Custom Search

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

On My Commute today....

As many of you know I commute to work about three times a week. My commute is 65 miles each way along the beautiful southern California coastline from Huntington Beach to Encinitas. I leave my home in Huntington Beach at 4am to get to work by 8am. I work a full 8hr shift and then commute home to Huntington Beach at 4pm and get home by 8ish pm. The headwinds going North usually add 15-20 mins.

On my commute today I met Louis. And who is Louis? Well every morning as I enter Newport Beach, just South of Huntington Beach, I see the trail of the street sweeping machine. Different parts of town are done on different days and I am always "chasing" the street sweeper. I feel so privileged to be the first cyclist to ride on a freshly swept road. I just want to catch the sweeper and say Thank you. I "caught" the sweeper. I pulled over and motioned to the driver that I wanted to talk to him. I couldn't believe how noisy the machine was but Louis was kind enough to shut the different systems down. I introduced myself and we chatted for a minute and I thanked him because I'm quite sure no one thanks him. Here he is sweeping the streets for us cyclists (I know, I know it's not just for us but let me fantasize) and he does it in the middle of the night and we never see him. He's out there pre-dawn making Newport Beach a clean and road hazard free zone.

Next time you are out on a ride and are suprised you don't see any road hazards think of Louis...I will!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

San Diego Brevet Series 300km


Pictures sign in as a guest.

Finish Line photos with Kevin McNulty


Total kjs= 6454
Best 30 min--- 220watts--- 3.24 Watts/kg
Best 60 min--- 213watts--- 3.13 Watts/kg
Best 120 min--- 189watts--- 2.78 Watts/kg
Max Power 704--- Avg Power 152--- 2.24 Watts/kg

On Ultras it's all about pacing so power numbers aren't all that high. In additon, long descents bring the average wattage down significantly.

First of all I would like to take this opportunity to thank my sponsors who are supporting me for the 2008 season. Kenda C2C Tires Sportquest makers of CarboPro, CarboPro 1200 and Interphase, Woolistic makers of the best cycling specific wool clothing, Skins compression garments and as always my club Team Velosport/ TEAM SHO-AIR/SONANCE.

Jan 19, 2008

The route covers some of East San Diego's more rural roads. The stats are

Distance: 177 miles
Elevation gain: approx 13,000 feet of gain (Polar 720i 12,700)
Highest elevation point: Santa Ysabel 2936 feet
Climbs along the way: Honey Springs Rd, Harbinson Canyon, Hwy 67, Old Julian Hwy, Old Hwy 80, Japatul Valley Rd.


It was a chilly morning in the low 40's. Clear skies most of the day and the best thing no RAIN.


I chose my Serotta again. I think the fit is dialed in now. I rode my Powertap powermeter which is built on Velocity Deep V rim. They are very sturdy very stiff and very reliable. I have them laced 24H and have never had them go out of true. Tires of course were Kenda C2Cs. For lights I carried two small headlights powered by "AA" batteries and a tail light.


I wore Assos S2 Bib Shorts, in my opinion the best cycling shorts, with knee warmers. I also wore a wool base layer from Woolistic under my 2XU base layer. I wore my Furnace Creek 508 finisher's jersey with matching vest. This is one I am very proud to wear since I did the race on a fixed gear bicycle. I had a Descente Velom jacket which is very thin, compacts into a sandwich baggie and provided just the right amount of warmth for the first hour of the ride. I was fortunate to have chosen the perfect layering system and felt great temperature wise all day.


