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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 04-11-08, 09:56 PM   #1
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2008 Pre-Target Ride #1 (Epic)

Okay...here goes...wish me well.

Tomorrow I head down to the Santa Monica coastline to attempt the Mulholland Challenge Century. Here's a map at Bikely. 110 miles with 11,000+ feet of climbing. Here's it's profile:



My main goal this year is to complete the Assault on Mt. Mitchell century in June in about 6 hours or so. I have previously ridden and completed this Assault back in 1988 (finished in 11-1/2 hours). I rode it again in 1990 but did not complete it due to injury.

This Mulholland Challenge is my first ride in the Planet Ultra (a local California ride promoter) King of the Mountains series: three centuries, each with 10,000+ feet of climbing. This series finishes about 3 weeks prior to the Assault and I am using it as training.

I think the Assault will probably be 2nd or 3rd hardest of the four. The Mulholland Challenge tomorrow will be the hardest. This will be compounded by the fact that this past Saturday, the crank on my bike broke causing me to crash on my right side, luckily only at about 15mph.



I was largely unhurt: some small patches of road rash on my ankle, knee, hip, elbow & shoulder. The worst was my wrist--it hurt like all get out. I could barely move it. Well, all week long I've applied ice to it, and now heat these past 3 days. I have about 90% range of motion and strength back. I've been off the bike all week--that's been good. It's allowed my saddle soars to heal up and my legs to have a great break. I should be fresh.

So wish me well. I'll try and right up a report when done (although I'm nowhere near as eloquent as The Historian).
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Old 04-12-08, 12:50 PM   #2
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Mark, good luck! That ride's climbing profile looks brutal.
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Old 04-12-08, 01:09 PM   #3
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Tough looking ride, but I want to hear how you broke your crank. Just riding along? Or hit something?
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Old 04-12-08, 01:51 PM   #4
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Hope the ride went well for you--that is indeed a nasty climb profile!

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Old 04-12-08, 10:29 PM   #5
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Tough looking ride, but I want to hear how you broke your crank. Just riding along? Or hit something?
Just riding along. Upon closer inspection, it looks like there was a crack in it for awhile. It just finally gave out. I'm not sure how the crack got in there--I've never crashed this bike.
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Old 04-12-08, 10:30 PM   #6
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I finished. Hardest ride I think I've ever done. Working on details. I'll post.
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Old 04-12-08, 11:05 PM   #7
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Very nice and congrats
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Old 04-12-08, 11:16 PM   #8
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Completed the ride? Good job Dude!
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Old 04-13-08, 05:05 PM   #9
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Final Stats & Data
105.9 miles
11,696 feet elevation gain
8hrs, 49mins ride time (10+ hrs total time)
12.0mph avg pace
4 major climbs and a half-dozen smaller ones
Slight sunburn, amazing back pain and occasional leg cramps (even now )



Report
This is a timed event. Although not technically a race, many riders try and get a good time and improve on their last year's time. Riders receive verification at each stop that they have completed that portion of the route. This all goes toward awarding of the "King of the Mountains" status.

Got there early for a 6:30 start with a few friends, although with all the climbing, I only seemed to converse with them at rest stops when we caught eachother.


Rolling out to our date with Destiny. The morning temps were quite low (40s) for California. Although, as we approached the ocean, the temps went up due to the stabilizing of the ocean. We were hot the rest of the day with high temps hitting the mid-90s.


Riding through canyons down to the beach...


Riding along the Pacific Coast Highway toward the sunrise, and our appointment with the first major climb of the day: Topanga /Old Topanga Canyon Roads...


We turn left onto Topanga Canyon Rd and begin a slight uphill (1.8% grade)--into the wind, of course!!--for about 2 miles. Then, we approach this, the "real" climb up Topanga: 1 mile at 7% with some steeper sections. Not terribly difficult by itself and especially early on in the ride...


It flattens out at the top as we go through a nice little village (Topanga Village--what else?!). We turn left onto Old Topanga Road, again rolling easily through some trees and a gradual uphill...


...until we hit the "wall"--a 10% beast that starts out easy enough, pitching up around a corner...
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Old 04-13-08, 05:06 PM   #10
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From here it's up-down-up-down along Mulholland Highway until the "Rock Store" climb. It's mostly 7% for about 2-1/2 miles. I've climbed up it once before. I don't remember it being hard like this. We zoom down the other side and turn off onto Little Sycamore Rd. I wasn't prepared for this!! It's not that it was too long (2-1/2 miles) or overly steep (5%). I just wasn't expecting it. Somewhere, I thought we'd be going downhill to the coast and there'd be no more climbing before then. :stupidme:

Climbing Little Sycamore...


