02/6/10 San Diego 300km Ride Report

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. 

Official Results*

*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
Entire Activity

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

 Honey Springs Rd. Climb

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.
What’s next for the Red Eyed Vireo?  I will be doing the Death Valley Double Century March 6, 2010.  It is a very well run event put on by AdventureCORPS.  I like doing the doubles out there because I get to see the Furnace Creek 508 course in the DAYTIME 😉

San Diego 300km Brevet 2/6/10

Thank you for stopping by and reading my blog…

Sorry for the delay but my home computer is defunct.  And if I take a day off of work to race I am swamped when I get back to work.  But here is the headline…I finished the San Diego 300km Brevet first with an unofficial time of 12 hours 2 minutes.  It was 177 miles and 13,000+ feet of climbing.  As soon as I can get my home computer situation sorted out I will be able to create a race report.  Yeah yeah I know it’s not a race. But if the event is timed I’m racing it 😉

It rained for almost the entire 12 hours I was on course.  I was soaked from the beginning to the end of the brevet.  I was miserable and it took an enormous amount of will power and stubborness to complete the event. I considered DNF’ing multiple times but I continued on hoping just hoping the conditions would get better.  They didn’t but I was still making forward progress on the course.  Eventually the mileage accumulated enough where I was counting down and that was easier to cope with.

Stay tuned for a complete report.

San Diego 200km Brevet Report

Before I begin I would like to thank the RBA Dennis Stryker and all the volunteers.  Thank you for allowing us to ride our bikes!  I very much appreciate you folks that give back to the sport of Rando. My season opener was a sucess I finished first with a time of 6:55 for 122 miles and 8,600 feet of climbing. GARMIN PLAYER HERE

Now here are the Official Results

Resorted by Total Time 

Secondly, I would like to say that when I do brevets I ride them as hard as I can for as long as I can.  I consider them training races for my events later in the year.  While some may enjoy the slow to medium pace that is allowed with a 13 hour time limit, for a 200km anyway, I’m much more interested in beating my times from previous years.  I’m out there to test myself and my fitness as I progress through the winter months.
I don’t believe in loading up my bike for a 200km or even a 600km with bags, racks, panniers, or my person with camelbacks and all that stuff.  I consider all that stuff completely unnecessary in an urban setting like San Diego.  There are so many places to get water on the course  i.e. park fountains, fire houses, stores, fast food places, garden hoses, and even homes.  Additionally, the weather is very predictable in San Diego and carrying a lot of clothing for the “what if” situations is again unnecessary.  I don’t wear rain gear in rainy conditions because most of it is subpar and doesn’t work anyway.  The colder it gets the more ultra thin layers of wool I wear.  I subscribe to the “less is more” philosophy when I “race”.  I am a minimalist on the bike.  If you leave it at home you will find you will rarely need it.
It may not be important to most riders on the brevet scene but if we analyze the gear choices of the first three riders that came in it seems we had many things in common.  Two out of three of us had aero-bars (I didn’t) , all three of us had two water bottles, Drew had a mini hydration pack, none of us had jackets, vests, or beenies, Two out of three of us only wore a jersey no vest nor arm warmers, two out of three of us had light weight carbon bikes the third a lightweight Aluminum bike, none of us had racks, panniers, trunk bags or the like, the three of us rode 23C tires, none of us had rain gear, none of us had hub generator lighting systems, all three of us had Double chainrings cranksets (53/39) I’m sure there was more but that’s all I can recall one week later 😉
I couldn’t believe how much clothing people had on at the start i.e jackets, vests, long tights, leg warmers, arm warmers, knee warmers, beenies and camelbacks. You would think they were doing a brevet on the east coast 😉 and that it was much longer than a 200km.   I wore a short sleeve jersey and my Skins cycling tights which are for compression not warmth.  I kept thinking about those riders who brought all that extra gear what they did with all that gear when it warmed up to 80 degrees.  I asked the rider that parked next to me if he really needed all that gear.  He said he did and I left it at that.
2004 Chart of the 200km Brevet the course is essentially the same in regards to the major climbs the controls have changed slightly and a re-route for safety in the Rainbow area.  

