Saturday, June 28, 2008

Riding at Night in the Smoke

Put the ARC-Lion Light and Motion on the bike and took off for Montebello at 8:30 PM. Rode really hard to the base of Montebello setting a new record of 30:30. I cranked hard up Montebello feeling really good. As I got near the top you could barely see the lights of the city below due to all the smoke in the valley due to the wild fires. I was actually starting to cough as I climbed from all the smoke. I pulled into the top at 38:15 which was a new record for me. I thought I might go sub 37 the way I felt early in the ride, but I could not crank hard enough on the top ramps. Glad to knock off a PR, though. I should line them up one by one with this post Terrible Two shape. It was pretty fun riding with the strong light. I descended at 9:30 PM and had no issues at all in the darkness other than irrational fear of the dark ;). Comparing my times to the Low Key Hill Climb, I am moderately happy, though I would like to be in the middle of that pack. That would be 2:30 faster than I did. I think I might be able to pull that off sometime later this season.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Rio Del Lago 100

Sent in my application for the Rio Del Lago 100 today. Only 90 days to go. What will 100 miles feel like? I have 90 days to find out.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Terrible Two 2008 Ride Report

Terrible Two Results

It was 99 degrees at my hotel in Sebastopol at 7:30 PM the night before the Terrible Two. The local news forecast predicted similar temps for the following day. Facing the Terrible Two with 3 1/2 weeks of training seemed insane, but when you add the heat, my odds were dropping quickly. The start of the TT is different from any other Double with a more serious feeling to it. The TT has more grizzled looking cyclists that look in great shape. Not a lot of big guts squeezed into spandex. We started at 5:30 sharp and the peleton was moving 22-25 MPH on the flats into downtown Santa Rosa. This was the first time the pack held together as I managed to keep with the front pace group through downtown and towards Bennett Valley Rd. A guy started running beside the peleton in his tighty whitey underwear wearing a motorcycle helmet carrying a big white flag similar to the crazies you see on the Tour de France. The amount of fan support at the beginning of the TT separates it from any other double. About 3 miles outside of town, a woman was cheering us on and her bull dog jumped out of her car into the middle of the pack causing 2 or 3 riders to go down hard. The riders were immediately attended to and the pack kept moving towards the canyons. I was able to keep up with the main group to the base of the Trinity climb for the first time. The Trinity climb is pretty steep, but being so early in the ride, it never seems that bad. Was riding up with a 508 Veteran, Hare, who rode in 07 the exact same time I did in 06 (46:30). It was already getting hot on Trinity and felt muggy which was a bad omen. I summited and dropped down the other side and cranked hard down to Napa Valley. After hooking up with a group of 4 or 5 guys, I could see 5 more up front maybe 200 yards ahead so I took the initiative and quickly joined our groups. The next 12 miles or so to Calistoga were in the 21-25 MPH range and I took a few pulls breaking my personal pact of staying on the back and letting others do the work. For some reason, I can't help but do a hard pull with a big group. We puleld into Calistoga in just over 3 hours which was fast for 55 miles. I loaded up on hammer products, jammed ice in the camelbak, and got back out their. I managed to hook up with a 8 man peleton and we jammed hard into the base of the Geysers. I started the Geysers climb by 9:30 AM which was way earlier than previous years. The good thing about the Geysers is you can get into a decent rhythm once you get over the shock of the climb. It had to be in the 90's on this climb and my stomach was starting to act up. Their was plenty of support on the climb as the organizers were great in insuring we had access to water on such a hot day. I crested the top before 11:00 AM and quickly scooted out of the aid station. I did not mind the descent into Cloverdale this year and while attacked by a minor case of hot foot, was able to crank very hard on the descent and flats. I hit 100 miles in 6:05 riding which was close to 16.5 MPH which was good considering the 7,000+ feet in this century. I was riding hard alone towards the lunch stop enjoying a slight tail wind. I pulled into lunch at 110 Miles at 12:30 which was great for me. The race leader pulled in at 11:15 AM. I was in 72nd place according to the aid station guys which shocked me as I have never been this far ahead in the race. While feeling shocked and happy to be doing so well, the heat and general anxiety made me fear it could all somehow go wrong.