The SAG stop on Sycamore and where we still have to go...



At the top of Little Sycamore, the road got a bit nasty: cracks and ruts all over it. Then we had a nice long descent (4.8 miles) on this stuff. In one sharp corner, there was a group of people. I happened to notice some blood on the pavement. I did not see anyone down, though. Just a reminder to take it easy.

Then we turn onto Cotharin Rd. It's a nasty little climb!! Again, unexpected. It's short (less than a mile) but steep--average grade of 9%! This is average grade. Some sections were at 14% and some around 4%. Nasty.


At the end of some rollers, which-by this point-I was not rolling over but struggling on, comes a descent down Deer Creek Rd. I usually like going downhill, but on this one--nope!! It was steep (12% down) and long (2.2 miles) with corners in the road where you couldn't see what's coming up. One misstep, and I was going over the side and down the cliff!!


Finally, we're on the Pacific Coast Highway again. Unfortunately, there's even a few little climbs along this section. But the views are always nice...
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Old 04-13-08, 05:07 PM   #11
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...Of course it was all just the last nicety before our doom!! Decker Canyon Rd loomed ahead. Average grade over it's 3-4 miles was 8%. Steeper at the bottom (avg of 10%, max 15%), but never allowing you to catch a break, so even the "easier" top section was nasty. I had to stop 3-4 times, as did many others.


Decker was the straw that broke this camel's back. I was actually doing "okay" prior to this. But after...my legs were shot. I couldn't climb anymore, it hurt to pedal downhill, and I couldn't spin on the flats. I was so shot, I didn't take pictures anymore until the view from Stunt Rd. forced me to.

After Decker, it was some smaller climbs along Encinal to Mulholland. I stopped at the SAG at mile 80 and tried my best to help my legs a bit. There was still the slog up Mulholland and the piece de resistance (Stunt Rd) to contend with. After leaving the stop, I was again going slowly, legs a'hurtin! But after a couple miles, I felt a bit better and was able to actually set a pace for myself up some of the rolling hills and got moving on some of the flatter spots.

Finally--Stunt Rd. I downed my last energy bar, swallowed a bunch of fluids, and I was off. 4 miles of a 6% grade...never really varying from that either (although somewhere there was a 10% max grade). I did amazingly well the first 2 miles (considering how I felt), set a good tempo--6mph--and maintained it. Then...I stopped. Nothing left. I crawled and fought my way--at 4mph--to the top, the last 3 kilometers. Someone in the organization had good sense to post a lone volunteer 1.6 miles from the top with ice and water. God-sent!! I had a little left, but nothing cool and not enough to make it to the top. I round a bend and can see the SAG pop-up tent in the distance, mocking me. For awhile, it never got closer. I put my head down and sobbed inside as I continued on. I look up, and I'm there. I can barely dismount. But, I did it.

The view from the top o' the world! (Okay, just Stunt Rd.)


Not wanting to lock up, I quickly drink some water, fill up my bottles again, eat a banana and I'm off. Down Scheuren Rd. But wait! They've steered us onto the wrong side of the mountain!! We're going to have to go over this thing again to get back to the start!! OMG And, I'm quickly losing elevation as I go down these 2 miles (about 500 feet lost).

Turn right onto Piuma Rd and I'm looking at another wall!! Who put this here?? Do the organizers know this? What a cruel joke. This isn't a challenge anymore...it's murder! Somehow, I continue on. Again, by itself, the 3/4-mile, 7% climb up Piuma is no big deal, but here, after 95 miles and 10,000+ feet of climbing...torture! Willpower forces me on. Somehow, I never stop on this last section. One of the riders I was (briefly) with says the top is just around the bend up ahead. He lied!! It was a little farther than that (but not much ).

Then I'm over the top and going down--5 miles at 6.2%. I have to stop halfway down as my body can't hold the same position for extended periods anymore and it cramps up. I stretch out my back a little (as I can't move too much) and continue down. I get to the bottom and it's just another 5 miles and 500 feet of climbing. I made it.

Today, my legs and back are still sore, but definitely recovering. My jersey and shorts, which will be going into the wash soon, are covered in salt from my perspiration. I have a small blister on my left palm and left big toe. I haven't spent 8+ hours on a bicycle since 1988. I hopefully won't ever do it again.

