Date: Sunday, October 24, 2010

Distance: 228 KM (141 miles)

I apologize for the recent silence on my blog. I certainly have a lot to write about, but time has been an issue since Kona. This is a ride report I don’t want to miss, however. Several of the topics and stories I have wanted to write about over the past few weeks will just have to be forgotten for now.

This is the 4th time I have ridden this route, from Carlsbad to Sunset Beach and back, and it has been my slowest. My times so far have been 9:18, 9:08, 10:18, 10:56. I wrote about the last time I have done this route here. This permanent makes Molly’s 11th month of 200K+ rides towards her first R-12 challenge, and I am now in my 3rd month of my 3rd R-12. I had expected this ride to be sub-9 hours. I chose to ride my single speed. I hadn’t ridden it much over the past 1 ½ years because I was trying to gather as much data with my power tap as possible. I really don’t think the power tap really matters that much for a ride like this though where I am not really pushing high power, and can ride pretty well by feel. The single speed is a lot of fun, and this is a route with only some small rollers along the coast so I can ride the 48X18 gearing without any problems.

We started off early, in the dark. We have great lights. Since it is getting dark early, we decided to leave early and start the ride in the dark and finish before dark. The morning is also a nice time to ride because the traffic is very light. Two miles into the ride I had a flat. It wasn’t a great way to start, and I had to change the flat using our bike lights. We got back on the road and were doing well until we reached Dana Point where I had another flat. I patched the second flat, but as soon as I we were getting started again the tire was flat again. The valve stem was damaged when I removed the pump and didn’t seal well enough, so I had to replace the tube. We had given up on any sub 9 hour finish at this point and really decided to just cruise the ride. We weren’t too excited about the ride at this point, but what do you do when you are 45 miles from the start, with another 25 miles to the turn around? You push on. There is no quitting just because of a little adversity. The training we were getting from this ride was not so much the physical training, but digging for some mental fortitude to stay positive and keep the wheels rolling in the right direction.

I mentioned in another post that I don’t necessarily look down on DNF’s. I had mentioned that there are times when a DNF makes sense, and that it really depends on your goals. Well, this is a situation where not finishing is not a good option.

We decided to make a quick stop at Laguna Cyclery to check my tire pressure and get a new tube and some snacks. We made another stop in Newport Beach at Bike Religion to see if George was working, but he had the day off. We did a little browsing and talked to the owner, John, about bikes. Enough lollygagging and we decided it was time to get the ride done. We had about 10 miles left to the turn around and decided we just needed to get the ride over, so we would try not to make another stop for 80 miles. I had gotten a little ahead of Molly because she missed a light, and I couldn’t believe the big guys drafting off her when I saw her again. I told her I was going to make a sprint at Bolsa Chica Flats. I had seen there was a segment on that I should attempt a new personal best. It was pretty funny when I flew by several riders on my single speed at 31+ mph. They tried to stay with me, but I lost them within seconds. I improved the 0.1 mile sprint from Seapoint Avenue from 9 seconds to 8 seconds. The second place holder is Jay Potter at 12 seconds. The next 2.2 miles I did in 5:39 (23.5 MPH average), but my best time was 4:45 (27.9 MPH) on August 22, 2009. That day I was riding a 300K on my time trial bike, which happens to be a much faster bike than the single speed. My legs were shaking for quite a bit after that effort. I tried to give the southbound Bolsa Chica Flats segment a go, and was able to set a new PR by 3 seconds at 7:18 (21.7 MPH over 2.6 miles), but it was still short of the leader at 6:13. There will be a next time…

The return to Carlsbad was going well. Molly shared some of her food with me to avoid a stop for more food, and we were cruising through Carlsbad when we had a small accident. We had ridden through the village, and then some guy decided to do a U turn across double yellow lines, and then cut through the bike lane right in front of us to grab a parking spot for the beach. There seems to be a lot of close calls on the coastal rides, and this one ended up being a little too close as Molly ran into me and bounced into a parked car when we tried to avoid running into the vehicle that cut right in front of us. As if that wasn’t enough, the driver decided to act like he did nothing wrong, so the police had to get involved. It’s all working out, and Molly is doing fine except she hasn’t been on the bike all week. She usually commutes to and from work on her bike, so I think that is a little bit of an indication of how she feels right now, but I’m confident she’ll be back on the bike before too long. She did finish the ride, as we were only about 5 miles from finishing the 140 mile route, and she certainly wasn’t going to let this interfere with her R-12. We commented on how Ryan crashed at the 400K just a few miles from the finish and he had asked the ER to let him go back and finish the ride. They probably didn’t understand how important some of these goals can be.

It was a long ride. Long enough that it took more time to finish than it did for me to finish the Ironman. All that fun, and it didn’t cost thousands of dollars to do. Hmmmmm…