We started off with probably 65 riders.  We rolled out from Doyle Park in La Jolla at 7:02am.  There was one guy in a Death Valley Velo jersey pushing the pace from the very beginning.  I couldn’t  figure out WHAT he was doing going that hard at mile 0.  I asked Drew Peterson if he knew who this guy was and whether he was strong enough to hold that type of pace for the whole event.  I wanted to ask him myself but never got around to it.  It didn’t matter anyway because he was dropped before we got out of Rancho Santa Fe (about mile 10).  Pretty quickly our 60+ group was cut down to less than 20.  By the time we got to Rancho Santa Fe we were down to about 10 riders.
While riding through Rancho Santa Fe, I tried to organize a paceline and was unsuccessful.  I can’t understand why Ultra cyclists are so dense on pacelining.  In just about every Double Century I have done and many other draft-legal Ultras most riders get out and pull at the head of the line but don’t roll off.  They sit out in front for many minutes at a time while the other riders are sucking wheel.  We could be going so much faster– at least 2-3 mph  faster.  A four or five person paceline is a beautiful thing to watch. Here’s a tip– the paceline is in  CONSTANT rotation.  No one sits up front for more than 4-5 seconds that’s it.  I gave up after a few attempts.
While climbing through Del Dios Hwy we were less than six riders and the pace felt comfortable to me.  I was having a good day on the bike and just felt great.  Now the numbers were getting more manageable.  My friend Josh caught up to us again.  I was happy to see him bridge up to us.  We tried a paceline again and this time it worked better.
When we got to the intersection of San Elijo Road and Elfin Forest we quickly turned up San Elijo Rd.  We didn’t see anyone manning a control at the intersection.  We climbed to the top and didn’t see anyone one there either (not that they were supposed to be there 🙂 but just wishful thinking anyway. So we called the RBA and checked in with him.  There were five of us at the top Drew, Dave, Mark, Josh and I can’t remember who else.  We were about 35 miles into the event at it was exactly 9am.  I don’t believe the base of the climb is a good place for the control.
We continued to the AM/PM control at a decent pace nothing to stressful.  When we arrived there was one rider on a very highly spec’d Colnago that “threw in the towel” and then there were five of us.  Drew flatted on Old Castle Rd as we were beginning the climb.  Josh fell off the pace and I don’t know what happened to Mark.  Now it was just Dave and I climbing Old Castle.  I felt great and kept the wattage near 280 (which is around 4 w/kg for me).  I was in a good rhythm and could have pushed harder if necessary but I could tell I was dropping Dave.  It was still too early to go solo being only about 40 miles into the event and another 80+  miles to go.
Old Castle climb last 5 minutes Training Peaks Screenshot from Power Tap Download

Yellow line is power
Green cadence
Blue speed
Here are my numbers for the entire ride.

Entire workout (175 watts):
Duration:   6:40:53 (6:55:04)
Work:        4161 kJ
TSS:          454.5 (intensity factor 0.831)
Norm Power: 208
VI:             1.18
Pw:HR:       -29.45%
Pa:HR:       -44.02%
Distance:   121.789 mi
           Min     Max Avg
Power:        0 901 175  watts
Heart Rate:   18 225 102  bpm
Cadence:      29 229 82  rpm
Speed:        2.3 50.3 18.5  mph
Pace                1:12 26:06 3:15  min/mi
Hub Torque:   0 515 80  lb-in
Crank Torque: 0 1116 188  lb-in

By the way for many of you this watts per kg talk may be over your head and I apologize for being such a numbers geek.  I refer to power numbers, wattage and watts per kg, because it is a common denominator.  People around country and the world reading this report would be able to understand my power output as it is more universally accepted as a measure of performance as opposed to my heart rate (which I don’t track anyway).  Basically it is just a power to weight ratio.  So the higher the number the better the ratio and the faster you will go …especially  uphill.  If I say I was climbing at 4.16 watts per kg or 4.16/kg.
On Saturday 1/9  I weighed 150 lbs or 68 kgs.
Divide the power output by 283watts /68kg and you arrive at 4.16 watts per kg or 4.16 w/kg
Now you look at the chart under the 5 minute column and find 4.16 and look to the left to see how that number corresponds with a general understanding of what type of power numbers riders that are Cat 3 can maintain for a 5 min period.  As you can see the pros are on a completely different level than us when it comes to power production. Pros would be pushing in excess of 6.5 w/kg so for me that would be 68*6.5 = 442 an unfathomable number for 5 minutes!!