The TT is such a great ride in part because the route is so varied, dramatic, and capable of tearing you apart mentally and physically. No matter how many times I face Skaggs Springs Rd., I have not figured out a way to handle it. The climb started ok, but I slowly started cooking and feeling miserable. Their is this wicked section that shoots up like a maniacal "S" that is completely exposed to the sun. I had to stop a couple of times as the heat was killing my. I was popping S-caps and enduralytes like candy to keep the cramps at bay by this point. I was realizing that my fantastic performance on the first half of this ride would have zero influence on this diabolical second half as I was feeling like rotten lunch meat on this climb. I was standing by the side of the road and they asked me if I needed a SAG. I was thinking.. Wow I must look pretty crappy. Their was no way I would SAG in though. I knew from experience that you just had to get to the top of the 1st summit of Skaggs as the second part is not as bad. I began to crest the hill. Their is an exposed flat on the top of Skaggs that gives you a break and sure enough the aid station showed up. I was pretty wobbly, but able to get ice loaded up in the camel bak and slam a coke and get out of their quickly. The second summit of Skaggs was not that bad as I remembered. Once you hit that hard right hand hair pin its all over and I summited and jammed quickly down to Gualala river aid station. The descent was quick and I pulled into the aid station before 4:00 PM which was great for me. I hit Rancheria Wall and realized what a cruel joke it is. Its so steep and relentless. I had to get off the bike a few times as I could not gut it out in the heat w/o stopping. I finally summited it and hit the Indian Reservation at Stewart's Point Rancheria. Their would be one small climb and a quick descent to the Ocean. We had a nice tail wind down Hwy 1 which I attacked hard and was quickly riding 20-25 MPH on the flats. Lots of hills slowed me down, but I pulled into Ft. Ross at 5:15 or so. I avoided the chairs at Ft. Ross and quickly departed and hit the nasty Ft. Ross hill. It was tougher than I remembered it and I slowly climbed it. Near the top their was an exposed little wall and I hammered it standing up showing I still had juice in my legs. Ft. Ross is a stealth double summit as you always forget the second hill. This second hill after a small drop is tough mentally as you are cooked by this point. I managed to grind this hill out and drop into Cazadero. I ran into Eric House who was riding in a single speed. Jason and I did Eric House's self supported double to Yosemite in 06 and I always wanted to thank him for posting his ride report. He is a very humble guy and would not admit to breaking 30:00 hours in the Furnace Creek 508 which I know he did, but he seemed to forget his feat. He also was wearing the oxford dress shirt that he is famous for making him stand out in sea of spandex. I have no idea how he can climb these hill with that single speed bike, but he is one of a kind. Anybody that could ride to the Terrible Two from Palo Alto on Friday, win the race on Saturday, and ride home on Sunday is permanently in my book in a world I cannot comprehend. I cranked into Monte Rio at 7:35 or so. Only 15 miles to go. If I could do it in sub 55 mins I could break 15 hours. I hammered down the Bohemian hwy towards Occidental barely noticing the climb. Having done this section in the dark before, it was a new experience during the day. The left turn to Graton came really quickly and I hammered towards home. Having gotten lost hear before in 05, I was a bit tentative, but being able to see the TT markers made it alot easier. I finally hit High School Road and rode hard into the stop. My official time was 15:01.

It was great finishing during the daytime, especially on a hot day like this. I was surprised that I pulled it off with 3 1/2 weeks training, but it shows you that quality is more important than quantity. When you factor in weight loss plus 1000 miles of running the results make more sense, but it was a great day over all.

I found out their were more than 90 DNF's on this day and the official high was well over 100 in Cazadero, Santa Rosa and Cloverdale. No wonder I had to pop 50 S-Caps and Enduralytes. The cool thing was the usually understated official race report called it one the Cruelest TT's in history which makes me feel good for getting it done.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Terrible Two Training Done

695/600 Miles: 115%
48400/4800 Feet: 101%

Did a Tough fast Century with Granger today: 104/9650 in 6:50. This was a 15.1 MPH moving speed which is a record for me looking back over the years. I have never cracked the 15 MPH speed on a 10K+/- Century and we did it today by hammering the entire day. Never took it easy. Granger was in great climbing shape as I lost him on both King's Mountain and Tunitas Creek. We broke 1:30 from my house to the top of KM which started the day well. The ride up and down Skyline was fast and we powered down 84 to Haskins Grade. No problem climbing up Haskins Grade and we jammed down to Pescadero store and Granger grabbed his pastries and I stuck to the energy bars. We hit a nasty head wind all the way down Stage Road and on Lobitos Cut-Off. The climb up Higgins was in the big ring and we cranked down towards the best sandwiches in the bay area in Half Moon Bay. We smoked down Hwy 1 at 22 MPH+ and turned onto Verde and up Lobitos Creek which we seemed to crank up easily. I tried in vain to keep up with Granger, but he got a small lead on me from the beginning and I never could catch him even as I put it in the big ring at the top and pushed hard as hell. He passed Laura Stern of 508 and RAAM fame at the top which might have spurned him on as he was moving. We cranked down King's Mountain and pushed it hard home at 20+ to insure we would get a 15+ MPH moving time. I am pretty happy with that and it gives me confidence for next week. My knees and legs are tired from 700 miles in 18 days, but I have to expect this as this is a major amount of work out of the blue. Going to ride in 2 or 3 times in this week and hopefully hit the TT with a ton of energy next Saturday. is predicting 78 degree high in Santa Rosa for Saturday and 82 for Cloverdale. I am happy about this as I don't need real heat to make me feel good about the TT. I just want to finish before 10 PM and put this one to bed.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Terrible Two Update

