Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Century Doubleheader-Game 1-Tunitas Creek plus Alpine Road (2011)

(7/23/2011) Tunitas Creek-Alpine Loop Century, 100 miles, 9,200-11,400' climbing??? w/ Diablo Cyclists for metric Tunitas Creek Loop then w/ Ward, Jack, Christine, Todd for Extra Credit.

Garmin profile of both Century rides--nice to know elevation gain though shades of Colin's wacky "3000' more" Garmin after the Davis 200k brevet--our two Garmin measurements are 2000' off. As they say "Garmin Connect SELECTIVELY applies corrections to depict a more realistic representation of your cycling experience." Great--I'm gonna buy the Garmin model that selectively adds the most climbing.

Tunitas Creek a great metric loop and Jack and I added on Alpine Road last year --which is just like the Tunitas Creek except warmer (less shade at top) and doesn't level off at the top. Mt. Tam Double coming up in two weeks and as final prep I wanted to do tough back to back century rides--and adding Alpine Road to the Diablo Cyclist metric ride seemed perfect.

Doing back to back hard century rides is both tougher and easier than a Double. On a Double more chance for bonking or a pulmonary meltdown. But on back to back century rides my legs just tighten up when I'm getting that good night sleep and stiff/now power the next day, while on a Double legs stay relatively loose for the whole ride.

Unfortunately the Tunitas Creek loop in San Mateo is next to the Pacific Ocean and its often 25 degrees cooler than in the East Bay. Great if there is a scorcher but this weekend was gonna be mild. And the self supported century planned for the next day was in Marin--also next to the Pacific.

The course is lots of fun for billy goats. After a too short warmup we'd be going over long and semi-steep Old La Honda--I never do good on this climb as the cool moist morning air seems to hang over it f'ing up my breathing while the locals (time trial course for local cyclists) zoom ahead. Then after a regroup on Skyline, a twisty downhill on Old La Honda, mediocre road and too many curves for my liking but light traffic and usually the sun starts to break through.

Funny story at top of Old La Honda. Captain Jack is probably the most consistent rider and our best long distance cyclist. He swears he never chases or is competitive with other cyclists, though many of us detect a pickup of speed with elbows out when someone cycles by. At the top of Old La Honda one of our new riders--Indiana, said he was almost up to Jack on Old La Honda and then Jack picked up the speed to pull away. Jack protested he didn't and some pundit said "Jack never picks up speed like he always does."

Today very very different. Though heavily overcast the air was very dry on the Old La Honda climb and I kicked it into gear on all the sudden steep hairpins--much like Mt. Tam from Alpine Road. Nice surprise--the road was freshly paved. I tried a practice run of going as hard as I could and passed all cyclists I saw on the road. Only thing marring trip was asshole coming down in a red vintage Mustang giving everyone the "We're #1" sign. After the regroup and the downhill we suddenly found the damp fog, it was smack over the twisty road with pockets of gravel and a 10' site line. My club gave me the honor of going down first and not passing on the downhill (usually everyone does,) probably figuring out I was going slow enough to keep it safe.

Jeanne and Jim arrive on Skyline after the Old La Honda Climb.

After regroup at the bottom--next stretch is on a main road that is slightly downhill (with mini rollers) and a usual tailwind. Here taking it easy at 30mph is the norm. We zipped together by La Honda and made the right turn up Pescadero Road (later we'd be here again and go straight onto Alpine Road) which is a short gradual climb through one of the many parks in the area.) Todd--back from the Death Ride--would start every climb like a bat out of hell and we'd all have to work to stay with him until Cisco Dave-Ward-and I would finally go ahead. On this climb, after the intramural hi jinx, a retro rider (no helmet-down shifter tubes) passed without saying anything which got my dander up. I kicked it in to get back to him, and he then kept revving up the pace higher and higher. We started bs'ing a little but near the top he kicked in a sprint--that's it, I'm not talking to any locals unless its the three Musketeers Club who saved my butt the first time I did the Tunitas Ride in 2003. (Ironically-Tunitas Creek was having an art show that warm day--so they took us over Alpine Road instead.)

