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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

my half solo century

Old 03-04-07, 06:32 PM
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jschen
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my half solo century

I'm planning on riding a century a month this year. Starting from the beginning of the calendar year, today's ride means that I now have a century each month since January. And if I don't care when the year of century riding starts, I have a century every month since September. Being blessed with generally gorgeous weather, this is my 9th century since September. I've been unusually busy lately, so it's only my sixth ride in 2007, but I've made it a point to get my centuries in since they're a great way to destress and spend a day enjoying myself outdoor.

Stats at a glance
105 miles
6:55 ride time
8:25 total time


Part One: Unintended hammerfest (miles 0-28)
The plan was to ride north, meet fellow BF member dog hair in Oceanside, ride a hilly training loop with him, and then ride back home. I left my apartment at 7:20, a bit behind schedule because I decided to take a quick nap since I stayed up too late last night. No big deal... it's only about 25 miles to Oceanside Harbor. (Actually, turned out it's 28 miles.) The route on the way to Oceanside was simple. Stay on the main coastal highway, and keep the ocean on the left. Entering Del Mar, I got stopped at a light and saw a cutie roadie (CR for short) turning onto the climb. Continued on my way when the light turned green and slowly reeled her in on the climb, and then caught up at the next light. I figured a bit of ride company for a while wouldn't be a bad thing, and hey, if I can outclimb CR when on century pace and she's clearly lighter than me, then I should be faster on the flats, so I should have no trouble hanging wih her, right?

Maybe not. She shot out when the light turned green, maintaining a pace of about 23 MPH on flat ground and signaling hazards as if she expected me to be tailing her. Well, that wasn't my idea of century pace, but what's a guy to do? CR expected me in tow, so I went in tow. The pace was unrelenting, and soon two other roadies joined us, all three of us taking advantage of CR's willingness to give indefinitely long pulls at a nice high speed. That is, until the other two dropped CR on a short incline. Being the faster climber, I passed CR and led her up the incline, but once the road flattened out, she immediately powered by me and we continued as before, with her leading the way. In Solana Beach, she pulled off to a convenience store, so I was left to continue on my way, back on a more reasonable century pace.

Just before CR pulled off, we had passed two other roadies, one of them a guy on a Cervelo Soloist (CS guy). As I dropped back to a more reasonable speed, they went flying by me, now upping their speed to about 24 MPH. I tried to hang for a while, but I decided that that was a bad idea and I dropped back and went back to doing my own thing.

As I passed Nytro in Encinitas, I saw Vireo passing by the other way on his Scott CR1. He yelled out a hello, and I managed a brief "hey" as I passed by. Shortly afterward, another group was coming up on me. Lo and behold, it was CR, with now five guys in tow: the two in tow before, the two we had passed before she pulled off, and a guy on a Cervelo P3 Carbon. Wow... they really were flying compared to my solo speed. So I joined them again. Initially, CR and CS guy were doing most of the pulling, but then I found that at each incline, they slowed quite a bit. Just dropping back to my intended century pace, I could take the lead on the climb with CS guy in tow, but then he would pass me once the road flattened out. So to do my share of the work, I started giving a good pull at the top of each incline, allowing CS guy to draft me until the others caught up (led by CR or by CS guy's buddy) at which point CS guy took over. Not good for my century riding, but hey, it was fun, and being a relatively mellow century, it shouldn't be a problem. Eventually, CS guy and his buddy pulled off. And then CR and her group pulled off, leaving me to roll into Oceanside alone. But the hammering up the coast with them had made my average speed shoot up, allowing me to make it to the designated meeting point basically on time.
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Old 03-04-07, 06:51 PM
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Part two: hills and wind (miles 28-77)
After a brief break to allow me to recover from that hammerfest a bit, chow down a Clif bar, and remove all my cold weather gear, dog hair and I went on our way. Heading eastward, there were lots of emergency personnel apparently dealing with a bunch of arson in the shrubs just off the bike path paralleling CA-76. We mostly took it easy on the trail; I figured dog hair needed a chance to warm up, I could use a chance to recover a bit from the hammerfest that CR had inflicted on me, and there was lots of socializing to be done. The headwinds were incredibly annoying, and it got worse once off the bike path. Being afraid of blowing up, I couldn't really keep up with dog hair when fighting the wind. (Actually, I had a lot more trouble in general keeping up this time. dog hair was in much better shape today than he was two weeks ago.) Our first climb, along West Lilac Road, had us basically riding together and doing some socializing. This wasn't part of the original plans, but with the headwinds so annoying, we decided that throwing in an extra climb was far more enjoyable than continuing along the way into the wind.

Many other smaller climbs followed, and having little clue where I was, I simply followed dog hair's lead. Except he often had to wait at turns for me because I would keep slipping back on the climbs. And he was pulling away on the flat sections, too. I felt a bit bad about holding him up, but I hope he didn't mind too much. I was going about as fast as I normally would, but dog hair definitely had picked it up a notch compared to last time. And I really didn't want to pick up my game too much since I still had to ride home afterward. I did my best to not hold him up too much, though when we started turning around and enjoying a strong tailwind, I had to let him go in order to not waste too much energy on flying along at really high speeds.

