Filtering by Tag: Hwy 1

Central Coast Double

This weekend I was down in Paso Robles, for the Central Coast Double. I was familiar with some parts of the course the it is goes by Lake San Antonio, on the same roads was the Wildflower Triathlon, which I've done a number times. The course was very rural with Paso Robles being the only major town to pass through.

The ride started at 5:40am downtown by the city park, leaving the town the climbing begins. The weaves trough the hills on some single track roads with very little traffic. This road leads out to Lake San Antonio, down my favorite and scariest decent, on Interlake Rd, I've known people to reach 60mph on this decent, though I topped out at 40mph (thankfully). Through Lockwood, then through a military based, I have to say is weird to have convoys of military vehicles heading the opposite direction. Just past the main military base was a very scenic part of the ride, before hitting the biggest climb of the ride up and over to the coast and back.

The descent down to Highway 1 was narrow and winding and almost as soon as the route reaches the bottom, it is time to turn around and go right back to the top again. This whole portion of the route is long out and back, leading back to Lockwood. After reaching Lockwood for the second time for lunch, it was time to head north towards King's City. I had regularly seen other riders all the way to the lunch stop, but for the next 60 miles, the only people I saw were the course support. It wasn't until I had gone though some roads through no where, back past Lake San Antionio and out to Bradley where I finally saw another rider.

I should mention to get to Bradley there was a little trip down Highway 101, hmm, well luckily less than a mile on there.

From Bradley there was one more climb then a straight shot back to Paso Robles. I caught one more rider on the way to town, I had him in my sights for a while and slowly edged closer. Once I reached him there was only a few miles left to go and I was in full race mode. The ride end was rather uneventful, there were a couple people at the end collecting the results. The finishers were at a dinner nearby. I decided to jump in the car and start my long drive back. I was just glad to have finished the ride in daylight. Oh and I finished 10th (not to shabby).

Ride Overview:

24hr Dry Run

The goal: 24hrs of riding as practice run with my support crew. We started in San Francisco, by the Golden Gate for a ride up the coast and back again. It sounds simple :-) I felt tired at the start not having everything as organized as I like at the beginning. Complications had lead to a later than intended start, but 24hrs can start at any time.

One mile in and the bump in my plan emerged, the road was closed bikes for an another event. Luckily I still had the option to walk it, which I did, but it didn't seem like a great start even though it was only a couple hundred yards. Before I knew it was crossing the Golden Gate, something I do very rarely. I headed over to Sausalito and promptly missed my turn to Highway 1. I realized that a couple miles later and that I'd lost the the only water bottle I was carrying which has flown on the back. Back on route I saw my crew and informed them I needed another bottle. Quick climb over Highway 1 ready for a nice decent, only to find road works and 5 minute wait.

On the coast now things were starting to get into a groove, I was battling a head wind but that was to be expected. The route I had picked and us going in land towards Guerneville, so there was at least hope later on. As we had started late, I told the crew to go on ahead and pick-up our final crew member for the day who was waiting in Petaluma. This was probably the biggest learning point for the day, be careful when you ask your support crew to abandon you. Due to very poor cell phone reception and an unfamiliarity with the area, it was two and half hours later till I saw them again. It didn't help when we finally got back in touch I managed to mis-drect them further.

Reuntited I had a sandwhich and continued on into the head wind. Due to the twisty road it is not a constant wind, but it is always wait around a corner like stalker. Relief came when it was time to head inland, rather than battling to maintain 15mph, I was crusing at 20mph. When we reached Guerneville, the crew asked "Where a we going?". Unfortunately printing directions at the last minute can be risky when your printer runs out of ink. I knew in general terms we want to reach Highway 127 going north but we had to now make up the rest of the route to get there. The crew did a fine job here of coming up with a impromptu route and navigated be through the towns.

Around 6pm we stopped and quickily got some dinner, before joining Hwy 127 for the final stint of heading north before the turnaround. Hwy 127 had a fairly long climb but my legs were feeling pretty good. Midway along Hwy 127, it got dark and I switched to my road bike for the nighttime portion of the route.

We reach Hwy 1 around 10pm and started heading south, it windy road with very little to see in the dark. The wind was now final at my back with a little push, but it has also started to drizzle rain. By 1am I was having a hard time focusing on the road, so decided to take my first break, I slept (well close my eyes) for 30mins. When I got out the van I felt a lot better, though the temperature had dropped as I added some layers before continuing on. It was still rain for the next hour but it was very light.