I have a good sense of accomplishment and am certainly proud of this, but...wow. I would be hard-pressed to do this again.
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Old 04-13-08, 05:47 PM   #12
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Wow! Great pictures, great story, and way to hang in there on that one. I hope I do as well when I do my 10K of climbing century July 5. Great job and good luck with the rest of those Challenge Centuries.
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Old 04-13-08, 06:22 PM   #13
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So wish me well. I'll try and right up a report when done (although I'm nowhere near as eloquent as The Historian).
It was an exciting story effectively told. Congratulations on both the ride and your report.
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Old 04-13-08, 06:35 PM   #14
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Wow! Great pictures, great story, and way to hang in there on that one. I hope I do as well when I do my 10K of climbing century July 5. Great job and good luck with the rest of those Challenge Centuries.
Which one? Keep us appraised. I've done several centuries at 5-6,000+ feet and don't find them bad at all, but never this many feet. I was surprised how hard it was.

PS: I just heard from one of the ride volunteers that temps hit 103-degrees out there That explains alot of the suffering.
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Old 04-13-08, 06:35 PM   #15
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It was an exciting story effectively told. Congratulations on both the ride and your report.
Thanks...you're too kind :blush:

My knees are still sore.
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Old 04-13-08, 06:43 PM   #16
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Congrats on the ride. I love stories like this since it really gets me motivated to get back out there.

I just have ony tiny question: how did you get the pretty profile of your ride?
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Old 04-13-08, 06:51 PM   #17
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Congrats on the ride. I love stories like this since it really gets me motivated to get back out there.

I just have ony tiny question: how did you get the pretty profile of your ride?
Thanks. I posted this solely for that purpose. Being a large fellow (6'3", 255lbs), I got alot of "Way to go, Big Fella" comments yesterday. I hope that others here can see what is possible if they keep on keeping on.

The graphs come from a piece of software I use to download my Garmin Edge 305 data: Ascent. It's awesome. But, right now, it's only available for the Macintosh.
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Old 04-13-08, 07:00 PM   #18
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I KNEW that I needed to get a Garmin Edge 305. Too bad I just spent most of my free $$ on a shiny new ride. I think that will most certainly be my next big bike purchase though.
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Old 04-14-08, 09:49 PM   #19
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Which one? Keep us appraised. I've done several centuries at 5-6,000+ feet and don't find them bad at all, but never this many feet. I was surprised how hard it was.

PS: I just heard from one of the ride volunteers that temps hit 103-degrees out there That explains alot of the suffering.
Here is the link to the registration

http://www.bikereg.com/events/register.asp?eventid=6113
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Old 04-14-08, 10:03 PM   #20
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Which one? Keep us appraised. I've done several centuries at 5-6,000+ feet and don't find them bad at all, but never this many feet. I was surprised how hard it was.

It's a little different later in the ride, aint it?........So you doing BA next?
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Old 04-14-08, 10:58 PM   #21
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Here is the link to the registration

http://www.bikereg.com/events/register.asp?eventid=6113


$25 for a century?????



Good luck w/it. I'm originally from Rochester, NY so I love the Northeast. Keep us posted.
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Old 04-14-08, 11:00 PM   #22
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It's a little different later in the ride, aint it?........So you doing BA next?
Yep. First century since I re-took up cycling in Aug/06 was the Conejo in early 07. 5-6,000 feet. But mostly front-loaded. I finished that one strong and had no problems.

Yep. BA next. Sounding a bit easier (I hope).
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Old 04-14-08, 11:13 PM   #23
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Yep. First century since I re-took up cycling in Aug/06 was the Conejo in early 07. 5-6,000 feet. But mostly front-loaded. I finished that one strong and had no problems.

Yep. BA next. Sounding a bit easier (I hope).

I've gotten mixed reviews. I've done BA, but not MC. Some say MC is tougher cause of the steeper climbs, but short. Some say BA cause of the longer climbs are tougher than the short steep.

On BA, I met a few riders that said Ride the Bear was tougher than BA. But most thought BA was tougher than Ride the Bear!

BA stops the clock at 72 miles. I did 8:30'ish total time (outta shape at 235 lbs) for the 12,000ft/ 72 miles. The Bear stops at 100. I did 7:40 total time for that one but was in shape at 220 lbs. But I did the Bear 3 times and everytime was better. I think it depends on climbing/riding form. I think if I did The Bear at 235, I'd suck.

At 220 I did GMR every weekend for 3 months. Sometimes a double climb to the shack, twice a week. On BA, I think I did 3 or 4 long mtn rides, I sucked!
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Old 04-15-08, 01:32 AM   #24
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This will be compounded by the fact that this past Saturday, the crank on my bike broke causing me to crash on my right side, luckily only at about 15mph.

That is the same crank I have on my bike Care to provide more details on HOW or WHY they broke? How old were they? Do you do a lot of mountain climbing?

Thanks for the wonderful pictures!
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