Everesting Elfin Forest to Double Peak Summit – San Marcos – Everest number 3


I completed my third Everest on Thanksgiving day November 24, 2016.  While many were enjoying their time with family and friends I decided to go out and spend some quality time with my climbing bike Bella – Bottecchia Emme 695.

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The first Everest was South Grade Palomar Mountain.  I still consider it as my hardest.  The solitude, the danger of the country road at night, the heat during the day and let’s not forget the HC climb of 11.6 miles and 4,200 feet of gain.

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The second Everest was a local hill close to my shop and home, Double Peak Drive.  The climb is 1.1 miles but I chose the segment of the climb that was the steepest 1/2 mile.

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And for my latest trick, I climbed a 2.4 mile climb 31 repeats at an advertised 985 feet about 7.8% grade and it also included the entire Double Peak 1.1 mile climb which ramps up to over 15% on the last 1/2 mile.  I Everested only the last 1/2 mile section (steepest section of the 1.1 mile climb) on July 10th – screenshot up above.

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One hour 38 minutes of stopped time.  At first glance it looks like a huge amount of resting time however, I assure you not one of my stops was for a rest.  This particular Everest had 10 Traffic Signals, Five on the way up and Five on the way down.

  1. Elfin Forest Rd (start of the climb and U-turn point)
  2. Schoolhouse
  3. Hope
  4. Questhaven
  5. Double Peak Park Dr (Left turn across traffic)

On every repeat I had to stop at least once on either the ascent or the descent.  Consider 31 repeats being stopped just ONCE for one minute that’s 31 minutes right there!  The rest of my stops were all logistical in nature.  Clothing changes, transition to night riding and of course the self-sagging stops are all very time consuming.

Below is a comparison table of the key data I monitor and use to compare the efforts for each event.

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A few quick points to put some sense to the numbers:

  1.  The Elfin Forest to Double Peak Summit ranks second in the following categories: A. Total Time, Moving Time, Stopped Time and Kj’s, kj/hour, Normalized Power and VAM
  2. The Elfin Forest to Double Peak Summit ranked Highest in Training Stress Score (TSS)

In general it did feel as the second hardest Everest that I have completed.  So the numbers give an accurate representation what happened on the road.

Thank you for reading please subscribe to this blog.  It has been dormant far too long.  Four years ago I opened my own high-end bike shop and that has consumed me.  My spare time for my writing has been almost nil.  However, there are several posts that are in a draft mode and just need to be revisited, edited and published.  Please leave comments with your questions so that I can answer them.  Your questions will be incorporated into my future Everest posts.

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Mt Whitney Super Century– SPOT Link


 

 

Tomorrow I will be riding the Mt Whitney Super Century.  Here is the SPOT Transmitter link if you care to follow on the SPOT page.

Thank you Brad Horton for the use of the SPOT Transmitter.

http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=0Po3rlAvZRhphLYqLgPtFWXFqBnoazRkk

 

Cycling Camps San Diego CCSD St Paddy’s Palomar Punishment Plus and more


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I had a great training ride on March 16, 2013.  The St Paddy’s Palomar event has two options A.  68 miles with 6800 feet of gain B.  92 miles 8500 feet of gain but what does an ultra cyclist choose?  Option C none of the above 131 miles with 11,600 feet of gain.  I brought my REV Cycling teammate Lori Hoechlin, and met a few other endurance cyclists Jim Knight, Bob Bingham and Bob “Rock Lizard” Andrews at the Starbucks in Del Mar.  We rode to and from the event and added a few extra miles.  Lori had two slow leaking flats and probably worked harder than she needed to on such a long day.  I had a great day on the bike. I had great legs and felt like I was holding back all day.

A quick word about the event. It was a fun time with more low key people showing up.  No organized start just a steady rolling out of riders.  Left to themselves riders know that a wave of 100 riders wouldn’t be safe 5 miles down the road as you climb Lake Wholford.  You crossed your name off of a roster at the checkpoints and at the finish. Huge spread of pasta dishes salad and bread at the finish.  I would do this event again!  Thank you Jo and Rob of CCSD!

I used my SRM power meter to keep my power within preset ranges on all climbs.  A power meter is ESSENTIAL for proper pacing in endurance cycling events.  I felt great all day having paced my self properly.  I am an authorized SRM dealer shoot me an email– revcycling@gmail.com if you wish to discuss purchasing an SRM Power Meter and pursuing a personalized power based training program from from me.

