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Old 10-20-07, 04:17 PM   #1
jschen
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How you like them apples?

There's one really good way that I know of to relieve mental stress. And that would be to take on a bunch of physical stress. I think tomorrow I'll go on my first major solo ride since, umm, I don't recall when. March, maybe? I don't know if I'll still remember how to handle a big solo ride.
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Old 10-20-07, 04:31 PM   #2
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All my solo rides turn into 25-milers. I just don't have the discipline. Good luck, J... hope you resolve the cause of your stress!
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Old 10-20-07, 04:33 PM   #3
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Good luck!

If all else fails, just tuck in behind some tri girls.
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Old 10-20-07, 04:57 PM   #4
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With good music in the ears (I think its not allowed in CA, but...) you can get into a good spinning class alike atmosphire and go the distance. Then, sometimes you get to see other cyclist so you have a goal of passing them...
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Old 10-20-07, 05:35 PM   #5
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Thanks guys. I don't listen to music while riding (not a safety thing, just not much of a music person), I doubt I'll run across any tri girls on my intended route tomorrow, and for that matter, I doubt I'll run across very many cyclists. Whatever... I'm sure looking forward to an overall downhill stretch heading west. Downhill and strong tailwind equals crazy high speeds.
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Old 10-20-07, 06:06 PM   #6
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Have a great ride, Jason!
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Old 10-20-07, 10:51 PM   #7
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Have a great ride!
My solo's are from 20-50 miles...
Enjoy!!
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Old 10-20-07, 11:43 PM   #8
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Lot of times I like solo rides. Can go as fast or slow as you want and as far as you feel like doing. Take in some scenes or stop and shoot the breeze with people you meet along the way. Just as long as you have a good time, go for it.
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Old 10-21-07, 12:26 AM   #9
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All my solo rides turn into 25-milers. I just don't have the discipline. Good luck, J... hope you resolve the cause of your stress!
Choose a point that's 25 miles away from the start, then you have to make it a 50 to get back home. Works for me.
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Old 10-21-07, 09:12 AM   #10
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There's one really good way that I know of to relieve mental stress. And that would be to take on a bunch of physical stress. I think tomorrow I'll go on my first major solo ride since, umm, I don't recall when. March, maybe? I don't know if I'll still remember how to handle a big solo ride.
I tried to do a solo double century. I cracked in brutal headwinds in Oxnard and called my wife to come pick me up in Ventura, at about 140 miles. Long solo rides are hard.
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Old 10-21-07, 09:57 AM   #11
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Jason, report back to us. The longest I've ridden truly solo (on organized rides, even if you are solo, you run into people and folks talk to you) was when I rode the day of the Cool Breeze Century. I rode 80 miles alone. I would have gone for 100, but it was too hot in the valley that day, so I didn't. I actually dug it a little as I thought through things. But I can say without a doubt, I MUCH prefer riding with others, either a great riding partner or a small group, as it just makes it more fun.
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Old 10-21-07, 07:08 PM   #12
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Apple Pie Century
solo, unsupported, Santa Ana conditions

Wind blows. It really sucks. Apple pie solo tastes just as sweet.

98 miles
9500 vertical feet
7:55 ride time
8:50 total time (gotta stop for pie!)

I had a great ride. More details later, but I feel like taking a nap first.
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Old 10-21-07, 09:41 PM   #13
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I decided that with M.E.'s century ride postponed, I'd go ahead and do a solo Pie Ride. Sure, it looked to be somewhat nasty conditions for a ride like that, but I really wanted to go for a big ride, so I decided I'd start a bit before sunrise to give myself plenty of time. If things got nasty, I could always bail, but I figured that with my last solo Pie Ride being in Santa Ana conditions, it couldn't be all that bad.

Started at Harrah's Casino to shift that early big descent to the end of the ride, when it would be a bit warmer in order to be a bit more comfortable. It would also make bailing and turning around a bit easier if I decided to do that (last chance to do that at Santa Ysabel). Felt a bit sluggish on Palomar, but okay overall. Figured out after a few turns in the road that it was because of a headwind. I was hoping the wind wouldn't pick up until I was past Palomar. No suck luck, as once I got past the fork onto South Grade Rd, the winds really started picking up. Seven miles into the climb, I encountered my first giant gust of wind. Big straight-on gust, and though I was in the drops and working a bit harder than I'd like on a century, I was barely holding on to a bit over 4 MPH. I was very tempted to turn around and simply blast down
Palomar and back to the car, but I decided to keep going. I encountered a few more of those gusts. And one big gust behind me, too, sending me soft pedaling up the mountain at 9 MPH. Gusts seemed to come from every direction in an unpredictable manner. Anyway, made it up Palomar at a 2000 ft/hr pace, which wasn't quite what I hoped, but quite acceptable under the circumstances.

No point going to the General Store since it wasn't open yet, so I continued down East Grade. With the gusting winds, I took all the descents with great caution today since I never knew when a gust might greet me mid-corner, so it was a slow descent. And the wind made for a cold descent. My glutes felt frozen. At one point on the descent, I encountered my first big crosswind gust. That definitely caught my attention. Oh, and at one point, I saw a deer running along the side of the road. That was cute.

