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Ojai Valley Century

It was good and, at the end it was HOT!. Fortunately though it was only the last 10 miles or so that really sucked the energy out of you on the final climb of the day. The rest of the ride was cool enough for me to keep my arm warmers on until the inland run into Santa Paula.

Overall it was the best I have ever ridden this ride. I finished in the shortest amount of ‘ride time’ at 6 hours 12 minutes beating my previous best time of 6:40 the first time I rode this in 2010. Total time was also best by 20 minutes including the extra time I spent at the rest stops looking for my co-worker friends also riding the Metric Century.

This was the hardest ride either of these guys had ridden and I am extremely excited that they both finished the ride.

According to Strava I had ‘Personal Records’ on the Casitas Pass and the final climb to Ojai. On the first climb, I definitely felt stronger than ever not even using my highest gear. The final climb probably could have been faster if it hadn’t been so hot. I was afraid of overdoing it as I could really feel the sun affecting me.

Overall, a great ride!

 

Mt. Wilson, the road version

After a pretty light Sunday I figured I needed a little more intense ride in prep for this weekend’s Ojai Valley Century. I didn’t feel up to the massive GMR-GRR-Mt Baldy ride so I went for Mt Wilson. I felt as strong on this ride as I have ever felt. Much of the ride in a higher gear than I have done before and my times bear this out.

Nice Sunday ride

We had a small group ride with a few people I work with. This was originally meant to climb Mandeville Fire Rd, but since none of knew how to get from the parking area to the fire road we decided to just do an up and back in Sullivan Canyon. It turned out to be a nice, easy ride up the canyon followed by some pretty sweet singletrack sections. A nice Sunday ride!

Long weekend start with club ride

I didn’t ride much this week ahead of the weekend. OK I didn’t ride at all this week, but followed it up with three pretty tough days over the long weekend.

This was my second club ride and my first as a member. It was basically the same as the week before with a little slower pace in the beginning and faster towards the end. At least it felt that way. The usual stop at the ‘green’ in Sierra Madre was aborted as there was an event already happening and totally took over the square.

So I just headed home, but took a slightly different route to avoid the usually heavily congested Orange Grove Blvd and instead took Mountain to the Rose Bowl and home for a bit over 57 miles with another “Extreme” suffer score. It really didn’t FEEL extreme though.

Mt. Wilson

Kinda a ‘recovery’ ride from yesterday. If an 18 mile, 4500 foot climb can be a recovery ride. I didn’t push and stopped a lot.

First club ride

Today I joined a cycling club. But first I rode a club ride, well mostly a club ride. It wasn’t exclusive to club members but many of the riders were in the club. I have been thinking and talking of a joining a club for years, but never actually got around to it. Today I went on a ride, talked to several members and when I got home, pulled the trigger and joined PAA. I have been training and riding on my own for years and for the most part I not only don’t mind, but enjoy it. But as I ride more and more, riding alone, especially on road rides can get really boring. It is also safer riding in a group not only for help if something goes wrong but there is safety in numbers when on a busy street.

Here’s today’s ride:

Crusin

So in order to NOT fail on another century I wanted to increase my mileage and the amount I can climb in a single ride. With the rides up to Mt. Baldy increasing my mileage and climbing to 70 plus miles and 8 thousand plus feet I felt ready for the Conejo century with more than 5 thousand feet of climbing. While I have done several Ojai Valley Century rides and the Palm Springs ride both of those were only around 3 thousand feet of climbing in the 100 miles.
This would be my first ride with this distance and this amount of climbing so I was a little nervous. The tough climbs were at the front end of the ride followed by an awesome descent to PCH. The ride north along the coast was chilly but fast as about halfway through this section I hooked into a pace line that helped me set a personal record for speed in 40K.
When the route left PCH I lost my group and went on mostly on my own. Finally got to the second rest stop almost to the 60 mile mark.
After a nice break it was mostly flat and heading inland where it started to heat up temp-wise. There were 2 short, but pretty steep climbs left before the run back into Thousand Oaks and Newbury Park and the finish line. I managed to catch up to my coworker who had started more than two hours after me and rode the 35 mile route and we finished together.
I wish I had checked my mileage before I turned off the Garmin so I noticed that I had ridden a few tenths less than 100 miles. I would have ridden around a little to hit that magic number.
In any case, I finished with energy to spare. Another completed century with more climbing than I have ever completed in a century ride.

Gonna Try

I am going to try to start regularly updating this blog once again. We’ll see what happens.

My last post was my failure to finish the Tour de Foothills in November of last year. Since then I have seriously upped my cycling and have not only started 2 centuries since then, but finished them both! The Tour de Palm Springs in February and just last weekend, Crusin’ the Conejo.

