Recovery Ride musings


Today while I was on my recovery ride I had a few thoughts that came to mind and I thought I would share them with you.

I felt remarkably well considering I just did an Everest on Saturday (2 days ago).  The ride I was on I usually do a few surges and a sprint here and there.  But today was all about taking care of my body and doing what I was supposed to do… an active recovery ride.  I did a pretty good job at it as I kept my heart rate down as well as my power.  I let the group ride ahead and I met them at each regroup.  No fragile ego today I just put on my recovery mindset.

You can see from the graphs below how I kept my power and heart rate low during the ride.  I rode 58% of the ride below 139 watts and 49% of the time in a heart zone of 120-145  bpm.  Very comfortable and able to hold a conversation without heavy breathing.

 

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And now onto my musings —

The first thought — was using the analogy of a quiet unassuming fellow in a bar getting harassed by some inebriated bullies.  The quiet fellow is just minding is own business having his Long Island Ice Tea – that should tell you right there he’s a little different.  When is the last time you had a Long Island Ice Tea?  Better yet when was the last time you had two Long Island Ice Teas?  Yep! You can’t remember because those things are heavyweight drinks and they will put you down if you are not careful.  They have several liqueurs in them and very little mixer.  Back to the quiet and unassuming fellow he tells the bullies he doesn’t want any trouble and that he’ll buy them all a drink if they will just go away.  What we don’t know about the quiet unassuming fellow is that he’s some super killer Ninja dude with all these secret ways to kill you with one punch and he can wipe the floor with these guys.  So the analogy is the bullies are the peloton, the quiet unassuming guy is you on a recovery ride.  You know you can kick ass and be riding hard with the big guns today BUT you need to do the right thing and let them ride and you need to ignore the taunts in the form of surges from the group.  The fellow buying the drinks to the bullies that’s you letting the big guns win the sprint today because you don’t challenge it.

So next time your are on an active recovery ride be the Ninja dude/chic and use the discipline to keep your efforts in check even though you know you feel good and could kick some serious arse!

 

The other thought was in reference to my latest Everest.  I have always wanted to do an Everest REV Style where you attain 29,029 feet or 8,848 meters without doing a single repeat.  Living in San Diego County there are plenty of climbs to make that work.  So when I got back to the shop I created the REV Epic Everest Ride.

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It combines the iconic climbs of San Diego into one ride.  It is 276 miles and 30,000 feet of climbing.  I went over the 29,029 in case Ride With GPS overinflated the elevation and we would end up short.  Starting from my shop in San Marcos the climbs are as follows:

San Elijo Rd

Old Castle

Palomar South Grade

Mesa Grande

Climb to Julian

Mount Laguna

Cuyamaca Peak

North Peak

Montezuma Grade

Palomar East Grade

Cole Grade

Double Peak aka Mt Vargas

This would be one monster ride and so epic I don’t even know if I can get anyone crazy enough to ride it with me.  Here is the ride link on Ride With GPS website.  PLEASE DO NOT DOWNLOAD TO YOUR GPS DEVICE it has not been scrubbed to ensure every turn is correct or that every road is bike friendly.  Two climbs in particular I have not ridden myself — yet.  They are Cuyamaca Peak and North Peak.  I plan on doing a recce of those two climbs soon.  Too many activities planned these next few weekends.

 

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Owens Valley Epic Climbs


The daydreaming continues…

Today is Thursday and now instead of counting down the days I am counting down the hours until I am free from responsibility and on my bike.  This is will be a short post because I have a lot to do before I can get out of Dodge.  One of the routes I have done in the Eastern Sierras, on more than one occasion, is riding three very difficult climbs in one day.  They are very different from each other but they share one thing in common … they are Epic!  See the graph below 105 mile 18,000 feet of climbing now that’s EPIC! Will I do this route while I’m there?  If I don’t do this route I will definitely knock down 2 out of the 3 climbs.

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The three climbs on this ride are Onion Valley, Horseshoe Meadows and Whitney Portal, in that order.  I mentioned previously that these climbs were very different from each other and I will expound on that now.  Onion Valley has a very consistent grade, albeit steep, but consistent.  Horseshoe Meadows undulates and ramps up and down.  It also has very long stretches of road as far as the eye can see.  The “switchbacks” on this climb are miles apart and amazing to admire from a distance.  Finally, Whitney Portal is dwarfed by the giant Horseshoe Meadows but the grades are brutally steep in some sections and this is very difficult climb.

