Thursday, April 26, 2012

Walk your dog ...not your bike

Thank you KA for that wonderful quote....and oh so true.  I have heard about people walking their bikes due to steep climbs- Ha....really? I have done the Death Ride 129 miles, 15,000 feet of climbing I did not walk my bike!  



So Saturday we rolled out on the Mt Laguna Classic which  features 101 miles with 10,000 feet of climbing and three different ascents of San Diego County's Mount Laguna! We climbed to San Diego's highest point via Sunrise Hwy from the north, via the fabled and car-free Kitchen Creek from the south-east, and via the little-known and truly epic Pine Creek drainage from the west....which is 20-22% grade at times... Let me digress.  I am in terrific biking shape and 100 mile ride should not be an issue.   I have done 1- 5 hour ride since October so I knew it would be a long day.   And long it was....close to 7 hours!

Waking up at 3:45am was a bit like Ironman, Very dark and chilly walk with the doggies and we were rolling by 4:15 to pick up Liz and head to Pine Valley.   Registered in the dark and missed the first group but rolled out at 6:10,

It was chilly indeed but soon were were climbing and the sun was out.  Our goal was zero lactic acid on the 1st climb - I watched my power and keep my HR low-  long climb but nothing brutal and we regrouped at the aid station. Definitely a warm day and we ditched our vests, arm warmers and left it piled up on top.   No need to carry extra weight.   20 minutes and we are down at the bottom and heading out to Kitchen Creek.

KC is one of my favorite climbs...steeper than Sunrise Highway but with the road closed to cars and trees all about it is so scenic. This is a part of San Diego you must see.   I was feeling good and the 2nd half of the climb picked it up a bit and was having fun pedaling past some that were seemingly slowing with every mile.  I was sooo happy to be on my road bike with a 12-28- used that 28 frequently.  I am not one to "save an extra gear" I use it early and often.  I was also paying special attention to fueling and calories...220-250/hour with cliff bars and pb/j sandwiches.  Lots of water with NUUN and Enduralytes.  2nd climb done and feeling good!  2 down 1 to go.

This time we go back to Pine Valley, where we started and checked in with John who was not doing the ride...he climbed Pine Creek, had breakfast, took a nap and was hanging out enjoying the scene.   Off we went to the "dreaded 20%" climb.  We are now at mile 82, my legs are feeling the 7000 feet of climbing, 5+ hours riding and it is hot.  We are chatting it up and the road is filled with potholes and sand "nice" and it begins to climb.  I am thinking is this 20%....no, let me tell you, 20% is when you are saying " Oh F I may fall off my bike"  20% is HR 195 (new max for me on the bike) Power is over 400 Watts and Cadence is 38- that is 20%.  I am following some guy who is doing the "mailman" crisscrossing along the steep road and I am counting to 10 and starting over...I can do this, I can do this.... I see a turn ahead and what I am sure it is a leveling out but no only to round the corner and see up, up , up..... the guy in front of me clips out and is walking.  My morale is crushed.... I am following him, how can he be walking.... I take about 4 pedal strokes and am in fear of a heart attack, pulled muscle or rolling downhill and having to ride back up.  I do the dreaded unclip and start walking my bike....really I am pushing my bike up the hill.  

I am demoralized, only until I round a bend that allows me to look back and see 10+ people all the way down the valley pushing their bikes.  Misery loves company....1 guy passed me riding- I snarled at him but did say "good job"   Finally there was a small level and I got back on and mashed it for a while until I saw a short downhill and then another major climb and an oasis... a white tent!!! I was almost to the tent a truck is on my as% literally and there is not shoulder, no bike lane and they are now honking.....really, are you serious!  For fear of getting run over I had to stop and let them go.  Starting again...ha....rolling back down no way as the road was too steep and narrow but turn around- somehow I managed to get riding again and make it to the tent! 

Found a few weary riders and ice and water.  I am not feeling great and realize that I did not eat or drink the last hour of hell...... and I am feeling it now.  Refueled and forced down some calories and was told 5 more miles....3 miles to Sunrise Hwy and then the top.  I followed another guy and hung back a few bike lengths and just matched his pace and cadence and suffered the rest of the way.... Finally back to Sunrise Highway and then a few miles to the top!  I was done....so very done. Grabbed my gear and headed down.

6:45 minutes in the saddle- YOWZA and a great day!!  Been there, done that....next year?  too soon..... I am still reeling that I had to walk my bike- and now I need new cleats, thank you very much!!

This is a great event....well run!  They start you in small groups so no mass start which can be dangerous. All aid stations well stocked and very helpful volunteers.