Got to the Lake Henshaw store and with nearly a bottle of fluid left, decided to press onward since the winds were going to keep getting worse as the day proceeded. Happily, the steep early section of Mesa Grande is pretty well shielded from the wind, so it was a nice respite from the wind. Up to this point, I was planning on simply maintaining tempo on climbs, soft pedaling on flat ground, and relaxing on descents in order to simply make it through the day. But I was feeling pretty good, and it is the steepest section of the ride after all, so I decided to make liberal use of out of the saddle climbing to make short work of this section. The subsequent descent was also pretty well shielded from the wind, so I enjoyed that section, though I had to slow for a group of wild turkeys crossing the road. But then once out on the mesa, the wind picked up. Though Palomar's wind seemed way worse than on my solo Pie Ride last year, this section didn't seem too bad. Maybe it's just that I've become more aero and stronger. Maybe using my Spinergys (43 mm deep) helped a bit. I had decided that since the wind is from the ENE and since most of the ride is going east or west, aero was the way to go. Anyway, the miles ticked away, and four hours into the ride, I was into Santa Ysabel, where fierce crosswinds greeted me. Up to this point, I hadn't so much as set my foot down for a stop sign, making it by far the longest I've ever gone without setting a foot down.
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Old 10-21-07, 09:46 PM   #14
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Well done!
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Old 10-21-07, 10:21 PM   #15
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It's a short ride south to the pie shop once back on the main highway. The winds were so bad around there that if I were heading north, I would have bailed and turned around for fear of getting blown right into a car. But these winds only threatened to blow me off the road, and they seemed managable, though it took quite a bit of compensating every time a car went by since the car would tend to pull me to the left since I was leaning heavily to the left and the car would block the wind. I gave myself about two feet of pavement to my right, but then one giant gust hit me, and before I could react, I was right on the edge of the pavement and heading off the road. (No clue how hard, but they got 50-60 MPH gusts.) Came to a stop and stood there waiting out the extended gust with the pie shop about 100 yards up the road. Thought about walking, but realized that with such a strong gust, walking my bike would have been quite a chore. The gust died down, so I went back at it and rolled into the pie shop a bit before 11 AM. (I later heard when I was in Escondido that a fire broke out near Santa Ysabel. With the wind out there being what it was, I knew it wouldn't be pretty. Sure enough, on my drive home, I saw a giant plume of smoke stretching past where I live, about 40 miles away.)

No Apple Pie Century is complete without a slice of pie, so I had my obligatory slice of dutch apple. And while eating, considered my options. I could bail, and look for a taxi or something to get me back to the car. I wasn't going to ride back the way I came since it would mean two miles on a busy highway with wind threatening to blow me into the traffic. I decided with the wind to my back heading into Ramona, I'd go ahead and continue and reconsider there. It it felt unsafe, I'd stop, but with the wind largely to my back, I should be free of crosswinds if I stayed on the main highway. So off I went. With such a strong wind, the initial climb headed out of Santa Ysabel was easy. Cruised along with speeds in the mid 20's to low 30's. Cars weren't much of an issue since I wasn't leaning heavily, but nonetheless every driver gave me a very wide berth, which was much appreciated. Headed toward the fork with Old Julian Hwy, the wind was perfectly to my back, and so in the section that's usually my top speed section on the Pie Ride, I was able to enjoy a brief 45 MPH descent (quite possibly the fastest ever I've hit on the Pie Ride) before deciding to head off to Old Julian Hwy. Sure, I'd have to deal with some crosswinds, but the wind was calmer out here, and the side road would be way less trafficked. The gusts continued through the rest of the ride, so I was always riding with caution, but they were quite managable. Rolled into Ramona and decided to grab a quick snack before continuing.

I was still feeling pretty good, but I decided to cruise a an easy tempo when not climbing, and even then not really push the pace except on steeper sections. Highland Valley Rd was fun, with the tailwinds making one feel like Superman. But Bandy Canyon Rd was a bit less pleasant, with crosswinds and headwinds. Once back on the main highway, though, the tailwinds helped make it an easy cruise into Escondido. But then the fun was over, and it was a headwind finish, both heading toward Lake Henshaw Rd and making that final climb. But before the final climb, I decided one last stop was called for. Three short stops seemed reasonable to me, plus the one unintended stop when the gust of wind blew me off the road.

The final climb had a stiff headwind, but it wasn't too bad except when the gusts picked up. I was tiring a bit, though, and a mile in, I picked up some cramps. Worked through them over the next two miles, but even with the cramps gone, I decided not to hammer home but to keep spinning up the final climb. Not to say I wouldn't go hard on flatter sections, but extra power would come from a high cadence, not from higher pedaling forces. I found myself flying up the shallower sections and having to back off a bit for fear of burning out on the few steep sections left. Got to the middle school (the usual start/finish) and began the final descent. With gusting crosswinds, it wasn't a very enjoyable descent, but at least the temperature was in the low 80's instead of the high 40's. Rolled through a few miles of gentle grades and returned to the start.

I felt pretty good about my ride today. I felt great on the bike for a lot longer than I expected under the circumstances, and as I faded on the final climb, I still felt pretty comfortable. But next time, maybe I'll go with climbing wheels if it's that windy. Though I'm not completely sure it would have helped with that giant gust, and for the rest of the time, the Spinergys were very managable and every bit of aero advantage was golden. Actually, I think I'd rather just avoid 50+ MPH gusts now on.
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Old 10-22-07, 09:59 AM   #16
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Lot of times I like solo rides. Can go as fast or slow as you want and as far as you feel like doing.
Yeah, I like solo rides too. Trouble is, without riding partners who are faster than I am (which is just about anybody), I ride even slower! The exception, in a way, is hills--I build at least one hill that used to exhaust me into each of my commute-to-work routes, and try to do them faster and/or in a harder gear. Works pretty well.

But I'm basically a lazy sob, more interested in finishing a route than doing it quickly. Riding partners or club rides push me to work harder.
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