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  1. #1
    Seat Sniffer Biker395's Avatar
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    Oy - Time to Get Busy

    I foolishly registered to do the Furnace Creek 508 some time ago.

    www.the508.com

    I did it back in 2009 and managed to finish, despite truly ferocious winds. But in 2009 was 5 years and two knee surgeries ago, and I did a whole lot more training than I've been able to do this year. A LOT more.

    And the brutal reality is starting to trouble my subconscious. I won't go into the details, but I had a dream recently that had me waiting to start the race, when I was seized a gastrointestinal event forcing me to retreat to my hotel room for some cleanup, only to find out on my return that I had only one crew member and neglected to bring any food or water in the support van. And oh ... I forgot my helmet and shoes ... or did I poop in them too?

    So I've a 400 mile ride planned this weekend ... foolishly attempting to cram a lot of training into a short amount of time (or perhaps convincing myself I should withdraw and save my arse for another day). Even better, the 400 mile ride is a matter of circussing around the Palos Verdes Peninsula in 19 loops(!) Believe it or not, a few others are loopy enough (pun intended) to join in for some of the insanity.

    Wish me luck ... or an admission into a suitable asylum.
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  2. #2
    Seat Sniffer Biker395's Avatar
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    Well, FWIW, this is how it went:

    The route is basically a 21 mile loop around Palos Verdes. For the full (400) Monte, that's 19 loops. Almost none of it is flat ... you're always going up or going down. We parked our cars in Malaga Cove, and people came out to support us with food and drink at the top of the switchbacks at Marymount.

    http://ridewithgps.com/routes/2830919

    It was HOT. Flippin ridiculously hot and humid. At one point, it was 98 degrees and nearly 100% humidity. I spent almost the whole day completely soaked in perspiration, throwing down endurolytes like a drug addict, trying desperately to stay ahead of it. I also ate as much as I could, as I knew my appetite would soon disappear ... and it soon did.

    I resolved to gut it out until it cooled off, and boy, was that long in coming. Even at 10PM, it was hot and humid enough to get me soaking wet at the top of the switchbacks. By the time I came out of the bonkfest, it was midnight, and by 4AM, I had had enough and called it a day.

    Some thoughts:

    1. It was hot but ridiculously beautiful. We had the kind of popcorn clouds you get in the morning after an evening of thundershowers:



    And great sunsets:



    (2) Not in shape for the 508. I have a long way to go and precious little time to get there. I'm not sorry I bagged the 400 mile option. All that would have done was chew me up (including my rear end), and then I'd need a couple weeks to recover, and be even further behind.

    (3) I used to think I did pretty well in hot weather. I'm not so sure now. Felt pretty good in the morning, though. Here's me putting my camera back in my rear pocket:



    (4) DZ Nuts is good stuff but does not eliminate saddle sores.

    (5) Save the Mt. Dew for later. Then again, at 170 calories, I think it accounted for most of my caloric intake during the day.

    (6) The Enduro light still rocks. It went all night and kept ticking. Gotta find a better way to mount it on the handlebars/aerobars. The shadowing from the aerobars is a problem on descents.

    (7) Rides can be tough physically and/or mentally. This ride was both. The climbing and the weather made it physically tough. Returning back to your car after an endless series of loops made it mentally tough. In retrospect, I think it was a mistake to have people meet us at the top of the switchbacks on every loop. We'd have been much better off with one stop in Malaga Cove, and stopping there every other loop. All those stops took a lot of time.

    (8) One thing I was very concerned about was looping around a suburban area on a holiday weekend in the wee hours. Lots of drunks out, for sure. At about midnight, about 1 in every 20 cars was a Sheriff, thankfully. Still, at about 12AM, we all saw something you don't see every day. Check this out:



    That's a pristine, 60s vintage Rolls Royce, piled up into a tree. I took this on our second pass. On our first pass, there as an attractive blonde standing next to the car, with a lot of police about. The car looks to have lost control (on a low-speed road, mind you), crossed over the center median, and struck the tree on the other side of the road. Yikes.
    Proud parent of a happy inner child ...
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  3. #3
    A might bewildered... Dudelsack's Avatar
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    Truly hard-core. You're a better man than me.

