Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Two New 6 Goats + Bohlman on Orbit = Mark of the Beast

Nothing beats dragging in the new year with a Triple Six Goat ride. Jason and I once did a 6666 ride that did Via Santa Teresa, Harwood, Rolling Hills and Aborn, which set the benchmark for lining up tough climbs in a single day. Today I road very slowly away from the house towards Stevens Creek Reservoir listening to Dean Karnazes who again got on the Competitors Podcast. He has this habit of exaggeration combined with faux self deprecation that comes off as pretty annoying. I am impressed by what he does, but the fact he never has any pain, never suffers one bit in his adventures physically, he comes off like a asshat. I was especially irked at his ability to run a sub 4 hour marathon at a heart rate of less than 110. I cant believe that is possible, but his ability to easily string 50 marathons in a row would seem to prove it would be possible. I would like to see him do RAAM in 09. If he could pull this off, I would go out and sell his books for him. I respect him for making enough money in Endurance sports to support a career as nobody else has been able to pull it off. Will be interesting to see where he goes with this in the upcoming years. I also listened to a good podcast on the Competitors with the director of Klunkerz , a documentary about the origin of the Mountain Bike. The director managed to interview all the key players including Gary Fisher, Tom Ritchey, and Joe Breeze. Its really worth checking out as I saw it the other day and liked it a lot. I was riding pretty damn slow today up over Mt. Eden and Pierce. I managed to get a flat on Pierce and noticed I forgot my pump. Luckily lots of people were out and I immediately flagged down a rider and borrowed a pump. I was planning on hitting the new bike shop in Sarotaga to buy a pump, but it was already out of business, so I decided to ride into Los Gatos and buy a pump there and check out some new hills. I hit the Summit Cyclery shop and scored some of the best new riding food, Power Bar Cola Gel Blasts with double caffeine. They are essentially cola gummy candies that you get in the mall. They taste exactly the same. For me, who has forsworn eating crap, this indulgence is pretty damn awesome. Since gels and power food is ok for me, this is great way to get some of those mall candy cravings off my brain. If I ever start eating this during a normal day, I will know I am in deep trouble.

The first Six rated climb was Aztec Ridge . It had a few nasty ramps on it, but nothing too horrible. Clearly in the lower Six range, though as the ramps were in the 18-20% range. I dropped down a couple of miles and took on the tougher of the climbs, BlackBerry Hill. This climb had a few scary ramps that almost caused me to fall down. I felt like I was being pulled into the gutter as the 18+% section was long and stiff. Luckily the cola gummy candy was keeping me upright as I pushed up to the summit.

I worked my way rather slowly back to face my fear. Bohlman is a scary climb even though I have done it a few times. I wanted to do it the tough way starting up Norton Road and then to Kittredge and finally Quickert before it hits On Orbit. The start up Norton is a nice 8-10% and one gets a bit cocky. The hard right up Kittredge opens up to a 15% ramp that never really lets down much until it gets even worse on Quickert. I was melting pretty badly as I finally hit On Orbit. Now the pain started. Luckily their is a nice 8-10% break until the 20+% wall comes up. I was barely able to get up it today wanting to quit but somehow pushing through the pain. The 34/25 was not enough for me today as I wish I had the 34/29 on this evil section. I finally topped out and dropped to Bohlman proper. At this point the hard part is over even though you face a nice 12% wall to take you into some nice rollers to the end. I even took the dirt road out to Montevina, but stopped maybe 1/4 from the end as I was worried about getting stuck out their in the dark. The ride back from the top of Bohlman to home only took a little over an hour which surprised me, but its mainly downhill.

If I were to channel Dean K., I would say I am the only person who has done Bohlman on Orbit and Welch Creek on successive days, tackling the two hardest climbs in the bay area. I even took the hard way up Bohlman, because I am that kind of guy. But in reality, I just survived up two beatiful climbs that I luckily have access to. The pain was great, but nothing too tough. Am hoping these climbs will build a good base for a sub 16 hour Devil Mountain Double.

I can definitively say that Bohlman on Orbit via Norton is tougher than Welch Creek. No doubt about it. This climb has multiple ramps in the 15+% range that dont relent. Welch Creek has two monstrous sections, but the start is easy and their is decent rest between them.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Long Way Home via Welch Creek

Took the long way home from work today and headed to Welch Creek Road to finish off some unfinished business. The last time I did Welch Creek road in 2006 I got really dehydrated and barely made it home. It was pushing 100 degrees that fateful day. Today it was only in the high 50's making things a lot easier. I got to Welch Creek and forgot the first mile is really easy. The ride really gets hard at about 1.8 miles and sticks up at 18% or for for at least a quarter a mile. It eases up for a while and really hits hard at 3.25 or so. I used the 34/25 on the Time bike which gave me enough leverage to get to the top. It took 35+ minutes to do this. Compared to the top low key hill climb winning time of 22 and change, I am not too unhappy as those guys are pretty damn good climbers. I don't think its any tougher than Bohlman on Orbit. Having just done Jamison Creek, I would say it might be slightly tougher than that, but not by much. Its a bit longer, thats all. Will have to take on BoO really soon to get a comparison.

