Custom Search

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Power Q & A

Some questions have arisen because of my recent power charts.  So I thought I would cover a few basics.

What are kjs/

video here

  1. A unit or measure used to express the total training load.
  2. The average power output in watts multiplied by the time in seconds divided by 1000.

Most people use the kjs to see how much work they have done on a ride or an interval.  It is also used as an energy expenditure measurement because it is closely related to calories expended.  On my Ultras I average between 550-600 kjs an hour.  The harder you ride the more watts you put out which then translates to more kjs.  Someone that weighs more will put out more wattage consistently throughout their ride and consequently will have more kjs by the end of their ride/race.  

Conversely, the shorter the distance the harder you can ride and accumulate more kjs.  So while I may put out 700-750 kj in an hour during a club ride I will be in the 550-600 kj range on Ultras.  After my long races my kjs are over 10,000 kjs and as much as 15,000 kjs.  Refer to my website for a comparison of three Ultras I completed in 2009 question 15.  Just think how much food I needed to eat to replenish all those calories ;)  Ever wonder why I do Ultras -- because I love to eat!

If I average 300 watts on a climb of 30 minutes I will expend 540 kjs.  Here is the math.

300 x 1800 seconds (30 mins x 60 secs) = 54000

54000 / 1000 = 540 kjs

But don't worry you don't have to do the math the power meter does all that for you .  

By the way, 300 watts would be 4.42 w/kg which for me is a hard effort. 

TSS- Training Stress Score

Training Stress Score takes into account both the intensity (i.e., IF) and the duration of each training session.  The duration of an exercise is easy to figure out -- just look at your watch.  But the IF or Intensity Factor needs a little more explaining.  The IF is how hard you are working in relation to your Threshold Power.  So if you are working at 75% of your threshold, Training Peaks shows it as .75.  And 75% of of 275 watts would be  206 watts.  The TSS calculates how long you are working and at what percentage of your threshold and gives that workout a score.  

The very first thing a cyclist working with a power meter should do is perform a field test. A specific protocol can be found on the the Training Peaks website.  The field test will help you discover your threshold power number as will as the rest of your power training zones.  

And how do you find your Threshold Power?  Let's first describe Lactate Threshold.   Lactate threshold (LT) - is a predictor of an athlete's endurance performance ability.  Maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 max) is an indicator of the an individual's cardiovascular fitness.   VO2 max sets the upper limit to their rate of aerobic energy production but their metabolic fitness, i.e., their LT, determines the percentage or fraction of their VO2max that can they can utilize for any given period of time.  In other words, we can find where an athlete's redline is with their VO2 max but their LT tells how close to that redline someone can train or race and stay in an aerobic zone.

Variability Index (VI)

1.  Is a measure of steady vs erratic pacing.  

2. Compares Normalized Power and Average
Power (VI=NP/AP)

3.  VI = 1.0 means perfect pacing for a steadystate
session (TT, triathlon)

4.  VI > 1.0 indicates a decrease in steady pacing.

So the closer to 1.0 the more steady an effort was.  Road races have constant attacks and pace changes so the VI can be as much as 1.30.

Pw HR:

Is a way of illustrating how much of a change there is from the first half of the interval/workout and the second half.  Steady state intervals would have very little if any separation.  It can also illustrate an athletes aerobic fitness.  You may see how in the first half of a Time Trial an athlete goes out too hard because his second half would have the same power output or slightly less but his heart rate would be drifting upward.  

In the posting the 13% decoupling is quite high but it wasn't a steady effort.  The goal would be 5%.  

Videos from Joel Friel

Friday, February 26, 2010

New 5 min Normalized Power- 340W

Today's Friday ride was a good one.  I felt good throughout and tried to ride "off the front" or just ahead of the pack so as not to draft.