ONION VALLEY RD

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HORSESHOE MEADOWS

 

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WHITNEY PORTAL

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Below I have provide a screen shot from the PJAMM Cycling website.  Please visit it and contribute to it by doing some of the rides and providing feedback or doing a ride report.  Some of us are visual learners some of us like lists.  As a male I like images but as a Virgo I like lists.  Which one are you? The 10 toughest climbs in California.  You will notice the ride above bags the toughest climb in California along with the 2nd and 5th toughest climb in California.  FYI, the 3rd and 4th toughest climbs are also in the same geographical area. White Mountain is within riding distance of the three climbs of this ride.  Owens Vally has the goods! Sherman Pass West is “around the horn” as I call it.

 

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Well there you have it a possible route for this weekend.  Tune in for more of my misadventures — subscribing to the blog is the easiest way to follow me.  Thank you for taking the time to follow my blog please share it with your best friend.  See you on the road.

 

1,000,000 feet of climbing for 2018?


I climbed 1M feet in 2015 and 2016. For 2016 I wanted to repeat 1M feet but in fewer miles so steeper climbing and less “junk miles” 8,412 miles. The first year I attempted 1M on my first riding day of 2014 I fell and broke my right femur I was off the bike for four months. There are a series of posts about that ordeal in this blog. 2017 my business kept me too busy to go for a three peat of 2015, 2016 and 2017.

I was looking at my climbing data this morning and did a little math.  This is what I came up with

To climb a 1M feet in one calendar year you need to climb 2,740 feet per day for 365 days

May 17 – 137th day of the year

137 days x 2,740 feet = 375,380 feet Should have as of May 17

Actual feet thus far 264,380 feet

375,380 – 264,380 = 111,000 feet behind goal pace

I was off the bike for six weeks from mid February until the first week in April.  I had Influenza B, pneumonia and then strep throat and sores all inside my mouth. It was awful and I will make a separate series of post about “the flu from hell”. Anyway, I lost a lot of climbing time.  I didn’t set out this year targeting 1M feet but now I’m wondering if I can make up the ground I lost and maybe pull it out by year’s end as part of a comeback success story- a feel good story with a happy ending like Disney.

Today’s ride

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I mean my stats aren’t bad for what I have done this year they are just behind the pace.  Let’s take a quick look at how the numbers breakdown.

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2,877 miles for the year in 69 rides = 41.6 miles average per ride

269,134 feet divided by 69 rides = 3,900 feet of gain per ride

269,134 divided by total miles 2,877 = 93.5 feet per mile

200 hours divided by the number of rides 69 = 2.8 hours per ride

Let’s just see how the next couple of months go and then I’ll make a determination to go for it or not.

You can follow my progress on Strava. Whether I end up with 1,000,000 feet of climbing this year or not I am going to ramp up my climbing and it should be interesting for you to watch.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog! Please share it with your friends. Also if you leave a comment please provide feedback and if you have a topic you’d like me to discuss please make a recommendation. Once again, thank you so much for reading my blog we’ll see you on the road.

Next up – Heartbreak Double Century 5/19/18 – 200 miles approximately 17,000 feet of climbing.

2018 Camino Real Double 4th Overall


February 17, 2018 – Lori Hoechlin and George Vargas placed 4th overall at the Camino Real Double Century with a time of 10:59.  Our goal was sub 12 hours with a secondary goal of beating our 2017 time of 11:28.  The 2018  had a little more climbing finishing it sub 11 hours was a huge surprise.  We wish to thank Planet Ultra for putting on the event.  We also wish to thank all the volunteers spread out throughout the course.  We only stopped at 2 aid stations all day but we do appreciate the comfort of knowing there were more aid stations and friendly faces to assist us if we needed it.  Lastly and more importantly, I wish to thank my training/racing partner, Lori.  She was simply amazing throughout the day with steady power production and great companionship. I have now completed my 48th Official California Triple Crown Double Century.

The weather was fantastic.  Sure it was chilly in the morning but it warmed up nicely and it never got too hot.  It was in the low 40’s in the morning and mid 70’s during the day.  The winds followed their typical patterns i.e., calm in the morning as we headed South from Orange County and East into the hills of San Diego North County and then onshore which is head/crosswinds as we headed North back to Orange County.

This course has an enormous amount of “stop and go” because of all the traffic lights in Orange County.  In the morning when riding through Orange County and then in the afternoon/evening on the return to the finish line there is so many annoying traffic lights.  It is a little more bothersome getting the tandem rolling back up to cruising speed.  But it’s a level playing right?  Everyone has to stop at them … legally.

