Monday, May 21, 2012

Consistency... A race report

Another month goes by... so it must be time for a new post/race/ride report

I am, if nothing else, consistent.

Last Saturday, Mik, Betty, and I rode the 66 Mile Route of the San Diego Century. Here's the report on that event.
As usual, we got up at the butt-crack of dawn to drive to Encinitas. We were in the parking lot by 6:30. The ride (the organizers insisted it was NOT a race... OK, it wasn't, but for me, neither is a half-marathon. Whatever) had a rolling start. So we just needed to start some time between 6am and 8am. We figured we'd start around 7ish since we were ONLY doing 66 miles and not the full century.
Betty's beverage matched her bike!
Once we arrived at Mira Costa College (the start of the race), things went well. Easy parking. Getting bikes ready. It wasn't at all crowded due to the rolling start, so we used the porta potties, got our ride numbers & goody bags quickly. We saw the Trek ride group start (full disclosure, Mik saw them. I think I was in the hut).

Sadly, all week I'd had some nagging aches in my general shoulder and upper arm area. I think it's from a combination of grading stress, not enough sleep, and raising a teen-ager anxiety...all together. By race morning I could barely raise my left shoulder. There was a sports-massage therapist at the start, so I decided to see if he could help me out.

One of our friends, Susan, spotted this photo on the race organizer's website. She sent me a link to it. I wonder how she knew it was me???
The massage guy had really warm hands and was able to loosen my shoulder a bit. He was also pitching these machines. I made Betty and Mik try them out since he was fixing me.
The thing sorta jiggled. I think it was supposed to warm up muscles. Here's Mik trying it out.
Betty said it made her nauseas. It reminded me of those belt-jiggle thingies that were supposed to make you thin..
You know...this kind of thing...only without the belt.
So I don't want to say anything bad about the guy who worked on my shoulder for about 10 minutes, because it really did help, but we weren't so sure about the jiggle-machine.

I could tell that Mik and Betty were tired of watching me get a massage, so we thanked the guy and moved to the start.
And we are off!
 But not quite...

Just as we crossed the start line I could hear a click-click-click and felt my bike pull to the right, then left, and feel all wobbly, and then I heard someone behind me saying "uh ohhhhh"

In other words, a flat. Nice.

Of course, we could have fixed the thing ourselves, but since we were LITERALLY right at the start, we walked back to the SAG truck and let them change it for us.

Here's a shout out to the guys from Revolution Bike Shop. They were VERY COOL, change my tire in a snap, even gave me a tube (yes, I was carrying) and told some good stories, and I learned that I have been riding on over-inflated tires! (Remember when I rode on under-inflated tires and kept getting flats? Well, leave it to me to go to extremes...the over-inflation didn't directly cause the flat, but having tired inflated correctly certainly helped with some shock absorption, which over 67 miles I certainly noticed!)
My bike on the rack. Mik went to one of the food trucks and grabbed a coffee to share. Nice
So...once the tire was changed, we got a do-over and were off! Yay!!!

I won't give you a mile by mile breakdown because, really, that's crazy. But the first 1/3 of the ride, through the back-roads of North County, through Olivenhain, The Elffin Forest, were absolutely beautiful parts of the ride. There were almost no cars on the rural roads, so we often rode toward the middle of the street. The hills were challenging, but not impossible. As usual, I wish now that I'd stopped to take some photos, but you already know I didn't do that.

Along the way, a woman rode up beside me and started chatting, noting how beautiful it was and all. Her name was Ann and she was all the way from Alberta, down for the weekend because her husband was at some conference, and decided to rent a bike and ride it ( a 66 mile relatively hilly ride, you know, just for the fun of it, by herself!) and if that wasn't enough, she had a Coeur de'Alene Ironman cycling jersey on, so in my mind, she is a BAD-ASS.

She said, "we seem to ride about he same pace. Do you mind if I ride with you?"

"No Problem!!!"
Me, Ann, and Betty at the end of the ride (spoiler alert...we all finished!)
The first SAG was about 16 miles in. Pretty basic stuff. Water Refills. Some cookies. Nothing to brag about. We commented that the Senorita Century, with it's croissant sandwiches and herbed waters and teas, sorta spoiled us with respect to the SAG stop fare. At the first SAG, Betty made me give her the car keys, saying that she was thinking that she'd just do the 37 because she wasn't feeling it.

The second leg of the race to the 2nd SAG stop included a nice climb up something called "The Three Witches" which was a nice climb, but nothing worse than anything else we'd done. Later on there was a really fun ride down the Del Dios Highway, where I reached my top speed of 35mph (according to Garmin, but I swear I looked down and saw 39 at one point...but maybe it was 29 and I just can't remember).

In any event, it was super fun to go flying down the hill. We also rode through some of the of the slums of Rancho Santa Fe (For non-locals...the average home price in Rancho Santa Fe is well over $2,000,000--yep, that's a lot of zeros).