The 300km attracts mainly brevet riders. You no longer find road racer types or people that "Gee I'd like to try a brevet." It is just short of a double century but I find it just as hard because you don't have support every 25-30 miles. The controls were spread out as such:

Control #1 55.1 miles ---with 4300 feet of climbing
Control #2 96.1 miles--- with 3500 feet of climbing
Control #3 140.1 miles--- with 2450 feet of climbing
Finish 176.4 miles--- with 2520 feet of climbing


I estimated I would be on the course 12 hours and needed an avg of 300 calories per hour. 12x300= 3600 calories

1. The night before I mixed VIGOURSLY 1 bottle of CarboPro 1200 (16oz) and 6 scoops of CarboPro in a water bottle. I then split the mixture in two 8oz flasks. 1800 Calories

2. I then made two water bottles of 300 calories each with CarboPro 1200.

3. For the drop bag at mile 96 I sent another bottle of CarboPro 1200. 1200 Calories

So that meant I had 2400 calories I was carrying with me and 1200 calories waiting for me at the turnaround point mile 96 for a total of 3600 calories

Obviously, I expended more calories than 3,600 but I have found that consuming more than 350-400 for too long really causes me GI issues. Using the CarboPro1200 was so easy on my stomach that I strongly recommend that you should try it on your next Ultra. I felt well fueled all day. I went on a liquid diet meaning no solids and felt great

The powermeter said I used 6454 kjs which is pretty close to the number of calories. A heart rate monitor will show many more calories expended.

Start to Control #1 55.1 mile Arrived at 9:33am

6am start and it was cold. I saw Kevin McNulty and thought I should try and ride with him and I would finish with a good time. Well that wasn't to be. Kevin took off right from the start and I just could not keep up. After seven miles of killing myself I let him go and settled into my own grove. Soon enough about five riders (Bruce Taylor, Chris Kostman, Chris Haddikan and others) caught up to me and we chit-chatted for a little while until the Honey Springs climb and then I did my own thing. Bruce Taylor got ahead of me because I was having issues with my gearing. I couldn't get the 27T to stay in gear. Not a big deal at this point but definitely necessary on Japatul Valley Rd at mile 145. I eventually caught Bruce on Steele Canyon and we rode for a couple of miles and then I climbed Harbinson Canyon at my own pace.

Control #2 96.1 mile Arrived at 12:44pm

I was feeling a little warm on the Hwy 67 climb. I removed my vest and climbed the rest of the way to Ramona. Once I turned on to Old Julian Hwy the winds started to pick up. I would guess about 20-30 mph. All I kept thinking was "I can't wait to turnaround and take advantage of this tailwind." I like Old Julian Hwy. It is a great climb and there is very little traffic on it.

Control #3 Mile 140.1 Unmanned Arrived at 3:30pm left at 3:39pm Carl's Jr

There was lots of descending from Santa Ysabel with little rollers here and there. I like the climb up Old Highway 80. I used to live in Santee and would climb up to Alpine often. When I got to the unmanned Control at Carls Jr I couldn't believe how long the line was. It took me almost 10 minutes just to get a reciept. But I had to keep in mind that this is not a race. Although I was frustrated since I had worked really hard on the climb up to Alpine.

To the Finish

I wasn't looking forward to the Japatul Valley Rd climb. All day I was conserving energy so I would be able to tackle the 10-14% grade ramps found on this climb. I got through it eventhough I hadn't done that much climbing since Furnace Creek. I made the right turn on Lyons Valley and thought for sure there would be a long descent. I guess I forgot that it isn't that much of a descent. I was happy to make the left turn onto Honey Springs Rd because I knew that would be the last climb of the day. As I summited the climb, I read a text message from Brandy that said "I'm at the finish". Oh that felt great. I read that and found new motivation and sped on to the finish.

I had ridden with some riders intermittenly up until mile 30 and then I rode Solo the rest of the way. I felt well fueled and comfortable on the bike. The only thing lacking was good legs. I'm happy with my result and placing second to Kevin McNulty --- who holds the two person RAAM, and two person Furnace Creek 508 records and won the California/Nevada State Climbing Championships in the Cat 4/5 isn't bad at all.


I downed a bottle of Interphase and Recover Amino Power capsules just as I got off the bike. I then gave in and ate McD's...I figured I had earned it. I used the restroom of McD's to get out of my cycling gear and put on my Skins Travel and Recovery tights to begin the passive portion of my recovery and because I had a 1.5 hours drive before getting home.

