Date: Saturday February 5, 2011

An article posted by the Wall Street Journal on Feb 1 titled “A Workout Ate My Marriage” discussed the demands of Ironman training on a family. This article was brought to my attention by Joe Friel’s Blog and then by, and was timely as Molly and I had out 19th anniversary on Feb 2. Molly and I have certainly experienced the combined demands of family, current job, the pursuing education and career changes, with some triathlon/marathon/ultracyling training thrown into the mix, we read that article with much familiarity.

Although I caught the endurance bug rather early (definitely in high school, but possibly even in grade school to a lesser degree), Molly is rather new to the endurance craze. She first started doing some running in 2003 when I had deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom, and since has done about (yes I am guessing) six marathons. She started doing triathlons in June 2008 when I signed her up for a sprint triathlon during our “vacation”. In December 2009 she did her first 200K with me on a tandem since I had decided to do Paris-Brest-Paris in 2011, and thought it would be much more fun if Molly went with me than if I just had to tell her about how awesome it was. Now she loves distance cycling, and has proved it not only by completing an R-12 award but she is insistent on doing PBP this August. I had a lot of options for racing and training this weekend, but Molly really wanted to do the Santiago Canyon 300K Brevet in preparation for PBP, and to secure our qualification by completing the series (200/300/400/600).

The Santiago Canyon 300K Brevet was by no means an easy brevet. A year ago Molly would complain about the smallest of hills, but now she is slowly turning “I hate hills” into “I love to hate hills”. She was well aware that this route had a ton of climbing, but was still excited about doing it. The route on ridewithgps stated that the total elevation gain was over 11,000 feet, but post ride my Garmin 800 had 9,100 feet of climbing. Still, there was a decent amount of climbing with some very steep climbs that were much more taxing than the usual long gradual climbs.

Three weeks ago at the Rainbow 200K I introduced my new time trial bike, Nautilus. Here are some photos of Nautilus:

Nautilus, a 2011 Felt B2. As shown (stock with DuraAce pedals and Garmin 800 mount added) weighs 20 lbs.

Featured on Nautilus is Di2, fully electronic derailleurs.

There are two sets of electronic shifters, bar end shifters on the aerobars and brake lever shifters on the base bar.

Cockpit view.

Even the brakes are color coordinated.

For the Santiago 300K, I introduced my newest bike, Sea Wolf. Sea Wolf is a 2011 Felt F2, similar color scheme as Nautilus, and also with electronic shifting.

Sea Wolf weighs in at a mere 15 lbs!

I had told Molly that I wanted to do the entire brevet with her. She fretted a little, feeling that she was keeping me from having fun riding hard “with the boys”, but eventually she got it. Besides riding on some unfamiliar roads, and into the night, this was our anniversary ride. Yes, we like to celebrate by eating (I look for any excuse to eat), but to spend every waking hour together completing a physically and emotionally demanding challenge, while experiencing new scenery is like none other. The ride started at 6 AM, with the temperature at 41F. After a few climbs, and some descents into canyons, the temperature dropped to 32F, and with descents up to 33 MPH at this temperature we became frozen rather quickly. First we experience pain and loss of sensation in our fingers, then toes, and then eventually Molly became hypothermic. We were cruising through Back Bay when Molly had become so cold she could barely move or think. Dion Dyer cruised up to us, and I don’t think he had any more success at trying to talk to Molly than I did. Fortunately, at the 3rd control the temperature quickly rose to 50F. It was still cold, but Molly became coherent and her spirits and positive attitude came back. Here is the graph of the temperature for the ride (start: 41, end: 46, low: 32, high: 84).

Randonneuring very frequently ends up with riding alone a lot. Some people prefer this, but even if you prefer to ride with other people you have to be prepared to spend many hours by yourself. Molly is rather social, and loves chatting it up with other riders, so I’ve always seen this as a potential problem as she does more randonneuring. So far she’s proven me wrong by often choosing to keep moving forward over waiting for the opportunity to ride with someone. I think ideally she’d prefer to ride with people, but not at the risk of finishing an hour or two later. We did have the opportunity to ride with several people during this brevet. From Newport Beach to Corona we rode with Dion and Marty. When we arrived at Corona we saw Kevin Foust there already, and we ended up spending the next 11 hours leap-frogging Kevin. The controls and rolling terrain somehow seemed to keep bringing us back together. Here is the elevation profile:

The most scenic area on the ride was from Lake Elsinore to Fallbrook. We didn’t take many pictures this time around, but here are a couple that Molly took with her iPhone.

Molly is always looking for happy cows.


There goes Kevin!

In Lake Elsinore we had the pleasure of running into some fellow randos that were doing a different route. They were doing the Toughrider 200K Permanent. We just happened to run into Kelly DeBoer and a couple other guys as we made an unscheduled stop at a Circle K to reload snacks and drinks. Of course Kevin happened to make the same stop and was there. A mile later I had a flat. I told Molly to continue on as I would catch her. As I was fixing my flat, Ed Sheppard rolled up to lend a hand, and then realized who I was. We chatted a little, and then he had to press on because he was also doing the Toughrider 200K and didn’t want to miss any control times. I thought I might see him again as I started rolling, but his route must have taken him a different way.

Our total time was 15:22, and my rolling time was 13:13. We had a great day together. Yes, Molly did (somewhat bitterly) spend a Mother’s day sitting in the rain watching me do a triathlon a few years ago, but now that she’s joined in the insanity we are enjoying truly memorable (and positive!) experiences together, even for our anniversary. Here is a map of our adventure:

We had an hour+ drive home, which was almost as tough as the last couple hours of the ride. Jacuzzi, pizza and beer ended up being a perfect ending for our day.