Fast downhill becomes a fast level road--and it is easy to zoom by our first real regroup spot--Memorial Park, and usually someone does. But I rode in with Dave and Ward and we stopped near the road to make sure no one missed this stop among a great Redwood Grove--and for once no one did. Maybe because Rusty--the bombing downhiller--wasn't on the ride and we weren't all chasing back to him.

My bike with new light Stan's front wheel and my light American Classic on the rear. With loads of hills and competitive locals this was a great ride to try out my wheel combo for the Mt. Tam Double.

We'd now continue the slightly downhill and fast (though punctuated by more significant rollers than earlier) road towards Pescadero--though short of Pescadero we'd take a dozen mile detour along the Coast. We told the riders new to this ride about the house on the road that used to have 1,000 plastic Pink Flamingos in their front yard--and their neighbor down the road that had a re bar skeleton holding a machine gun. Story time ended fast when two guys bombed through--again saying nuttin. That had me lead our group chase back to them where I slipped in to third wheel and stayed put--thoughts of attacking on a roller crossed my mind but we still were planning 100 miles so time to conserve energy and they passed us so now we could get a free ride. The two guys kept switching back and forth in the front and I was vigilant if one would make a break but none developed--and truth be told it looked like they were real annoyed that we all stuck with them.

Short of Pescadero we turned off for some great back road riding towards the Coast--still a fast road but not like the previous sections.

Ward and Christine on the Cloverdale Road--heading towards the Pacific..

I'm going over an "Eddie Stanky" roller* (this term defined in the next blog)-Ward Worldwide Photos

Once on Hwy 1--we all looked at Big Jim to take his place of honor in the front of our paceline--but two unique changes today. Usually a slight headwind or crosswind going North--today we had a slight tailwind. And Todd started off at the front doing well--usually Jim kicks me off the front for going too slow, and Todd almost as big as Jim so Jim could nicely draft behind him until he took over. We were going 20+mph so no stopping or taking photos while riding past the lighthouse. Then sudden turn and through a few small attention getting hills on the road past the "garbage dump" that drops us into the Greater Pescadero area for lunch.

Pescadero--what a town--fine art in the streets. Worldwide Ward Photos.

Great general store that makes fresh bread--wanted a slice of artichoke bread but would have to get a whole load so just had a banana in the picnic area filled with cyclists in the back. Definitely didn't want to eat too much as the rest of the ride would be one climb after another. First have to navigate two gentle but almost long climbs with a fast downhill where I expected Rusty to jump out of the trees and zoom by. Then past the San Gregerio General Store--before the steepest climb up to Higway 1 on the Pacific Ocean.

Quick word about San Gregorio General store--pictured below and recently seen lots of times during the booooooring portions if the Tour de France, as background in an ever present repetitive commercial where someone on a 15 lbs bike has a 12 lb combo I-Phone, Garmin, Tom-Tom that probably displays stock quotes and horoscopes. We joked about it during regroup--a few days later the Bike Snob also tackled the subject. After distance, speed, average speed, power and altitude that doesn't deviate from devise to devise by 1000'+, what more does one need to know?

No doubt Cisco Dave, Christine, Todd and Ward would be climbing better if they had the huge handlebar computer recently featured in front of the San Gregorio General Store. Maybe it can run on the same battery found with electronic shifting.

Jeanne reaches the top of Stage Road climb onto Hwy 1.-Ward Worldwide Web photo--follow Ward Industries on Twitter on your bicycle computer devise.

Fast downhill for a couple of miles on Highway 1 that used to scare the crap out of me, but now nonplussed about it. Then quick turn onto Tunitas Creek where a bike shack/kiosk and a few large groups milling around nearby.

Tunitas Creek is the large climb of the day (7 miles, + 2000' per Western Wheelers.) As I said earlier I usually find the Old La Honda Climb we do right away in the fog harder (2.6 miles, +580')--most people disagree. But the first quarter of Tunitas Creek is relatively flat, the second quarter is a gentle climb, and the final quarter is fast and almost fast. All the hard climbing is packing in to killer hairpins in the third quarter of the climb. The whole route is packed dense with trees.

We start off as a group and one of the cyclists at the bike kiosk shoots by--I remain on good behavior. But then another guy shoots by and I decide I'm a lazy ass and should do a fun interval while I chase back to him though I figure this pace is going to kill me going up Tunitas Creek. No worries-Dave, Ward and I got back to his back wheel and guy was just riding hard till he caught up with his group a mile up the road.Ward at beginning of Tunitas Creek.

