Boot Camp Day 2 - "Tacking Into the Wind" (aka the Tesla Loop)
Day 2, was at Lake Del Valle in Livermore. A early start to the day with open water swim starting at 8am. Unfortunately I was running late a got a little lost on the way but still managed to arrive at 8:05am and quickly transition into the water. The water was good, cool but calm, the swim was 25 minutes out and back so depending on pace somewhere around a mile of swimming.
After the swim was the main event of the day a 60 mile bike ride, when driving to Lake Del Valle earlier I couldn't help but notice the long climb and descent to get to the lake, and sure enough this was to feature at the beginning and end of the ride.
This photo captures a rare moment and provides proof that I do really read the maps I am given. No has ever called into question my sense of direction, only my ability to follow them. Today's tactic for not getting lost in the far off land of Livermore was to stick with other people who knew where they were going. It also turned out that for the most part the route was fairly simple, a loop on Tesla Road.
First up was the climb out of Lake Del Valle Park, it was 2.5 miles long and around 650 feet of climbing, certainly a good warm-up for the rest of what was to be known as an epic ride. Just over the top of the first climb was a great decent I hit 38mph and braked so not to fly off at the corners. At the bottom of the hill things seemed to flatten out however from looking at the elevation profile it was clearly an illusion and by mile 12, I was no longer fooled and started wonder when this slow climb would end, the answer was mile 15.
At this point in the ride I was with 4 other riders, Tyler from the our own team and the rest were from the North Bay. We had been riding in group for the last 7 miles pulling each other on a little, as the top of the hill approach I got a burst of energy and broke away from the group, but I was not prepared for what was on the other side. A fast and furious decent with number of hairpin turns, this was the scariest decent I have ever done on my Tri-Bike! The picture along side really doesn't do it justice. During this portion I managed to keep my speed below 30mph for the most part. By the time I had reach the bottom my fellow teams had blown by me.
At mile 17 the fun began, the road a head was a straight with a comfortable downward trend, I got into the aero position and hammered it out. It was a great stretch of road, I felt like I was flying along it, averaging nearly 30mph with a peak at 38mph. Things were going great but suddenly and without warning, all the force I was putting into the pedals was lost as they were now spinning without any traction. To begin with I thought the chain had slipped off however it turned out the as top gear on the bike given way. A changed down a couple gears and things seemed to work fine again so I continued along.
What makes the ride "epic" is what happened next. Slowly but surely the wind made it's presence known and I started to be pushed from left to right by a cross wind. My bicycle is well designed aerodynamically for heading into the wind but not for cross winds, in fact is much worse than a regular road bike. I managed to keep a good speed going for a while but as I left the valley and headed towards Tracy keeping the bike upright was a challenge. Just up ahead was the first rest stop at mile 27.
I took a break at the rest stop and regrouped with the others who were just behind me, there was just a another 3 miles before the cross winds would end and the head wind would begin. As we head into the wind we form a pace line that even my Cycle Team coach would be proud of (well accept for the fact some of us, including myself were on Tri-bike with those nasty Aero-Bars). We pushed through the wind effectively as team, North Bay and South Bay united. Once through the head toughest part of the head wind all bets were of as the group fractured again, Tyler and I took lead while the guys from the North Bay dropped behind.
The next 30 miles were a gradual climb back towards Lake Del Valle, the wind was still there but it was behaving better than before. At mile 50 while going up the a hill, my front tire punctured, Tyler stopped with me (though if he known what was going to happen after this I'm sure he would been happy to get a couple minutes lead on me). We quickly changed the tube while doing so two of are North Bay counterparts passed us by (though did offer to stop help).
Back on the bike and at the top the hill we started a nice straight forward decent. I was going around 30mph when I hit a bump in the road and which point one of my rear water bottles jettisoned from by bike directly in the path of Tyler who was right behind me. I turned around to look as felt something come lose and heard an explicative from behind. He ran right over the bottle but managed to keep his bike going straight. I turned around to retrieve my ammunition (I mean water bottle) and Tyler continued ahead.
The bump had also loosened my gears (rear cassette) further and my bike started to sound very unhealthy as I finally leg of the journey began. We managed to pass are fellow North Bay teammates as we started to climb back into the park where we had begun. It was on the final descent where I hit my max speed of 40mph on the ride and that was without my top gear even functioning.
After the ride, it was time for from core and strength training, including but not limited to 200 crunches, some big number of push-ups, a lot planks and number people asking when it was going to end :-)
A big thanks to the Coaches from putting together this weekend of torture, no I mean training (no really torture describes it better :-)
Ride Details (Click here to view on Google Earth):