 Entire workout (155 watts):
Duration:   2:40:48 (2:50:44)
Work:       1497 kJ
TSS:       163.7 (intensity factor 0.784)
Norm Power: 216
VI:         1.39
Pw:HR:       -2.29%
Pa:HR:       -0.98%
Distance:   50.806 mi
Power:       0......792....155 watts
Heart Rate:   26....190...145.bpm
Cadence:     30... 218...85 rpm
Speed:       2.2.. 40.7..19.3 mph
Pace         1:28..26:49...3:06 min/mi
Crank Torque: 0....903... 155 lb-in

Peak 5min (267 watts):
Duration:   5:00
Work:       80 kJ
TSS:       12.7 (intensity factor 1.235)
Norm Power: 340
VI:         1.27
Pw:HR:       -39.49%
Pa:HR:       20.8%
Distance:   1.808 mi
Power:       0..... 668...267 watts
Heart Rate:   164...190...180 bpm
Cadence:     77...123...94 rpm
Speed:       15.7..26.5...21.7 mph
Pace         2:16 3:50 2:46 min/mi
Crank Torque: 0...679...245 lb-in

Today's weight 149.5lbs or 67.81 kg

340w/ 67.81kg = 5.01 w/kg for 5 minutes

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wednesday Ride plus Warner Loop


90 miles 

Entire workout (167 watts):
Duration:   4:50:24 (5:01:55)
Work:       2913 kJ
TSS:       276.3 (intensity factor 0.757)
Norm Power: 208 (3 w/kg)
VI:         1.25
Pw:HR:       11.24%
Pa:HR:       -11.54%
Distance:   89.51 mi

Min.. Max.. Avg
Power:       0... 946... 167 watts
Heart Rate:   7... 179... 147 bpm
Cadence:     30.. 212... 84 rpm
Speed:       2.2. 44.4.. 18.8 mph
Pace         1:21. 26:49.. 3:12 min/mi
Crank Torque: 0.. 1257... 171 lb-in

Today's weight 149lb 

I was late leaving my house. I arrived at the ride start a few minutes after they had rolled.   So  me and another rider, Matt, chased to catch the group.  I had to chase almost 27 miles.  Basically, I chased from my home in Huntington Beach to the start,19 miles, and then another 8 miles into their ride.  In the graph above you see my best 60 mins of the day and yes it turned out to be all the chasing I had to do JUST to get to the ride. 


Peak 60min (199 watts):
Duration:   1:00:00
Work:       715 kJ
TSS:       71 (intensity factor 0.842)
Norm Power: 232  (3.43 w/kg)
VI:         1.17
Pw:HR:       -13.49%
Pa:HR:       1.36%
Distance:   17.572 mi
                  Min .Max...Avg
Power:       0......640..199 watts
Heart Rate:   99....177...157 bpm
Cadence:     30....196..81 rpm
Speed:       2.2.. 37.4..17.7mph
Pace         1:36..26:49..3:24min/mi
Crank Torque: 0......889...211 lb-in

Because I'm an Ultra cyclist I find it interesting that many of my best 60 minutes of power are without the group on the group rides.  It just goes to show there is a lot of drafting going on in the pack and that I need to be careful not to get spoiled since I can't draft in many of my Ultra races.  I would like to just sit out front and ride tempo the whole ride and see what type of numbers I come home with as a comparison.  

Coffee Crew Tuesday 022310


Interesting how my first hour getting to the group ride was my best 60 mins of the ride.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

New 1 min Peak Power


My "new" 1 minute peak power number.  It is the same as the one I had back in August.  I'm calling it new because I lost all my data.  I now have a file to reference to if I want to look it up.

Today's weight 148lbs

534 watts /  67.13 kg = 7.95 w/kg

Which puts me at mid Cat 3 on the power profile chart above.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A tough day on the bike

I didn't have a good day on the bike today.  I call these rides -- CBR (Character Building Rides).  Allow me to breakdown the day for you.

Only 90 miles and 7,000 feet of climbing.

