Three weeks ago when we finished the Train of Pain, Zach Scheetz and I were discussing the 200K+ rides that I like to do. I confessed that not all triathlon coaches or Ironman triathletes agree with doing over distance training on the bike, but I didn’t tell him that I have yet to convince a single one of my triathlete buddies to join me on a 200K since I started doing them in December 2006. Actually, I sort of was able to get one friend, Matt Dixon, to join me on a 200K last summer as he was prepping for Ironman Arizona. Matt however ended up destroying his rear wheel about 40 miles into it, and I haven’t been able to get out for more than 100K since. The fact that Matt qualified for Kona at IMAZ with the same bike split and overall finish time as I did the year before may have proved to him that the 200K was unnecessary, but I still think that it is a great confidence builder and prepares me to come off the bike fresh enough to run well.

Anyway, Zach and his wife Maurin are about to do their first iron-distance race, the full Vineman. I was a secretly surprised when Zach finally told me that he thought he should do a 200K. I wasn’t very convinced, but then heard from Maurin that she wanted to do one too. We were going to shoot for the Kitchen Creek 200K Brevet put on by San Diego Randonneurs. Although this would have been ideal, it came at my son’s high school graduation weekend. Since that didn’t work out, we arranged to do Mike Berry’s Rainbow Prelude Permanent 200K . This route is the same as the Rainbow Brevet that the San Diego Randonneurs puts on in January.

The three of us met up at Doyle Park in La Jolla. I was wondering a bit if they were going to go through with it, but they rolled up in their sporty station wagon just in time for a 7 am start:

We headed out and as soon as we were into Sorrento Valley I saw a group of four riders within our reach. I didn’t want to push the pace too early, realizing that pacing would be important for Zach and Maurin to decide that they actually enjoy a ride this long, but also wanted to see if we could grab some other company along the way. We took our time, but did reach them eventually. They were three UCSD Tri Team guys and one Cal-Poly Tri Team rider that is from San Diego and on summer break. I knew one of the guys from races we’ve done together (TCSD club races, Tritonman, Desert Triathlon). I asked them “hey where is Tim Ray at?” Uggghhh…. How did I not know?? Tim had died about 5 weeks ago, supposedly from a heart attack the night after completing a 50 mile running race in prep for a 100 mile race. I was shocked! I saw some facebook posts about Tim being an inspirational person about a month ago, but hadn’t actually heard about this tragedy. Molly and I knew Tim, and I raced against him several times. Unfortunately Molly and I have had several friends die in the past year, and this was just one more. How do you make sense of it all? I don’t know if you can, but all we can think of is try to do what you can to take care of yourself, and get the most out of life while you can.

Anyway, we had a good roll with them, but they stopped in Rancho Santa Fe to get water so we rolled on. We then met up with several other riders going up Del Dios Highway and through Elfin Forrest. I wish I had my camera ready because watching the B then the A group from Swami’s roll through Elfin Forrest (opposite our direction) was quite impressive. From San Elijo Rd on we were pretty much on our own, but we saw a lot of cyclist out on this gorgeous day in San Diego County.

At about mile 96 on Pacific in Oceanside I saw Kelly Deboer (Kellyjay) rolling along in the opposite direction. Later along the coast I was talking to a guy on a tandem and found out it was Dennis Hearst, Paris-Brest-Paris record holder. He told me his stoker, Amber, hadn’t been on a bike since she was 12 before today and that she just bought her shoes and clothing today. I’m actually not sure how long it’s been since she’s been on a bike because she didn’t seem very old.

We did a short stop at mile 100 because this was the first time Maurin had completed a full century. Her previous longest distance was around 95 miles.

When we hit Leukadia, Molly was there waiting for us. Molly has not been on the bike for months, trying to deal with a shoulder and knee injury from an accident she had in October 2010 when we were cut off by a driver in Carlsbad. She left our house when I let her know that we were in Rainbow (around mile 67), and then met up with us to ride the last part of the course in.

 

Overall it was a great day, and we finished in a respectable 8:26. Time will tell, but I may have just recruited two more to Randonneuring and Ultracycling.

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