Calories burned 5,500 Calories consumed 2,100 calories in 10 hours

Below is a great shot taken of my by Mike Kurtz

In this picture Skins CY400 compression cycling jersey bib shorts SPY Performance Pink Screws Swiftwick 7″wool socks Serfas Helix tires, Serfas Pro Series cycling gloves, Serfas pink bar tape and Suplest Supzero cycling shoes SRM Dura-Ace power meter and PowerControl 7 – thank you to all of REV Cycling sponsors!

This was also the longest ride in my new Suplest Supzero cycling shoes supplied by REV Cycling sponsor Serfas. I have a full product review coming soon.  For now I’m putting in the miles and the hours.  This was a long ride of over 130 miles with over 11,000 feet of climbing and lots of time in the saddle and my feet were quite comfortable.   Shoot me an email with “Suplest Shoes” in your subject if you have any specific questions.  Stay tuned for full product review on Suplest Supzero cycling shoes.

Below are screen shots from Garmin for the map and summary and screen shots from Training Peaks WKO 3.0.

Entire training ride

Lake Wholford great climb bottom half then ran into friend that was having gearing issues and paced her up a bit and then pulled over to adjust her rear derailleur.

Palomar Mountain Lower Section Goal maintain 3 – 3.5 w/kg

Palomar Mountain Upper Section- Goal maintain 3 – 3.5 w/kg

Cole Grade at 90 ish miles into our day I holding back and pacing my REV Cycling teammate Lori Hoechlin who was fading-  she recovered nicely for the last 40 miles of the day.  Goal maintain over 3.0 w/kg but had to hold back

What a difference a day makes…


I rode two days in the Palomar Mountain area.  Both days were lackluster but today was slightly better.  Yesterday was such a shitty day I turned around and went home.  I started in Escondido and climbed the lower portion of Palomar Mountain on Hwy 76 (approx 4.4 miles 1,500 gain) I couldn’t get myself motivated to climb the second half of the mountain.  I was tired from the work week and I hadn’t had a good night’s rest. So I turned around yep, I DNF’d on a training ride 😉  It was still a 50 mile ride with almost 4,000 feet of gain which is a good enough ride for most people.

Today I started in a different part of Escondido and climbed all the way to the top of Palomar Mountain, albeit slowly.  I felt so much better today.  In fact, I even descended a couple of times to pick up my straggler.

Epic Training Tip:  When the day isn’t going well go home, eat and rest.  Your body is telling you something.  Take care of it and go back the next day and try again.  It’s ok to miss or quit on a training day to have a better training result on another day.

Living up in Orange County I haven’t been going to Palomar Mountain as frequently I used to when I lived in San Diego County,  On a regular basis, typically once a week, I would make the 100 mile 10,000 feet of climbing round trip from Encinitas to the top of Palomar Mountain.   Palomar is a great climb beginning in Pauma Valley about 1000 feet elevation topping out at 5,200 feet.

There is much debate as to how long and how much gain is attained on the climb. Most people time themselves from “store to store”. Which means from the Stage Stop and Liquor at the bottom to the Mother’s Market at the top.  That distance is about 11.7 miles with about 4,200 feet of gain.  Some like to time themselves from Harrah’s Casino which is understandable because it is the very bottom of the valley.  The store is on the left hand side of Hwy 76 when you make the right turn onto Hwy 76 from Valley Center Rd.  You can see it in the Google Satellite image I have included below.

March 15 not a good day (notice low normalized power)

March 16 a little better (notice much higher normalized power)

March 16 just the major climbs — 40 miles with 7400 feet gained

Alright and now for some good things to take away from these two uninspiring days.    On Thursday when I made the right turn onto Hwy 76 I saw a rider alongside the road, just across the road from the Stage Stop store, wearing a Furnace Creek 508 jersey.  I had to pull over and ask who he was.  I asked “What’s your totem?”  He knew who I was but I didn’t know him.  He was David Nash a two-man finisher from 2011 with my friend Steve “Desert Duck” Teal.

Later when I was about 3 miles from finishing my ride back in Escondido, I see someone flagging me down.  I pull over and start chatting with the gentleman pictured above.  Apparently, Roland has been reading my blog for about a year.  He recounted his progression from racing as a young man, coming to the states, having a family and now riding again.  He had just completed his first double century in Death Valley put on by AdventureCORPS.  Good work Roland I hope to see you at an event sometime and thank you for reading my blog.  You brightened up my day which was otherwise a total wash.