Entire workout (154 watts):
Duration:   6:11:38 (7:16:37)
Work:       3427 kJ
TSS:       313.6 (intensity factor 0.713)
Norm Power: 196 (2.9 w/kg)
VI:         1.28
Pw:HR:       -3.43%
Pa:HR:       -4.32%
Distance:   89.443 mi
              Min Max   Avg
Power:       0 559 154 watts
Heart Rate:   81 183 152 bpm
Cadence:     30 206 75 rpm
Speed:       2.2 36.8 14.6 mph
Pace         1:38 26:49 4:06 min/mi
Crank Torque: 0 958 179 lb-in

1.  I awoke late and had very little motivation to ride.  It was my only day off and I felt I HAD to ride rather than WANTED to ride.

2.  I drove to Glendora Mountain Road (GMR).  On the drive I thought I needed to do something different maybe that was why I wasn't motivated to ride. So I changed direction and headed towards Angeles Crest Highway (ACH).  With no plan in mind I just figured I would go UP.

3.  As I'm getting ready to roll out a group of 5 cyclists turn onto the residential street I am on.  They tell me ACH is closed due to the recent rains.  They led me around in a very circuitous route through the neighborhood.  I was completely turned around wondering how I would ever get back to my car.  They were on a birthday ride for one of their riders.  They eventually launched me on a path towards Chantry Flats.

4.  I climbed Chantry Flats.  It is a great climb just shy of four miles.  A little steep if you are riding an 11-23 cassette and no motivation.

5.  Not content with sucking on just one short climb I decide to ride to Hwy 39 and climb in that area.

6.  I am having a lackluster day and Hwy 39 proved it again.  At least I kept ahead of the triathletes though. Why was I continuing to climb since I was sucking so bad?

7.  I climbed little GMR from Camp Williams.  Now it is really evident that I sucked today.  I climbed the 4.92 mile climb in a stellar time of 34:06.  More than 6 minutes slower than my PR.  From mile one of the climb I just wanted to turn around.  I was counting down the tenths of a mile.  I just couldn't get my butt in gear. I wasn't putting out any power to speak of and I looked longingly at the top just hoping I could be tele-ported up.  Yeah I sucked that bad.  My legs felt like lead.

8.  I descended big GMR towards Glendora.  I'm having a good descent -- yeah I know it's easier than climbing right?  I'm "flying" down the mountain at over 35 mph on a curvy road having a great time and then BAM! I hit a rock.  Front tire punctures and goes flat almost instantly.  Light touch on the front brake and handfuls of rear brake.  The tire is flat and I'm riding on the rim and still going 20+MPH skeery!  Now I'm in a rear skid heading for the berm on the side of the road.  I was proud of myself for making such a graceful emergency stop-- probably the best part of ride.

9.  As I start changing the flat I realized I didn't have an inflator chuck for my CO2 cartridge.  I have plenty of them at home but none right now!  I have a tube,a tire lever, two CO2's a patch kit, and a tire boot but no chuck urg!!!

10.  I resign myself to sitting on the side of the road and waiting for another rider to come down the mountain or up.  So I get comfortable and turn up the volume on my iPod.  Surely there will be another ride soon.  I only had to wait two techno songs... oh about 14 minutes lol!  John comes down the mountain and rescues me with his frame pump.  I guess I need to carry my own eh?  Maybe I'll get one of these from here

11.  I  followed John to his home and used his floor pump to top-off.  John and Tammy were gracious enough to give me directions back to my car.  Remember my car is parked at the base of ACH.  I don't have a spare tube --but I have two CO2's lol! Oh but no inflator chuck so I really don't have "flat repair". It's not usually a concern but with the day I have been having it would have been nice to have some insurance.

View Larger Map

12.  I left John and Tammy's house and then it started to rain URG!  Does it have to rain only on my days off?  I swear I'm going to grow gills and webbed feet. Read 300km Brevet Race Report.

13.  I get "lost" several times trying to follow Foothill in a westerly direction.  It seems the street starts and stops several times and you have to jog North and West to stay on it.  Did I mention the headwind?  Yep there was a good stiff headwind and it sucked.