I've been asked if I sleep in them--- YES! My legs feel so much better the next morning. Sunday morning I went out for a 22 mile recovery ride and then came home and took a 1.5 hours nap. By Monday, I was commuting to work from Huntington Beach to Encinitas (65 miles).


I'd like to say a huge thank you to all the volunteers!! Mike B. great route and Japatul in the latter stages of the event is a real leg zapper. You all great THANK YOU FOR VOLUNTEERING!!

Kevin McNulty way too strong to keep up with. The guy's an animal!!


Monday, January 21, 2008

So, I was thinking...

Four words. Seem innocent enough, don't they? Not when they're uttered by this girl.


You see, everytime Brandy says the words "So, I was thinking..." it's followed by some sort of pain for me. Don't get me wrong, I feel incredibly lucky to have such amazing support from the girl that I love, but damn. She has the ability to find every single spare minute, and then some not so spare minutes (meaning I'm missing out on sleep) for me to get training time in. She makes out my training schedule and then encourages me to stick to it.

Gotta love a girl who supports your passion. Oh...and she rides. Not around the block. Not twenty milers. Double centuries with aspirations of bigger challenges. Does it get any better?

Friday, January 18, 2008

On My Commute today....

So the last week has been interesting. I have felt like a fish out of water. Rushing to take a this really me?

I wanted to ride fewer miles on the days leading up to the San Diego Brevet Series 300km. I took the Metrolink one day from Irvine to Oceanside round trip. I rode my bike from Oceanside to Encinitas in the morning and back to Oceanside in the afternoon. Today I took the Amtrak from Irvine to Solana Beach. It was a nice relaxing ride on the train but getting to the train was nerve-racking. I kept thinking if I missed the train then I would have to ride my bike home. Isn't it funny how I was commuting the whole way on the bike the week before but this week I was fearing the ride? It's just one of those things where when your mind is expecting one thing it is a shock to the body and mind to do something else.

On the first day of my train commuting, I walked up to the platform carrying my bike and immediately a gentleman approached me. We started talking about the bike, riding and different events. I told him I was doing a brevet and he was familiar with them.

SO I asked, "How do you know about brevets?"

He replied "I tried PBP once has really bad knee problems and didn't finish."

What a small world. There were three people on the platform and two of us were Ultra Cyclists.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Hell Week

Typically I will do two round trip commutes from Encinitas to HB during the work week. It normally works out to Tuesday night/Wednesday morning and Thursday night/Friday morning. Last week I wanted to ramp up my training miles, so I committed to three round trips. Each leg is 65 miles so I was looking at a 390 mile week from Tuesday night through Friday morning's commute.

To prepare for this, Brandy sent me to work on Tuesday with four days worth of meals, which I'm sure my co-workers appreciated, considering I hogged up all of the space in the refrigerator. Along with that, she prepared bags of Sportquest supplements (Recover pills and baggies of Interphase and Carbo Pro which I would use pre-ride) along with multivitamins and extra Vitamin C and Vitamin E. What a sight I must have been making multiple trips into the store with all of my loot, I'm sure that it looked like I was moving in.

I would post more about what this experience was like, but honestly, it was one big blur of work, ride, eat, sleep, eat, ride, work, eat, ride...rinse and repeat. I averaged eight hours a day on the bike last week and though I was exhausted with the lack of rest time between legs, I felt pretty good considering. My routine when I was off the bike consisted of cleaning up and immediately putting on my Skins compression garments. I feel like these played a significant role in my recovery. Typically on big mileage weeks like when I was commuting frequently in preparation for Furnace Creek 508, Brandy would have to use the massage stick on me nightly. While that would have been nice last week, she was putting in significant mileage herself and was too exhausted to "stick me." Thank goodness for Skins when the girlfriend is slacking on her girlfriendly duties. Kidding. ;)

Up abbreviated commute week in prep for the San Diego Brevet Series 300K Brevet on Saturday January 19, 2008. I will be doing the full commute on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. On Wednesday night and Thursday morning, I will take the Metrolink train for a portion of the commute and ride the rest. This way I will still get some easy miles in for consistency, and give my legs a chance to recover for the brevet on Saturday.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

San Diego Brevet Series 200K Brevet

On Jan 5, 2008 I did the San Diego Brevet Series 200km.

