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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mount Laguna Bicycle Classic- April 17, 2010

The course is really simple three major climbs with three long descents on Sunrise Hwy for recovery.

Official time 6:14
Official place 11th

Clothing- Skins compression bib longs, Skins compression base layer, Bike Religion Jersey, Bike Religion arm warmers. Furnace Creek 508 vest (Hincapie)

Bike set-up -- Rebecca (Cervelo R3SL)  Compact 50/34 Crankset 11-23 cassette (I wanted close ratios) Velocity Orion II with Power Tap Ant+ hub, Garmin 310XT

Huge props to:
AdventureCorps for putting on a fantastic event- well organized, well supported, challenging, rewarding and a great vibe and atmosphere. Adobo Velo for your support on the course and the post-ride food that was cooked seemingly to order and so it was fresh and tasty.  And lastly, the AdventureCorps family of volunteers you are what make the event special.  Thank you!!

I am happy with my result.  There were faster riders present that just plain rode away from me. I am a little concerned with the the amount of cramping I was experiencing.  I can't remember when I have ever cramped as much as I did on Saturday.  I couldn't get it resolved throughout the day.  The first time I summited I took four Endurolytes.  I then took four more at the gate for Kitchen Creek (about a 1/3 of the way up the second climb).  On my second summit of Mount Laguna I took eight Endurolytes from the volunteers- four at the rest stop and four more to take on the descent.  I took that many Endurolytes because I was concerned about cramping on Pine Creek. A 20% grade is the last place you want to cramp when going 4mph.  Of course it would look really funny just toppling over.

Start to Mount Laguna Summit

Start to Mount Laguna Summit Data

I left with the first wave at 6am.  I heard people saying it was in the high 30's and some saying low 40's F.  Regardless of the exact temperature it was cold not chilly.  It was cold but I knew once we started the climb to Guatay I would warm up quickly.  I went with my 2009 Furnace Creek 508 vest and dispensed with it after the first climb.  The pace was good, not too hard, but we split the group fairly quickly.  I looked around and recognized a few people like Ton "Desert Fox", Jack B "Blackbird" Adam "Rock Rabbit" Bickett, and Jim Knight,.  The group got really small as we turned onto Sunrise Hwy (from the Julian side) for our first ascent of Mount Laguna.  Now we were only six.  When you look at the elevation profile you will notice it isn't one continuous climb-rather it is a rolling stairstep climb.  Adam "Rock Rabbit" Bickett was setting tempo and soon it was just he and I leading the rest.  I looked back and there was a noticeable time gap.

Adam was riding his fixed gear again and I believe he was riding a 46 x 16.  His gearing is really close to the gearing I used on my fixed gear year at Furnace Creek 508 49 x 17.  It's a tall gear but this event has a lot of descending and you need to gear for the downs as well as the ups.  Adam's pace was a little tough for me and  I was dropped by him.  As I backed off Rock Rabbit's pace the other riders in our six man "break" slowly crept up to me and passed me.  On one of the rollers I didn't have it in me to push hard enough, close the gap, catch a wheel and a draft and was gapped significantly.  I couldn't keep up so I went alone for a little while.

Kitchen Creek Climb

Kitchen Creek data

Nearing Mount Laguna Summit #1
(2 riders abreast not condoned)

I eventually caught the Desert Fox and a triathlete (camo painted bike) and we summited and descended together towards Kitchen Creek.  We began the climb together but I just couldn't keep up.  I guess the lack of training since Hell's Gate Hundred was really coming into play.  I had only ridden four times since the HGH and it was very apparent I am loosing fitness.   I let them go and then climbed at my pace. At the gate for Kitchen Creek I was passed by Cliff Clermont, with another rider and Sean "Crow" Cuddihy, a 508 veteran.  These three riders were on fire and had left on the 6:10am wave.  They had caught me in just 55 miles.  While on the climb I was passed by the eventual winner Drew Peterson.  He was part of the 6:20am wave.  Drew's time was simply amazing at 5:22.  Great job dude!