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(we are missing 1.6 miles because of a Wahoo Bolt Snafu at the beginning of the event)

Finish of Camino Real Double outside

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Race Day Eve – 2017 Silver State 508


Today we had our vehicle/bike inspection and racer/crew check-in and waivers signed. We are officially ready to race tomorrow Sept 15, 7:00 with the relay start.

Earlier in the day we took everything out of the crew vehicle, inventoried, labeled and organized it. Noreen was methodical and precise with her weapons of mass organization – Sharpies and Post-it notes – color coded at that! Funny story, while were setting everything up in the hotel parking lot security came to us saying they had received complaints of “someone setting up a yard sale”. Point number one – umm nothing is for sale! Point number two – what I’m selling you can’t afford 🙂 Apparently, security weren’t the only ones who thought we selling our wares. Several cars did a slow drive-by and asked if we were selling our things. Nothing to see here nothing for sale move along .

#SS508 #the508 #silverstate508

THE 508 LIVE RACE TRACKING  Hutton’s Vireo

 

TRACK LEADERS GPS TRACKING Hutton’s Vireo

The 2017 Silver State 508


Once again Lori and I are racing the Silver State 508.  This year we are trying something new… we are racing as a 2 person mixed relay.  As my friend, Greg Sherman, pointed out to me I have raced the 508 as a solo, Fixed Gear solo, Tandem why not 2 X Mixed Relay.

We have a great crew.  Lori enlisted the help of her long-time friend Noreen.  I enlisted the help of Alin.  Alin is a veteran of crewing for us so I know he will be fine.  Last week we did a 150 mile 16,000 feet of climbing training ride where Lori and I switched every 25 miles to give the crew an opportunity to practice transitioning, feeding, navigating and direct follow at night.  Noreen did great for her first time.  She even had the opportunity to direct follow at night up and down mountains.

The team of Hutton’s Vireo are ready — riders and crew! You know you can teach people the tasks associated with crewing but you can’t teach them how to care for people.  The willingness to care, assist, and dedicate themselves to your mission can’t be taught it has to come from within. I feel confident we will be in good hands.

If you are interested and would like to follow the race please use the following links

THE 508 LIVE RACE TRACKING  Hutton’s Vireo

 

TRACK LEADERS GPS TRACKING Hutton’s Vireo

 

 

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Road Trip antics on our way to Reno

 

We will try to have our crew update you via social media when the are not busy driving, navigating, feeding, motivating, massaging, and cheering us on!

 

Great day on Palomar Mountain!


Lori and I rode the tandem from Kit Carson Park in Escondido to Palomar Mountain Observatory round trip – 74 miles 9,000 feet of gain.   Before we get too far the name of the mountain is PALOMAR MOUNTAIN.  It is not Mt Palomar or Mount Palomar it is PALOMAR MOUNTAIN.   The ride was organized by my friend, Ken Mathis, who now lives in Michigan and this was sort of homecoming ride on Memorial Day weekend.

The weather was incredible – moderate all day with no rain, no high temperatures or low temperatures and just the typical afternoon winds.  Lori and I commented several times how this was the most perfect day we have experienced on Palomar Mountain while riding the tandem.

The ride has 5 climbs – Lake Wohlford Rd, Palomar Mountain South Grade, Mother’s Restaurant to the Observatory, Observatory to Mother’s, and Cole Grade.  The featured climb of the day is Palomar Mountain South Grade an HC hard climb – it is 11.6 miles average of 7% and gains about 4,200 feet.

For me the hardest climb of the day is Cole Grade.  It is a good 2 miles of double digit climbing.  It’s short, steep and usually over 95F in the summer.  By the time we hit Cole Grade yesterday we already had 8,000 feet on our legs in 60 miles.  Cole Grade on the tandem is really hard and we were barely moving at 4 mph – typical for our tandem on 12% grades.

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After 35 miles and almost 7,000 feet of climbing we reach the end of the road!

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The last climb of the day is Cole Grade.  It much steeper than the 7% average grade it shows below.  There are lots of double digit stretches in a 1.9 mile stretch of road.  Here is a cool picture to show the steepness of the grade.

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Just for fun I thought I would add the Palomar South Grade descent data for the year.  I am currently 5th fastest descender of the 11.7 mile descent for the year and it is the end of May 2017.  Unfortunately, on my descent that day I had to slow down and eventually pass five cars to get down the mountain.  I would have easily been KOM for the year with the 24 seconds of time I lost slowing down for the cars. You can watch my Youtube video of my descent here 

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Also for even more fun I have included my Everest of Palomar Mountain South Grade 7+ repeats of the 11.7 climb for a total of 29,062 feet. This was my first Everest July 2015.  Since then I have done three more.

 

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Photo credit: Julie Stokes and others