 I ended up taking another quick nap around 5am, just before the sun came up. At this point I was starting ot move slowly on the bike, not helped by a few hills to climb a lon ghte road. The journey into Petaluma, felt a little grueling. Back Petaluma, we dropped off a the crew member would we had picked up the day before and plot the finla portion of the route out to Novato.

Sure enough there was more hills ahead of me, I whiched bikes to back to Tri-Bike as my road bike was starting to make excess squeaking noises. Getting rid of the sqeak helped me focus and when I got on the decent my legs came back and I charged up the next hill like I had just awoken from a good nights sleep. That might of had something to do with only having after twenty minutes left go, but it left great to power through to the end. We stopped a Gas station in Novato, I jumped in the van and called it a day, well 24hrs. A great ride with awesome support from my crew, can't wait to see you guys out there for the race.

Mulholland Double

Just two weeks since my last double at Solvang, I was back down south again for another. The weather was infinitely better, mostly clear sunny skies with a bit cold start in the morning. This was a new ride for me and I hadn't been in this area before, so I didn't know exactly what to expect. Turns out it is a awesome area to ride in! The ride started in land at Agoura Hills, with the first part of the ride descending down to the sea to Malibu.

It was a scenic ride down Highway 1 for about 10 miles before heading back up in the hills at Malibu. As the climb start the group of riders started to break apart, I decided not to be to aggressive and fell in to the middle of the pack. The route climbed up until Mulholland Highway, the road that give the race it's name. It is a great road that rolls through the hills by the coast.

After weaving throughout the hills the course lead me back down to the coast on Highway 1 again heading north. After a seven miles north on Hwy 1 we turned inland which is where the route would stay for next 75 miles or so. We had a short but steep climb to tackle before the lunch stop but not too bad.  At around mile 90 we had lunch and continued through the towns, Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks and Moorpark, one street looks like the next so this became repetitive quickly, even though it was only 15 miles. Out of the towns, there was a bit of climb before a great decent into what I can only describe as a Labyrinth of Orange Trees. Having gotten through the maze there was of course a very steep hill gating the exit.

This picture (above) is from the top of the climb, which must reached at least 20% grade at it's toughest point. From here though it was all downhill and flat back out to Highway 1, for a couple more big climbs up in the Malibu hills.

Another steep climb into the hills (above).

Back on Mulholland Highway just before another decent and climb.

Nearly at the top of the final climb and it was starting to get dark. It had been a painful climb and my legs were feeling it, but I only had a couple more miles before the final rest stop and decent. The final decent was steep and the daylight had faded I was now relying on my bike headlight to show the way. After the big decent there was a small climb back into Agoura Hills where the race started. There is something about city streets and possibly just because it was the end of the race, but the last five miles seemed a longer than the first. I was very glad to get back that the hotel and rest and feast :-)

 

A perfect day for a ride, a little windy at times but a great temperature, no rain and awesome scenery.

 

Route Overview:

 

Another Ride up One

This morning I started at Natural Bridges in Santa Cruz, my plan was to go up to San Francisco and then head back to Santa Clara, but plans change. Highway 1 is notoriously windy, with a strong headwind when your heading north. I fought the wind on and off until Half Moon Bay, I stopped there for a drink and bite to eat and made the decision I better better off heading south. I was still feeling the affects of my early morning century from a couple days before and didn't want to injury myself by pushing too hard. So I headed south on Highway 1 enjoying the wind at my back. I turned on Tunitas Creek and headed up to Skyline, from there I continued up to Highway 92 and then south on Canada Rd, weaving my way back to Santa Clara. Not a bad a ride, 115 miles all said and done.

 

The Solvang Double 2011

Last year I did this ride when I was sick, which made for a long day, but the course was one of the easiest double centuries I'd done. This year the route had a few modifications but still had a similar amount of climbing. Continuing the theme of the last few weeks, the issue was going to be the weather. No matter how many times I checked the weather or which point of the course, the answer was the same "rain" and plenty of it. After last weekend's experience in riding in the rain, I knew needed to be less wet and much warmer. A quick bit of web shopping had given me water proof gloves and Goretex shoe covers, I was battle ready.

The mass start was at 7:30am but by the time I arrive at just past 7am, most people were already on the road. So instead of waiting till 7:30, I decided to join a small group and start at 7:15am. The beginning of the route was the same as last year, so it was very familiar, nice rolling hills with Vineyards everywhere. Before I knew it I was at the top of the first "big climb", which tops out at 1,500ft. I was still within sight of the small group I started with occasionally trading places. Then decent lead me to catch up with some of the riders that had started earlier and I was starting to pass people. I was keeping a great pace and opted to skip the first rest stop.