I climbed at my own pace and felt defeated that I was passed by so many riders in the first 55 miles.  I was battling cramps all the way up this climb.  Cramping is something I am not accustomed to dealing with during an event or training for that matter. Even when I do cramp it subsides quickly and it doesn't impede my performance for very long.  A couple of times I grunted aloud with the pain of the cramps.  I made my way to the summit a second time and took eight Endurolytes - 4 then and 4 for the descent. I was alone now with no other riders around.

The hard thing about riding long distances is how to pace and motivate yourself when you end up alone.  You loose valuable time because there is no one to push you and you get complacent with your pace.  Being in "no man's land" between the lead riders and the slower riders is tough on your psyche.  The power meter helps with pacing but having another wheel in front of you pushing you out of your comfort zone.  Needless to say, I got comfortable with a slower pace and lost valuable time to the lead riders.

Second summit of Mount Laguna

Pine Creek Climb notice Grey line is torque.

Pine Creek Climb Data
Climbing Pine Creek Road

I rode the third loop alone.  I climbed Pine Creek alone and passed only two riders--  Jim Knight and Adam Bickett.  Is it fair to claim that I passed Adam since he was on his fixie and the climb had significant number of ramps of 20%?  I never dismounted.  Although I had to keep the intensity down because I could feel my heart rate soar every time I tackled one of the 20% grades.  

It was awesome to see handwritten signs on the side of the road on Pine Creek Road.  It motivated me to speed up and read the next one.  The quotes themselves were inspirational.  But even more than the quotes  was seeing the author's name of the quote.  It made me think of the people and the time frame in which they were alive.  People like Churchill and Emerson and Buddha brought even deeper thoughts than the quotes themselves.  A big thank you to the responsible party for making those signs-- very thoughtful. The signs  were strategically placed and we were going slow enough to ponder them.

At the finish with a V8 still trying to solve my cramping issue

The Mount Laguna Bicycle Classic is soon to become a classic in the true sense.  The event is in the East San Diego County mountains where vehicular traffic is significantly lower than that of urban centuries put on by other event organizers.  The climbs are epic the downhills are fast but safe.  The views are spectacular.  It is accessible from downtown San Diego within only an hour but yet you feel completely removed from anything urban especially when climbing my favorite climb -- Kitchen Creek.  Put it on your calendar for next year  APRIL 16, 2011!  I'll see you there.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Hand Up

I was reminded by the Furnace Creek 508 race director that your bottle Hand Ups must be executed perfectly to achieve success at the 508. I submit to you an exchange that was masterfully executed, and even more importantly, documented for posterity and educational purposes. The players are George "Red-Eyed Vireo" Vargas, the bottle hand upper Terry Zmrhal, the photographer Brandy Deluca. Taken at the 2007 Furnace Creek 508-- Fixed Gear .

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Hell's Gate Hundred- Ride Report




Entire workout (16.2 mph):

Duration:   6:11:35 (6:55:54)
Work:.       3454 kJ from Garmin But over 3,800 kj direct from Power Tap
TSS: ..       295 (intensity factor 0.721)
Norm Power: 202
VI:         1.2
Pw:HR:       n/a
Pa:HR:       n/a
Distance:   100.543 mi
Elevation Gain:     7978 ft
Elevation Loss:   7998 ft
Grade:     -0.0 %  (-14 ft)
                    Min.....Max.... Avg
Power:       0........ 656..... 168 watts
Cadence:     31..... 246...... 77 rpm
Speed:       0........ 46.2.... 16.2 mph
Pace         1:18..... 0:00.... 3:42 min/mi
Altitude:     -253..... 4352.... 930 ft
Crank Torque: 0..... 836..... 192 lb-in

My finishing time 6:55 good for 5th place.  I was off course for 44 minutes leaves 6:11 total time and 6:07 ride time.  I had a good day on the bike. The 16 mile Daylight Pass climb is a good one!! Bring some low gears for Artist Drive! 

