Sunday, June 12, 2016

Ride Around the Bear

The crew that Rode Around the F'ing Bear 
Ride Around The Bear Century - the  black is the "sales" version of this event as written on the website. The red is my version! 

This 9,000’ century ride hosted by the Orange County Wheelmen, is one of the toughest and most exhilarating centuries in the area!  This is 100% true.  It was a tough as hell and exhilarating due to riding on the highway without a bike lane and 1000's of cars zooming up to Big Bear.

As you roll out, you’ll enjoy a few miles of flat pedaling through the semi-rural outskirts of town. Expect 15 miles of warm-up before you turn right up Highway 330.  As you roll out basically through the ghetto and miss the first of many turns of the day.  onto a crappy chip seal road before you turn right onto the Highway to Hell.
Groove Girls Riding Around the Bear 

In the early hours, traffic should be light. The CHP will be patrolling to protect your safety and you’re required to ride in single file because the roads are winding and narrow. Up the base of the highway, you will encounter 8 challenging miles as you steadily climb in the cool morning air. Remember to pace yourself, because there is much more to come! Or the traffic will be bumper to bumper with mountain bikes and every other truck honking and flipping you off.  Did not see ONE CHP.  Single file was the only option.

Take a moment to enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the cars whizzing by you as you are out of water and looking around every bend for that GD rest stop.  at the first rest stop (mile 24) as you nibble on the fruit and goodies being offered by the friendly volunteers. Volunteers were friendly, PBJ's on Milton's bread were fantastic, fruit? don't recall
at some aid station- faking I am happy 

The next segment is up and down, (mostly up) as in 90% up and you are realizing this is going to be a LONG LONG day. No longer do you look at your odometer as it is too depressing.  to the second rest stop (mile 30) at Running Springs. And you stop because it took you an hour to get there from mile 24.  Did I say it was a long day?  And this was my next error, took off the wrong way and realized gee no orange arrows and no other cyclists but I did find a nice farmers market.  Turned around and back on track

  From there, enjoy the fresh mountain air and the incredible lakeside views as you pedal around Big Bear Lake and Julie, Jackie and Monica missed the Damn- NO arrows, no marking and we looked but kept on riding. Welcome to downtown Big Bear- little voice saying, I didn't think we went to the main town and wow we are awesome we dropped all those guys......ha ha- they turned left and we rode 6 miles UP.  U turn and back to   lunch at Dana Point Park (mile 46), which will fuel you for the final stretch of climbing.  Ok so more PBJ and some scary looking ham and processed cheese or turkey and cheese with offerings of mayo?  Seriously.  I was bonking hard so while was passing judgment on the processed meat I went for 4, yes 4 oreo's and a coke.   I can tell you I was having a shit day, my legs were just trashed and hurt. I was struggling and the xtra 12 miles was not helping.  But I had the company of friends so we commiserate and kept on going.  Seriously I thought about hopping in the SAG, but really, who DNF's a Century Ride?  And I would have to wait for Liz anyway so I may as well keep on suffering.  I also popped a Motivator. Sugar, fat, chemicals and caffeine.  I was humming now.
sweeping views of the power lines along the highway

The toughest climb of the day is the 9 mile ascent to Onyx Summit (mile 63) as the day is warming up. I disagree this was not a tough climb other than than the 8000+ ft and no O2 and well maybe I was jacked up on caffeine and sugar. So much so that I was craving more oreo's at the summit.   Once you peak the summit there are still a few more hills to climb,as in 2 more mile long hills that feel like 10 miles  but you can breathe a sigh of relief as the enthusiastic volunteers help you refill and refuel once again!  Heavy heavy sigh

On the exhilarating descent down Hwy 38, you’ll be tempted to fly down the hill, but it is very important to ride safely and be aware of traffic. I flew down - goal was to keep it over 40mph as much as possible.... there were a few hills that seemed like Mt Everest as you legs are cramped up and you just want to get down!    After the final rest stop at Angeles Oaks (mile 82),  what rest stop I flew by that at 30mph you’ll be rewarded with even more miles of glorious nonstop downhill back towards Sylvan Park (mile 101).  when 10+ semis with trailers come humming by and you are like WTF? turns out it was a movie crew?  seriously.....I  am glad to be alive and yeah 112 mile with 9875 ft of elevation.

So it turns out that on the cue sheets they gave us, thank goodness for that, it said NOTE not all turns are marked.  Seriously how hard is it to put arrows at the MAJOR turns or maybe a sign or 2.... Just sayin...  

Nice BBQ at the end and they even had nice Black Bean burgers, chips and fake guacamole. An ice cold beer would have been great, but in theory only, as we had to drive home and that ride took us 7 1/2 hours.  OMF'ing SLOW

So that gives you a good sense of my opinion of Ride Around The Bear.  If you want to ride in Big Bear do the Tour de Big Bear!!! 
view from the hotel 

The weekend was fun.... Liz and I drove up Friday figuring it would beat getting up at 3am.  We booked a room at the Race
Lizard in our cozy room 
Hotel - Motel 6 in Redlands.  Now I did not have any expectations about the Motel 6, but Redlands sounds like a nice place and the ride was sponsored by Whole Foods.  So in my mind....we would be near glorious Sylvan Park, which is really a crappy weedy park, in an ok Motel 6, which was ok, and close to Whole Foods, which turned out to be 75 miles away.  We overlooked a used car lot and a scary Mexican Restaurant. We did find a Trader Joes and elected to buy a conglomeration of foods for dinner and breakfast and dine at our table in the room.  We were in bed plugged into our iPads before it was dark.  
romantic dinner in the Motel 6

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