Couser Canyon caught me by surprise this year.  I had forgotten it’s steepness.  Additionally, I was having Rear Der issues in that I couldn’t use my 27T cog.  I was using an 11-27 cassette with my 53/39 chainrings.  When I would place my Rear Der in the 27T cog it would hit the spokes on the wheel. It’s funny I manage a bike shop and can’t get my own bike worked on. But business is good and the mechanics have been really busy.  Anyway, I climbed Couser Canyon in my 39/24 all the while wishing my 27 would be available.  I found out on Monday, when my mechanic looked at my bike, that my der. hanger was bent and that is why the rear der was hitting the spokes.
Dave and I descended Couser Canyon separately.  I believe Dave is a cautious descender.  A smart move because Couser Canyon has a lot of tight corners and the pavement isn’t that great.  As we started the climb up Rice Canyon I said to him that it wouldn’t be long before Drew would catch us.  And sure enough Drew caught us mid-way up Rice Canyon.  We checked in to Rainbow about 11am.
From Rainbow it’s pretty much all downhill to the finish.  Sure you have a couple of little hills but basically it’s downhill and into the headwind as you head West. Drew and I did most of the work since Dave was having cramping issues.  I was fine with letting him sit on since I have been in his shoes many times before and besides I was having a great day on the bike.
On the San Luis Rey bike path Drew did most of the pulls and I rotated through sparingly.  He had aerobars on his bike and I kind of wished I had mine on as well.  The bike I rode was the same bike I rode at the 2009 Furnace Creek 508 (Cervelo Soloist SL 16 lbs with pedals, Power Tap and everything needed except water bottles) and I had aerobars on it then.  I have been riding with roadie groups in Orange County and so the aerobars have come off.

I rode my Cervelo Soloist SL, Sasha, without aero bars.
Once on Pacific Coast Hwy at about 1230pm, Drew again did most of the pulls.  He was maintaining a good pace and I was having some cramping issues now.  From the beginning of the day I had wanted to go sub 7 hours on this course because I had never done it.  We were cutting it close but it was looking good.  Sub seven hours would mean before 2pm.  We were about 30 miles from the finish with less than 1.5 hours AND the most traffic laden section of the course still do.

I find it amusing when riders on the coast draft US and then sprint up a roller and look back to see if they’ve dropped us.  It’s funny because they don’t know we have been riding for close to 7 hours and have done 7000+ feet of gain.  We pushed as hard as was necessary to maintain a sub seven our pace and let the rabbits go.  I remember one time Drew was tempted to chase and I said “let him go” he agreed later calling him a “putz” I think.  LOL!

On the Torrey Pines climb I was getting tired and my power production was not really there.  I was ok with just sitting on Drew’s wheel.  His pace was good and honestly if I was up front we might have slowed down a bit.  We were still able to pass everyone that was on the hill even though we were nearing the end of our 200km.
Torrey Pines Climb after almost 7 hours Training Peaks Screen Shot of my Power Tap download 

I climbed Torrey Pines at 3.6 w/kg for a 7:15 total time.
We arrived at 1357 or 1:57 pm.  We rolled at 7:02 so our total time should be 6:55.  I’m very happy with my time OUR time since I have never gone sub 7 hours on this course.  Thanks to Drew and Dave, I achieved MY goal.  By the way, it doesn’t come easy to do this course in sub seven hours.  I was really tired, had had cramps and lots of leg fatigue, and a few aches and pains throughout the event.  It’s just a question of how much suffering you want to subject yourself to in order to achieve your goals.  By Monday my DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Sorenes) was in full force. I wore my Skins Compression tights for recovery over the next two days.
I’ll only be doing the 300km brevet this year since I have schedule conflicts for the 400km and the 600km.
Once again thank you to the RBA and all the volunteers.
Train Heavy, Race Light!
Red Eyed Vireo

San Diego 200km Brevet

Yesterday Saturday 1/09/10 was my first event of the year.  The season begins with a 200km (125 miles) 7500 feet of gain Ultra.  I will have more details later but for now the headline is I PR’d (Personal Record).  With the help of two other riders, Drew Peterson and Dave Elsberry we finished the course in Sub 7 hours.

Click here for player of Garmin Dowload.

San Diego 400km Brevet


Brandy and I pre-rode the San Diego 400km Brevet. The event was 240 miles with 13,500 feet of climbing. A lot of the climbing was doable but the steeper grades really hurt us on the tandem. Our total time was 23 hours 52 mins. By contrast, I did a variant of this course solo last year at 20 hours. This is really an EPIC route. The San Diego mountains and high desert remoteness really test your physical strength and mental resolve.