At one point before the second SAG stop, I could see I had a text message (I have a carrier for my iPhone that is attached to my handle bars). Of couse, without reading glasses, I cannot actually SEE anything on the phone, just that I have a message, so when we got the second SAG stop, I quickly checked my messages to see if it was from Betty, letting me know that she'd gone straight on Via De La Valle for the 37 mile route. I didn't have a message from her (it was from my BIL, who was also riding that day, telling me that HIS riding partner wasn't feeling it, so they were doing 37 instead...we never did catch each up with each other that day).

The second SAG was much like the first, cookies, some power bars (yukky), Gatorade, water, porta potties (of course), and about 4 minutes after I arrived...there was Betty. She decided to do the 66 with us. You go girl!

At the SAG, I wondered where the big hills were. I mean I thought that The Three Witches was going to rival Torrey Pines in terms of difficulty and length, but it didn't. Mik said that she thought the big climb was coming up.
Mik and I at SAG 2. She always looks so chipper!
Betty doesn't look thrilled to be at SAG 2, but she is. I swear it!
After the second SAG, we headed further east, into what I'll call the less interesting part of the ride. Pretty much we rode through the suburbs of Penasquitos, Rancho Bernardo, Poway and Sabre Springs, in other words, the 'burbs. Also, since we were so far east, the sun was out and it was getting pretty warm. Ann noted it was pretty humid (I guess Alberta is pretty dry), which was funny to me, because I thought it was pretty dry outside. I told her to drink lots and stay hydrated. Of course, she is an Iron woman, so she already knew this, but I said it anyway.

There was one more serious climb, which was made more difficult mostly because it was getting hot, but mostly because there was another cyclist in matching pink EVERYTHING who was doing silly things, like passing me then slowing after she pulled in front of me. This was especially maddening when it occurred on a hill when she slowed to adjust her music. (GRRRRR).

Even worse, she was not very nice. I'm a pretty friendly rider. I'll make jokes about lights not turning green as I approach them (I'll yell GREEN! GREEN! GREEN! just to see if I can will the light to change so that I don't have to clip out), or I'll make comments about how LOVELY the neighborhood is (imagine super-funny-bonding-we-are-all-in-this-together-type-sarcasm). When I did this around her, I felt like she just gave me a snooty look in her matching one-piece pink riding outfit. I don't know. Maybe she didn't hear me with her earphones in. But if someone smiles at you, isn't polite to at least smile back...even half-heartedly?


Also, I don't have a problem with other riders passing me. Happens all the time. But don't pass me, pull in front of me, then slow down to adjust your tunes. Finally, I'd had it with her and, I decided to slow and wait through a light so that she could move her pink-ass ahead of me.

After the 3rd SAG station (no pretty pix there...sorry), we headed into probably the most frustrating part of the ride, mostly because of the traffic and having to stop at traffic lights. Finally, I caught up with her and we roared down San Dieguito Road. I was so incredibly happy because I could feel the ocean breeze (more on THAT later) AND I could see the ocean, which meant we were close to the finish, which meant that I was screaming as we headed down another particularly snazzy hill "I CAN SEEEE THE OCEAAAAAANNNNNNNN!

Uh yeah, at the bottom of that hill, was, of course, an uphill...and worse yet, those cool ocean breezes at the top of the hill, became a pretty strong head-wind at the we headed around the Polo fields (yes, there are polo fields. We were back in Rancho Santa Fe/Fairbanks Ranch...).

At this point, Francis came to our rescue!

I don't know where he came from, but as we headed around the polo fields, he said "I'll lead" and he basically pulled us for about 4 miles, where we averaged about 17mph in a pretty stiff headwind. Mik and I talked afterwards and agreed that it pretty much took all we had to keep up with him, but the alternative, falling back and not staying with him, only meant that we would have been working that much harder, and going slower, so we stuck with him.

At one point, I shouted up "do you want to rotate?" and he said, "no. I got this." It was amazing. He was also pretty funny, shouting out things like "PHEWY!" as we rode around the horse fields which smelled pretty horsey, and "OUCH" whenever we went over a bump...apparently his hoo-haw was feeling it too!

Francis was our hero...and of course, I don't have a photo, but he was wearing a BMW shirt, so when the race photos are up, I'll definitely find one!

Finally, we got to the ocean and the ride up the coast was both scenic and familiar, but we knew that the race start was inland, which meant that we had at least one small, but undoubtedly steep, hill remaining, and there it was, at about Mile 65 ("IT'S JUST NOT RIGHT" Francis exclaimed...He is so my kind of rider!)

Funny moment, as we headed into the parking lot and the finish, we had to make a left turn at a light. A very nice highway patrol officer reminded us to come to a complete stop.

And we were done!
Mik and I stretching and waiting for Betty and Ann to finish (yes, she was still with us)
And afterwards, we had....
Pancakes & Beer... I mean, wouldn't you?
So...another event, come and gone. I have some reflections on the whole trying to get through the winter belonging to both the track club and a riding club, but I will save that for another elusive post... It'll happen. In the meantime, the herd will need to come up with a new plan or event to work towards, we've got nothing planned for now.