Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tunitas-Alpine Road Century (Improved Sequoia Century) 2012

Century #23  (July 21, 2012) Tunitas Creek-Alpine Road Century-w/ Ward, Jack, Dr. Dave#*, Rebecca#*, Andy#, Norm#, 99.5 miles, 10,000' climbing.  14.0 avg (pathetic but includes waking around Pigeon Point Lighthouse w/ bikes)  #Only did the 60 mile Tunitas Loop.   *First up Tunitas Creek after chugging down a Chocolate Coconut Water at lunch.

Route maps thanks to Dr. Dave.  I think he is giving us a clue that he may not want to do the Alpine climb after Tunitas Creek.  Just a guess. (DrD)

Two weeks before the Mt. Tam Double and I'm in lousy condition.   After Alta Alpina depressed with calf/ vein problem so gained weight--fast.   Not hurting anymore but have to push 5 extra pound with a left leg that cramps up easily--especially at the beginning of a ride.   I hoping our Tunitas Creek-Alpine Road Century will be a break out ride.  Woodside-Pescadero-Tunitas Creek itself is a seminal climbing metric loop, (50 miles, 5'500' climbing per Chain Reaction Web Site--and we add the Pigeon Point Lighthouse Loop.)   Tunitas Creek is the feature climb near the end of the ride.  Adding on Alpine Road is like doing Tunitas Creek a second time--though with less trees half way up and thus warmer.

I really misjudged the weather--though the East Bay was heating up the temperature on the Coast didn't move all week.   After last weeks foggy Sherlock Holmes weather around Mt. Tam--I expected dense fog accompanying the 61 degree forecast for Pescadero.   I was bundled up as I drove to Woodside where it was sunny and warm--at 9:00.

Lots of first timers today--new club member PMM (perpetual motion machine) Rebecca and oldtimers Andy/ Norm who just did a big ride down the Coast.   For the Tunitas segment we'd usually break into two groups with Ward, Dr. Dave, Rebecca and I riding ahead of the field and then regrouping at turns.

Luckily I left knee warmers in the car (after a few people gave me that "are you crazy" look.)  My contribution to the route was to advocate actually ride into the Pigeon Point Lighthouse area, which includes a hostel.   Normally we just see it in the distance as we motor by on Highway 1.

My game plan was try to stay with Rebecca and her very visible constant 174 heart rate monitor.  As Dr. Dave said "I can't ride at 174."   Neither can I.  On the shorter climbs--Pescadero/ Memorial Park Climb, Bean Hollow Road, Pescadero/Stage Road, and San Gregorio/ Stage Road I did well.   On the longer climbs--Old La Honda and Tunitas Creek I failed miserably.

My favorite segment was the Gazos Creek Rd run in to the Coast.  It reminded me of the back road coming off of Mt. Tam on the Double, and I rode it hard.   But later I had my worse Tunitas Creek climb--blowing up half way up.

The loop was great, as usual (though we miss the house with the 1000 pink flamingos and the house with the giant rebar machine gun toting skeleton.)   The Old LaHonda Climb comes up almost immediately and usually it is cool and foggy--today it was nice and dry.   Passed a guy who does the Mt. Tam Double--I stopped to take photos.  I repassed Mt. Tam guy but near the top I could hear him chugging hard so I also picked up the speed.   I stayed ahead but felt like shit at the top--great, feeling like crap 10 miles into the ride--how the hell am I going to contend with the balls out Mt Tam Double mass start?

Dr. Dave and Rebecca on top of Old La Honda (PC)
Luckily this was a regroup spot and our 2nd group took awhile to get to the top which allowed me to recover.  Then the twisty downhill, speedy run into La Honda, a tree lined climb towards Pescadero/ Memorial Park, wide open downhill, and the regroup at redwood covered (and today tinge of smoke filled) Memorial Park.   For once we didn't lose anyone flying by Memorial Park--perhaps it was Ward reminding everyone "Memorial Park is after the YMCA Camp." 