The ride up Calavares was pretty good. It was good to eye this section as it will be part of the Devil Mountain Double in a few months. The DMD takes this on the slightly easier opposite direction. The only thing crappy about this ride was the return from the Milpitas to home. Its a grim slog through Milpitas and then into Santa Clara down Tasman. Overall a nice long alternate route home.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Hwy 9, Jamison Creek and Zayante in the Rain

Facing a long ride in the rain can cause a lot of anxiety. It is a lot easier to blow the ride off, but usually, if you can get started, the ride will end up being better than you thought it would. The climb up Hwy 9 was non eventful. The descent into Big Basin was cold and wet, but tolerable. Jamison Creek started easy as it does and kicked up into a nasty never-ending climb that surprised me in how tough it was. I had just done the Ring of Fire, and hit some tough small climbs, but Jamison was pretty brutal. It took me over 30 minutes to climb it. Comparing this to the recent Low Key Hill Climb of Jamison, I did not impress to say the least. It was pouring rain going down Empire Grade to Felton Empire road and the descent was so bone chilling cold that I could barely use my brakes. Martin and I had invaded a local shop in Felton like some marauding Hells Angels soaked to the gills. I felt bad as I left a huge puddle as well as a soaked chair as the water seemed to pour out of my shoes the entire time we sat there. The ride up Zayante was nice as it usually is after Jamison. A few intimidating ramps hit you, but you always get a nice rest to catch your breath. By that time the rain had stopped making the climb pretty enjoyable. We descended Bear Creek and Martin managed to fall going about 25 after his front tire flatted. Luckily he was not injured at all as the wet roads caused him to slide nicely. This was a great Xmas eve ride and I am very happy we took a chance to ride in the rain. As usual, it was not as bad as you I thought it might be.

76 Miles
8300 Feet of Climb

Friday, December 19, 2008

Devil Mountain Double less than 4 months away

Need to get out tomorrow and do the Ring of Fire in the sub 40 degree temps. This is a good time to keep up the intensity and suffer up the steep stuff as well. Hopefully I can get away next week and do something else a bit steep and tough...(Bohlman on Orbit?). Devil Mountain Double does not have a ton of real hard climbs like the Terrible Two, but you climb pretty much the whole day. The Terrible Two is pretty easy until you hit the Geysers giving you practically 75 miles of riding before the toughness. DMD hits you right off the bat with Mt.Diablo, but I never found that climb too tough. If your in good shape, you should be able to climb it pretty easily in the cool morning temps and save energy for later on. I am really looking forward to this DMD journey as the last time I did it I barely survived. I remember wondering if I would make the lunch cut-off last time in 06. Am hoping for a much stronger showing. If I can keep my word and get up tomorrow in the 30's and do the ring of fire, maybe... just maybe I can do better. If DMD turns out to be on the Triple Crown Stage Race, I just might try and do the Stage Race this year to try and improve from my Lanterne Rouge performance of 06. This series would be the perfect training for Race Across Oregon in July. If I do this, I will only run the Miwok 100K and can the American River 50 for this year. Nothing beats setting goals for a new year. Should be a fun year.

The Ring of Fire went really well today. I tried to do Moody out of the saddle the whole time and could not quite make it. Golden Oak is one steep long ramp, but you can do about half of it out of the saddle and crest out pretty easily. The Ramona section is really tough in a Bohlman On Orbit kind of way and the last section on Vista Verde is nice after dinner drink to this pretty brutal trek. Its a shame you can't connect the top of Vista Verde over to Page Mill. You end up really close to the top of Page Mill and near Skyline on this section of the Ring of Fire.

Today was a great day on the bike. I was listening to Rage Against the Machine "Killing in the Name of" on the way back home and started riding so hard I was like a crazed maniac. Riding bikes can be a lot of fun.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Woodside 50K

Finished in 5:58:44. Official Results Had a good day on the trails. Managed to keep pushing the entire time and had a little excitement at end to break 6 hrs. My two fastest miles were the last two as I realized I better high tail it in to beat the six hour mark. Duc finished his first ultra in 7:12 and also had a good day out there. I am proud of Duc for finishing his first ultramarathon. He blew off the California International Marathon to do the Woodside 50k and he finished in great style and even did a little somersault at the end! I blew off the rigid 3 run/1 walk and ran when I wanted and walked when I wanted. I ran the entire way to the 1st aid station which had an 1800 foot climb and just watched the heart rate monitor to insure I did not push too hard. I enjoyed the race a lot more not worrying about some pre-determined run/walk ratio.

The winner Keith Bechtol is a sub 30 min 10 k runner. The speed this guy came up Wunderlich was pretty insane. Looked like a 7 minute pace up hill. His overall time of 3:36 was a 7:02 pace. This run had almost 5000 feet of climbing, so that was pretty damn fast. Second place was another local fast guy I have never heard of Leor Pantilat who from what I heard at the end is running great these days. He was only a couple of minutes behind the winner. They broke the old record on this course by 40 minutes.

Will put a full report later if I can type. I took a header at mile 25 and seriously jammed my right pinkie and the next finger over. They are really swollen and hopefully not broken or badly sprained. Will ice them up and see what happens.

Scott Dunlap snapped a shot of me dropping down Wunderlich. I look like a bit disgruntled and ready to break up a bar fight. I was feeling pretty crappy at that point and it shows. This is a perfect course as the trails are soft, the climbs not too steep, the redwoods fantastic and let the perfect amount of sun in. I would recommend this to anybody wanting to jump up from the marathon into the ultra's.

Woodside 50k

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