Date: Saturday, June 19, 2010

Time: 6 am

Start/Finish: Coronado Island

Distance Covered: 187.7

Total Ascent: ~12,000 ft

Ride Time: ~14 hr, 12 min

Total Time: ~16 hr, 15 min

The day started with a 4 AM wake up, and leaving the house at 5. We were all set up and ready to go around 5:40, but the ride didn’t get started until about 6:13. There were about 10 other riders. This was a fairly small group, but I figured this was because San Diego Randonneurs already had a 200K brevet two weeks ago. For Molly and I, this was our 7th consecutive monthly 200K+ ride on the tandem, and my 11th consecutive monthly 200K+ ride. RUSA has an award program that includes the R-12 challenge, completing a 200K or longer brevet or permanent for 12 consecutive months. I have many medals and awards lying around, but the R-12 I received last year is one of my most cherished accomplishments. If you can do a 200K, it doesn’t seem like it would be too difficult to do one every month of the year, but I have found there are months when this is quite the personal challenge. This was our longest and toughest ride yet. In fact, this ride was the longest (by about a mile) that I have ever done, and was definitely the longest time I have ever been out on a bike. The weather was perfect with clear skies, mild winds, and moderate temperatures. There were a couple times on long climbs where we were feeling the heat, and following our descent from Honey Springs Molly was rather chilled, but overall the temperature was about as good as you could ever wish for.

The theme for this ride though was climbing. The first and last 30 miles or so were flat. The rest was not. There were many climbs where we were going less than 5 MPH. Molly noticed that we were going 3.3 MPH at one point and she was surprised that we were still upright. Since I can’t think of anything right now except the climbing, here is the hill profile from different programs:

WKO+:

Strava.com:

Garmin Connect:

Golden Cheetah:

Garmin Training Center:

The scales and smoothing make each profile look a little different, but the bottom line was it was a lot of climbing. The first and last sharp peaks at miles 40 and 150 was the summit of Honey Springs. The highest elevation, mile 69, was on the 79 at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.

Here is a map of the route:

The other theme for the ride was “catch-up”. The tandem does not climb well. We could hang with the front riders with little effort where it was flat, fly by everyone if there was a descent, but on the climbs the slowest riders flew by us. The first big climb was up Honey Springs Rd. Molly and I have done this climb, so we were mentally prepared for it. The climb is long, but actually not too bad, and we weren’t fatigued yet. The second large climb, was up the 79 to Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. The air was still, there was almost no shade, and we were barely moving. I began to feel nauseated, but didn’t want to stop until we reached a place for room to pull off the road and where there was shade. At the summit, which was at 69 miles, there was a firehouse, so we pulled off there and rested a few minutes in the shade.

From there we descended to Lake Cuyamaca and continued to Julian. Along this segment we were passed by the lead two riders that we were riding with in the beginning when it was flat. They had gotten behind us because they missed a turn and added an extra 14 miles to their ride, going through Pine Valley to Sunrise Highway.

One of the best segments that we rode was past Julian on Farmer Rd and then a left turn onto Wynola Rd I hadn’t been on these roads before, but they are the small, quiet, winding roads that I really enjoy riding on. Off of Wynola Rd we saw a blues festival. It would have been nice to stop there, we didn’t have that kind of time to spare. We did stop for lunch at around 2 PM at Dudley’s Bakery in Santa Ysabel. As many times I’ve ridden by there I had never stopped before. I met a rider there that was doing the Palomar Challenge today. He said he had wanted to do the 300K, but the Palomar Challenge was a great opportunity to do the climb and be timed. The sandwiches they made for us at Dudley’s were HUGE, but I had no problem putting it away. It felt great to eat some real food, since I had only eaten a couple bananas and several energy bars. Molly also bought us a cookie from there that we shared a couple hours later that was also amazing. It’s good thing we didn’t eat it while we were still there, or I could have been caught up in a cookie eating frenzy.

The next control was at Daniel’s West Market, which is south of Highland Valley Rd. I have ridden by this place many times and never stopped. It is a great place to relax and grab a snack. They have plenty of shaded seating. We caught up to a couple of randonneurs there that had passed us while we were eating lunch. They make deli sandwiches there, but they are not of the same caliber as Dudley’s.

Our climb back up to Alpine was probably the hottest segment. Again there was little air flow, we were climbing slow, and there was absolutely no shade. We arrived in Alpine at around 5:30 PM, where we met up with 4 randonneurs that were ahead of us. We were back on the road by 6, and sunset according to my Garmin was at 7:57 PM. There was some decent climbing up to Lyons Valley Rd, and we had sections where it was really warm, and then sections where it cooled off. Molly and I had held it together pretty good on the ride overall, but at mile 140 Molly was starting to lose it. My instinct is to keep pushing, but I decided to pull off for a few minutes and get off the bike. A couple of riders told us it was the worst place to stop because right after that is a steep section with a 12% grade. The short rest did us wonders though. It was definitely a good move to make that stop, but I agree that you have to keep those stops short or your legs don’t want to get going again.

A right onto Lyons Valley Rd, and we were only 8 miles to our final ascent up Honey Springs Rd. Lyons Valley Rd had some good descents in this direction, and we were already getting a little chilled as it started to get dark. We made another stop and donned our night riding gear and hooked up our lights. We were lit up bright, and it paid off as the majority of cars gave us a lot of room as they passed.

The descent down Honey Springs was good in that there was little traffic, and there was still a little twilight so the road was easy to see. Molly froze though. Even though she had wool arm warmers and a jacket on, the cool night time air at 40+ MPH froze her, and she didn’t warm up again the rest of the night.

By the time we were at the bottom of Honey Springs, it was pitch black. The roads are also very dark with no street lights until you get into Chula Vista, so I was thankful for having good lights.

About 10 miles from the finish we passed two other riders, and then passed another about 5 miles later. We were actually surprised to see people at that point because we had taken several stops and were riding fairly easy. I noticed they were feeling the ride just as we were.

We were so glad to have finished. We arrived home at 11 PM, hit the spa and had a beer and then some dinner. We usually are in bed by 9, so eating dinner at midnight was a bit unusual. And then we slept in, until 6!

Above: Early part of the ride, in Chula Vista.

ove: ThAbove: The first control before our climb up Honey Springs Rd.

Above: Kelly DeBoer, making another movie. Coming to youtube soon!

Above: The ride was full of grass and hills.

Above: Finally, some shade and rest at Cuyamaca.

Above: The sandwiches at Dudley’s made the past 100 miles worth it!

Above: Daniel’s West is worth stopping at for some shade and rest. I was wearing full fingered gloves, and I learned that the iPhone doesn’t take pictures with gloves. It does work with your tongue though!

Above: On Lyons Valley Rd, time to put on lights and reflective gear.

Above: At the finish. Molly’s iPhone doesn’t have a flash, so we had to resort to our bike light.

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