14.  I've been out of nutrition and water for the last couple of hours.  I ran out of "food" at the top of GMR.  I'm purposely denying myself the nutrition.  I'm sponsored by Infinit Nutrition and they take care of me very well but I am determined to totally drain myself. Funny how I find that people just don't like to suffer when training.  I prefer to ride really hard, or in harsh climates (heat, cold or rain) to toughen up.  I don't think people like suffering as much as I do.  I guess some riders would rather DNF in their races than suffer enough in training.

15.  On one of the times that I was off course and on Walnut instead of Foothill I came upon Pasedena Cyclery and asked for directions.  Really cool guys and all of them were very helpful.  It sucks that they had to work on a Sunday but I'm glad they were there.  Being the store manager of the Newport Beach Bike Religion I work my weekends as well.

16.  After what seems like a full day of eventualities I arrived at my car completely spent and depleted.  I needed FOOD and right away!  Finally the ride  was over!

17.  Seven hours on the bike is not usually a big deal for me.  And typically that would be at least a 100 miles and more climbing.  But I was not having a good day at all on the bike.  I forced myself to ride thinking one day I will wake up on race day and have to ride whether I feel up to it or not.  I thought of Grand Tour racers getting beat down day after day in a 20 day stage race and wonder how difficult it must be for them to get motivated to ride EVERY.DAY.

Well that's all for now and thank you for reading my blog.   I do have a request though.  Many of you that read my blog have come up to me and introduced yourself at an event.  I think it's great that you folks follow my blog.  I would like to hear some comments or questions from you my readers.  I like being able to answer questions and direct the information so that you the reader my benefit from my posts.

Ta Ta

Saturday, February 20, 2010

I thought I PR'd Newport Coast Dr

I did hill repeats on Newport Coast Dr today.  Newport Coast Dr is the local hill riders do their repeats.  The  grade is a little steeper at the bottom (1/8 mile) and then settles in around 6.5% grade.  The hill is 1.5 miles with 450 feet of gain. On one of my repeats (last one) I was feeling pretty good so I "punched it".  My goal was to hold 310Watts - 320 Watts (held 314W). I thought I had PR'd (Personal Record) but in fact I was about 5 seconds slower.  As many of you know my hard drive on my PC is not working so I have to set all new benchmarks.  It turns out that 7:26 to climb the hill is actually 5 seconds slower than my actual PR.

The climb was a solo effort.  I believe I am capable of a faster time if I was with a group of riders.  I am hopeful that  I will best the 7:21 PR in the coming months.

Today's weight 149.5 lbs or 67.81 kg

314 W divided by 67.81kg = 4.63 w/kg

Screen shot of my Power Tap download on Training Peaks wko 3.0

Screen shot from Power Agent

The Furnace Creek 508- One of the World's Ten Toughest Races

In case you hadn't seen this:

From the AdventureCORPS site:

"Furnace Creek 508 was recognized as one of the world's ten toughest races by National Geographic Adventure Magazine this year. It's sister event, also held in Death Valley and also hosted by AdventureCORPS, the Badwater Ultramarathon, was noted as THE toughest." 

I thought it was really cool to have a third party confirm how tough the Furnace Creek 508 is in the vast world of  extreme sports.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Multi-File Ride Analysis

Multi File Ride Analysis Screen Shot from Training Peaks wko 3.0

Multi File Ride Analysis- is a very useful tool to evaluate the performance from two different days, or two different intervals.  The information is placed in easy to read graphs.

Yellow Tues 2/16/10
Red     Tues 2/9/10

Top graph  Power--  Yellow power is more consistent for the duration of the the climb. On that day there was two fairly strong riders setting tempo.  The pace was steady and the group was content to stay at pace that was set.  Red-- There were surges from the base and then a few more as we neared mid point.  You will also notice Red trails off as I popped off the group.

Mid graph Cadence-- Yellow cadence is more consistent and actually increases during the last portion of the climb.  Red trails off again mainly because I stood up to accelerate to as I was getting popped.  Standing usually has a slower cadence.