I arrived at the Furnace Creek Ranch shortly after 1am on Friday night.  Yes, another long day at the store.  It was Good Friday and the store was packed.  It's good for business but bad if you are racing the next morning 6 hours away-- without traffic-- at 6am.  I closed the shop,got something to eat and got on the road.  If there is a silver lining of traveling late it would be that traffic isn't as bad on the 55, 91 and 15 freeways after 8pm.

BIKE- Sasha-- Cervelo Solist SL with Zipp 808 Powertap with Continental Competition tubulars.-- then Easton Orion II with Power Tap Standard Chainrings 53/39 and 11-23 Cassette.

CLOTHING- Skins compression tights, Bike Religion Short Sleeve sleeve and AdventureCorps cool armsleeves.  

Once I arrived I had to go through the usual  routine of setting up the bike, laying out my clothes and nutrition.  Let's just say it was around 2am when I shut off the lights and closed the eye lids.  If you follow my blog you may know  from my previous posts that I wake up everyday between 4-415am.  Which means I've been up almost 24 hours by the time I hit the rack.

Why am I spending so much time talking about this?  Well because...I overslept the morning of the event.  I was so tired I slept until 6:02 am when my roomie woke me up.  Even with the prep I did the night before I still couldn't get out to the start until the 6:30 wave.  I lined up with only a couple of familiar faces.  I recognized Jennifer Scharf, and Marcus Edvalson but that was it.  I usually like to leave with the first wave when I do double centuries since most of the fast guys are in the first wave.  But this was a century and I didn't know anyone.

We take off from Furnace Creek at a really good pace.  It's Troy (I find out at the finish), Jennifer and me off the front in a very short period of time.  Then the unthinkable happens -- I flat.  I was only 7.5 miles into the event and only 29 minutes elapsed time.  I was riding tubulars and wasn't carrying a spare tire.  I know shame on me.  But honestly, I have gone thousands of event miles riding my tubulars and I haven't flatted.  The tires I was using were only one Double Century old.  I used them on the Death Valley Double Century- Southern Route. Race report here  I sat on the side of the road and tried to figure out what's wrong because there was no way I flatted.  I was eventually sag'd back to the hotel and switched out my wheels, switched out my cassette and then was dropped off at the point where I flatted.   

I had spent 44 minutes off the bike.  It was now 7:43 am and I was only 7.5 miles into the event.  Urg!! My chances of "winning" were gone.  Now I needed a new goal.  I needed something to motivate me.  I thought I want to pass 50 people from this point and before the summit of Daylight Pass.  That's it now I had a mission.


Artist Drive loop (0:57:42.05):
Duration:   57:40
Work:       693 kJ
TSS:        70.1 (intensity factor 0.86)
Norm Power: 241
VI:         1.19
Pw:HR:       n/a
Pa:HR:       n/a
Distance:   15.003 mi
Elevation Gain:     1520 ft
Elevation Loss:    1446 ft
Grade:      0.1 %  (65 ft)
Min Max Avg
Power:        0 656 202  watts
Cadence:      31 239 74  rpm
Speed:        0 43.6 15.6  mph
Pace          1:23 0:00 3:51  min/mi
Altitude:     -187 930 308  ft
Crank Torque: 0 702 248  lb-in

Artist Drive was amazing.  The climb was steep but the scenery was awesome.  It was well worth the effort.  I had no idea that road existed and it's so close to the Furnace Creek Ranch that you can ride out and back and have a great ride in a couple of hours.  The descent had loose rock but the twisty parts were really fun.  It is definitely a very cool addition to the ride.

