Ride Around the Bear

This ride was hard. 100 miles, 9,000+ feet of elevation gain. Many hours on my bike.

For whatever reason, after my last century attempt, I couldn’t get motiviated to ride. I changed that when I got on the waiting list for the OCW Ride Around the Bear and then got in.

Since I was familiar with the start area and knew how long it would take by car to get to Redlands, I opted to sleep at home and wake up early to get there. I woke at 4am Saturday morning and left by 4:30am to arrive at Sylvan Park around 5:45am. It was raining (light rain) when I left home and was still raining when I got out of my car and it was cold, a combination of the light rain and the light breeze. Cold enough that I put on my long sleeve shirt under my bike jersey.

I made the check-in quick and got back to my car to load up my supplies. Pre-ride with minimal gear on, 175lbs (post-ride, 170lbs).

Even though it was cold, I was sure it would burn off – that’s the way it had been for the past week (around Irvine, anyways). But still, if anything I wanted to make sure to bring my arm warmers, extra Buffs, extra gloves and jacket. My legs could deal with it and if they were cold it meant I wasn’t pushing hard enough.

So on one pocket I had gloves, Buff and arm warmers. In another I had eight baggies of power and pills and in the last pocket, solid food.

I checked out at 6:15am. There was a constant light drizzle for the first 17 miles, mostly flat terrain, mostly easy. Was doing 12mph on average. Sometime after turning on to Highway 330, the rain let up. Hwy 330 was like a Stairway to Heaven… I made it to the first Rest Stop (mile 24) at about 9:30am, just as it was closing, and I was moving real slow. Next step was supposed to be at mile 34 and it was all uphill.

Breathless felt like an easier ride. At least there, I knew I’d crest and have some amount of time to recover. This ride wasn’t like that – nearly 40 miles all UP! And I couldn’t crank any faster than 4mph.

I did stop to take note of the scenery. My personal highlight was passing through the cloud layer and looking down at the clouds. From here on, temperatures rose and the sun was out but not too hot. Jacket came off and shortly afterwards, long sleeve shirt came off.

I was glad I had brought an extra Buff – with the rain and sweat, the two I had on me were wet and my eyes were burning from the sweat that kept rolling into my eyes. So I changed to a dry one.

Rest Stop #2 closed at 11am. Rest Step #3 closed at 12:30pm. At 11:50am I was two miles from #2 and at the pace I was going, wasn’t going to get there until 12:30pm. One of the support vans came by and offered to bring me up to #3 so I could get back into the thick of things. That short cutted me about 12 miles and I got to #3 at 12:00pm.

From Dana Point park at the lake I took off and headed on mostly flat roads to the 8.7 mile climb to Onyx Summit (which I missed on Breathless) – Rest Stop #4. This wasn’t necessarily hard, just long. I got to Onyx Summit at 2:00pm, 30 minutes before it closed and felt great.

19 miles to Angeles Oaks (#5), mostly downhill. The several short climbs took it out of me and I didn’t roll into #5 until about 3:30pm and really felt tired of biking. Not sort on energy but just tired of sitting on my bike. But this part of the route I had done before and knew it was another 19 miles downhill with NO CLIMBING so I took off, stopping only once to put my jacket back on.

When I clocked in at the finish, 9:57 miles. My bike computer and GPS showed around 90 miles (MB auto-corrected for the 10 miles I short cutted and shows 95).

This ride was hard and long. I really need to work on my climbing speed.