I came. I saw. I got my butt kicked.

74.32 miles in 6:55:41 with 9,237 feet of elevation gain. That works out to an average speed of 10.7 mph. Yeah, I know – not a century. I missed the checkin time by 30 minutes at Pass 3 and wasn’t allowed (“strongly encouraged”) to go the remaining 19.1 miles.

I completely underestimated the amount of effort it would take to get to the first Rest Stop at Beaumont. I was shooting for 1.5 hours but wound up at 2:21. Right from the start it was up hill and what really killed a number of us was that at the top of Jack Rabbit Trail, the trail was under water and I had to hike-a-bike through some mud and grass to get around. My Speedplay pedals don’t like mud – spent several minutes clearing out the mud so I could clip in.

In any event, I made that stop short – fueled up, re-watered, rinsed off my cleats and took off. About 8 minutes. I had just about two hours to get to Mill Creek, almost 18 miles away about half of that was up. And by up, I mean into the clouds/fog and the sudden drop in air temperature. From the moment I started I could see my breath and my glasses were fogged for most of the climb. At best, I could see many 50 feet ahead of me – sometimes less, a lot less. This was a tough climb too – I started doing 15 minutes ride, 1-2 minute break. My legs thanked me. The downhill was insane – 35+ mph with air temp in the low 40s. With the windchill it felt… well cold!

At Mill Creek (Stop #2), I had put just over 4 hours. That was my planned solid food break and bathroom stop. I planned on a 15 minute stop but the bathroom line took longer and it ended up being more like 24 minutes. Since I made the cutoff time, I took off to Angelus Oaks, 3k feet of climbing but a mere 11 miles.

That ride starts out on what’s called Damnation Alley which I thought was because for 7 miles it appears that the road is flat and NON-ENDING. That’s half true – it isn’t actually flat. It was work though. I fould out later that it’s name is attributed to the soaring heat in the canyon during most other years. Ironically, this was also the only part of the ride that saw any sun and was the only time I pulled off clothing.

At mile 49.1 or so I started a more serious climb for the last 4 miles of this route. That too was work, managable work. Somewhere around 5k feet, temperature dropped like a rock but since there was little air coming at me so it didn’t matter too much.

Unfortunately, when I got to the end of that lap, I was 30 minutes past the cutoff time. The gals manning the aid station said it was even colder on the way up and the fog was worse.

The ride back was 18.1 miles, all of which was downhill. All of which was in screamed down that mountain at 38+ mph. What a ride!

So whatever, weather and time were against me. I finished though, 3 passes. And had I been able to go on, I would have. I felt strong – my heart felt steady (kept it at about 160bpm even during the worst of the climbs), my legs, while tired and occassionally “crampy”, felt strong. I certainly had the energy.

While eating some food at the Burrito Fiesta at the finish, I learned that a number of people didn’t finish – some bailed out after going hypothemic. One thing AR’s taught me: plan and dress accordingly. I was never uncomfortably cold. Of course there were some equipment failures that took some people out too.

Things I learned:

  1. BRING A MAP CASE! This never crossed my mind until I realized I had no good place to keep the route sheet. I ended up tucking it under my bike shorts leg.
  2. Lube, lube and lube. I missed a spot and am paying dearly for it. Had to stop off at Rite-Aid on the way home to pick up some ointment. Convenient, Rite-Aid was next door to a 24hr Fitness, so I showed while I was there.
  3. The Bento Box looks like a good add on – just the right size to hold some miscellanous stuff in a really handy location. I could have used on of those.

So below I have a link to my GPS output on MotionBased.

And some pictures, not many but some.