First 2 miles of Artist Drive:
Duration:   16:16
Work:       264 kJ
TSS:       25.8 (intensity factor 0.976)
Norm Power: 273
VI:         1.01
Pw:HR:       n/a
Pa:HR:       n/a
Distance:   2.192 mi
Elevation Gain:     913 ft
Elevation Loss:   0 ft
Grade:     7.9 %  (913 ft)

                 Min Max Avg
Power:       0 362 271 watts
Cadence:     39 99 61 rpm
Speed:       5.5 12.2 8.1 mph
Pace         4:54 10:58 7:24 min/mi
Altitude:     -126 787 261 ft
Crank Torque: 0 661 386 lb-in

I was passing people on Artist Drive as they suffered on the 10-12% ramps.  I started counting 1...2...3... I pulled into the checkpoint to see Elizabeth and Steve Barnes and posed for a few pics.  But then back on the bike and back on with my mission. I  finished the loop and got back on the 127 and 7...8...9...passed more riders.  I was riding well and felt like I was going to have a good day on the bike.

I rode past Furnace Creek Ranch on the slight downhill and motored to Daylight Pass Rd.  17...18...19...I was reeling them in. Along the way, I saw Dean K on the eliptigo. I thought wow that must be tough.  I'm so lucky to be on the bike ;)  I made the right turn onto Daylight Pass Rd and see a SAG vehicle.  I refueled and saw Marcus.  Oh good, I was making good time since he left in my 6:30 wave and I caught him.  I keep the intensity pretty high on the bottom of the climb and I'm passing riders I'm well over 40 now and I stopped counting.  It's obvious to me that I will accomplish  my goal of passing 50 riders.  Ok what's my next goal?  Just keep pushing and something will come up.


Daylight Pass to Ryholite turn (2:04:22.10):
Duration:   2:04:21
Work:       1370 kJ
TSS:        109.2 (intensity factor 0.726)
Norm Power: 203
VI:         1.11
Pw:HR:       n/a
Pa:HR:       n/a
Distance:   25.27 mi
Elevation Gain:     4539 ft
Elevation Loss:    1030 ft
Grade:      2.6 %  (3518 ft)
Min Max Avg
Power:        0 501 184  watts
Cadence:      36 186 72  rpm
Speed:        0 32.7 12.2  mph
Pace          1:50 0:00 4:55  min/mi
Altitude:     -187 4352 2406  ft
Crank Torque: 0 613 224  lb-in


Detail of Daylight Pass Climb:

Duration:   1:39:09
Work:       1223 kJ
TSS:       96.5 (intensity factor 0.764)
Norm Power: 214
VI:         1.04
Pw:HR:       n/a
Pa:HR:       n/a
Distance:   16.079 mi
Elevation Gain:     4539 ft
Elevation Loss:   0 ft
Grade:     5.4 %  (4537 ft)
                   Min Max Avg
Power:       0 501 206 watts
Cadence:     36 177 70 rpm
Speed:       0 19.4 9.7 mph
Pace         3:05 0:00 6:10 min/mi
Altitude:     -186 4352 1748 ft
Crank Torque: 0 613 255 lb-in

I reach Hell's Gate and see Picachu and his Adobo Velo club members.  Thank you guys for volunteering.  I've done the 10 mile climb and there is still 6 more miles to go. I refuel and leave quickly.  Up the road I'm zoning out when a rider passes me and I decide to jump on his wheel.  I had been gradually slowing down and this rider helped me ride faster.  This rider was really strong.  As I was watched my power in the low 300 watts I was beginning to doubt whether I could stay with him.  It was hurting me and being 12 miles into the climb didn't help either.  I let him go.  As I reached the summit I saw him sitting at the checkpoint. I waved over to him and rolled through that checkpoint. Actually I think it was more of a water stop.

Rhyolite Checkpoint

On my descent towards Rhyolite I realized it was quite chilly at elevation.  I was expecting riders to be heading back by now but I didn't see any riders.  This was a good sign.  As I approached Rhyolite I started to see the first few riders were now heading back.  I count 1...2...3...4...ok it looks like I'm currently running between 12-14th.  I make the turn off the main road towards the ghost town and see a tandem exiting.  I'm thinking damn they are only 3 miles ahead of me.  I now have a new mission.  CATCH THE TANDEM FOR THE DESCENT INTO DEATH VALLEY!

