Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Going to Cramp City....

Leticia, who has single handedly organized more miserably hard, uncomfortable rides than any one else I know, had pulled together yet another doozy of a ride for our last weekend training ride before the Death Ride.

Although this one didn’t have the phrase, Mountain, or Monster or even Death in the title, it was still going to be a long tough ride.  We met up on Canada Rd at 8:15 and weren’t sure whether to bring a jacket or not.  I could tell it was going to be warm but the fog rolling over the top of the hills from the coast had me a bit concerned….in the end I decided to do without and filled my jersey pockets with gels, shot blocks and clif bars. More than I would ever need I was sure…

The ride starts out with a nice warm up along Canada Rd into and through Los Altos.  From there the fun begins as we headed up Old La Honda Rd. Thankfully, it was still pretty early in the day and with all the shade, the climb was tough, but the heat wasn’t too bad. (was that a cramp I just felt in my hamstring?)  Troy and Paciano motored off and as tempted as I was to give chase, I knew we had a long day ahead so I took it pretty easy.
As we got to the top and headed down, the weather remained clear and sunny. The west side of Old La Honda is a fairly fast 2.5 miles downhill and although the road isn’t in great shape, it’s downhill which is always more fun than uphill.

From here we merged with Hwy 84 and enjoyed another fast, swoopy 4 mile section where, according to my garmin, we averaged 25.4 mph before turning off on Pescadero Rd and starting to climb again.

This climb is called Haskins hill, although I have no idea why.  It’s a little shy of 1.5 miles and again, thankfully, is in the shade.  The backside of this is yet another downhill section where the road is in good shape, the traffic is light and our average speed went into the mid to high 20s.  Although it flattens for a while coming in to Pescadero, we took turns pulling and kept our pace high, knowing food was within reach.

We rolled in to town and headed for the Arcangeli Grocery, our usual lunch stop on this route.  In addition to the deli, they have the most amazing treats and locally baked goods in the world.  As we walked in there were two people out front enjoying personal sized Olallieberry pies….I opted for the hubcap sized chocolate chip cookie instead. (no, I didn’t eat all by myself, what kind of glutton do you think I am?)
From here the route goes up Stage Rd which is incredibly hard on a full belly.  It was here with all of my energy focused on digesting my lunch and not heating my body that I began regretting the decision not to bring a jacket, although the climbing warmed us up pretty quickly. (did my calf just twinge?) We hit 84 and headed out to the coast which was cool and breezy. Again, the climbing kept us warm.

Coincidentally, Bob, Leticia’s husband, head domestique and chief mechanic had met up with us at lunch and decided to ride with us the rest of the day.  Lucky thing too since not far up Hwy 1 Leticia flatted.  After we all stood around watching Bob repair a flat faster than a Nascar pit crew we were back on the road and soon turned inland.  Verde Rd connects to Purisma Creek rd which again has a nice little climb before turning back downhill towards the coast again where we rejoined Hwy 1 then again rejoined Verde Rd making a complete loop with the only purpose being that Leticia wanted to make us climb some more...

From Verde Rd things really became “fun” (yes, it’s in quotes because that’s sarcasm) Verde Rd takes you to a nice little section called Lobitos Creek Cutoff which at mile 60+ was a taste of hell for my already tired legs.  This cutoff is only about a half mile climb, but there are sections at the beginning that are 14%.  Eventually the cutoff from hell brings you to Tunitas Creek, the last climb of the day and the one to which I really did not look forward.

Tunitas Creek on a regular Pescadero Loop usually comes at mile 40ish….today, we were way beyond that and had done quite a bit of climbing already so I just plugged in my ipod, put my head down and went to my happy place for the next 7 miles….several times as I stood at particularly steep sections, I could feel my legs begin to twinge with the beginnings of a cramp, but it never actually hit. Thank you Enduralytes!

At the top, Troy noticed that Leticia’s rear tire had a bubble sticking out of the sidewall.  So, in true domestique fashion, Bob not only booted it, but he swapped wheels with her so she wouldn’t have to worry about it on the way down Kings Mountain.

The ride down Kings Mountain and through Los Altos went smoothly.  You could feel the heat building as we descended.  My legs were toast and there was nothing in the tank so when we stopped to turn on to Canada Rd I reached into my pocket for a gel only to realize that, although I had brought more than enough gels, bars and chews, I had gone through every single item.

The last section of Canada Rd is a slight downhill and Bill decided to put the gap on everyone.  I made up my mind to let him go until Troy, Tracy and Leticia went whizzing by and I had to jump on their wheel.  Soon after Troy decided to put the hammer down and I tried to follow….pulling up to the truck as I unclipped, I was thankful to be back….another 100 yards or so and I was sure to have been in cramp-city….all in all another great ride – 74 miles and about 7400ft of climbing….

Strava details - http://app.strava.com/rides/857768

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