Now 70 miles and just under 4hrs in I was feeling good and little overdressed as the rain had not yet materialized. However just then rain decided it was time and with a high volume of "light" rain. At first the only issue was making sure you stayed away from the wheel spray you past others. My new gear was keeping me dry and warm. I opted to skip the second rest stop and keep my pace going.

Five hours and eight minutes in, I'd just hit 100 miles, this was a great pace! I was now on Highway One having just passed through San Luis Obispo, going towards the coast. I started to see the SAG vehicles helping other riders on the side of the road with flat tires. This began a sight all to familiar over the next 12 miles, to the point I was looking down at my own tires. Sure enough I pulled in to the lunch stop to find both my front and back tires were both slowly leaking air. Apparently there were metal shards on Highway 1, which sink well into a bicycle tire. I go the use of the pump at the rest stop used both my spares and picked a patched tube as new spare. Of course by the time I was done with everything I was cold, damp and spent nearly 50 minutes off the road, doing things in the rain just seems to take longer.

As I pulled out of the rest stop I saw two people walking back with there bicycles who had obviously immediately had flats and not for the first time by the looks on there faces. I really wasn't sure whether I face the same fate shortly and continued on with some trepidation. The rain was still come down hard but I knew I was over halfway there. It was not the ride I did a year ago, which by most accounts was a pleasant ride on a sunny day with the temperature hitting the high 70s, we nearly hit the 60s, almost a 20degree difference.

I skipped the next rest stop to try and recover the time I'd lost but, my pace had fallen. I was still putting out the power but was rewarded with a headwind for my efforts. Cold and wet I arrived at the last rest stop at around mile 160. They had Pot Noodles! Generally not a favorite of mine but this was exactly what I needed to push through to the end, hot and plenty of salt. 

The next part was one a barely paved road parallel to the Freeway, it only lasted a few miles until I hit a proper road again. Then was the slow climb up what was seemed a small climb first in the morning. This was one of the major differences on this years course, previous year had gone over Drum Canyon Rd, which was riddled with pot holes and know doubt lead to a few accidents. So the new climb was a welcome replacement. The route ended on a nice quiet and well pave road through a different Canyon. The light was now fading and as it was now 7:30pm, I had now gone past my original 12hr estimate for the course.

As if no course would be complete without a missed turn, I indeed with just a few miles to go missed a key turn and ended up adding another couple miles to the course. Not much time wasted and I was glad to be finished. My bike was badly abused, subjected to awful conditions and I was wet and damp. The new rain gear had helped a lot, though I'd still be interested if anyone knew of any research on waterproof forcefields? :-)  

Thanks to folks at Planet Ultra for putting on a another great ride!

 

 

Los Gatos to San Francisco

Today I had a 150 mile route planned that would take me up to San Francisco. When it comes to doing long rides there is something very satisfying in ending up in a different place to where you've started. I started off in Los Gatos at around 7am, with a goal of being up to the city around 6pm. My route was fairly simple, adding miles to my last attempt at this route and removing dangers of the freeway into San Francisco with a more sane alternative.

Not much to report on the ride, weather was generally good with a few windy parts on Highway 1 (which is generally expected). It took a little while to get into the groove, my gears were slipping as I climbed Page Mill Road and I had to do some adjustments. 

View from Page Mill Rd I took a couple of detours off Highway 1, to break the monotony of that road. First was Swanton Rd, which nicely joins right back onto Hwy 1 after a few miles. The second was Stage Road, three nice climbs with some great views.

View from Stage Rd.

At Pacifica, I left Hwy 1 and entered a resdential area, certainly more scenic than the freeway.

Pacifica I completed the route at Ocean Beach, by Golden Gate park in San Francisco.

Ocean Beach

Back to Triple Digits

My training over the past couple months had been greatly lacking. Today the weather was on my side, even if time was not. I got a late start to the day, but I was going to let that stop me getting in the distance. I drove over the hill to Santa Cruz, for my own Century ride up Highway One. The route is as simple as gets 50 miles up and 50 down with the turn around point at Halfmoon Bay. In afternoon the problem is always the wind and today was no exception. I battle the wind for the first thirty miles, but I kept a steady pace going. When I hit my turn around point it was already 4:30pm, I knew the sunlight was not going to last th return journey.


The chase for daylight began and was ready, prepared with lights. I certainly wouldn't recomend this ride at night, but I knew the road well. At mile 75 the the moon was now lighting the way. Headlights behind me helped while those in front were an obstacle to over come. With the Moon straight ahead through the clouds like movie, however didn't seem like movie I wanted to be in, so I forged a head. Finally the lights of Santa Cruz were in front me, which meant so was dinner :-) ah, pizza.