    The pic of the RR accordianed into the tree is cringeworthy.

  4. #4
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Well, at least you have a better idea of your chances. Does Vegas make book on this stuff?
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

  5. #5
    Seat Sniffer Biker395's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NOS88 View Post
    Well, at least you have a better idea of your chances. Does Vegas make book on this stuff?
    Not with me as a participant. I have a reputation for dishonesty.

    Kinda hard to assess my chances at this point. I've done a lot less training than I did in 2009, but having done it before, I'm not panicking yet. Maybe I'm being complacent?
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  6. #6
    Senior Member mkane77g's Avatar
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    Why would someone over 50 even consider it?

  7. #7
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkane77g View Post
    Why would someone over 50 even consider it?
    And why not?

    What does over 50 have to do with anything?
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  8. #8
    Seat Sniffer Biker395's Avatar
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    Hey, I was over 50 the first time, and came out unscathed ... well, except for some pretty rockin' saddle sores.

    A few years ago, there was a 50+ guy who placed third overall on a fixie(!) That, in the parlance of Adventure Corps ... is "out there."
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  9. #9
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    One of the best threads since Billydon in Italy.

    Congrats on setting a outstanding goal.
    Last edited by Barrettscv; 09-03-13 at 05:50 PM.
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  10. #10
    A might bewildered... Dudelsack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkane77g View Post
    Why would someone over 50 even consider it?
    Um, because time travel hasn't been invented yet? If I could go back to 49, I'd give it a go.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Mycoalson's Avatar
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    Great story, great pics.

  12. #12
    Senior Member mkane77g's Avatar
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    40+hrs on a bike would ruin me. Go n get em'

  13. #13
    Senior Member big john's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkane77g View Post
    Why would someone over 50 even consider it?
    My fellow club member David Jones was the first official finisher of the RAAM over 60, and then the first finisher over 65.He says he's done but I suspect when he turns 70 he will be thinking of becoming the first finisher over 70.

    Vic, I know you can finish the 508 again, you'll be fine.

  14. #14
    Senior Member mkane77g's Avatar
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    ^^^^ Hard time questioning why. 508 miles sitting on a bicycle saddle sounds like torture, that's why.

  15. #15
    Seat Sniffer Biker395's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkane77g View Post
    ^^^^ Hard time questioning why. 508 miles sitting on a bicycle saddle sounds like torture, that's why.
    Join me at the intersection of the Nadeau Trail and Panamint Valley Road. Above and in front of you, and dozens of flashing lights, each representing a rider ascending the 5000 foot climb over Townes Pass and into Death Valley.

    TownesPass-1.jpg

    Below and behind you is a stream of distant headlights, each representing a rider and friends who had faith enough in themselves to dare think they could ride a bicycle over 500 miles.

    _A035552.jpg

    That's why. Cuz you don't measure life by hours or days, you measure it by adventures.

    Or, just read this: http://www.mxi2000.net/mudworm/2009/...nace-creek-508
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  16. #16
    Senior Member mkane77g's Avatar
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    I know plenty who have done the ride. Davis Double is about as far as I go in one shot. Scenery looks awesome.

  17. #17
    Seat Sniffer Biker395's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkane77g View Post
    I know plenty who have done the ride. Davis Double is about as far as I go in one shot. Scenery looks awesome.
    ^ Lol ... that's rational. Somewhere right about 200 miles, I'm going to be thinking the same thing ... why the *&^% am I doing this?

    I once told my son: "Stupid is my specialty." That my apply here.
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  18. #18
    www.ocrebels.com Rick@OCRR's Avatar
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    I know you can do it Vic . . . but it won't be easy!

    Regarding Townes Pass; that is the most difficult climb I've ever done. That was back on Death Valley to Mt. Whitney Portal back in '96. Brutal doesn't even say it; way beyond brutal.

    Have a great 508!