Then we got back on the bike path back toward Oceanside harbor, and a strange thing happened. Even though we had fought headwinds on the way out, we were now fighting headwinds on the way back! Hey, no fair! I was looking forward to that tailwind. We could still do 15 MPH or so pretty comfortably, but it just didn't seem worth it, so we mostly socialized on the ride back to the coast. The emergency personnel were still out there in force, with police helicopters now joining in. I hope they catch the guy soon.
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Old 03-04-07, 06:55 PM
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Great ride story! I bet you enjoyed your draft behind 'cutie roadie'!
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Old 03-04-07, 07:15 PM
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Part three: cruising home (miles 77-105)
It had been pretty hot inland, so it was nice to have nice moderate temperatures again. And true to form, the prevailing tailwinds were there to escort me home. dog hair rode with me for another mile or two before parting ways, and then I was left to ride home alone. With it being so nice out, I decided to simply cruise along at a comfortable pace and enjoy the gorgeous coastal ride. Occasionally, I would pass someone or someone would pass me, but by and large, the return home was a solo ride. But hey, I was feeling good, and while I enjoy group rides, I also enjoy being out on the road alone.

Once in Encinitas, my speed started dropping off a bit. Not nearly as much so as in last weekend's century, where my ride partners started asking me if I was okay since I was struggling along at 12 MPH on flat ground. No, I simply was backing off to about 15 MPH on flat ground. I wasn't really hurting. Just no longer willing to push myself that hard since it might start hurting. I decided I simply wanted to relax on the way home rather than hammer.

I also started to refuse to take any more bites of my Clif Bars, deciding instead to take a break in Solana Beach for some high calorie junk food. Plus, as I rode south, the temperature was plummeting thanks to a marine layer rolling in, so a break was a good idea in order to allow me to put my cold weather gear back on. I stopped at a Longs Drug in Solana Beach, getting a bunch of junk food (a 20 oz cherry Pepsi, a king-sized Snickers, and a box of Wonka Nerds) and putting my warm weather gear back on. Perhaps a bit too much junk food. I knew I didn't have to eat nearly that much, being about ten miles from home. But it tasted good, so I took a rather long break in order to eat it all. Yum. The break definitely helped, though the need to digest all that was holding me back a bit in the last few miles. All that food was still very much sitting in my stomach as I came up on Torrey Pines grade. I really was feeling pretty good in the whole scheme of things, though. I was bit fatigued (not surprising since I haven't been riding much in the past 2.5 months) but not hurting, and still poking along at a reasonable speed. Last weekend, 95 miles in, Torrey Pines was when I started feeling a "second wind". This weekend, at about the same mileage, I was a bit faster up Torrey Pines, but without any renewed enthusiasm for hammering after the climb. Nope, no 20+ MPH ride to the finish this time. Just a steady cruise to the end. (On a side note, I saw a Trek Madone SSL on the road for the first time as a rider on an SSL cruised by me on Torrey Pines.)

There was one last highlight to be had, though. I had noticed that in both this week and last week's century, I didn't manage to break 40 MPH. So I decided that my final few miles home would go by way of the descent down Genessee Rd rather than through UCSD. If I hammered, that could be a 40 MPH descent. Or if I got a tailwind, I could do it coasting. There was a tailwind, so things were looking good. I started down the descent, and with the decent tailwind, I decided to coast my way to 40 MPH. I was well on my way when a motorhome passed me. Those things give a wicked draft! Seeing that the lane behind the motorhome was completely clear, I went about sniffing out the best draft I could find and managed to hit 48.3 MPH before the motorhome started pulling away and I started slowing back down.

Riding with dog hair is always fun. And the unexpected company I ran into on the northbound journey and one wicked fast descent on the southbound journey definitely helped things. Not to mention the nice scenery and generally nice weather. Not that it being a good day was ever in doubt. I love these long days in the saddle without much to worry about. And today, I didn't even have to navigate, thanks to trivially easy navigation on the coastal route and dog hair leading the way in the middle. I can't wait for the next time.
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Old 03-04-07, 07:26 PM
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Sounded like fun. I wish I had the time for those longer rides.
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Old 03-04-07, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by jschen
I

Part One: Unintended hammerfest (miles 0-28)
Ah HAH! So what do we have here? A closet Hammerhead! And you were trying to blame me for last week's "unintended hammerfest" . Geez - and the kicker is I'm not even cute.
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Old 03-04-07, 07:39 PM
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that was a lot of fun today, jschen, and you didn't hold me up at all. in fact, i was working pretty hard just to stay in touch during the first section of west lilac. i'm getting the climbing legs(and psyche) back, though! i'm just glad i was able to plan enough mileage for you to break the century mark.
you know i'm not much for centuries, but one of these days we'll have to plan one that starts from the harbor and rolls around in the hills out there.
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Old 03-04-07, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by the beef
I bet you enjoyed your draft behind 'cutie roadie'!
Indeed! I'm still wondering how she manages to ride so insanely fast on flat ground. I doubt she weighed any more than 120 pounds.

Indolent58: No comment.

Originally Posted by dog hair
that was a lot of fun today, jschen
Glad you had fun. We'll have to ride together again sometime soon.
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Old 03-04-07, 08:08 PM
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Very nice ride report, too. Thanks!
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Old 03-04-07, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by jschen
Indeed! I'm still wondering how she manages to ride so insanely fast on flat ground. I doubt she weighed any more than 120 pounds.
My money's on spin classes. Great on the flats, sucks on the hills.
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Old 03-04-07, 10:44 PM
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Originally Posted by jyossarian
My money's on spin classes. Great on the flats, sucks on the hills.
Or triathlete. The local tri club weekend rides rarely stray off the coast highway.

After being off the bike the past couple of months and focussing on my run training instead, I found can still roll the flats pretty well, but I don't have my climbing legs back, despite being about 10 lbs lighter than last fall.
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Old 03-04-07, 11:12 PM
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Congrats on your century .... I just posted the story of mine in the Long Distance forum. Mine was a little bit different from yours ... perhaps just a few degrees colder!!!

Mine took me 9:20 in total.
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