(above) Don't wake me up (below) Andy and Norm play tourist (PC)

Rebecca doesn't look older than Jack (WI)
Then rollers towards Pescadero and just when we're within a mile we make a sharp left so we first do a southern loop.  More rollers in the middle of nowhere, still nice and sunny, when all of a sudden the temperature drops a bit, a tinge of fog appears (just a tinge) and boom we are on the Coast. 

(above) Ward, Rebecca and Dave on Gazos Creek Road.
While I take photo of Ward (all the way at the top), Ward returns the favor while I eat another Hammer product (WI)

(above) The gang at end of Gazos Creek Road--Eureka!, we found the Pacific. (below) Dave and Ward only eat "Bonk Breakers" that match their jersey (PC)

We remind everyone that some of us are going to pull into the Pigeon Point Rec area--I didn't know who was going to do it but the lunch spot is in Pescadero 10 miles away so we can regroup there.  Started pulling down the Coast which reminded me of our clubmate Big Jim--who we all usually ducked behind on this stretch--unfortunately he is now terribly ill. 

To my surprise everyone pulled into the Pigeon Point Lighthouse area.   Lighthouse is one of those tall tower types.  The tallest one on the West Coast.  Built with corroding wrought iron instead of steel so teh tower is off limits.   When we pass by it is sometimes totally covered in fog, sometimes it looks like a cloud just sitting on the top.  Today crystal clear-loads of Kodak moments.  Ward trying to perfect his photo technique--any time anyone pulls out a camera/ cell phone to take a photo--if you don't have Ward in front of you there is a guarantee that he's take a photo of you taking a photo with your LED screen (subject to his editing) readily apparent.

Scenes from Pigeon Point Lighthouse--luckily no real pigeons (PC)

(above) Our group photo (below) some of Ward's lighthouse photos (WI)

Continue down the Coast and then short climb inland toward Pescadero--don't know if Rebecca was more disappointed not seeing the pink flamingo house or the machine gun man skeleton house--or the Brussels sprouts on the vine we'd see later in the year.

Rebecca disappointed she hasn't seen Brussels Sprouts on the run in to Pescadero (PC)
Lunch at Pescadero and THE Artichoke Bread (WI)
Pescadero was crowed--but not with cyclists.  The dozens of cyclists we saw on Old La Honda didn't do the Pigeon Point Loop and F around the lighthouse compound as we did--so they were long gone.  I had my pockets stuffed with power bars as I didn't think the great Arcangeli Grocery had small loaves of Artichoke Bread (only nice surprise on Sequoia Century were the samples of bread here at the bonus mile rest stop.)  They didn't but F it, bought a huge loaf--enough to enjoy for lunch--duck away two chunks away for later, and then split with everyone else.    Dr Dave and Rebecca had chocolate coconut water--and then they were the first two up Tunitas Creek.  Is there a connection?  Does WADA have to be contacted?

I'm #1 on Strava through the Pescadero Graveyard (WI)
Out of Pescadero 3 medium climbs--2 before San Gregorio and 1 after (we never stop at the commercial famous Country and Western Store), the last getting up back up to Highway 1 before a few mile drop down to the start of Tunitas Creek.  Incident which proves that Ward and I border on normalcy.   At the top of the climb--sunny but 61 with a slight breeze.  I'm digging out my vest (at least t-shirt came off at lunch) for the downhill--its cool.  Ward arrives and he is dripping with sweat.

Ward and Dave at the end of stage road.
Ward, Rebecca, Dr. Dave and I fly down the shoulder on Highway 1--traffic constantly next to us.  A land bridge right before the Tunitas turn, which unfortunately doesn't have a shoulder.  We make the turn and stop at a "bike hut" where I get to try out an Adirondack chair.   I'm ready to take a nap--hope the second group takes their time getting here.

Regroup at the Bike Hut at the beginning of Tunitas Creek.  Ward threatens to turn this into Kitty who will again accuse me of goofing off (WI) 
Due to our late arrival not the usual crowd of cyclists on Tunitas Creek.  Long climb--around 10 miles--but the first few miles at the beginning and the last couple at the end are gentle.  In between dense stands of redwoods in the middle but with a series of steep hairpins. 