From Rhyolite to Daylight Pass Summit

Climb to Daylight Pass (0:37:27.07):
Duration:   37:26
Work:       448 kJ
TSS:       33.4 (intensity factor 0.732)
Norm Power: 205
VI:         1.03
Pw:HR:       n/a
Pa:HR:       n/a
Distance:   9.133 mi
Elevation Gain:     894 ft
Elevation Loss:   87 ft
Grade:     1.7 %  (810 ft)
                                 Min Max Avg
Power:       0 404 200 watts
Cadence:     51 144 81 rpm
Speed:       0 23.4 14.7 mph
Pace         2:34 0:00 4:06 min/mi
Altitude:     3401 4304 3649 ft
Crank Torque: 0 510 212 lb-in

I refuel very quickly in Rhyolite and boogie out of the checkpoint.  I want to catch at least 5 riders on this climb.  It's a milestone goal to help me achieve the greater goal of catching the tandem.  I'm working as hard as I can without blowing up to catch that tandem.  Of course this is all relative since I'm starting to feel realy fatigued.  And then I see it ...we are less than a mile from the summit.  I turn myself inside out and I'm almost there.  They reach the summit before me and I'm hoping they will pause just enough to put on jackets or something for the descent.  YES! They are doing just that and they are still there when I crest.  I have about a minute to catch my breath and then down we went.

The tandem I drafted on the 16 mile descent.

The descent was really fast.  We were moving at 40 plus mph.  At one point we hit a top speed of 46.2 mph.  With 5 miles left of the 16 mile descent we catch Troy who was in my 630 wave and who had set a hard pace at the start.  I'm now feeling satisfied with my effort for the day. Troy and I stay with the tandem until the finish.

My total time was 6:55.  I know from my Power Tap that I spent 44 minutes off the bike with the flat issue.  So my total time is 6:11 (6:07 rolling and 4 minutes at the various checkpoints).  The winning time was 6:31.  Yeah I would have crushed it by 20 minutes!

Overall I loved the event.  This new route showed me parts of Death Valley I was never exposed to before.  Artist Drive was a nice treat.  Also knowing that there is a 16 mile climb just 11 miles from the Furnace Creek Ranch is very good for future training.  I've been doing the spring and fall double centuries since 2003.  I like the diversity of this new century route.  Great climbs and being able to see riders continuously throughout the route are great bonuses.

I haven't done many organized centuries since 2004  because my training consists of solo centuries as I get ready for the 508.  One reason I like doing doubles is so I can work on my nutrition strategy and of course my pacing.  But this year my training time, and racing time are both limited.  I'm really enjoying doing century routes instead of doubles.   One reason would be less gear needed for a century as opposed to a double.  I don't need lights, and the staff doesn't have to work the course for 18 hours.  As far as training, riding a fast climbing century has plenty of training value and stresses my system just enough but yet I can recover possibly overnight and do another hard century the next day.

Another reason I'm diggin' centuries this year is I'm actually hanging out at the finish line and meeting riders and hearing their stories of their journey.  When I finish  doubles I am completely spent, as I should be, and don't have the energy to be social.  I'm usually off in a corner just trying to recover from the 11 odd hours of punishing my body.  You know riding a bike is supposed to be healthy but when I first finish my doubles I swear nothing about it feels healthy ;)

As always I am open to questions about my ride and welcome comments on my blog.  Thank you for visiting my blog.  I'll be riding the Mount Laguna Bicycle Classic on April 17th.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Towne Pass Century Plus- 148 miles 13,500 feet



On Sunday AFTER the Hell's Gate Hundred.  I awoke pretty tired from the tough century the day before.  I don't know why I have been starting these epic rides so late in the morning.  My prep consisted of:

Breakfast-- hotel room coffee (can never get a good cup)  a bagel with peanut butter.  Note to self -- I need to buy another cheap toaster to take on the road with me.  