The Palm Springs ride was probably the easiest century I have ever ridden. I little bit of climbing in the beginning, and a what felt like a whole lot of downhill. Since it was a loop it clearly had the same amount of up as down, but it didn’t feel that way. You can see my Strava data here. It did a LOT for my confidence.

I enjoyed it so much in the following month I signed up for several more rides this year including the Crusin’ the Conejo which was this past weekend and had a little more than 2,000 feet more climbing than the Palm Springs ride which was a bit over 3K feet. I also signed up for a ride in Big Bear in August, the Tour de Foothills again in November, Levi Leipheimer’s Grand Fondo in Santa Rosa in October. The last 2 are both over 8,000 feet in climbing. If I do all the rides I have signed up for it will be close to 800 miles JUST in those events, not counting the training and other rides I do this year.

In prepping for the the Conejo ride I wanted to push my climbing. I have been doing pretty well in climbing Angeles Crest to Mt Wilson and had done that ride several times so I started looking for harder routes. I finally started adding the Glendora Mountain Road (the climb that beat me in that failed century) to Glendora Ridge road to Mt Baldy Village up to the ski lifts at the top of Baldy Road. The first time I tried it, I crapped out at the end of the parking lot before heading back down the hill. The last few hundred meters at a 16% grade, just plain KICKED MY ASS!

But I was determined and went at it again the next weekend which was also the weekend before the Conejo ride. When I hit the wall where I stopped the week before I stopped and rested and finished. I don’t think I have ever had such a hard time pedaling a bike before. Here is the Strava data for that ride, what a rush when I made the top and set my most ever totally climbing in a ride at 8,339 feet of total climbing!

A perfect set up for the Conejo ride the next weekend.

More on this ride, later  . . .

Strava

My first failed century

I rode the Tour de Foothills this past Saturday. I thought I was prepared, I had ridden over 70 miles 2-3 weeks ago. I rode from home to Clear Creek station and felt great the Saturday before and a 15 mile mountain bike ride at altitude that Sunday again feeling strong.

I took Monday off and a light ride with work friends on Tuesday (about 20 miles). My normal gym day on Wednesday. I usually ride on Thursdays but took that day off in prep for Saturday’s century. I thought I ate ok leading up to the ride that morning and I felt very, very good for the first 20-plus miles. Then around mile 21-24 I started to feel weaker, less strong in my legs. Nothing to worry about I thought, but a little worrying as I approached the Glendora Mountain Road climb. I hit the timing start of the climb at a great time of 9:12AM. In the past I have done this climb in about an hour or so.

But today as I started the switchbacks I hit bottom. In several senses of the word. I didn’t feel particular bad, but I had no power in my legs and found myself stopping. After a couple of stops I made sure I ate. I wasn’t hungry but I needed something.

Each time I stopped and got back on, I felt fine for maybe 2-300 meters before BOOM, legs went away again. I sucked it up for mile after mile, stopped a bit and then went on. Eventually it was easier to walk then ride and I HATE walking on a not-real-hard climb. I have done GMR and it’s not hard. It’s long and never ending, but not hard.

As I continued on several passing riders asked if I was ok, mostly I said, fine. If they asked if they could help, I said no, since there was nothing a rider could do. At one point a ride marshall asked and I told him that I just didn’t have the legs today, I was having a bad day and if he saw the SAG wagon to tell them I needed a ride. As the time kept on ticking away I knew I’d be lucky if there were still people at the KOM rest stop.

I jumped at every sound just hoping to see that sign on a vehicle, but to no avail. Several more riders appeared and disappeared, most asking if I was OK. No dammit I wasn’t, but they couldn’t help.

Eventually I made the top and said no more. I felt bad, but if I continued I knew at some point I would not be able to continue. I had some lightheadedness and   there a was a fast and technical descent just ahead and I didn’t want to risk a crash.

So I caught a ride with volunteers Jim and Betty back to the start/finish line in Upland. I grabbed some food and a beer and soaked up the atmosphere, but it felt wrong, I didn’t finish. It felt kinda like cheating. I wasn’t I paid my fee. But it felt wrong. 

Sunday I woke up and still felt wrong. Two days later I still feel as if something is missing. I had to get out Sunday for some kind of ride, just to make up for the missing parts of giving up on Saturday. My head knows  it was the right decision but my gut is really disappointed in my head.

I checked the times published after the ride and I was a full 40 minutes the slowest on the climb with my time at 2:32:19. To my head that makes my decision to stop the right one.

I have another century in Palm Springs in February, so I have a chance to make it up to my ‘gut.’