The route

Pictures from my camera

Pictures from Ron Simental

First off let me thank my sponsors who keep me equipped and fueled. Sportquest- makers of Carbopro 1200, Interphase and other fine products, Kenda Tires, and Woolistic makers of the best wool clothing and as always my club Team Velosport/ TEAM SHO-AIR/SONANCE.

It was forecasted to rain ... rain alot. Much to my chagrin, the weather forecasters got it right this time. It rained and rained and rained some more. It rained for the first 5+ hours and didn't taper off until I reached the coast and was heading South towards the finish in La Jolla. I finished 2nd (yes I know brevets are not races, but don't tell that to the frontrunners). My time was 7:56 for 125 miles with over 7,200 feet of climbing. Not bad considering I had only ridden six times since Thanksgiving (bad cold), the weather, not being able to descend at full speed, getting lost twice and navigating in the rain while riding is difficult at best. That is the short story those wanting more details read on.

The two biggest decisions I had to make the night before were which bike to ride and what rain jacket I was going to wear.

Bike Setup

The bike of choice ended up being my custom Serotta CSI-- Sarah. Yes my trusty ol' steel bike got the nod. I would like to ride Sarah for the entire brevet series and wanted to get my position dialed in. Sarah is a recent rebuild with a new fork and new cockpit. As far as wheels, I went with Easton Orion II because they are comfortable and come with traditional round spokes. Even though I own a pair of Mavic Kysrium SLs I don't ride them in stormy weather because bladed spokes can be a handful in crosswinds and on stormy weather rides you never know which way the wind will catch you on a descent. I also didn't want to ride my Powertap. For tires, I rode my Kenda C2C's because I know I wouldn't puncture. I inflated them to 100psi instead of the usual 120psi because I wanted just a little larger contact patch on the road. I went without lights because I typically finish the 125 mile loop in fewer than 8 hours.


On days when inclement weather is imminent I love wearing my Assos bib knickers. The pad is great and the material is ideal when getting rained on all day. My legs didn't feel cold at all. Up top I wore a Woolistic long sleeve baselayer and a Vitadello Long Sleeve also from Woolistic and both made from 100% Merino Wool. Now the jacket. There were three jackets in contention. My Adidas rain jacket, my 2XU Membrane Jacket and my O2 Rainwear. Three jackets to be shared by two riders since Brandy would be doing an 80 mile ride on the same day. My preferred jacket would have been the O2 Rainwear. But I have put on almost 15lbs since RAAM and the O2 didn't fit with the wool base layer and the wool jersey. Good thing Rainshield is sponsoring me this year now I can get a larger size. Then I tried on the Adidas rain jacket and realized (had never worn it yet) that it didn't have any vents. So from three jackets down to one jacket. By default, I would wear the 2XU Membrane Jacket.

I was curious how the "impossible" claims from 2XU would work in reality. From their website:

"Using 2XU’s revolutionary 8/10 Membrane (mid layer) delivering waterproofness of 8,000mmH2O making the penetration through the fabric face through any conditions, from a shower to a snow storm impossible."

Well I am here to tell you that less than one hour into the event I was soaked. So much for the claims of "impossible" penetration.

The Ride

The 200km is the most popular of the San Diego Brevets. It attracts first time brevet riders, roadies, triathletes and of course experienced ultra riders. In the past I have seen the turn out range from 30 to over 100 last year (PBP year). Today's turnout was a scant 15 riders. The rain and the impending winter storm kept many riders in their nice warm and comfy beds.