Clothing- My Bike Religion kit made by Santini.

Flat Repair-  4 tubes, 2 CO2's and a Frame Pump

Fuel-- I made two bottles of Infinit Nutrition for the bike and I also made 100 oz of Infinit Nutrition for my Nathan Synergy Hydration Pack.  It is a dual chamber pack where you can have fuel in one and plain water in the other.  I don't carry plain water so it's ALL fuel when I use it.  

I rolled from the Furnace Creek Ranch at 9:30am .  I saw my buddy Steve Barnes, Race Director for Everest Challenge, with his son on their ride.  I think it's awesome to see a father and son riding together.  I can't wait until my son is big enough to do a trail-a-bike and then the tandem.  I said hello and rolled on.  I saw Chris Kostman, Race Director for AdventureCorps,  and Jeff Bell who came alongside in the van.  I had a little bit of a tailwind as I rode to Stovepipe Wells.


I stopped at the general store and picked up a box of Fig Newtons and three cheese danishes-- more on that later.  I had a sweet tooth on Sunday ;)  I wasn't  fully recovered from the almost 4,000 kj effort on Hell's Gate Hundred the day before.  If you are doing this ride unsupported there is a water fountain on the outside of the building next to the bathrooms.


I have  always been curious what the Towne Pass climb would be like from Stovepipe Wells.  I thought about Steve Born and his double 508 and how he felt on this monster of a climb.  The stats are daunting  17 miles and 5,000 feet of gain.  What's more is the sustained sections over 8% and I would estimate sustained sections over 9%.  I was climbing in a 53/39 and 11-23 cassette and found myself standing much more than I like to.  It was/is a very hard climb.  I kept an eye on my Garmin 310XT and found it to really accurate.  Every time I passed an elevation sign the elevation on the Garmin was REALLY close.  I am very comfortable with the elevation data I received Sunday from my Garmin.

The last 1,000 feet of gain were quite cold.  I was wearing my Bike Religion long sleeve jersey unzipped.  When I reached the summit I put on my Showers Pass jacket, ate one of my cheese danishes and began the descent back into Death Valley.  Since it was a very hard climb guess what?  It was a very fast descent!  I was on the brakes and still reaching 55 mph.  On the descent I also had some Fig Newtons.  About 9 miles into the descent I stopped at a ranger station.  I used the restroom and refilled my one bottles with water.  I didn't make another fuel bottle because I had made my bottles concentrated for multiple hours of sipping.


Starting at about 2200 feet I began the climb up Emigrant Pass.  13.7 miles and 3100 feet of gain.  This climb is hidden away off the main road.  You really feel like you are somewhere other than Death Valley.  I wouldn't call it scenic but I would call it striking.  The road twists and turns and again you are greeted with steep sections of climbing.  It was a little colder in this canyon-like climb.  I also like the way the road seemed to have been blasted through just to get to the other side.  I like this climb and would like to do it again.  The top levels off and it gives you a chance to spin your legs out before beginning the final 500 feet of gain to the "summit".  I put summit in quotes because you will continue to climb after reaching the Emigrant Pass elevation sign.  I stopped at the summit and had a cheese danish put on my Showers Pass jacket and began my descent.  As I mentioned before you climb a little more up some really steep ramps.  The descent off of this climb took over an hour.  I was riding 23c tires and there is a long section of dirt and loose rock.  The "road" is pretty tore up but with patience and caution you will make it safely down to Panamint Valley Road.

As I approached the right turn onto Panamint Valley Road a white Ford van with tinted windows stopped alongside the road and appeared to be waiting there.  I thought what if this is some wacko out here looking for some kicks.  It turns out they thought I was the wacko for riding "out there"  Their questions were "Dude! Where the hell did you come from?" "Where the hell are you going?"  "Where is home base?" Meanwhile the girl in the front seat sat there with her jaw dropped listening.  Yeah it was cool to shock them a little. 