    Rick / OCRR

  19. #19
    Seat Sniffer Biker395's Avatar
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    Well Rick ... while you were doing the GMR KenSan lovefest (sorry I missed that), I had a great day doing a training ride with Stefan Sunday. Well, it was a training ride for me, but just a spin in the park for Stefan.

    We started at Malibu Cliffs at 4AM, rode up through Ventura, Santa Paula, Ojai, Carpinteria, Montecito (CA192 was fab), out to Gaviota and returned by the coast. The total was about 250 miles.

    We spun by the Malibu Tri, some marathon in Ventura, and a breast cancer walk in Carpinteria. The winds and heat were mild, so we were able to finish earlier than I thought … about 11:20 PM. I still felt strong at the end, and wasn’t too sleepy. I must actually be getting into shape.

    OK … The all important metrics:

    Average speed: Who cares?
    Flats: Stefan 2, Biker395 1
    Body count at the Der Winerschnitzel 5/5$ hot dog massacre: Cyclists 10, hot dogs 0.

    Urp.

    Last edited by Biker395; 09-09-13 at 11:31 AM.
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  20. #20
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Biker395

    I am going to put you on my IGNORE list.

    Every time I read your posts I get totally exhausted just perusing them.

    I need to save my energy for bicycling!
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  21. #21
    Seat Sniffer Biker395's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
    Biker395

    I am going to put you on my IGNORE list.

    Every time I read your posts I get totally exhausted just perusing them.

    I need to save my energy for bicycling!
    ^ Lol.

    I have an update on the all-important metrics:

    Calories consumed (est.) = 5650(!)
    Flats: Stefan 2, Biker395 2 (I apparently got a flat near the end ... discovered when I unpacked the bike).
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  22. #22
    Seat Sniffer Biker395's Avatar
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    Another weekend, another training ride.

    The White Mountain Double would have been the ideal training ride for the 508. It’s hot, windy, has big long desert alluvial fan climbs, and a big mountain climb as well. But this weekend was my son’s weekend to move into his dorm, so if I was going to get some training in this weekend, I’d have to do it myself. He was moving in Sunday at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, so I mapped out a ~200 mile ride from Ventura to SLO. I would have liked it to be longer, but I needed to get to the hotel reasonably early and be of some use lifting boxes and the like the next day.

    Here’s the route I mapped out.

    http://ridewithgps.com/routes/3343923

    Except for the stint from Gaviota to Solvang, I had cycled all of the route before. My plan was to start at Ventura at 4AM. That meant an early rise for the 1.5 hour drive to the start, but I planned to get home early enough to do all the preparation well in advance, so it wasn’t too bad.

    The weather was going to be warm, but not hot. My sole concern, weather wise, was the wind. There was a wind advisory along the coast, and stronger than usual winds inland:



    I was going to try to stay in the hills for some shelter from the wind, but there were two sections that were going to be windy: (1) the long slog along Interstate 101 from Goleta to Gaviota … no cover at all, and (2) the farmlands of Santa Maria. Still, it was likely going to be windy on the 508 too, and this is what training is about.

    So I rose at a little after 2AM, donned the bike shorts, lotioned up, made myself some coffee and hit the road for the drive to Ventura. I really like driving at late-night or early morning hours. Gotta watch out for the drunks (the statistics are astounding), but at least the roads are empty.

    I got to Ventura, found a safe place to park the car, and as quietly as possible, set about to head off. I hopped on the bike and downshifted.

    Nothing.

    It took a while for it to sink in. I upshifted. Downshifted.

    Nothing.

    I had adjusted my rear derailleur a couple of days ago. At the end of our 260 mile ride the weekend before, my rear derailleur went out of adjustment, and when I got around to fixing that, I was shocked at how badly out of adjustment it was.

    Now it was all clear. It was so far out of adjustment because the cable was breaking and perhaps hanging by a thread. And the thread had snapped.

    I dunno why I trouble myself with this sort of thing, but I got to thinking. Is this good luck (after all, it could have happened at a place 100 miles into my planned ride … far more inconvenient)? Or is it bad luck (why the HELL didn’t it snap when I was adjusting it at home)?