Dr Dave and Rebecca--the St Mary's Team--at the start of Tunitas Creek (WI)
I try to stay with Rebecca--keeping a steady 174 heart rate, and Dr. Dave.  But by the time we hit the steep part I'm drained and fall off.  I'm in the x27 much more than I usually am--and its even too damn hard.    Near the top I'm joined by a guy I talked to earlier and he had alot of questions about seminal rides.  Usually I try to slam this portion but today happy to slow and BS with someone.  My worst Tunitas Climb in years. 

Regroup at the top. Ward pulls in--he still looks like he could be the centerpiece of a desalination plant.   Dr. Dave reminds everyone he's not in for the bonus miles,  neither is Rebecca.   Jack rolls in and wonders who is doing it--I raise my hand meekly, after today's crappy riding I'm not "thrilled" about doing extra miles and its real tempting to ride the downhill to the finish.  So after Dave says he'll wait for Andy/ Norm I just take off--no clue who is going to join me--but if I don't take off then I ain't doing it.

Rollers on Skyline back to La Honda Road.  Intersection has Alice's Restaurant (is that Woody Guthrie, or Woody Hayes or Woody Allen??)  Half way there finally turn around and glad that Jack and Ward joined me.  Alices' and the grocery across the street stuffed with motorcycle riders.  Very hot at the rest stop--top bottles and down loads of drink, a banana and frozen fruit pop.

Time to get hydrated (WI)
"Do what you should, not what you can"--Coach Toby 

We are now on fast road back to La Honda--where with some hard work you can hit 30 and feel like a great cyclist.  But we'll be hitting Alpine Road right after--and it will be brutal today--so we just keep it around 24-26 mph and "rest up."

Pass the right turn Pescadero/ Memorial Park climb--now follow the road around to the left--Alpine Road.  Alpine Road is narrower than Tunitas Creek, and the beginning is heavily tree lined and gentle.  
Then its tree lined and the grade kicks up.  It is so narrow that many times it has no center line--and when it does some cars coming down think they need to place their muffler over it and ride in the middle of the road.

Gradually the trees disappear, the grade is still stiff and it gets markedly hotter.  Too bad we couldn't bank the cool air on the coast for here. Can see the fog sitting to the West--over the coast--but that ain't helping us now.  I'm downing water/ sports drink like crazy, Ward has also almost drained his bottles and doing his imitation of a Rome Fountain.

Going up the climb steady but slow, and guarding what water I have left.  Maybe we should have stopped at Portola Park which is half way up the climb though a couple of miles to get in.  But we didn't--we'd get water at the top of the climb at Russian Ridge Open Space Staging area.   But as we found out open space staging areas have no water--the $50 million dollars hidden in the State Park budget was found too late to help us on this ride.

View of San Jose Basin from Alpine Road, with Dr. Dave's 2nd favorite athlete jogging by.  To bad he missed it.
  Long downhill on Page Mill Road--with some nice views of the San Jose area.   Luckily we pass a park with real grass, real bathrooms and REAL WATER-- Palo Altos' Foothill Park.  Ward and I couldn't drink enough. 

We're in 'GOD's Country', so Ward and I are in trouble (WI)
Then a few baby rollers and a few miles back to Woodside.  Saw alot of cyclists going the other way.  Finally finished--the ride had more climbing than most organized century rides.   Ward's hi-tech Garmin cut out on Tunitas Creek and didn't record 5 miles, luckily Jack's low tech odomoter matched mine--that we were a shade under 100 miles.  Long day--kind a brutal at times--but needed to suffer a little today so hopefully will suffer less on the Mt. Tam Double.


Anonymous said...

This report is rife with inaccuracies!!! The "regular" group rode 66 miles, not 60. And, well, humility keeps me from mentioning the other inaccuracies. I DO like the "bonk bar" matching jerseys.

Pumpkincycle said...

How do we know it was 66 miles?? Was it measured on a Garmin--where a half dozen miles magically disappear? or appear? The same precise instrument where one person has 5,000' climbing and another has 8,000'at the end of the same ride--which then goes up to 9,000' once they hit the 'adjust' button. We'll only accept result measured on a cheep (sic) wired Cateye.