Lake Berryessa and the long and winding road...
Friday night was a late drive up to Lake Berryessa, arriving at 11:30pm. Then up before 6am to be ready for the 6:45am swim start. I missed the talk about the swim as I was running late, so I just jumped in and followed everyone else. The water was a good temperature and clear enough to see to the bottom in shallow parts. It was supposed to be a roughly two mile swim, I wasn't even wearing a watch, so thought I'd just keep swimming until everyone else finished. On my fourth loop I was questioned on why I was still swimming? It turns out that 3 was the magic number of loops well it was a good swim :-) Not too much more than 2 miles.
Next up was the 98 mile bike course, I plenty of time between the swim and the bike to get ready. By the time 10am rolled around I was already to go, or so I thought. I started off the ride in the final wave of riders and set out a fairly fast pace, I caught up with Tyler can continued alongside him. After last weeks quick century I didn't worry too much about the pace I was keeping, I knew it would be a tougher ride with the extra climbing but thought the quicker the pace the sooner I'd be done. This was my first mistake I went out too hard and didn't take into account the affects of the hot weather; by 11am it was 80F and rising. I approached a hill still pacing alongside Tyler and realized I need need to slow my Heart Rate which was above 185bpm and rising far too quickly. As continued up the hill my heart rate peaked at 196bpm, I immediately pulled over and stopped to catch my breathe, it took a few minutes but I then continued on a much slower pace.
With that behind me I thought all I needed was too keep a steady pace and the rest of the ride would be fine. Due to the rising temperature my sport drinks had become a unwanted beverage to consume so I had switched to water. I didn't really consider that I all the electrolytes that the sports drink provided, all I knew was water was refreshing. At around mile 40, we arrived at another rest stop and took a few minutes to refuel and refill. From there the climb continued ever upwards, I was riding with a few other people so didn't worry about the route too much. We continued on and the climb got steeper and steeper, I had too pull over a number of time to let my heart rate drop again. At mile 48 where we expected the turn around point there was nothing, so we continued on about half mile further to the peak of the hill, at which is when it was decided we could turn around now that the climb had been conquered. We descended down steep hill at breakneck speed, obviously slowing to avoid the breaking anything and back to the rest stop we had left at mile 40. It was strange that during the long climb we had seen no one else going up or down, it turned out that we had made a wrong turn on the way up giving us an extra 1,000 feet of climbing a grade steeper than anything else on the planned out and back course. With this sad realization of over achievement I continued on.
I passed back through the only town on our route, a small and pleasant in the middle of nowhere, the question in my mind was "Will the $15 I'm carrying be enough for a deposit a house I never have to climb the big hill I'm approaching?". I distinctly remember how great going down that hill been on the way out, which meant only meant it was going to be hell to climb.
I should take a moment to described some of the scenery on the ride, there were trees and a lot of brown (dead) grass, and hills with in view. While it was by no means without its high points to be sure, it seemed like I was on the road to perdition in comparison last week's beautiful bike ride.
But wait there was hope present upon the hill, a Mini Cooper pulled to the side of the road and presented us with ice. At that moment ice was, the best thing ever! If I had been presented with choice a bag of Diamonds or Ice, I would of taken the ice without a second thought.
This seg-ways to an important point, supporting both the North and South Bay Ironteams today were a great groups of volunteers, as well as Honorees and Coaches, I couldn't of imagined doing this ride without their support and with that said I'll go back to complaining about how tough the ride was :-)
With ice the my water bottle no longer burned mouth when I tried to drink it, oh ok, it was never that hot but the temperate was hitting the 90's now. It is true that the ride was uphill both ways as the elevation profile clearly shows. At mile 68 the worst of the climbing was over and it was nearly downhill all the way back, but at this point I was seriously bonking and even downhill felt tough, my stomach was gone, I was drinking it but was in vain as I was already dehydrated. Around miles 75 to 85 there was 10 miles of potholes and even the occasional gravel patch in the middle of the road and enough twists and turns to make a good thriller, it short this was the most miserable piece of road to cycle on.
Finally to main road again, I stopped and took the picture alongside, the lake was in sight again and almost near the end. There was a few more little rolling hills and a number of turns weaving back around the lake, but finally I reached the camp or at least what I thought was the camp ground. I cycled into a place that seemed almost identical from the outside, after few minutes of confusion I headed out of there find to actual place I was staying which turned out to be just a mile away.
I finished! I felt like death warmed over, but I finished!
After the perilless ride their was one more danger ahead, I walked down the boat ramp towards the lake to soak my legs in water, I slipped on the algae and nearly fell flat on my back.
That night I reflected upon all the mistakes of the day:
1. Not drinking enough
2. Not drinking enough before the ride
3. Not drinking a sports drink
4. Not mainting my sodium/electrolyte levels
5. Not following directions correctly
The next morning was a two hour run, I took it very easy, so much so the last part maybe referred to as walking.
Ride Details (Click here to view on Google Earth)