you get to Wrightwood (about 50 miles and 8,400 feet of climbing away).  However, about an hour into the ride or 14 miles you reach a gate.  From this point forward the road is closed to vehicular traffic except work vehicles and I guess there are a few residents that have access.

Gate closure about 14 miles into the ride from here ride at your own risk there are no services, rarely do you see another car or another cyclist for the next 21 miles and 6,000 feet of gain until Dawson Saddle at 7901 Elevation

I’m not a big fan of camelback hydration systems so I generally won’t use them.  On today’s ride I took an extra bottle for a total of three.  The weather was fairly cool considering I began my ride at 11am.  Later in the year I like to start this ride at first light.  It can be really hot at the lower elevations in the summer months.

At about 4,000 elevation there is a stream coming through the wall.  I drank one bottle from the start in Duarte to the water stream and refilled ONE bottle.  In hindsight, I probably should have taken in more calories by drinking two bottles and then refilling two bottles at the water stream.  I left the water stream with three bottles that lasted me until AFTER I had climbed back up from Hwy 138 ( approx 3:47, 6870 feet of climbing, 42.69 miles and 1925 kjs).

Once again the weather was cool but on a hot day you would have to probably take another bottle — total of four OR take a hydration system.  Just a personal note– I don’t like to stop at stores when doing epic rides like this.  The last water stop was a visitor center with clean restrooms.

In case I’ve thoroughly confused you here are my stops:

1.  Water stream about 20 miles into the ride and 4,000 feet of gain (ONE bottle refill)

2.  Vistor Center outskirts of Wrightwood 3:47, 6870 feet and 42.69 miles later (THREE bottle refill)

My nutrition consisted of Infinit Nutrition powder mix and a few bars for chewing sake.

No other stops for fluids or food.

The turnout across from the water stream.

The water stream-- icy cold water even in the summer months.

The climb from Duarte to the water stream

data for the climb from Duarte to the water stream

Duarte to Dawson Saddle

The climb from Duarte to Dawson Saddle is almost 8,000 feet of vertical gain in one straight shot.  There are a few rollers here and there but essentially you climb for 35 miles and gain 7700 feet.

Living at sea level doesn’t stop me from getting my climb on!  You have to love California.  I drive 40 minutes from my home and I can climb all the way to 7900 feet from 600 feet.

On my return from Wrightwood I climbed up to Blue Ridge at 7381 Elevation for the second time.  Only this time it was late in the afternoon and the typical weather pattern for mountain regions made itself known.  There were storm clouds and I knew I needed to get off the mountain as soon as possible.  I was fortunate not to get rained on.  However, once the clouds covered the sun the temps dropped quickly above 7,000 feet.  I knew of course that once I got to Dawson Saddle at 7901 Elevation it was “all downhill from there” and the weather would get warmer as I dropped in elevation.

Probably hard to read but this is Blue Ridge at 7381 Elevation.

11 thoughts on “2010 Tour of California Stage 6 Recon

  1. Great ride, George. Do you fill up your H20 bottles at the stream alongside the 39? Did you end up getting rained on?

  2. Thanks George. Only 15 minutes off the saddle on an 8 hour ride… wow! And I thought I don’t like stopping for long breaks!

    • TJ for the life of me I can’t figure out where those 15 minutes came from. I only dismounted four times for the gates on 39 and only two stops for water one at the stream and the other at the visitor center. I would have thought it was more like 7 minutes than 15 minutes. 😉

      How did you hook up to the blog?

  3. I have been subscribed to your blog for quite a while now, I just never comment. Your ride reports are very inspiring. Sometimes they make me jealous, in a good way. Honestly, I forget where I first read about it.

    • Well TJ here is an official welcome to my blog. Thank you for finally commenting and breaking through the lurking phase 😉 I like interacting with my readers so please now that you are no longer “silent” feel free to comment as much as you’d like– especially when you have questions. Oh and please pass my blog along to your friends. Thank you!!

  4. Hey Geroge
    Lurker inspired by TJ (and always inspired by your rides). We met last year when you helped me fix my headset on during the death valley century….

    Can you go through the details of what you are using for a cycle computer, power meter, software, etc. I enjoy those parts of your reports. I am currently using a Polar HRM w/ their ProTrainer software but am considering getting something like the Quarq with a Garmin. I’d appreciate your thoughts and experience (and by the way I’m a triathlete, so I need something that is swim-bike-run compatible if possible).
    Thanks for always inspiring me to push farther!

  5. Hello Mtn,

    Yes of course I remember you from the Death Valley Double Century. I hope you are having a good 2010 racing season. What’s on the race calendar for you?