UPDATE  3/17/12

A question came in from one of my readers.  He asked if my Performance Management Chart reflected the lack of motivation or over-training that I felt on Thursday March 15th.  Well the graph above is from November 14 through March 15.  You can see the pink line is the stress I put on my body and yellow line is how much rest or recovery I give my body– in layman’s terms.  I don’t see anything unusual when compared to other times I have stressed my body more and still been able to put in a good training workout.

Thank you for reading my blog and please refer a friend.

Please consider AdventureCORPS in your 2012 ride calendar!  I hope to see you “out there”
 

Crestline Climbing Day


I spent Thursday afternoon (010512) in the Crestline area visiting a friend.  I began my ride in Crestline and descended down Hwy 18 to San Bernadino.  I then climbed about 2 miles on Hwy 18 until I turned right onto Old Waterman Canyon Rd.  I had a really hard day of climbing. I never felt like I got in my groove.

Then to add insult to injury…Waterman Canyon Rd. was one steep bugger.  I have been riding around Orange County on my 53/39 and 11-23 cassette because it is so flat and there I was struggling on 10-12% grades.  I muscled my way up and it hurt.

Old Waterman Canyon Rd. Three miles and about 1,300 feet of gain for about an average grade of 8.2%

About three miles of pain and suffering and for what?  Well it’s redeeming quality was it’s serenity.  Just off the from the main road (Hwy 18), Waterman Canyon Rd had all the quaintness of a mountain road, quiet, tree lined and some times completely shaded because of the canopy created by its many trees branches  There were a few houses along the road but mostly it was secluded.

I then continued on Hwy 18.  The road was a little too narrow for my liking. Here are a couple of photos of the climb up Hwy 18.  If the images are a little blurry please forgive me.  I take the pictures with a point-and-shoot camera while I’m still riding.

Below is another photo of the climb on Hwy 18.  Notice the road behind the bike as it curves up the mountain.  The green sign you see to the left of the bike is the 4000 feet elevation sign.  And yes I’m riding Sarah again.  Sarah is a custom steel Serotta CSI bike from 1998 time frame.  It is one of my all-time favorite bikes.

Running Springs was the final destination on this ride.  Notice mile marker 29.70 on Hwy18. Next time I’m up in this area I would like to continue on to Big Bear.

                                         21.5 mile climb gaining 5,300 feet

And just for fun “COVER YOUR LOAD!”

 

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Glendora Mountain Road – Mountain Training Ride


Felony- 2011 Felt F1 with Di2 SRM 7900 wireless crankset power meter with Power Control 7 head unit

New bike, new year and here I am training for the  Furnace Creek 508 again.  For those that are not familiar with the Furnace Creek 508– it is a 508 mile non-stop bike race with 35,000 feet of climbing.  Along the way you  pass through the Mojave and Death Valley deserts and summit ten mountain passes.  It is “the toughest 48 hours in sport” . I am returning for a sixth SOLO run.  To my knowledge, I am one of only two racers to have successfully completed five consecutive solos.  The other racer is Michael Emde, multi-time Furnace Creek 508 Champion.

Yesterday, I had a few errands to run before being able to ride.  I began my ride out of Glendora later than I ever have.  It was 5pm.  But I thought it would be interesting to do the majority of the ride in daylight and finish the ride with a little night riding.  I was prepared with lights and set off.

My training route was:

CLIMB Glendora Mountain Road

Descend to Camp Williams

CLIMB Glendora Mountain Road (I call it little GMR)

CLIMB Glendora Ridge Road

CLIMB to the Mount Baldy Lifts

About 8,500 feet of climbing in 39 miles!

Elevation chart for my ride.

 

It is early in my preparation for the Furnace Creek 508 but I wanted to see what my form was like.  I set out on Glendora Mountain Road with a short warm-up and then went for my Personal Record (PR)  of 44 minutes.  I felt fine during the climb.  I looked at my power numbers compared to my heart rate and once again I noticed they were lower than usual.  I have been participating in CVAC sessions and I believe that has a lot to do with it.  More on CVAC later.  I was only 12 seconds off my PR.  The result is very promising since it is only May and my PR was set in late August when I am in much better form.  the other reason my result is good is that it comes at the end of eight workout training week and almost 19 hours on the bike.  Below is the graph of my ascent of Glendora Mountain Road.