591.5/600 Miles: 98.5%
37650/48000 Feet: 78.4%

Going to to do my last long ride before the TT tomorrow which will take in Kings Moutain, Hwy 84, Hasking Grade, Stage, Lobitos Cutoff, Higgins, Lobitos, and Tunitas Creek. I can tell my legs are finally feeling the stress of so many rides in such a short time, as my knees are a bit tired, but its to be expected. I plan on spinning up most of the hills tomorrow and taking it easy next week.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Solid Self Supported Century

473.6/600 Miles: 78.9 %
33050/48000 Feet: 68.8%

Did a self supported century that rode up Stevens Canyon to Redwood Gulch connecting to Hwy 9 up to Skyline. Took me 1:34 to get to Skyline which was inline with my best times of the past and did not feel too bad. I took a left on Skyline and climbed up to Castle Rock Park. They only charge for water, so I blew that off and hammered down Skyline past Bear Creek, Gist, Black, Zayante, Mtn. Charlie and across Hwy 17. Sprinted into the store on the left we always go to and loaded up on liquids. Dropped down Old Santa Cruz hwy that is a nice and fast descent. Hung a right at Highland past the St. Clare's Franciscan Missionary Retreat at the top near Rodeo Gulch and dropped down Branciforte. Climbed up Granite Creek which is a very easy 4 on the ACTC site. I crossed Hwy 17 and loaded up the camelbak for the climb up Mtn. Charlie and Skyline. I crushed the Mtn. Charlie climb better than I ever had in a bit more than 30 mins and w/o stopping started the climb up Skyline. Amazingly I had no problems up Skyline which usually hits me hard after a long day. After cresting at Castle Rock, I hammered down to Hwy 9, grabbed a nice hot dog and diet coke which was being served by the kid of the owner with his girlfriend who was wearing a bikini top basking in the sun. It was 80+ degrees at this time but I felt great. I hammered hard up Skyline to Page Mill climbing most in the big ring and slammed down Page Mill passing people on the descent (surprising for me) and hammering every flat I could find. This century took me 6:45 to complete and had almost 9700 feet of climbing. It was a couple of miles short, but I was not feeling crazy enough to ride around the neighborhood to get the official century. Close enough for me.

I plan on riding tues-sun this week with another century next weekend and then a nice taper with a few spin ins. I also plan on a pre TT time trial up Old la Honda a few days pre TT and see how it goes.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Terrible Two Update

370.5/600 Miles 61.75%
23250/4800 Feet 48.4%

Rode long home from work with Kings Mountain, Skyline, down 84, Haskins Grade, and Alpine with a few hills in Los Altos Hills. Felt pretty good up the hills, especially Alpine. Getting mentally prepared for 200k on Sunday. This will be a great test for TT. I Plan on using the same route as the Western Wheelers Double Metric Century. I rode this before my first Terrible Two in 04 and got obliterated so hoping things go a bit better this time.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Terrible Two Update 5

273.5/600 Miles: 45.6%
15500/48000 Feet: 32.2%

Good ride home today the long way with Los Trancos the hard way up Ramona and Old Spanish Trail. I don't know how Sean gets up these hills in a 39/23, but more power to him. I felt great today and waltzed up the steep hill easier than I have ever done it. A great portent for the Terrible Two as I had one of the best days on a bike I have ever had. I was able to crank the flats like a maniac and move up the hills on Arastradero in the big ring with out much problem. This goes to show you what commitment and a tough 7 days of riding can get you. I just have to keep it up for 10-11 more days and taper before the TT. I plan on doing a tough ride this weekend of 120/10-12K feet and a couple of nice long rides in to work in the 50 mile range before then. Need some major climbing to get to my goal of 48K, but the way I felt today, it should be doable.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Terrible Two Update 4

212.5/600 Miles: 35.4%
12500/48000 Feet: 26.0%

Climbed Moody and Page Mill today for the 6th straight ride. I had planned on doing more, but don't want to overdo it and save something for next week. Will be spinning into work this week and hopefully getting some good hills along the way as I have a lot of work to get into TT shape. The week before the TT should not be used for anything more than spinning and a few tune up hills, so I need to crank the next two weeks.

Here is a great write up of the Terrible Two history I found today.

Fat Cyclists

I am 5 days into this Terrible Two crash course and noticing my appetite spiking radically. After dropping into the high 180's and low 190's running and eating well, I can see how its really easy to over-eat while cycling and creep up past the 200 level again. I could see gaining all this weight back in a few months of cycling binge eating. A measly 3.5 hour ride sets my appetite on a tear where a similar run would not really cause me to over-eat. Noticing the girth of the people at my 3 ultra runs this year there was few heavy people there. I was by far one of the biggest guys there. At a typical century or double century ride, there a dozens of corpulent cyclists huffing up the hills. I am going to have to be extra vigilant to not get into the cyclist binge eating habit that comes after rides during the next 3 weeks.

After a long run of say 10-15 miles, I find that I don't really want to eat much more than if I was not working out at all, but after cycling, I can easily eat 800-1000 calories. Would be interesting to understand the science behind this. For the next 3 weeks, it will really take discipline as I the training I have to do for the Rio Del Lago 100 will be rough if I have to cart around a ton of weight.

This NY Times article goes into the differences between running and Cycling.