Bottom graph Speed-- Yellow speed is more consistent and actually increases during the effort.  Red is reactive to surges but trails off in the last portion of the climb because I got popped off.

There will be more Multi-File Ride Analysis from Training Peaks WKO 3.0 in the future.

Monday, February 15, 2010

New 5 min Peak Power

Here is my new 5 min peak power since I don't have any historical data anymore.


Today's weight 150lb = 68kg

NP 317 watts divided  68kg

4.66 w/kg for 5 minutes

Saturday, February 13, 2010

02/6/10 San Diego 300km Ride Report

Let me first say a HUGE thank you to Dennis Stryker the RBA and all the volunteers.  You make it possible for us to ride our bikes.  

Next let me say that aside from the 2006 300km this was possibly one of the worst rainy, wet and freezing cold brevets I have ever ridden. Here is the link to the 2006 300km Ride Report where it not only rained on us but it hailed on us as well. On the 2006 300km we climbed a few hundred feet higher in elevation than this year's 300km mainly because we climbed from Lake Henshaw to Santa Ysabel on Mesa Grande Road.

177 miles 13,000 feet of climbing.  I was the first rider to come in.  I came in with an official time of 12 hours 3 minutes. There was a 1.5 hour time gap between me and the next riders that come in.  Approximately 35 riders were registered, 30 or so rolled and about half them DNF'd. 

Official Results*

*A worker's ride was held on a different date with better weather.  Drew Peterson I'm sure you had better weather BUT you rode the course solo 10:56 is an excellent result.  

Resorted by time

BIKE SETUP--  Cervelo Soloist SL with Orion II Power Tap wheelset, no aero bars. Chainrings 53/39 Cassette 11/23, two water bottles

WEATHER--  mid 40's and dry at the start, rain throughout the rest  day, low 40's at elevation and high winds

CLOTHING-- Skins Compression Cycling Tights, Woolistic Long Sleeve Base layer, Cinzano Long Sleeve Jersey, Defeet wool gloves

NUTRITION-- Infinit Nutrition.  Customized formula for Ultras.  Use discount Code "Vireo" for 10% off your order.

Screen Shot from Training Peaks Software WKO 3.0
Entire Activity

Entire workout (150 watts):
Duration:   11:30:52 (11:51:26)
Work:       6231 kJ
TSS:        516.6 (intensity factor 0.671)
Norm Power: 181
VI:         1.2
Pw:HR:       n/a
Pa:HR:       n/a
Distance:   176.956 mi
Min Max Avg
Power:        0 532 150  watts
Cadence:      30 212 75  rpm
Speed:        2.2 48.5 15.4  mph
Pace          1:14 26:49 3:53  min/mi
Crank Torque: 0 932 181  lb-in

Some very quick analysis of the numbers from the Power Tap.

1.  Of the total time of 11 hours 51 minutes.  I only spent 21 minutes off the bike or wheels not rolling.  When you consider there were 3 controls and multiple traffic controls that really isn't much time off the bike. Let's assume 5 minutes per control that equals 15 minutes.  That would leave 6 minutes for traffic controls and my stop in McDonald's.  

2.  6231 kjs is very closely related to the amount of calories expended.  A power meter is much more accurate than the calories consumed calculations done by Polar, Garmin and the like.  

2A.  The 6231kjs/12 hours equals 526 calories per hour.  Knowing that we can only really digest 250 calories an hour this calculation shows how I was going in the red by 270 calories an hour.  

3.  181 Normalized Power- is equal to 2.66 w/kg.  Low when compared to shorter races like the 200km in January when I held 3.05 w/kg. 

We rolled from the start about 30 riders strong.  Jerry Brown and another rider were on a tandem.  I slowed my pace just enough to let them take lead and set the pace through Otay Lakes Rd.  It was funny when they rolled off the front and expected me to pull.  I said "You're the tandem you should be driving the pace on the flats".