The start was a rolling start. I noticed people were slow in getting ready and at 7am sharp a small number of us rolled out. Mark Raybeck, Bruce Taylor, Jerry Brown, Ian Prowell, Tim Sullivan and I rode together the first three miles or so and then it was just Mark, Bruce and myself.

Control #1 AM/PM Mile 34.9


Mark, Bruce and I reached the first control together. There was coffee and restrooms in an RV. I was in and out in a couple of minutes. I knew I didn't have the legs to keep up with Mark and I needed a jump. Mark caught me on the climb up Old Castle Rd. Shortly thereafter Bruce caught and passed me while still on Old Castle Rd. I kept Bruce in sight through Lilac, Couser Canyon and eventually caught him on Rice Canyon on the way to the Rainbow Market.

Control #2 Rainbow Market Mile 60.4

Bruce and I pulled in together to the Rainbow Market. By now Mark was long gone. I was in and out again in less than two minutes. Bruce and I said our goodbyes and I didn't see him again the rest of the day. From here there was a welcomed downhill and then a climb up Hwy 395 from Hwy 76 and continuing on West Lilac until the "summit" of the day. To make sure we were on track we had an info control-- the serial number of a fire hydrant on the course. And then another welcomed descent down Circle R to Hwy 395 and then Camino Del Rey.

One of the tenets (mine anyway) of Ultra Cycling is not getting lost. Well I missed the turn on Old River Rd and had to double back. I lost a good 10 minutes off course. But hey that's all part of Randonneuring right?

The bike path we took off of Old River Rd was where I was launched for the official RAAM start back in June 2007. It brought back a thousand memories some good some not so good but all in all a huge sense of accomplishment!!!

Back to the brevet. On this same bike path I came across a territorial dog. He definitely took offense to me being so close to his "home". As soon as I saw him I knew there would be trouble. Typically, I slow down shift into a good sprinting gear and just as the dog has chosen his "angle of attack" I punch it and avoid the dog. Well that wasn't possible on Holly Lane. This street had speed bumps, potholes, and mud all over and all in very close proximity. I longed for a frame pump. He charged at me while barking and I had to think quick do I unclip and try to kick him away, or would that give him a better target, or should I steer towards him and force him to change his angle of attack, or should I try to sprint even though traction was almost impossible. As our trajectories met I decided to yell loudly (GO HOME!), growl back at him, change direction towards him(since dogs have a tough time walking backwards let alone running backwards) and then I found a somewhat clear section to accelerate. Why this dog was allowed to roam the street is beyond me. Maybe his owner doesn't like cyclists.

Control # 88.5 7-11 on Vandegrift

This was an unmanned control. I went in, bought a banana and got my obligatory receipt. From the 7-11 onto the bike path and then to the coast. I had been riding solo since mile 60 and really wanted someone to share the work with me heading West into the wind. The headwinds were pretty strong but I knew I was homeward bound now. I reached the coast and knew I only had 30 miles to go. The rain had ceased and I was starting to warm up. I had been wet and cold for the last 6 hours. Only one hill left-- Torrey Pines. Only one more wrong turn and then to the finish. This one cost me another 5 minutes off course.

The Finish

I arrived at the finish at 2:56 pm-- 7 hours and 56 minutes since the start. I felt good, not overly tired not overly hungry and satisfied with my time. I knew my limitations based on the scarcity of my training rides since Furnace Creek 508. I had been sick since Thanksgiving and not getting in the miles. I was greeted by Stephane, Greg O. and his daughter. Greg's daughter offered me a chocolate cookie and I gladly accepted. The cookies and my Endurox bottle were a great combination towards my recovery. The volunteers on the course make this event happen. Thank you to Mike Berry, RBA and all the volunteers whose names I've missed. I appreciate all your efforts.

Once I got home I took a long hot shower. It felt good to be warm again. I put on my Skins Travel and Recovery tights and eat a nice hot meal. It felt good to be home.

I will see you at the San Diego Brevet Series 300km.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Sponsor Update.....