We all stayed together until it got steep, and the steep sections are great--usually around a hairpin like Mt. Tam from the reservoir side. Unless someone from another club came by no problems going a little slower--and by modifying the pace we were all able to get back together when the final flattish section started. Our ace in the hole was that Ward could time trial the last section if need be and Dave could sprint out if need be closer to the end. As it turns out no one came by and great ride to the top of Tunitas Creek.

Dave and Ward celebrating that the sun is now out when they finish Tunitas Creek.

Regroup at top of Tunitas Creek and the metric riders now could go down ings Mountain Road--another fast downhill to the start. Ward, Jack, Todd, Christine and I weren't smart enough to follow them and we did a few miles of downhill rollers to get back to La Honda Road redux.

At turnoff on Skyline Ward, Jack and Christine find shade and an empty bench among the tons of motorcycles here and across the street at Alice's Restaurant.

Earlier in the day we had gone down twisty OLD La Honda until we got to the La Honda speedway--now we were going to start on the fast main road. We zoomed past the place we jumped on in the morning, still fast but 70 miles in the legs slower zoomed past Old La Honda, and the did a rolling regroup after turning left for the climb up to Pescadero Road---but this time we continued straight ahead into Alpine Road.

Alpine Road (6.8 miles, 1900' feet altitude gain) is alot like Tunitas Creek--though the shade ends half way up and the climb continues to get steeper as you go higher. Great view of the fog rolling in off the Coast miles away. Unlike the early climbs only one other cyclist on the road--and our bonus mile group stays together--rides at the pace of the slowest rider, unlike rides in the larger group where someone is always pushing the pace.
Christine is not enjoying her Alpine Road experience. No doubt that huge bike contraption featured during the TdF in front of the San Gregorio General Store would enhance the climb by playing cartoons and allow for text messaging while riding.

After we climbed back up to Skyline and regrouped at a hiker staging area--we now could go back along Skyline to Kings Mountain Road--or go down steep and twisty Page Mill Road. Last year I did the Page Mill downhill and was not happy--probably went through a set of brake pads. But going North on Skyline would be the slow direction. So off we went down Page Mill and I quickly fell off the back of the group--on a sudden uphill roller reprieve I attacked. The usual reason I go balls out on climbs--so I can start the downhills in front of everyone who is faster. The good news is that while Toddd-Ward and Christine got back to me they let me set the downhill pace and at the end told me I had done a good job. Way cool.

Back in the flats Todd on the last section if gentle rollers back to Woodside.

We pacelined back toward Woodside and one one uphill roller a local shot by--of course I had to chase him. He dusted my butt on the next uphill but I caught him on the flat section while he recovered. Nice guy--we both had a good time trying to push the pace, and then talk about the rides we did that day. When the pelaton came back Jack was leading and cut through a parking lot instead of turning at an intersection--the missed 1/4 mile made this a 99.75 mile ride. OK--a Chico Century.

Now late in the day and almost warm back where the cars were parked. In the old (college) days a sporting event ended with a round of beers--now we break out the protein recovery drinks--enhanced by the cold grapes and Hammer huckleberries that Christine broke out. Long day--lots of climbs--mostly strong efforts, and had a dozen hours to recover before the century tomorrow. Hope to do this ride again--next time 100 degree weather is predicted for the East Bay.

Horses guarding the cars at Woodside.

Always interesting to plan the food needed for a self supported century. This took 6 1/2 hours of riding time (7 3/4 total time) for 100 miles @10,000'.

Breakfast...Protein Belgium Waffle (60g carbs), Banana (27g), Yogert (38g)=125 gram carbs

Ride.....2 Cliff Shot Blocks (100g) , 2 Cliff Z Bars (48g), 2 Odswalla bars (70g), 2 Bananas (54g) , Coconut Ice Pop (20g) , 4 HEED scoops (108g) , 5 Perpetuem scoops (135g), Hammergel Shot (25g)=560 gram carbs

So 86 g carbs per riding hour--more than enough. At the end had a Perpetuem/ Protein shake.

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