Once I crested GMR I descended towards Camp Williams.  That descent is a favorite of mine but there were too many rocks strewn on the road to really enjoy it.  The weather was perfect.  I hadn’t finished my first bottle when I pulled into the Camp Williams store.  I topped of the bottle and then ascended what I call little GMR.  Why?  Because it is only 4.9 miles vice 8 miles — seems like a good enough reason to me 😉  My time was 30:09 from the right turn onto GMR to the junction at with Glendora Ridge Road.  It was slower than my PR but I was spent from going hard on GMR.

Once at the junction I continued climbing on Glendora Ridge Road.  I was not going for any specific time other than just keeping the intensity at medium level. I was fatigued but recovered on the occasional downgrade.

After climbing Glendora Ridge Road I climbed from the Post Office where I refueled to the Mount Baldy Ski Lifts.  I was beat but I had to follow my plan.  I struggled with the steep grades.  I was riding my SRM 53/39 crankset and an 11/28 cassette.  My legs were really fatigued but up the mountain I went.  I summited only out of shear will.  I kept telling myself “this is your last climb of the day.” ” This is your last hard effort of the week. ”  “It’s been a long hard week …just get it done!”  Here is my power chart for Post Office to the lifts.  Notice the grey line how much higher it is than my yellow line.  Yellow is Power and grey is Torque.  The climb to the lifts is really steep over  10 percent in many sections.  My 39×28 combination was not easy enough to spin up so I was grinding and producing A LOT of torque.  I don’t ride a compact because I have an SRM and prefer to use a standard crankset since 95% of the time I won’t be climbing 15% grades 😉

Climb Analysis- From Post Office in Baldy Village to Mt Baldy Ski Lifts

 It was now night time 8:45 pm.   And this is where the “adventure” in George’s Epic Adventures begins.  My headlight was shutting off every time I hit a bump.  So I pulled over to see if the battery was fully engaged and that’s when I noticed the plastic enclosure around the proprietary battery had broken.  When I tried to reinsert the battery it wouldn’t work at all now.  Hmm…I already dislike proprietary stuff but now I’m at the top of Mount Baldy …pitch black with no ambient light…and 26 miles from my car on almost all twisty downhill!  Now I could abandon the light and get my night vision which would take about 20 minutes.  I could see the road in general and use the fog line and the centerline to guide myself down the mountain.  But my main concern was all the rocks I had seen strewn along the road– just hitting one of them could ruin my season if not more.  And then there was the x-factor.  Something I hadn’t considered was the boy racers in their fast cars racing up and down Glendora Mountain Road.  One very scary moment three cars came around a blind corner over the centerline right at me.  I swerved to the ditch and was safe but I think I gave that young man a good scare as well.  He was probably thinking what is this crazy dude doing on a bike at 10 something at night with no headlight descending this mountain.

Serfas True 250 – 250 lumen headlight

The last 26 mile stretch took me 1 hour 40 minutes and my average speed was only 16.5 mph.  Actually, that isn’t so bad afterall.  I was cold as well and I was never so happy to see my car.

George “Red-Eyed Vireo” Vargas on Felony – his 2011 Felt F1 with Shimano Di2 and SRM 7900 power meter climbing Glendora Mountain Road.

And now for a special treat I met Ray Clone as I was taking a picture of Felony in front of the 5.08 mile marker sign. He explained to me that he has been riding Glendora Ridge Road for 30 years. He asked to take a picture of me…how could I refuse?

Newport Beach to Dawson Saddle 270 km (168 miles) 11,300 feet of gain


I wish to nominate Dawson Saddle for another of California’s Toughest Climbs  additional links here and here .  Dawson Saddle is 32 miles and gains 7,500 feet.  But there’s more difficulty to this climb than just the mileage and the gain.  If you plan on tackling the climb to Dawson Saddle please follow these tips to ensure safe travels:

1.  If you want a short warm-up and then begin climbing straightaway you should start at Encanto Park approximately 660 feet above sea level

2.  In the summer months, I would start the climb with a minimum of three bottles.  I have done it with five bottles.  Never a bad thing to have “too much fluids/nutrition”

3.  In the summer months, expect temperatures over 90 degrees F at the lower elevations

4.  Bring at least five hours of nutrition Minimum three-hour climb, Recovery at the summit and then nutrition for the long descent. The descent is not a high-speed descent because of the road conditions which you should note on your climb.  There are sections were you can open it up as well, so to speak.