    I don’t carry spare cables with me, so I was stuck until I could find a bike shop. I don’t have a smartphone, so even that wasn’t going to be easy. And finding one that opens early? Good luck with that.

    I put everything back in the car, and set off in search of a phone book. As luck would have it, I didn’t go more than a few blocks before I saw it … “Avery’s Open Air Bicycles” … and open at 9AM. I wasn’t going to do much better than that!

    So I resolved to ride around in the flats around Ventura until they opened. I drove out to the harbor area to start, hopped on the bike, and headed off. Of course, I was in the smallest cog of the cassette, making the gear much higher than I wanted, but I reasoned that it would also be good training.

    My satisfaction lasted about 5 minutes. That’s when I realized that the cable housing was coming loose and the remote gear adjuster had fallen off in the darkness. I managed to find it, but resolved to change plans. I was going to wait until the bike was fixed.

    So what did I do with the 5 hours I had to wait for the bike shop to open? Eat. Drive around. Call my buddy Bill and tell him he was right about the cable. He advised me to change it soon, but my plan was to have it changed with a complete overhaul, to be performed when I was tapering.

    Well, it gets worse than that. I guzzled coffee. I got a cinnamon donut and an egg-Mc Muffin. I drove my Subie on marvelously empty roads. I watched the sun rise.

    Lake Casitas Compressed.jpg

    I visited the spot where an entire family lost their lives in a landslide at La Conchita.

    Landslide Victims compressed.jpg

    Eventually, it was time. The shop opened, and they cheerfully took my bike under their wing. Getting the plug out of the shifter wasn’t easy, but they changed both cables, and I had a nice conversation with them. Turns out my cable housing should be replaced soon, and my rear derailleur hanger was also out of alignment. But the mechanic did a great job.

    It was now 10:15. Waaaay after the time I intended to start. So where do I start from? I decided to start in Carpinteria. That eliminated all the climbing from Ventura to Ojai and over Casitas Pass, but I had to cut something short.

    I drove to Carpinteria, parked the car, and got on the road at about 10:45. Waaaay late. On the up side, the weather was nice, and the wind was behaving itself, more or less … and it was a beautiful day. I made pretty good time up Highway 192. Pretty close to paradise up there.

    At one point, I was riding up a steep hill, and I noticed an older woman sweeping her porch. A 30ish man was next to her on a small motorcycle, and she commenced whacking him with the broom. Hmmm.

    He responded by pushing her, and calling her all kinds of awful names. He got more broom action in return. It was still going on as I wheeled away.

    You see something like that and wonder about the backstory. My guess is that it was something akin to mammismo … tension from a son living at home far longer than he should.



    Anyway, I stopped at the Jack in the Box in Goleta for a couple of chicken sandwiches and water. I ate one, shoved the other in my jersey pocket, and pushed off to fight the winds between there and Gaviota.

    And there were none! One nice thing about this section, is that the passing cars actually create a tailwind. I flew through this section at 20+ MPH. Yes, it’s long, but at that speed, it goes fast.

    A problem, though. I started getting cramps in my left calf. And I was out of Endurolytes! I decided to get some Tums in Buellton … hopefully they would help.

    There is a rest stop just where Highway 101 curves and heads inland. I planned a water stop, but that didn’t go well. The maintenance guy explained:

    “I think the pipes are broken.”

    “How about the water in the bathroom sinks? OK to drink?
    “I wouldn’t.”

    “You might if you were out of water and looking at a long hot climb.”

    He shrugged. I still had half a bottle left, so I filled the other with the sink water, munched down the other chicken sandwich, and headed out to face the Gaviota tunnel.

    I had never ridden though the tunnel, but knew others that had done so. They opined that it wasn’t all that bad … and not as bad as it looked. It’s one of those places where there are warning lights you can activate to warn motorists that there is a bicyclist in the tunnel.

    Gaviota Tunnel.jpg

    Nice, but being a motorist myself, I know how much people pay attention to signs like that. I also know that no one takes their sunglasses off when passing through a short tunnel.

    This was not going to be fun.

    To my utter relief, I noticed that there was a sidewalk that looked safe enough. I hoofed it through. Take a look at this and tell me … would you ride through this?