Anyway as soon as we got that sorted out I stayed tucked in as second wheel getting sprayed even though they had a rear fender installed on their bike.  Approximately mile six I looked behind me and the group was nowhere to be seen. As we turned onto Honey Springs Rd, I looked back across Hwy 94 and as far as Otay Lakes Rd but didn't see anyone. I thought maybe there was a crash or something.  The tandem was not going THAT fast to drop so many riders so early and by so much.  

Screen Shot from Training Peaks Software WKO 3.0
From the start to the Honey Springs Rd. Climb

MILE 11-- HONEY SPRINGS RD. CLIMB-- This climb is a good 8 mile 7% climb.  I tried riding with the tandem but my largest cog was only a 23T. I was turning a 40 RPM cadence and was barely pushing 200 watts.  I climb around 260-280 watts (3.8-4.0 w/kg).  I climbed at my own pace and then descended Lyons Valley at my own pace. The twisty roads which are usually so much fun to descend were nerve racking.  So I slowed my pace and decided this is what the ride is going to be like ...SLOW AND CAUTIOUS. 

The Honey Springs climb is featured in the San Diego Grand Fondo from their site, "The timed climb in the Gran Fondo Colnago San Diego — located at approximately mile 40 to 46 on the route – is 10 km (6.2 miles) long, up the winding Honey Springs Road.  The climb ranges in grade from 3% to 8%, with the steepest portion very near the summit."    

Looks like they only time a portion of the overall climb.  But any way you slice it, it's a good climb.

Screen Shot from Training Peaks Software WKO 3.0

 Honey Springs Rd. Climb

MILE 20-23 LYONS VALLEY-  One of my favorite curvy roads to descend.  It was drizzling, the road was covered with rocks and water running across the road.  I had to take it really slow.  It was on this road that I got my first real soaking.  The rain was heavy for just long enough to get me throughly saturated.  Even though I was soaked the wool felt great and soon as that downpour ended I did dry off pretty quickly.  

MILE 31.8 WILLOW GLEN-- As I turned onto Willow Glen the tandem caught me.  I wasn't really trying to stay away... not yet anyway.  I remembered the last time I was riding this brevet solo in 2008.  It was at this turn where I caught up to Bruce Taylor.  I had had rear derailuer issues on the Honey Spring climb and pulled over to try and fix them.  Bruce continued to climb and gradually created a gap between us.  I thought about all the other times I had been on the same course as Bruce.  Sometimes we would ride together and have a little chin-wag.  I was hoping Bruce's head injuries would not be as severe but I found out later that evening that Bruce had passed away.  It was sad...really sad.  I'll miss you Bruce.  

MILE 55 EL MONTE PARK CONTROL #1-- I arrived approximately 9:15 am 3 hours 15 minutes elapsed time.   Thank you Tim Sullivan for volunteering.  I rolled in with Jerry Brown and his tandem partner.  I was riding conservatively and using their draft.  I filled two bottles with water and two Infinit Nutrition packets and I was off.  The key to fast Ultras is staying on the bike.  I was in and out of the control in less than 4 minutes.  My Power Tap is set for Sleep Mode after 4 minutes.  It is my goal to be in and out of a control before those 4 minutes elapse.  

MILE 64.5 HIGHWAY 67-- From Willow Glen to here I had ridden with the tandem team.  At the base of Hwy 67 I knew the first 1.5 miles of the next 8 miles was steep.  It is about 8.5% grade and I knew I could drop the tandem here and create a big gap.  I accelerated, (didn't need to "attack") rode the tandem off my wheel and didn't see them for the rest of the event.  Climbing Hwy 67, I thought of the previous year's event when Brandy and I flatted on our tandem partway up the climb.  I felt good on the climb.  Rain and more rain throughout the climb. 

Screen Shot from Training Peaks Software WKO 3.0
Hwy 67 Climb

MILE 76.5 DYE ROAD-- It felt like I had a tailwiind so I pushed hard to take advantage of it.  Rain rain and more rain.

MILE 84.2 OLD JULIAN HWY-- One of my favorite roads in San Diego County.  It avoids the heavy and fast traffic of Hwy 78.  It's a rolling climb with good pavement.  I felt OK but the miles and being wet for five hours was starting to get old.  The winds were starting to pick up and the rain was steady now.  I was getting cold but since I was climbing it wasn't so bad.  

