Sunday, May 17, 2009
Most of the time when I'm done with a ride, I like to say that I kicked the ride's ass. On some occasions, my ass gets kicked by the ride. I'm going to call my maiden San Diego Century ride a draw. It was a wonderful day for a bike ride. The weather was overcast and cool, but not cold. I felt a bit unsure before the start thinking that I should have ridden the route a few times; after all it's in my back yard. Yet I felt confident. I've been riding fairly consistently, and while there were a lot of climbs on this ride, I knew I was pretty strong.
Without hesitation Molly and I drove down to Mira Costa College where the start/finish was, I got ready, she took a few pictures and I was off a bit past 7am. I knew the first 7 miles of the course really well and I was thankful that it didn't continue on Rancho Santa Fe RD for too long because there's a very steep section. Nevertheless, the next couple of miles on San Elijo Road weren't a cake walk. It's fair to say that the first major downhill section of the ride didn't come until after mile 10. I was so happy for it that I stopped before getting to it and updated facebook and twitter about it. That downhill went for a couple of miles only to reach about a 5 mile uphill climb, nothing steep just long. And that really summed up the ride. This particular ride didn't have many flats, you were either going up or down. It wasn't until mile 54 when we got to the coast around Via de la Valle that we found the last 12 miles or so as relatively flat. While no single climb was terribly long or steep. Maximum elevation was 820 ft. Total ascent however came in at 2372 ft.
While the climbs were tough, especially when at my size it's like two riders on the bike and only one doing the work, the descent were another story. What goes up, must come down. I'm thankful for the downhills, they provided some rest, although as we were bombing down Del Dios Highway, I questioned the sanity of riding on 1 inch tires at almost 40 mph with essentially a styrofoam cooler on your head and a millimeter of lycra for protection. Luckily at those moments you're too busy paying attention to riders, cars and the road to dwell on it much.
So how did I do? Not as bad as I thought:
Avg Speed was 12.54 mph
Max Speed was 38 mph (on a downhill of course.)
Ride Time: 5:21:08 (excluding stops at sag stations)
Before I close I want to commend the organizers of the San Diego Century. Especially all the volunteers at the SAG stations. Everyone was friendly, encouraging, quick to fill your water bottles, offer a sandwich, bananas orange slices (my favorite), and just generally in a great mood. They even had a masseuse at one station that I saw as well as at the finish line. The course was marked clearly which is a challenge when you have riders doing 3 different distances. However I have to say they did a great job, from registration to the finish line. If you're in the area and you get a chance to ride it, you should although it's probably not for the weekend rider.
After all the suffering and the high heart rate and the sweat, I was glad to have ridden the 66 miles. I was even more glad that I had sense enough not to enter the 100 mile ride ... maybe next year.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
This is the time of year when finding time to ride gets difficult, work gets very, very busy. I teach mostly high school seniors, and 3 weeks before graduation, they're finally worried about passing my class. Huh! Go figure. Papers that are stacked up on my desk need to be graded, and loose ends must be neatly tied up before Pomp and Circumstance starts filling the air of our football field. Finding time on the bike gets difficult. My mileage chart from last year shows that May, June and July were my lowest millage months. In order to avoid this mid-summer lull, I've established some goals that so far, have kept me motivated.
I don't think my specific goals are that important, but the setting of an overall goal and then breaking it down into smaller chunks is definitely something that cyclists from beginners to pros can benefit from. Here's what's keeping me on the bike...
Goal 1: Long-Term mileage goal. Last year I broke a personal record in terms of total mileage with over 2500 miles. My goal for this is to reach 3600 miles.
Goal 2: Short term goals: Riding 3600 miles is the same as saying I'm losing 120 lbs. My experience tells me that these numbers are so large and the time to reach them so long, that it's easy to lose motivation in the short term. So, I've set a goal of 300 miles per month for myself. I fell short of this at the beginning of the year, but lately I've been pretty much in the ball park. I should be able to make up the difference in the coming months.
Goal 3: Organized rides. I've approached this in a way that develops a sort of riding season for myself. I started with the Tour de Palm Springs in March which added motivation in February. Then rides spread out throughout the year culminating in what's become my favorite ride of the year, El Tour de Tucson in November. You can see my list of 2009 rides on the right hand column.
Sharing them with you, showing my riding log summary here and on facebook, has also helped. A big motivator has been Coach Sean Burke. He's not only helped me improve on the bike, but doesn't let me get too far off track. It tends to keep me motivated. Another motivator is something I did just on a whim, I requested and got some sponsorship from 53x11Coffee and ActionWipes. In appreciation for their support, I want to follow through with my riding calendar, even when at times I might prefer to skip them.
That's it for now. Tomorrow I'm riding in the San Diego Century. I'm doing the Metric version (66 miles). I'll post more about it tomorrow and will have updates here, facebook and twitter.