This was the inaugural event of a great route, put on by Chris Kostman and AdventureCORPS. The event is described as a Timed Challenge, rather than a race. It had the flavor of a race for those who wanted to make it that, in that times were recorded and could be used for bragging rights. It also had aspects of a fun ride, in that you could 45 miles or 77 miles and still be an official finisher (although your time would not be recorded unless you completed the full 101 miles). The event started early in the morning (6 am), shortly after sunrise. People were sent off in waves of 50 in 10 minute intervals, and there were about 250 riders. I thought it was pretty interesting how the waves worked because you weren’t assigned to a wave. Instead you showed up, and corralled into groups of 50 with your number marked accordingly. This let some people get started right away, and others that still had bathroom business or just wanted to stay warm in their car for a while to electively start a little later without penalty. I think a similar method could easily be used in triathlons as well, and I may comment on wave starts in triathlons some day.

The ride started and ended in Pine Valley, and consisted of three different loops that all ended up at the summit of Mount Laguna, and then descended down Sunrise Highway into Pine Valley. Each loop became a little shorter, but also had increasing difficulty in climbing. The first loop went around Lake Cuyamaca, the second went up Kitchen Creek (which is fairly popular among cyclists), and the final loop went up Pine Creek. I had never ridden Pine Creek before. It was truly challenging with long steep ascents, with grades up to 20%. It required a lot of focus, and even some really good cyclist ended up having to walk portions.

I’ve been following AdventureCORPS for about 4 years now, but this was my first event with them. I was absolutely impressed by the efficiency of the people staffing the control points. They made it very easy to check in and grab food/water and get out. With 5 stops I spent less than 6 minutes, and most of that was at the first stop where I had to wait to use the restroom. The selections at the stops were amazing and enough to satisfy anyone’s preferences.

Here is a map of the route and the elevation profile, from the AdventureCORPS website:

The descent down Sunrise Highway was a great choice, as it is rather safe without sharp turns. I was a little cautious on my first descent, but then found that I could fly down the hill without any problems. Actually, on the second and third descents there were many small bugs that did cause a little bit of a challenge. I basically had to breathe through my nose, keep one eye shut, and squint through my other eye. I had sun glasses on, but the bugs were so thick they were getting inside my glasses. They were also a bit painful when I was flying at 40-50 MPH, so I just had to hold tight and focus.

Here is the route from my Garmin:

This is my elevation profile from my Garmin:

Below is my power (in yellow) and torque (in grey). My goal for power was to keep it close to, but below 300 watts on the climbs, otherwise try to keep it above 200 watts. The exception was on the descents, where I wanted to conserve energy. As you can see, I pretty much did that. My normalized power was 245 watts for over 6 hours. My power was drifting lower from the 83 mile point on. This was after the climbing up Pine Creek. I included torque, although I’ve never looked at torque before. There were some people talking about using torque instead of power today, so I thought I’d post that. I do notice that although my power up Pine Creek was about the same as the other climbs, the torque is quite a bit higher. If anyone reading this has any information or resources regarding using torque from power meters in training, I’d be interested to hear from you.

Overall, I had a great ride. I saw some familiar faces there. Matt Dixon started the ride with me, but soon felt the accumulative fatigue from two half-iron distance triathlons in the past three weeks. Drew Peterson started in a wave behind me, and then flew by me at about 20 miles in. I couldn’t believe how fast he was going. I saw George Vargas before and after the ride, but I’m sure he was blazing fast as well. I’m certain George will be posting a ride report on his blog soon, so be sure to check it out and get his perspective of the ride. Also, at the finish I saw Dr. Eric Stedje-Larsen, who was the assistant internship director when I did my internship.

There were many people taking pictures today, so once I see them I’ll post a few here.