MILE 90.3 JUNCTION TO HWY 78-- This is when things started to go bad.  The winds were really strong with no specific direction which then made the rain come at you in all directions it seemed.  I was getting really cold.  I had been thoroughly soaked on and off for hours but the colder temps and the winds were really bad at elevation.  There are lots of open spaces as you near Santa Ysabel and the wind can be brutal in the high plains.  

MILE 96.1  SANTA YSABEL CP#2—I had reached the turn-around in 6 hours which was my goal. 96 miles and approximately 7,000 feet of climbing DONE!  I was happy with my progress considering the weather conditions.  Tom and Tina Reynolds were at this checkpoint with that now famous soup of hers.  I only had one objective-- check-in and get down from elevation.  Santa Ysabel is at 3,000 feet. I was offered soup and the warmth of Dudley's Bakery but I declined and rolled out as soon as possible. There was no way I was going to spend any time in Santa Ysabel.  

My stop was less than 4 minutes.  Tom wanted to take a picture so I posed and quickly got back on my bike.  I remember this lady getting out of her car and her coat and billowing in the wind.  She was struggling to get from her car in the parking lot to the front door of the bakery. She yelled out "you're going to ride your bike in this weather?"  I responded "I've BEEN riding in this weather!" She must have thought I was nuts!  That's ok most people think I'm nuts for doing Ultras.

MILE 101.9 OLD JULIAN HWY-- The 12 mile out and back section of Hwy 78 was definitely the worst section of the ride for me.  From mile 90.3 to 101.9 I was drenched to the bone.  The wind and the cold was  unbearable.  I was suffering but I needed to get down from elevation.  Old Julian Hwy is a curvy fast descent.    I couldn't enjoy because the wind and the rain and the uncontrollable shivers I had.  Words can not express I terrible I felt.  

MILE 111.3 MAIN STREET RAMONA--  In every race I feel there are defining moments.  They are moments of crucial importance and how you handle them decides your fate. They are moments when you have to radically change what you are doing "or die on the vine".   Every ride has a few of them and this ride was no exception.  Some defining moments are positive-- like pulling yourself inside out to catch a faster rider or paceline and now you are in "the winning break".   Some however are truly a challenge that if not faced head-on and overcome can mean the end of your ride.  For this ride the DEFINING MOMENT was now!   I was so cold I was shivering like mad.  I couldn't safely control the bike.  I was cold to my very core.  My feet had been wet from the very beginning but now my hands were frozen, my wrists were frozen stiff and my core temperature (in my estimation) was dropping into dangerously low territory.  I needed to do something STAT!  

I remembered that McDonald's is an Eco-friendly company and they don't have paper towel dispensers in their restrooms.  McDonald's has hand dryers.  And I just learned from a fellow Rando that the floors are heated.  I will look into that the next time I am thoroughly drenched.  I walked straight to the bathroom and parked myself in front of the hand dryer.  I began by warming up my hands and attempting to dry my gloves.  Then I worked my way up my arms-- first the wrist then the forearms.  I then managed to get my upper arms and my thighs under the warm air.  Eventually, I knelt down under the hand dryer in the fetal position and got the warm air on my back and shoulders.  As a reminder the only thing I was wearing a long sleeve wool base layer and a long sleeve wool jersey.  If I had had one more base layer I would have been fine.  The only mistake I made all day was thinking it wasn't going to rain that heavy or at least not ALL day.  

As soon as I walked outside it was raining again.  But psychologically I was back in the game.  My stop was about 5-6 minutes.  But it was probably the best 5 minutes of the whole event.  I had been cold .  I had been wet.  But during the 12 mile section from Old Julian Hwy/Hwy 78 junction I actually considered a DNF.  But I was on the return leg -- can I really DNF' on the return leg?  I kept thinking “it will get warmer, it will get warmer, it will get warmer it HAS to get warmer.  It can't be this cold and rainy at the lower elevations.  I'm Lakeside is like 110F in the summer”.  Since I was heading down another 1500 of elevation I thought if it just got 10F warmer I would be fine.  Honestly, that was the only thing that kept me going.  

