Saturday, July 2, 2011

Point Loma Recovery Ride

Ride Report - July 2, 2011

Last night wandering around La Jolla Village we noticed a sign at a coffee shop that advertised a "Sweet Saturday Ride" starting at 8 am. Michael and I looked at each other knowing that we were in. So this morning we grabbed some coffee at the hotel and headed to the Cupz coffee shop.

Well the group never materialized, but a local rider gave us a ride suggestion and directions to Point Loma. We left Cupz and were on our way. It turned out to be another great morning on the bike!

After winding through La Jolla and Mission Beach we climbed Catalina road and took our first stop at the National Cemetery inside the Point Loma Naval Base.

We paid our $5 entry fee into the Cabrillo National monument and headed toward the Vistior center and Cabrillo memorial. The Point Loma lighthouse is in the distance.
 Michael with San Diego and the Coronado Naval Air Station in the distance.
 As we toured the monument we came upon this group of Cub and Boy Scouts raising the colors!
 Looking northeast from the visitor center
 Yours truly atop a WWII era Artillery lookout at Point Loma. The weather was outstanding today.
Looking to the Southwest, another Naval facility and lighthouse is below on the beach.

Michael flying the Paragon colors in front of the WWII era artillery control. We left the monument and headed back to La Jolla. About 10 minutes out, we called Deb and met at Cody's Restaurant for a post-ride brunch.
Mike and I had a different place in mind for breakfast, but Deb found Cody's and after a little confusion we met for an outstanding meal. They had a great veggie hash for Mike and I enjoyed delicious eggs benedict. We washed it down with some yummy Kona coffee!
While we were looking forward to participating in a local group ride, we were actually happy the group never materialized. Instead of hammering away to Point Loma and back. We were able to cover the 30 miles at a comfortable pace, and spend quite a bit of time wandering about the Cabrillo National Monument.

Great ride, great meal, great start to the day!

3 Day Training Block

Ride Report - June 25-27

With 8 weeks to go before Paris-Brest-Paris, this was a perfect weekend to put together a 3 day training block. In 2007 in preparation for PBP, I took the family to the beach near Santa Barbara, California. I got in lots of good riding but missed out on a mini vacation since I rolled out at dawn and returned just in time for bed. This year I decided to head up to Flagstaff to get my riding in before the July 4th holiday. So I bid $45 for 3 nights on Priceline and scored a room at the Super 8 on Lucky Lane and headed up Friday night after work.

Ride prep at the Super 8 Base Camp
Day 1 - Grand Canyon

I woke just before the alarm went of at 5 am, grabbed two coffees from the hotel lobby, downed an Ensure and was out the door at 5:30 and on the road to the Grand Canyon. Our regional brevet administrator, Susan Plonsky kindly prepared cue sheets (turn by turn instructions) for my three rides. I rode through a deserted downtown Flagstaff and was soon climbing out of town. Flagstaff sits at 6900 feet and the road peaks out at 8046 near the AZ Nordic Center. Just past Kendrick Park, a short steep descent takes you out of the pines and onto the high desert of the Kaibab Plateau. With a slight tailwind on a gentle descent, I covered the 53 miles to Valle easily. I striped off my arm and leg warmers, reloaded my bottles, and headed due north to the Grand Canyon.
Prehistoric RV park in Valle AZ
Traffic picked up, but the shoulder had plenty of space and soon I was climbing up to the Grand Canyon tourist town of Tusayan. A constant stream of tourist helicopters was lifting off and landing at the Grand Canyon airport.  Its only a couple of more miles to the entry gate. I paid my $12 entry fee and headed toward the Bright Angel Lodge. The road to Hermit's Rest is just just past the lodge and train station and is closed to private autos.
On the road to Hermit's Rest
Only bikes and tour busses are allowed on this seven mile stretch of very scenic road that parallels the edge of the South Rim.  A sign states that bicyclists must pull off the road and allow the busses to pass. With all the bus stops along the way, they move very slowly, and I ended up passing one and not having to yield to any. With light traffic and great views, I made my way to Hermits Rest.

The view from Hermit's Rest
Inspiration on the Curio Shop Porch
The curio shop and snack bar was quite busy with international tourists. One group from England asked me about my Whitney Classic jersey. It has very distinctive graphics and a very applicable scripture reference: "And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation." Romans 5:4
I reloaded my water bottles with Coke/water/Sustained Energy, chowed down some salted peanuts and was back on the bike heading back the way I came. My computer said 92 miles, so this route would be almost a perfect 300 kilometers (186 miles)!
At the Hermit's Rest Curio Shop/Snack Bar
Tourist chopper flight line in Tusayan
Did I mention that this weekend was under a "red flag" warning. That means high winds, low humidity, and fire danger. By noon, the winds we're howling out of the southwest. So my gentle morning tailwind had turned into a 30 mile an hour head/cross wind. I rolled into the convenience store in Valle to reload my bottles. I decided to pick up an extra water bottle because the next 45 miles has no services. I figured a 15 mph pace would easily put me in Flagstaff in three hours; two large Camelback bottles and a 22 oz reserve bottle should be plenty. It wasn't, my pace slowed considerably with the wind and climb back into the pines.