Historically speaking, the 400km is my toughest event. I think it is because I want to do the event straight through without any significant stops. I have always tried to do this event without a full meal stop and without resting at any control. That strategy has worked, albeit painfully, with one exception. In 2004, my second year of Ultras, I DNF’d a 400km and that has stayed with me. It is the only brevet I have ever DNF’d in my seven years of doing Ultras.

Our day began early, REALLY early. We were up at 1:30am. We left at 2:40am from Huntington Beach to the start in Carlsbad.

Mile 0- Start Control–We rolled at 4:30am. My goal was to do the most remote portion of the route in daylight hence the very early start time. The first loop was 14 miles in Rancho Santa Fe connecting back to the coast on Lomas Santa Fe and then north on the Pacific Coast Hwy. We stopped for a double espresso at Starbucks on Grand Ave and PCH in Carlsbad about 24 miles into the ride and then continued on to the San Luis Rey bike path.

At mile 46– we began the climb up Olive Hill Rd. The word “hill” in its name should have given me the first clue. I couldn’t remember ever being on this road. It was a good little warm up for what came next.

At mile 54– De Luz Rd is one of my favorite roads in San Diego. It begins with a good 1.5 miles of 8-10% grades. You continue climbing on De Luz Murrieta Rd and Rancho California Rd before descending into Temecula. Lots of good climbing. I had been concerned about the water crossings (very slippery) on De Luz Murrieta Rd but they were fine. We walked the bike across just in case.



At mile 77.5– Temecula Control –We got our “proof of passage” and continued on in search of food. We eat at Wendy’s about one mile up the road on Jefferson Ave. I had a double stacker. Brandy had a grilled chicken wrap and we shared a baked potato. As we were leaving I gave the wheels a spin and checked the brakes. It’s a silly little habit I have. That’s when I noticed Pia had a broken spoke on the rear wheel. It’s funny how lately I’ve been packing things that I normally don’t take with me on a ride and then end up needing it. Maybe I shouldn’t bring them in the first place LOL!. This time I brought a Leatherman tool and sure enough I used the pliers to unscrew the nipple on the broken spoke and remove the spoke. The wheel has 32 spokes. The wheel was only slightly out-of-true with one missing spoke. Pia has disc brakes so even though the wheel was out-of-true we didn’t have any issues with braking like you would with rim brakes.

Mile 108–Hemet Control— The terrain was slightly uphill with no major climbs from Temecula to Hemet. On our way into Hemet someone attempted to hit us with a snowball or something similar. They were on the other side of the road traveling in the opposite direction and somehow we were bothering them. I guess as cyclists in these rural areas we are considered “game” and people love to throw things at us. I was so glad that we were on a tandem. I would be worried sick if Brandy was doing this event on her own. Even though it was only 30 miles after eating in Temecula we were hungry again. We stopped at Sonic’s. We had a couple of burgers some fries and a couple of Diet Cokes. We left Sonics and rode to the designated control, Denny’s, and then headed out of town on Stetson and State Street. The girls there were on roller skates as they serve you at your table or car. I got a kick out of that.


Mile 115– Sage Rd. The next 50 miles were the toughest part of the ride for Brandy and I (52 miles with almost 5000 feet) . Sage Rd is a climb that undulates as it climbs in elevation. Every now and then there were steep grades that caused us to grind up in our “granny-granny” (smallest chain ring and 28T cog). On one of those steep grades we dropped our chain and it got jammed in between the frame and the smallest chain ring.

Here we are on a blind corner, steep grade and no shoulder whatsoever trying to dislodge the chain. I felt exposed to the traffic. Many of the vehicles on this road are diesel pick-up trucks towing trailers along with the compulsory wide-ass side mirrors. When I mean there was no shoulder I MEAN NO SHOULDER. Like many roads in these rural areas there was the lane for vehicles, a curb, about 1′ foot wide dirt and then as a bonus this section had a 20 foot drop. The drop was convenient for the repair since it put the crankset at eye-level without me bending down LOL! While we were working on the jammed chain two MTB’ers traveling in the opposite direction pulled over. I thought it was very nice of them to stop. I believe one of them said their name was Dave Barrett. He offered me help but I had the chain jam under control. When I was done we walked back to his car and cleaned off my hands with some paper towels and water. Thank you Dave!