    I have used several different cycling computers over the years. I had a Shimano Flight Deck when I first got back into cycling back in 2003. I thought it was the coolest thing. I then got a Polar 720i in 2004 and was blown away with elevation charts and percentage of grade and temperature readings from my rides. In late 2005 I was introduced to power meters and the benefit of training with power. I experimented with the Polar power meter. You see I was attracted to the opportunity to add power to my bike for a low entry price. I already had the 720i and later a 625x and so adding power was just another module. But I eventually found it too difficult to setup and it was not easy to switch from bike to bike– more on that later.

    In 2006, I finally saved up enough pennies to get my first “real” power meter, a Power Tap from Saris. I was blown away again by the amazing way a power meter captures your efforts and allows you to track your progression. But I still used the Polar HRM because I wanted to track my elevation gain to keep me honest in training for my ultras.

    I chose the Power Tap because I have always had more than three bikes that I will ride or race at any given time. I have just recently sold two of my bikes and am “down” to nine bikes and a tandem. Sickening I know but they all get ridden trust me. I am currently expecting my new arrival to the family a Di2 bike from Felt (a little sponsorship doesn’t hurt). So because I own so many bikes and I also coach cyclists and triathletes I like the flexibility the Power Tap offers me. I can switch it from one bike to another and within seconds I am riding with power.

    My current setup is Power Tap Ant+ with Garmin 310XT. I was thinking of doing some running last winter and purchased a 310XT. Since you are a multi-sport athlete the 310XT should work for you. I might just buy a 500 since I’m not doing the running I thought I was going to do. It is smaller sleeker and I read has a higher sensitivity in regards to GPS acquisition. With Ant+ and a Garmin I know have my power data and elevation data on one file— SWEET!

    If you train and race on one bike then Quarq, SRM or Ergomo systems may work for you. They are systems that are installed either on/in the crankset or bottom bracket. The benefit with the aforementioned systems is you will not limited in your wheel selection. With a Power Tap you have to have a wheel built around the Power Tap hub . I currently have a Zipp 404 and Zipp 808 wheels along with my training wheels all with Power Tap hubs. If I wasn’t in the bike industry it would be very expensive to acquire all those wheels. I have also done it over time so it hasn’t been that painful.

    Once you decide on the power meter I strongly suggest you download your data to Training Peaks 3.0. It by far the most used and best software for analyzing your power data. Lastly, I am available for coaching if you so desire.

    You are welcomed for the inspiration. Thanks for reading my blog and commenting. I hope this helps.


    • Thanks for the thoughts. I currently have 3 bikes (and store them all in the dining room – thankfully with an understanding spouse!) and here is why I thought the Quarq would be the way to go….Based on what I own and understanding of how it all works, here is what I thought:
      For the P2C TT (that’s the bike you saw me on) I already have an 808 rear (but it doesnt have the PT hub). I also train/ride DA 500 hoops (w/o the hub, and probably the easiest conversion). My road bike has Mavics with carbon hubs. So even if I could rebuild all the wheelsets with the PT hub w/o sacrificing the integrity of the wheel – that would be expensive. Plus I am thinking of adding to my wheelsets for the TT bike…

      So I thought the Quarq based system could work between those two bikes with some minimal crank and BB adjustments. From what I understand it is fairly easy to use and swap between cranks if set up properly.

      As for my fixie – I would just use all the features sans power of the 310XT.

      I also considered getting a 500 down the road, but would start with the 310XT.

      As for my racing – this year I am changing it up quite a bit. In years past I do a ton of cycling the first half of the season and carry that fitness into triathlons the second half. This year I am building toward 2 major triathlons – Vineman 70.3 in July and IMAZ in November (time to earn the M-dot). Any other triathlons or cycling events are just prep for those 2 biggies. Endurance events you know include the LA Grand Tour at a fairly easy pace and possibly the Tri-States Grand Fondo as they both will lead nicely into my triathlon training racing plans. I have a few other running events I am looking at too.

      It is humbling to be weak in my cycling fitness this time of year compared to where I normally am. I have to keep reminding myself its for those 2 races and building up slowly to save it for later.

      Thank you again for all your thoughts – let me know if you have any more. And hopefully see you again at a ride soon enough – next time with power!

  6. By the way – the only other goal this year is to go sub 63 minutes for my bike split at a 40k olympic distance tri – that was my best time last year.

  7. Pingback: Newport Beach to Dawson Saddle 270 km (168 miles) 11,300 feet of gain « George's Epic Adventures

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