I finished my two bottles and was into my 'reserve' with 25 miles still to go (10 of those uphill). Luckily I came upon two motorcyclists that were taking a break on the side of the road. They gave me a spare bottle and I was back in business. However, I had been 'rationing' my water/fuel and was starting to bonk. I was very happy to see the 8046 elevation sign, meaning the next 13 miles were downhill into Flagstaff!

I rolled into the first convenience store I came upon just inside the city limits and reloaded my bottles. The heat, headwind, climb did its damage though and I was bonked! I was able to consume one bottle before I arrived at the Super 8 and quickly tossed down a Mountain Dew recovery drink! Then it was time for jacuzzi, dinner and bed.

Day 2- Tour of Flagstaff

Susan prepared a great route with lots of climbing and cool views of the City. So following the same routine; up at 5, two coffees, and out the door at 5:30 and on the 8 mile climb to the US Naval Observatory. I rolled into the secured area, took some pictures (probably not a good idea) and left, descending back into town.
US Naval Observatory
Weather station at Lowell Observatory
The next climb was short and steep to the Lowell Observatory. Finally I was heading north out of town to the AZ Snowbowl road. I have ridden this road several times. It is a great winding climb to 9500 feet at the foot of the main lift and lodge at the AZ Snowbowl.
The foot of the main lift at the AZ Snowbowl - 9500 ft
From Snowbowl parking lot, Mt. Kendrick on right

Unfortunately, I was still feeling the effects of the Day 1 bonk and was not feeling 100%. I reached the top, took a few photos and enjoyed the descent back into Fagstaff. I reloaded my bottles with my 50/50 mix of water/Pepsi and two scoops of Sustained Energy at the Flagstaff city limits. It was 30 miles to the next stop at Mormon Lake Lodge. I made a conscious effort to consume both bottles during this leg and did.

I hopped into the bar at the Mormon Lake Lodge to get some more ice/coke/water. Normally I would reload in the store, but there is not soda fountain with ice at the general store and with the heat I figured I would go into the bar and ask the bartender to fill a bottle with ice then I would go next store and purchase a coke. Lucky for me, the bartender was an ultra runner and she knew exactly what I needed. I poured in the SE powder, and she added ice/water/Coke in perfect portions!

I was starting to feel better and decided to concentrate on consuming both bottles over the next 1.5 hours and 30 miles to Clints Well. Arriving at Clints Well, I iced my bottles and purchased a large Pepsi and repeated my SE mix. I turned my brevet machine back toward Flagstaff and the last 60 miles of the ride. The SE combination did it's magic and I flew up the generally uphill section back to Mormon Lake!

I was soon back at the bar in Mormon Lake in no time. The ultra runner was not working, but her replacement reloaded my bottles perfectly and I was soon on my way.
White caps on Upper Lake Mary
The last 30 miles to Flag is one on the prettiest roads in Arizona. Leaving Mormon Lake you ride by Upper and Lower Lake Mary. Ponderosa pines, wild flowers, and mountain vistas dominate the views. The awesome scenery and solid fueling offset the wicked headwind and before I knew it I was winding through the Northern Arizona University campus on my way back to my Super 8 base camp. I had been thinking about a burger at Bun Huggers all day, so I returned to the room, cleaned up, and took the Suburban back to Bun Huggers for a nice dine!
Double Fries!

Day 3 - Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monuments

Same routine as day 1 and 2 except I loaded the truck when I left the room as I would not be back until after checkout time. A couple of quick turns from the motel and I was on US87/Historic Route 66 climbing out of town. The winds were starting to build and I had a tailwind to push me out of town. The cue sheet called for a visit to Sunset Crater, then backtrack to Walnut Canyon, and do another out and back to Mormon Lake.
Lava Flows at Sunset Crater
I arrived at the Sunset Crater visitor center before it opened. I looked for a coke machine, but could only find Gatorade. So I reloaded my bottles with Gatorade instead of Coke. Reviewing a map at the center, I noticed that it was 18 miles on the scenic loop road to the Wupatki Ruins National Monument. Another 30 miles would put me back at the entrance to the Sunset National Monument. Susan noted on the cue sheet that it would be hot continuing to Wupatki as it sits at the bottom of an 18 mile hill in the high desert.
Wupatki Ruins
So I decided to go 'off route' and ride the scenic loop. It didn't take long to get to the visitor center at Wupatki, so I took some photos, reloaded my bottles (no Coke machine here also!) and was on my way. I missed the caffeine but the mix was good. I also bought TWO reserve bottles, as I would have 30 miles of climbing into a headwind before I arrived back in Flagstaff.
Leaving Wupatki National Monument, Mt. Humphreys in distance
I used my first reserve water at the Wupatki Monument entrance and the second a couple of miles from the top of the hill outside Flagstaff. Reaching the top of the hill outside Flagstaff the wind was really ripping. I decided then that I had accomplished the goals of the weekend (perfecting gear and fueling) and covered my desired training volume, so I headed back to the Super 8, loaded up, and headed home.

Now I am enjoying a recovery week that includes the spending the holiday weekend with the family in San Diego.