I've done three hundred mile rides over the past 3 years and signed up for a 4th one on September 10th. I could have done more to get ready....my best shot was a 53 mile ride the weekend before.
So I thought I was ready. The one thing I didn't count on is a lack of sleep. The Thursday night before the ride I was in Kansas City with a client. There was a street party in front of the hotel that went on till 1am. Given that I had to get up at 4:15am to catch a 6:15am flight, this didn't help get ready.
So I got back to OC on Friday night and tried to get ready....but I had to admit I was tired. And I got up at 5am on Saturday to head over to Irvine to get started.
I think the jersey this year looked much better than year's past. The one last year was purple and God awful...I don't know what they were thinking when they approved it. Anyway, I got started at 6:30am.
We made it back to San Juan Capistrano (after about 25 miles) and I couldn't believe it but it started to rain and hail. I can't remember the last time it rained in September.
So I took a quick break and tried to dry off. I was ticked off I didn't bring my windbreaker but didn't think I'd need one. I thought about stopping off to buy one but a.) didn't want to waste any time and b.) figured it would be hot soon enough.
This is one of the easier 100 mile bike rides (so they tell me) since it's relatively flat. Except for one stretch of about 3 miles. It's around Mile 78 and it's at Torrey Pines near La Jolla. It wouldn't be nearly as bad if it was at the beginning of the ride. But it's not.
Last year I didn't put enough sunscreen on my right arm and it got really burned (since you're riding south you get more exposure on your right side for the entire day). So this time I promised Peggy that I'd be sure to "lub up" every chance I got.
The sun came out and it started to heat up. We were at the 50 mile point and I was feeling pretty good. I made it to Rest Stop #3 and stopped for lunch at 11:30am. I was only averaging 10 miles per hour (including stops) due to the rain (where I slowed down) but I thought I was in pretty good shape for getting to the train station by 4pm (the deadline). I would need to pick up the pace to about 13 miles per hour....no problem.
Notice this rider has a jersey indicating he's done a 200 mile ride in one day. I'm impressed.
After I left the lunch stop, I noticed it was a lot harder to ride. At first I thought this might be due to a lack of energy (due to a lack of sleep) but after about 5 miles I checked my front tire and it was about half full. Damn, a flat! The "Van of Shame" (the vehicle that will pick you up if you went too slow) pulled up behind me and the driver offer to help change the tire. Given that I need to save as much time as I could, I was more than happy to accept.
The driver had changed so many tires his fingers were bleeding. When he started to pump up the tire, I asked him what kind of pressure he wanted. He indicated 120 psi.....which is higher than the 100 psi I typically use. But I figured he knew what was right.
After I put my tire back on, I couldn't figure out why it was so hard to ride. After about a mile, I got off and tried to figure it out. After 15 minutes, another rider stopped and we both tried to figure it out. He thought I had a bent rim. I told him that would be hard to understand. We finally thought we should let some of the air out and that solved the problem. The tire was over-inflated and was scrapping the top of the brake.
All of this cost me about 45 minutes. And I still needed to get to the top of Torrey Pines.
The climb up to Torrey Pines Mesa is about 400 feet in elevation. Which doesn't sound like much. But since you've already done about 80 miles before you start, it's a bit of a challenge. Plus the sides are high enough that it pretty much blocks the breeze which means you're going to sweat like a pig. Which gets in your eyes. And burns like hell.
Now that my bike was working again, I was doing much better....even managed to pass up a few riders on the way up. And didn't walk the bike at all...that would have been a bit humiliating.
So it felt good to get to the top. The best part is they have Dreamsicles waiting for you. So I went to get mine and I hear two guys arguing about if the train leaves at 4pm or 4:30pm. I notice the sign (below) and look at my watch. It's almost 3pm...where did the time go? I needed to cover 20 miles in one hour. I crammed the Dreamsicle in my mouth and started pedalling.
I was able to catch up with one of the last groups that was heading for the train station. I knew that I couldn't afford to fall behind since there are about 20 turns to get there and my map has melted in the rain. So I kept up.
I made it to the train station at 4:20pm. The train left at 4:30pm....10 minutes to spare. Too close.
So next year I'm going to do it again and I'm going to do better. I won't be signing up for a 200 miler but I'm up for plenty of other 100 milers in the future.
At least I didn't get sunburned!