Pictures taken by James Vogl

GREAT NEWS..... O2 Rainwear from Rain Shield has come onboard for the 2008 season. They make excellent functioning and compactable rain gear. I wore it on RAAM 2007 and have for many years prior to that. I highly recommend their products. Thank you Adam Ziskin!!!

From their website.

"The ultimate cycling jacket! Perfect for rain, wind, or just a pre-race warm-up Waterproof, Breathable, and Windproof to provide full protection from all the elements. The drop tail provides coverage from road spray. Fitted body for aerodynamics. High "stand up" collar. High visibility yellow color ensures you will be safely seen. Weighs 5oz. and Packs into a handy stuff sack for easy transportation and storage"

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Orange County New Year's Day Ride

Happy New Year to all my readers out there!!!

I wanted to start my 2008 year off with a century and I heard about the Orange County New Year's Day ride from Brandy, my girlfriend. I had a few concerns because big rides attract a lot of riders. They come in all skill levels -- some that posses the skills to ride in tight quarters and at high tempo and some that just want to see how long they can hang on. I emailed -Anthony D. Morrow PR Director, Editor & Webmaster for Velo Allegro Cycling Club. I voiced my concerns and he put me at ease. I thought it would be a great way to get some tempo work in-- something that is hard to do while training alone.

Well let me tell you that I had a blast. The ride is big, and I mean big. There had to be at least 400 riders and we took over one lane and sometimes two lanes as we headed southbound. You could see cyclists that were traveling northbound making u-turns to get on. It is better to catch the ride from the southbound side. The "peloton" just kept getting bigger and bigger. It was great to see the faces of people alongside the road cheering us on as we went by -- especially the kids. Hopefully, we motivated the next generation of cyclists to pick up a bike and ride!!

Being an Ultra cyclist I do a lot of training alone and it was a welcomed change to see so many teams. Amazingly enough even in that big group I recognized a few friends. The pace was fast and by the time we reached Dana Point - our first regrouping point-- many riders had peeled off. Less than half of the original group headed inland to do the full loop. We rolled through South Orange County where the pace was moderate to high but not nearly as high as it was on the coast. The pace really picked up as we skirted the El Toro airfield. The pace and the crosswinds created gaps and I was getting dropped. Luckily, there was a traffic light and I was able to get back on. Also at that light I saw Brandy who had doubled back on the course from Newport Beach so she could do the last section of the ride.

Eventually the "peloton" ended up back at the coast after going through Back Bay. Once we hit the coast we peeled off and Brandy and I got some coffee. I ended up with 95 miles for the day and some good tempo training. All in all a great way to start the new year. I highly recommend this ride but I wouldn't go out the night before and party it up too much!!

I was pleasantly surprised when we got home, to find that Brandy had ventured out to PCH in Huntington Beach and Newport Beach this morning to see the ride pass through and snap some pictures. You can find all of Brandy's photos from the ride on my flickr page. 2008 Orange County New Year's Day Ride pics.

I will also post a route sheet and overhead map of the course on my website

The peloton leaving the light at Superior in Newport Beach.


All smiles!
All smiles after a hard morning of work!

I had to turn the camera on Brandy for once!

On My Commute today....

With the New Year's holiday approaching I decided to get three days of consecutive riding. Actually, credit should go to my girlfriend, Brandy, the best girlfriend ever, for coming up with the schedule. Here was my plan--my commute home Monday 65 miles, the New Years Ride 100 miles and the commute back to work on Wed am of 65 miles. Then I would recover before my first event of the year, the San Diego Brevet Series 200km. The 200km is about 125 miles unsupported through some of San Diego North County's back country roads.

On Monday afternoon I left my car at work in Encinitas and rode home 65 miles to Huntington Beach. As I was entering Newport beach I noticed the number 1 bus traveling northbound alongside me. I looked up and noticed it's serial number and I couldn't believe my eyes. The number was "5309". Does anyone remember that song "867-5309"? Well I couldn't get it out of my head for the next 15 miles. Urg!!! And now I would like to share the misery with you!