MILE 137.2 ALPINE BLVD-- From here on out there is a lot of climbing.  The first three miles of which get you to Alpine and to our third checkpoint.  The climb is gradual and probably not more than 6% at any one time.  It parallels the US 8 Interstate.  

MILE 140.1 CARL'S JR CP#3-- I arrived at the control at 3:00pm I was not looking forward to the next climbing section but it had to be done.  I left the control remembering that all I had was an 11/23 cassette. Living in Huntington Beach and doing a lot of coastal rides you get used to riding close ratio cassettes.  I don't get out to the mountains as much as I used to.

The ramps on Japutul Rd are at least 10% with many being in excess of 12% grade.  I used to love riding on Japatul Road when I lived in Santee.  But there is quite a difference between climbing that road on a 50 miler as oppossed to being 150 miles into the ride.  I struggled on the rollers but I was expecting it.  It took me an hour to climb the six miles from Alpine to Japatul Rd.  

MILE 150 LYON'S VALLEY ROAD--  Lyon's Valley is a good rolling but generally down descent.  I was getting warmer but the rain was coming back.  By the time I got to Honey Springs Rd it was raining steadily AGAIN!  URG!

MILE 157.7 HONEY SPRINGS ROAD--  A short one mile climb and then a screaming descent for 7 miles.  The rain was steady I was warm and heading for home.  I couldn't hit the high speeds I usually hit on HSR because of the winds but I maintained 30ish mph.  HSR is at least a 45 mph descent when I'm in a tuck.

MILE 165.6 OTAY LAKES ROAD – I was on the home stretch and still in daylight.  I was racing the sunset.  The rain was steady with sporadic downpours.  I had been thoroughly wet many times during the day and it was quite demoralizing to get so wet just before the finish.  I continued on just counting down the miles.  I had a goal of finishing in under 12 hours and I was cutting it really close.  

MILE 177 FINISH-- I finished in 12 hours and considering the conditions I was very happy with my result.  I was fearing getting caught by the tandem or any of the solo riders if they would have gotten organized but they never caught me.  


1.  WOOL WORKS!! The only thing I should have done differently is I should have worn one more thin base layer.  I was warm and cozy for good portions of the ride.  And in the other sections I felt the chill but it was more tolerable for the convenience of wearing one garment for cold, rain and warm and dry climate.  I had no need for rain gear or any other clothing.   Thank you Woolistic.  But there was the one section from Old Julian Hwy/Hwy 78 Junction to Santa Ysabel and back that I was just miserable.  I really was miserable.  

2.  INFINIT WORKS!  The only thing I might have done differently is dial up a little more calories in my formula.  With the colder temps you use more calories to keep your body core temp up.  I will bump up the calories and a little more protein for winter rain storm riding.  Maybe that is what I will name the formula too.  ;)  I had made my own gel by taking scoops of Infinit powder and mixing it in tablespoons of water.  It was easy to sip and was packed with calories.  This is the longest event I have used Infinit Nutrition and I was happy to not have experienced any stomach upset.  Additionally, in the stormy weather it would have been a a pain in the ass to have to reach back in my pocket periodically for electrolytes and solid foods.  Thank you Infinit Nutrition.

Other than that I really can't think about anything I would have done differently.

The 300km is the second in a series of four brevets.  They include the 200km, 300km, 400km and the 600km.  This year I will only do the 200 and 300 because there are schedule conflicts with the other events and I also work more weekends now that I manage Bike Religion, a bike shop in Newport Beach.  

What's next for the Red Eyed Vireo?  I will be doing the Death Valley Double Century March 6, 2010.  It is a very well run event put on by AdventureCORPS.  I like doing the doubles out there because I get to see the Furnace Creek 508 course in the DAYTIME ;)