Friday night, we attended a late graduation party and followed a rest and nutrition regimen not recommended by any of the training books I've read. Ah well...
So that brings us to Sunday morning: I was unsure of my form and how I would feel, but Justine convinced me that if I was doing the Sequoia Century I just could not cut it short and do the 100 miles. Basically, her message was: "OK, you've got the whole day, don't come back and tell me you just did the century." My cycling muse!
She was absolutely right on this one, it would be important for me to stretch my limits and see how the body and mind responded, pre-Death Ride, so I went in with the idea that I'd do the double metric.
Long story short, the ride went really well. I am starting to learn understand how to manage my energy and nutrition on these long rides, and clearly the long training rides I've banked are helping (as well as the 27 tooth rear cog!) . I'll skip the blow-by-blow and head straight for the highlights:
Redwood Gulch - a good way to start the day and begin the dialogue with the legs. Everything feeling fine. Except that the guy I was climbing with told me the most harrowing cycling story I'd heard in awhile. I was asking him about his frame (custom carbon from the east coast, the name escapes me now) (ed. note: I just remembered, it was a Parlee) and he told me that it was a replacement for his first bike that he cracked when he was forced off the road on Mt. Hamilton last year on father's day. He broke his neck, was in the hospital for three months, and was back on his bike by December. Titanium plates in his neck, rehab after they had to completely open up his throat to operate, completely crazy. He said that if the driver hadn't stopped and helped, he would've died. My legs stopped hurting the more I listened. That said I did enjoy hearing the visitors to the ride complain about Redwood Gulch, a climb I do at least twice a month these days. That hill got a lot of respect yesterday.
Climb # 2 was the backside of Hwy 9. Not a highlight but it is the kind of moderate and sustained effort that can wear you out.
Descents at the ride this year were quite technical: down Alpine road on the backside, down Kings on the front side. Kings is in dreadful shape and I can't stand going down that road, and it was worse on a Sunday afternoon. Thankfully we stayed upright. Nice to have a car pull over for me to pass ;).
Nutrition Management and Lunch: I think this was a major improvement for me. There is so much food on these things that my natural instinct is to just eat a lot at every stop and then get a big lunch. This time I was pretty judicious with the calories I consumed. Lunch was actually really tasty - chicken wraps and veggie wraps - but I didn't overdo it and I was back on my bike pretty quickly. Food at this ride was outstanding overall. Not too heavy on the baked goods, a great lunch, HOT COFFEE at one stop, and Coke at the top of Tunitas.
The Coast: for all the drippy fog in the mountains, once we got to the coast it was just spectacular. Add to that a tailwind and the ride south to Pescadero was a real joy. I hooked up with a couple of groups and made some good time on this section until I flatted in Pescadero. The Metric Double had 230 riders, so losing my pace group was a bummer, but I was able to hook up with a couple others and rode with them to the finish. coming back up the coast I was a little burnt, but I grabbed a can of coke (16 OZ for 99cents !!!) in Pescadero and that helped a bunch.
Tunitas: I rode Tunitas with the San Francisco crew and held their wheels as long as I could, which was until about 2.5 miles from the top. I was happy with how much I had to give on that last climb, I hadn't been able to hang with those guys earlier in the day. Tunitas also got a lot of appreciative comments from the riders, it is super pleasant at the end of a long day. I really don't know why the Tour of Cali went up this one though.
Bunch Sprint: Coming back from the Kings descent to Palo Alto, we started hammering the flats and picking up riders as we went. The result was an all out sprint for the last several miles, a really good way to burn off the last bit of energy and test the fast twitch muscles. I'm certainly more sprinter than climber (climb like a sprinter!) and elbowed my way to a 3rd place finish (third in the bunch, not third overall).
Vertical Feet - 10,600
Avg Speed ~13.8
Riding Time ~9:10
Total Time ~10:15
Top Speed - 42 MPH