I posted this last night in the road cycling forum but thought you guys might appreciate it as well.
To celebrate my teammate Ben's 30th birthday, he wanted a "challenge" and with his friend Matt came up with the idea of a 200+ mile ride around our county, and they invited anyone from the team to join in. I ignored it for a while because it doesn't really fit into my training, but decided yesterday on a whim to do it. I've done it before as a 2-day ride (there is a motel conveniently located near the halfway point) and always wanted to do it in one day. I figured the chance of any of these guys (or anyone else) being willing to do this again anytime soon was slim to none, and I would always regret it if I missed out.
There ended up being 8 of us. Ben (a.k.a. "The Hammer"), Matt, Marco Fanelli (mr. stupid roller tricks), Zach, Chester, "Cookie", DJ, and me. All of these characters were also involved in the fast century I did 2 weeks ago.
This was mostly a self-supported ride, but Ben's fiance [Katie] parked her car at about 150 miles on our route and went rock climbing nearby, and Marco's wife stayed with us near the start and we made a stop about 30 miles in to top off water and drop off lights and some gear, as we were starting in the dark.
Our 6AM sharp start ended up being more like 6:10, but it was ok because it gave more time to get light before we got onto a busy highway that followed an initial 20+ minute climb.
It was a beautiful but crisp morning and despite wearing gloves I couldn't feel my fingers. Early on one of the riders got a flat tire which gave me a chance to warm my fingers and get some nice pictures.
The idea was to ride at an "ultra conservatively and try to maintain 17-18 mph average". Although we started a little late and the flat tire, we still ended up making good time to our first stop in Los Olivos.
Leaving Los Olivos we rode through the green hills and vineyards of Foxen Canyon. We were a little scattered and just rode easy until we reformed.
About 60 miles in we turned onto highway 166 and found ourselves in a brutal headwind. It was very disconcerting as we were to be on that road going in that general direction for about 50 miles. We did have our lunch stop after 40 miles (aforementioned town with motel) as we were all counting down the distance.
Here is the birthday boy in the foreground enjoying a sandwich and talking on the phone with his fiance.
Leaving town, we had another 10 miles in the head/crosswinds (which seemed to have gotten worse) before making a nearly 90 degree turn. The wind became a tail/cross, and ironically it became much, much harder. We were echeloned across the road, and one by one we started dropping out of the rotation until it was just Ben and Matt hammering us. So much ultra-conservative. heh. 20-some miles of that and we reached a ranget station where we hoped to refil our bottles, but the fountain was gone and the spigots didn't work. The station appeared to have been shut down. Cutbacks I guess. A ranger came by and ended up giving us a Gatorade to share.
We started the climb and I fell off the group about halfway up, but not before 2 others. I pushed at the end to catch Zach over the top so I would have someone to work with over the next section.
Ben was just ahead so I kept pushing and caught him but lost Zach. Ben and I worked together and caught the 3 ahead and the 5 of us cruised to Katie's car. Food and water awaited.
Cookie decided to pull out at that point, so we were down to 7. We had a few rollers before a 12 mile descent into Ojai that's always a blast to bomb down. There were a few more minor climbs around Lake Casitas after Ojai that I had to go easy on because my legs started to twinge and I knew that if I pushed hard they might cramp. Fortunately they never did and I didn't feel the twinge anymore after the climb.
So, the ride was supposed to be a casual conservative pace, but we took a little long at some of the stops and were running out of daylight. I still had my lights but some of the guys dropped theirs off at the first stop, so they really turned on the gas. Even after 180+ miles they cranked up the pace and we went nearly as fast as during the sunday "worlds" ride. A few guys even attacked and went for the usual sprint... The pace never really let up much and we went pretty hard into town.
When I got home I made a pizza and ate it.
For those of you who like the data, here it is. For those who don't, ignore it.
Entire workout (169 watts):
Duration: 11:46:55 (13:48:45)
Work: 7171 kJ
TSS: 552.1 (intensity factor 0.685)
Norm Power: 199
Distance: 209.107 mi
Elevation Gain: 15608 ft
Elevation Loss: 15677 ft
Grade: -0.0 % (-69 ft)
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 576 169 watts
Heart Rate: 82 176 139 bpm
Cadence: 18 117 81 rpm
Speed: 0 ??? 17.7 mph
Altitude: 4 5068 1615 ft