Date: July 24, 2010

Location: Santa Cruz, CA

This was the first brevet I have done with the Santa Cruz Randonneurs. SCR is the seventh group that I have done brevets with now. I previously have ridden with randonneuring groups in DC, PA, AZ, CO, and then San Diego and Los Angeles (PCH). Molly rode today as well, and this was the first 200K that she has ridden solo, having done the others with me on the tandem.

There was a great turnout for the brevet, about 40 riders. We met at the lighthouse/surfing museum for the start. Here Molly and I are at the start:

We started promptly at 7 am. I was ready to stay with Molly as she was a little nervous about the hills, and doing the 200K solo, but she insisted that I ride ahead. Molly figured that with 40 riders she would find other people to ride with. My plan was to try to cruise with whoever was up front, and to take it easy until about mile 100, and then I would go for it. This is generally a pretty good approach, because if you go out hard early, you might regret it later. I figured since I’m not that strong on hills I would probably lose the front guys once we turned off of the coastal highway and started riding the hills.

I quickly found my way up to the front, and sized up the front riders pretty quick. We set into a pace line that included a lot of people, but during a climb at around mile 10 I broke ahead. I was surprised I had gotten so far ahead, so I soft pedaled until the group caught back up. I was surprised how long that took. I started pulling again, and the next climb at mile 14 was a lot bigger, so I expected that the group would be sailing by me. Instead I looked back and the group was way down the hill still. My plan changed at that point and I decided to just ride. I kept my breaks really short at the controls.

Here is the route that we took, and the elevation profile.

I didn’t think the climbing was too bad. The higher elevations were in a redwood forest, which was pretty cool. I didn’t take any pictures on the ride, but Molly was able to grab a few along the route.

I completed almost the entire ride in my big chain ring. I think I probably only did about 3 miles total in the small chain ring. After I finished I went back onto Hwy 1 North to meet up with Molly. I met her at about 12 miles from the finish. This portion I just spun easy in the small chain ring. After I turned around I had to actually chase Molly because she was picking up the pace to finish, and my legs were done! Here is a picture of us together at the finish.

I actually achieved a new best 180 minute critical power (CP180). My previous best was on 11/22/2009, at Ironman Arizona, which was 253 watts. Today I did 258 watts. My total time was 6:44, making this my first 200K under 7 hours, and my normalized power for this time was 254 watts. My ride time was 6:36, so I only had 8 minutes of pause time. This includes several stop lights, 2 stops to cross Hwy 1, and 3 controls where I had to make a purchase for proof of passage.