5.  There isn’t anywhere to get fluids once you begin the climb

6.  There is a stream coming through the rocks at about 4,000 feet elevation – drink at your own risk!

7.  In May and June you should plan to reach the summit and begin your descent before 3 pm – temperatures drop very quickly as the sun sets  The “sun sets” sooner because you are surrounded by higher mountain peaks in the area and you lose the Sun’s heat earlier

8.  Bring a vest and arm/knee warmers and light full-fingered gloves as a minimum.  I HIGHLY recommend wool! Standard issue of clothing if you wish to a summit bagger!

9. Unless you are a strong climber bring at least a 27 tooth cassette (11-27 or 11-28) or a compact crankset 50/34.  I have done this climb with a 53/39 and 11-23 cassette but I wouldn’t recommend that for everyone.

10. Bring a buddy this is a remote climb, with closed roads to vehicular traffic, cell coverage is spotty to non-existent.  I would go on the assumption that there’s isn’t cell coverage.    Wildlife can and should be expected such as bears, deer and squirrels.  Yes squirrels, they are dangerous because they are unpredictable and cross your path then double back across your path again – a recipe for disaster.

11.  Bring plenty of flat repair- even though the road has been cleaned significantly over the years I have been doing this climb the roads are not maintained, frost heaves, potholes, plenty of loose rock, and falling rock are strewn along the highway.  I bring tire boots but a spare tire is not a bad idea.

12.  Be prepared to ride at least five hours without seeing another cyclist and once you pass the gated areas you won’t see any cars.

13.  Descend with caution- it could be hours or even days before someone finds you!

14.  File a flight plan- Tell a loved one or a friend where you are going and when you are expected back.  I have always called/texted my loved one with three simple words “on the mountain” and then “off the mountain”

15.  Lastly enjoy the views they are spectacular!

Training Peaks screenshot of Dawson Saddle Climb Normalized Power 201 or 3 w/kg for 3 hours

Grade analysis of Dawson Saddle from the Public Restroom at mile 35.25 on the San Gabriel River Trail

Felony – my 2011 Felt F1 with Shimano Di2

George “Red-Eyed Vireo” Vargas summits Dawson Saddle on his 2011 Felt F1 with Di2- 32 mile 7,500 feet of gain climb

My ride yesterday was from Newport Beach to Dawson Saddle 168 miles with 11,000 + feet of climbing. I left Newport Beach close to 1pm.  My plan was to do some night riding at the tail-end of my ride.  I was stocked with 10 hours of nutrition.  I ran out of fuel 9 hours into the ride.  It took me almost 11 hours to get home.  I bonked badly.  I rode 126 miles the day before and because of  it I was much hungrier on this ride.  My route was North on Pacific Coast Hwy (PCH)  to Seal Beach and then the San Gabriel River Trail (SGRT) to Hwy 39 to Angeles Crest Hwy 2 to Dawson Saddle summit 7901 elevation.  It’s important to mention that the  Dawson Saddle summit is 84 miles into my ride.  This climb is hard enough from Encanto Park where you get a couple miles of warm-up and just go.  Now imagine starting this climb with 50 miles on your legs.  Or how about this after summiting realizing you are still 84 miles from home.

his ride is especially difficult SOLO and unsupported.  You must carry enough fluids and nutrition from the start to a public restroom at mile 35.25 on the SGRT – about 50 miles for me.  Then refuel and have enough fuel/fluids for the next 35 miles of climbing – at least 3 hours of climbing.  You should have enough nutrition and fluids to have something at the summit and for your descent.  The descent takes a little longer than normal because the road conditions are not ideal in certain areas.  Basically you need enough of  whatever you fancy for 70 miles with 3+ hours of hard climbing in a remote closed road section.  Then once you refuel at the public restroom you need enough fluids/fuel to get you 35 miles back to PCH and then home if you don’t want to stop again.  Can you say Epic Adventure?!?!?!

Thank you for reading my blog.  Please provide me with feedback as to whether you find this post useful before or after doing your climb.  Please pass this blog on to your climbing friends.

Here are a few other posts I have made on climbing Dawson Saddle

September 29, 2008

May 14, 2010

May 27, 201