Mile 126– Wilson Valley Rd. Was very difficult for us. We were getting tired of the up and down terrain and the steep grades. At one point we came around a corner and I saw the “corkscrew” up ahead and actually exclaimed aloud “OH MY GOD!” I don’t usually do that. Heck I’m the guy that loves climbing. But I was hurting. I was really looking forward to the fast descent on Hwy 371 into Aguanga and get some reprieve from the climbing.

Mile 136- Aguanga Control We got some fluids and “proof of passage”. The next 35 miles were on Hwy 79. Nightfall was rapidly approaching and it was starting to get cold. We were only 140+ miles into this brevet, we were way “out there”– oh yeah it’s going to be a long night.


Mile 145- Dodge Valley Oasis- a restaurant owned and operated by Sadie, a sweet and energetic gal. She hustled to get us served quickly and back on the road. We were in serious need of food and a respite from the elements. We had a real meal; Tortellini, Ravioli, salads and coffee. We were stopped for about an hour. We felt very well taken care of by Sadie THANK YOU!

Leaving the warmth and security of the DVO was difficult. It was now 7:30 at night and very cold. Some of the patrons were talking about snow. You are mid way up a climb when you exit DVO so you got get back on task right away. We continued the climb up to Sunshine Summit. We did some descending and climbing through Warner Springs and Santa Ysabel. On the last pitch outside of Santa Ysabel my back was hurting so much I asked Brandy if we could pull over so we could “take 5”.


Mile 171.1– Getting to Santa Ysabel was a major milestone for me. Santa Ysabel meant the end of the climbing, end of the higher elevation, the end of the cold (or so I thought) and the feeling that every mile from that point forward was bringing us closer to home. Looking at the elevation graph you can see there was a lot of descending from Santa Ysabel to Ramona and more descending into Rancho Bernardo. We descended Hwy 78 and Old Julian Hwy to Ramona.

Mile 186- Ramona Control- I got a danish and a hostess fruit pie. Brandy got brownie and a coffee. She was falling asleep. I had not experienced any sleep deprivation.

Mile 189– Highland Valley Rd was a fun descent at night. It was the first time I had ever been on that road in the dark. It’s a great stair-step climb going from Rancho Bernardo to Ramona and a very fast descent going back to Rancho Bernardo.

Mile 202– Pomerado Rd. We stopped to “regroup”. I changed to a fresh NiteRider Moab battery.

Mile 207.5– Camino Del Norte- We missed this turn because none of the lighted signs said “Camino Del Norte” like our route sheet. No… they said Twin Peaks. We were on a slight downhill and blew past the turn and continued downhill. Eventually, we pulled over consulted our google maps on our cell phone and realized we had passed Camino Del Norte and “climbed” back to the turn.

Mile 218– We were really tired. We were supposed get on the 56 Bike Path “at the SW corner of intersection”. We stood there trying to figure out what would be SW. It was late and cold and we just wanted clear cut directions. DON’T ENTER THE BIKE PATH ON THE GAS STATION SIDE ENTER THE BIKE PATH ACROSS THE STREET. THE ENTRANCE TO THE BIKE PATH WILL BE ON YOUR RIGHT AS YOU GO UNDER THE 56 FREEWAY.

Mile 223– We were tired, cold and irritable. The bike path was flooded so we had to take the detour. Once again the directions on the route sheet frustrated us. WHEN YOU CROSS THE STREET GO LEFT ON THE BIKE PATH.

It was really cold. I couldn’t believe how cold it was on the 56 bike path. Is this San Diego? I know it’s February but come on. We finally figured it out but wasted at least 20 mins and we were furious. Now that I’m nice and warm and sitting here with a full belly I think about how brain dead we were. It was 245 am!

Mile 225- Carmel Valley Control– Obtained our “proof of passage” while I ate yet another cheese danish. Brandy didn’t get anything she just picked from my danish

Mile 240- Finish Control– We arrived at 4:24 am. Almost 24 hours from the start.

I’m almost embarrassed to tell people who are not Randos that it took us that long to ride 240 miles. But it is what it is. Randos know the difficulty of these epic rides. The climbs hurt us and steeper climbs hurt us even more. Even though we can descend faster than solo bikes we just don’t make up the time we lost climbing at 4-5 miles an hour. Subsequently, the longer you are on the course, the more stops you will take, the longer the stops get, and the more tired you get and the slower you get.

I still need to put together a slide show. The 600km Brevet is on April 4. That gives us a little more time to get in shape. We will have a little more daylight and it should be a little warmer. We are visiting some of the same climbs. We should be a little stronger by then.


It’s done. It was tough more info to follow.