The Great Loop

A number of the team were up in Canada for Ironman and the rest were in taper for Iroman Louisville, so I was left alone to my own devices. One route I had always wanted to do was to loop over to the coast and back the long way. This was my longest self supported ride of the year and the most challenging. I had never actually cycled over to Santa Cruz from the valley before. I kept the route simple Highway 9 to Santa Cruz, Highway 1 to Half Moon Bay, 92 to Skyline and back to Highway 9 to the start.

Of course I had climbed up Highway 9 many times before but have never continued across to the other side, I found there is a good reason for that, cars. While I didn't feel in any great danger I did grea the distinct impression that the cars/SVUs did not appreciate the opportunity to share the road with a cyclist. 

Once at Santa Cruz, is was just a straight shot up Highway 1, with a stop a filling station to get some more fluid. I was carrying 4 water bottles so I had a good range. However I had to stop on a couple occasions to retrive the rear bottles as I hit the odd bump in the road.

Highway 92 on this side of the hill was also new to me. I did find it to be a little cramped to begin with, but a good shoulder appeared for the climb up to Skyline. Reaching Skyline really was just the begin of the climbing, of road that has as many ups and downs as a roller coaster. At 100 miles in, the climbs just kept coming. However it was the perfect day for the ride, not to hot or cold, just ride. I was up for the challenge and kept on going to the end. I celebrated my victory with a nice Burrito at the end.

 

Ride Details (Click here to view on Google Earth):
135 miles
8hrs 24mins
10,920 feet of Climbing

 

 

Heart Rate:
136bpm Avg.
181bpm Max

 

 

Speed:
16.1mph Avg.
44.5mph Max

112 Miles, Santa Rosa to San Francisco (the Ride back)

 Yesterday was truly exhausting, we had started the day at 5am and finished it at 1:30am, needless to say no one was getting up early the next day. I was on the road by 10:30am and even that felt too early, but I had another long day ahead, I wasn't driving back home, but riding.

 I started from the hotel the team stayed at in Windsor and headed out towards the coast. I hadn't really planned out the route, I had just had a sense of where to go from the yesterday's ride. I knew once I hit Highway 1 all I would need to do was follow it south until I reached San Francisco. The weather was great, a little cooler than yesterday making for idea conditions.

 I weaved my way down the coast past Bodega Bay at which point the route I was following took me inland, but all I need was to keep my eye out for the signs. As I was on my own with no support close at had I came out with a Camelbak to keep me hydrated. With yestersday flat fresh in my mind I not only was carrying a spare tube, but a spare tire for extra measure.

The journey was by no means flat, as I headed back out to towards the coast a few hills were in my path.  Over the hill the sky was overcast and it appeared I had reached a different climate. It was fitting that I was aproaching the town of Inverness. The scenary is diffinately reminisant of Scottish Loch I know well.

I took a lunch break at Point Reyes Station and quickily inhaled a sandwich there. Back the road there were a few more hills between me and the coast.  The route continued parallel to the coast though I was in valley with no site of it on my left.

Now at mile 83 I had reached Stinson beach and with a blue sky back again I was crusing. The biggest challenge lay ahead, Mount Tamalpais.

As I continued on Highway One, I started the grind up the side of the mountain, I was on twisting roads with a sheer drop on my near side. To add to the fun, people were returning home from the beach adding to the cards on the road. Not too fast and not to slow was the game, make sure I'm seen and safe. Despite the very literall downside to the road, the view were breath taking! It was not long before I was safely into the hills heading towards Sausalito.

Remember I said I didn't have the entire route planned out? Well here is where the adventerous part comes in navigating through the city the to reach the Golden Gate bridge. It wasn't too bad, I followed the coast line and with some directions from another cyclist found my way to the bridge's bike path. I hadn't been across on bike before and certainly wasn't prepared for the evening breeze, but it is a spectacular crossing and highly recommended.

 

 

 

 

Once on the other side the sun was starting to set, so I cycled across town to the train station. I don't envy the bike messengers of the city, the roads seemed a little more dangerous than fun, I can't image what it whould be like midweek at rush hour. At the train station I concluded my journey, perhaps the next time I'll start earlier enough to make it all the way back before dark :-)

 Ride Details (Click here to view on Google Earth):

6hr 58mins
113 miles
7,000+ Feet of climbing

 

 

Heart Rate:
133bpm Avg.
174bpm Max

 

 

Speed:
16.2mph Avg.
41.6mph Max

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