I won’t argue with myself, today my legs are gettin’ some hell

And now, the Ride.

Day 1 we rode from the Cow Palace to Santa Cruz. Quite honestly if not for the weather this ride just wasn’t bad. We were jacked up on the coast for about an hour because the road was only one way and controlled by a long light, but it really wasn’t bad. This is a little older route, but is very close to what we did.

The hill profile is almost identical to what we did, so about 2500 feet of climbing. The real route was 82.5 miles. The computer didn’t save my ride time on that one, or rather it did and then erased it. It was right around 8 hours in the saddle.

Day 2 was a slice of Kentucky Fried Hell from Santa Cruz to King City. 106.7 miles of it to be sure. Everyone said we were on probation from Santa Cruz to ride perfectly to all the rules. It was actually the Town of Aptos that got their panties in a bunch over a couple of guys riding abreast through an intersection. The Santa Cruz CHP were pushing their weight around and threatening this that and the other prior to issuing the permit. The Brother nailed it when he said “Jerry needs to call the CHP up, remind them that he took all the government funding for these organizations and this is the only way they can provide the essential services they do, so, STFU.” Word. We all rode out of Santa Cruz like little angels. Deep inside my dark heart I was giving the CHP the finger.

Time in the saddle 9:18. 11.2 mph. Average heart rate 115.

Day 3 was like a death march. It was a really fun day though. It featured Quadbuster, the first of the named climbs. I think as a ride any day it’s not as hard as Diablo. However after 200 miles in the previous two days 2 miles of a 5.2% grade seems soulbusting. I also think it’s press is worse than the actual hill, but once again when your legs are spent and you haven’t gotten any real rest, climbing sucks.

Time in the saddle: 5:39 10.4 mph average heart rate 113.

By the time we got to Day 4, my ass was done. Literally. The rest of me was ok to carry on but my ass had had it. At lunch I went to the medical tent and they put this tape stuff on me, only after advising me that there was no shame in sagging in. There is shame in sagging in. So I got back on my trusty steed and put another 15 miles in, but by then the tape wasn’t where he put it and the pain was off the hook. I sagged in at 61 miles. This is the only day I didn’t ride every mile and I’m still pissed off about it. I did ride the Evil Twins which are the two spikes in the beginning of the day. Like every nasty hill in this ride, Ginger Brewlay was waiting for us at the time.

Time in the saddle 5:50. 10.4 mph average heart rate 107.

Day 5 was Red Dress Day. There are questions about the origination of Red Dress Day, but suffice it to say, Red Dress Day isn’t pretty at all. The good news, it’s the recovery ride. I got my ass taped up in the medical tent before we left and had no problems, finishing the day in, well, some pretty ugly style.

Time in the saddle 4:11. 9.9 mph (obviously tired) and average heart rate of 107.

Day 6 features another shitty climb that they haven’t named yet. I think they should leave that task to Ginger. It also features a long ride along the coast. At this point everybody is in a little better shape. We all got into camp around 1pm the day before and got some rest. The hate that filled my heart on Day 4 was gone. Day 5 had been a lot of fun and I was ready to ride again. We opened the day climbing the Gaviota pass, which is a fine good morning. It was overcast and the down hill was downright chilly. This is the day with the cinnamon rolls and Paradise Pit. The roadies did their best to get us to not screw around and get into camp but we couldn’t help ourselves. We had to ride on the 101 at several points during this ride. This day there was a narrow bridge and they actually closed one lane of the 101 for 3 1/2 hours. We had to get our asses past there by 1pm. I was through around 11am. Lunch was in Santa Barbara up at Tuckers Grove, then there was another rest stop at Ledbetter. That did not discourage us from yet another stop at Paradise pit at the corner of East Cabrillo and Channel. Or the dance party at Carpinteria State beach. I almost missed dinner I got in so late, but I always came in mid-pack. Day 6 is a long day because besides the 85.5 miles of climbing, it is the final night in camp. There is a candlelight vigil on the beach that night. It’s interesting what you reflect on. My conscience reminded me that the last time I saw Bill was at Ventura General. And I was now in Ventura and the first candlelight vigil I’d been to since 1984. Did that mean anything at all? I don’t know.

Time in the saddle 7:57. Average mph 10.8. Average heart rate 111.

Day 7 I can’t remember ever being so happy to get on my bike and ride. I knew we are almost there and I couldn’t wait to put this bitch to bed. The air was electric in spite of the fog so thick it was raining. The first part of the ride was uneventful through the strawberry fields of Oxnard, then Port Hueneme and Point Mugu. Then we rolled into Malibu. We were warned to watch car doors. Lots of people getting in and out of cars and in spite of 2361 cyclists rolling through, which really you can’t miss us, they would still do stupid stuff. I saw an actor I recognized with his surfboard on the north part of the beach but I can’t remember his name. I thought he was in Clerks, but that’s not it. He does independent films and I’ll figure it out eventually. Not Jason Lee but close. Of course there was one last soul crushing hill on Gretna Green and then it was a stroll into the VA Center. The streets in LA were lined with well wishers. It was pretty awesome.

Time in the saddle 5:46. 10.8 mph average heart rate 107.

Today? Mt. Diablo. It was clear to me that I need to pick up 3 or 4 mph on my average. That gets me in an hour earlier on some of these rides. There are two components to that. 1) drop tonnage. 2) get stronger. I’ve been reading that spin class is good for picking up strength and ultimately speed because there is no coasting or stop signs, straight pushing for an hour. So I’m going to hit at least 2 spin classes every week whether I go outside or not. I am down 15lbs from when I started this, I just need to keep that rolling in that direction. One of the things I’m not sure about is if I should have pushed harder out there. My average heart rate was pretty low on the ride. I thought it should have been around 124, but then I wondered if at that rate would I have blown up my legs on day 2? I’ll have to do some research on that one.

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