Next a 14 mile "transition" to the last climb of the day.  The road has a little bit of climbing but I was aided by a little tailwind so it was all good.


Now the last climb of the day.  11.2 miles and 3,400 feet of gain.  It was still daylight as I began the Towne Pass climb.  Just as I was about to make the right turn from Panamint Valley Rd to Hwy 190 I feel my rear wheel get spongy. I begin to change the flat and the first tube doesn't hold air.  Is it possible that the tube is punctured?  No it's actually the valve isn't working right.  Ok pull out another tube and this one works fine.

The climb is gradual at the beginning and then really ramps up.  The views are spectacular if you care to look behind you into the valley.  You can also look over your shoulder as the road turns every now and then.  The climb is very hard even on a good day.  There are sections of sustained 9% average grade.  There is one sign that says 9% for six miles and I believe it.  That 11-23 cassette was really kicking my ass but I pushed on and just reminded myself that I need to put in the work now to be stronger for my events this summer and the Furnace Creek 508 in October.

I continue to work hard and finally reach the summit. I put on my Showers Pass jacket, eat my danish and begin my descent.

Incidentally, just past the summit sign the mile marker you are looking for is "69" just a little factoid for you. 

Now for the fun part--  I was going so fast on the descent down into Death Valley.  I held speeds over 55 miles an hour for over 10 minutes.  I reached a max of 63 mph and could have gone faster.  I'm in my own little world listening to good music and flying down the mountain enjoying life.  It was awesome.   You know what's weird?  When I "slowed" down to 40 mph I felt like I was standing still, almost like I could dismount and walk away from the bike.  Anyway, as I slowed this car pulls up next to me.  There is a gentleman driving with his two boys -- each under 10 years old.  They are waving a frame pump at me and I'm thinking "Hmm that looks familiar." The driver says to me "We saw the pump fly out of your Camelback and picked it up.  We've been trying to catch you going 70 mph and still couldn't catch you.  Man that's impressive"


I decide not to refuel at Stovepipe Wells and continue on to Furnace Creek.  Just as I begin the little climb out of Stovepipe Wells I feel I have ANOTHER flat.  Wow how lucky am I not to have had the flat on the 60 mph descent on Towne Pass.  Once the flat was changed I'm back on the road dealing with one of my favorite parts of cycling -- a freakin' headwind.  It was really blowing right in my face.  I thought about the windstorm in the 2009 Furnace Creek 508. 

Having finished that race and  survived 60 mph headwinds any other headwinds just aren't that bad..  Nonetheless, these winds were bad and they were kicking my ass.  I later found out they were blowing steady over 22 mph with gusts in the 30's.  I was tired and hungry and racing to reach Furnace Creek before 9pm because that is when the restaurants close.  I didnt make it.  I was averaging 9 mph just trying to keep the bike moving.  Which of course is better than 7 mph from the 2009 FC 508. Going that slow it is easy to get blown off the road and that's what happened a couple of times. Notice how slow I'm going the last 6 miles -- 8-9 mph!


I literally kissed my car when I got in to the Furnace Creek Ranch.  All the resturants were closed  it was 9:18pm when I tried to get into the restaurant and they replied with a very unsympathetic, "No".  I ended up eating at the bar.  The dialog was:

The bartender said, "We have a turkey sandwich, a ham and cheese sandwich, and a salad"  
I said, "I'll take one of each".  

Next time I see him he has a bag full of food.  I say, "It's for here not to go"  
He says, "Oh when you ordered one of each I thought  you were ordering for a couple of other people."  
I said, "No, I'm just hungry."

Final Stats -- 147 miles with 13,500 feet of climbing.  13,000 in the first hundred.  

Just the climbs would be 12,000 feet of climbing in 80 miles!