    From there, it was a moderate and warm climb over the pass and into Buellton. To my dismay, there was plenty of wind on this side of the pass. And it was, as predicted, from the Northwest. I stopped at the CVS for some chips, batteries, and Tums.

    After a short, tailwindy sprint to Solvang, I headed up into the Santa Ynez wine country. Nice place to ride a bike, but a lot of the roads are crappy. It’s a moderate uphill, and the winds, while reasonable, were in my face much of the time. It was exhausting.

    On the plus side, I saw some bison and other cool stuff.

    Bison.jpgWindmill Compressed.jpg


    Again running out of water, I stopped at the Fess Parker winery. There was a live band, and a lot of inebriated people about … almost all taking cabs. They sure looked like they were enjoying themselves. And the sausage to pie ratio was ridiculously favorable. Watching them party, I got to thinking … why the hell do I kick my ass doing this stuff?

    I need this..jpg

    That question was still in my mind when I hit the road for the rest of the climb.

    I’ve done the descent from the “summit” many times before on the Solvang double, and it’s really kind of sweet. You pretty much FLY all the way down to the little burgh of Sisquoc. But today, there was the little matter of that headwind, and I had to pedal hard all the way down. Oy.

    Along the way, I went by one of my favorite local landmarks … the Sisquoc Church

    Sisquoc BW Compressed.jpg

    The bottom of the descent left me in the flat farmlands around Santa Maria. Now this was going to really suck. I would lose whatever cover I had from the wind, and have to pedal directly into it for a good 30-40 miles. I had planned to get some water and food at the Sisquoc Grocery store.

    Unfortunately, it was out of business. Doh.

    Back into the wind … which indeed sucked. But I forced myself to drink and to gum down as many Cilf bars as I could, and with the food and water, I started to recover. By the time I left that windy plain, I actually felt a bit rejuvenated.

    Rejuvinated.jpg

    I pulled into Nipomo just as the sun was setting, desperate for something to eat. I found this place.

    IMG_3231 Compressed.jpg

    I’ll bet their tacos were good, but the kitchen was closed. All they had was snack food, so I got some caliente peanuts and chips. There were a few locals hanging about, and when I looked in the trash can, I think I figured out why.

    IMG_3230 Compressed.jpg

    Coming from a long line of alcoholics myself, I know what it means when people drink 40 ouncers. Yikes.

    From there, I swept down into Arroyo Grande and through some pretty dark roads. You know, I like riding at night. There is a sense of adventure about it. The roads are quieter. You KNOW that every motorist out there thinks you’re nuts.

    I like it a lot more when I’m not alone though. And Saturday night, I was most assuredly alone. I was making pretty good time, though. I had definitely recovered, had an appetite, and was drinking often. Things were clicking.

    I pulled into San Luis Obispo at about 9AM … much sooner than I thought. As bad as I felt back in the wine country around Solvang, in the end, I went about 150 miles in pretty short order and had averaged over 16 MPH.

    One more training ride, then it’s taper time!
    Last edited by Biker395; 09-16-13 at 09:46 AM.
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  23. #23
    Senior Member Ursa Minor's Avatar
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    Biker395 you are my hero - I love reading your ride reports.

    Charlie
    Grimly determined to have fun.

  24. #24
    Senior Member TromboneAl's Avatar
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    Great story. I really would have wanted to give up and go back home rather than wait five hours at 4 AM with nothing to do.

    You tunnel quandary sounds just like mine at this bridge, but with the fact that there was a curve, and drivers were transitioning from sun to dark, walking on the sidewalk was the way to go.
    My Book: Drive, Ride, Repeat: The Mostly-True Account of a Cross-Country Car and Bicycle Adventure

  25. #25
    Senior Member Ursa Minor's Avatar
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    Oh yes I forgot to mention a secret: just after the tunnel at Gaviota at the top of the long hill if you look to the right there is a well hidden turn off road (very hard to see) that leads to Nojoqui park and then directly to Solvang. Its a great way to avoid the 101 to Buelton and then Solvang.

    Charlie
    Grimly determined to have fun.

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