Monday, August 20, 2007

Training Kick Off

Over the past few months I've steadily been upping the mileage and difficulty of my rides to prepare for 2008. This last weekend however was my official training kick off and man it was great. I had chosen the Coolbreeze Century (albeit the metric) as my training kick off a few months ago because it's a ride I love and it fell at about the right time (about 4 months off from the first official century of 2008). I'd toyed with the idea off and on about doing the full 100 but hadn't upped my ride mileage to get ready for it. I'd done the full 100 before, so I knew I could, but I wasn't sure as to my fitness level and if I would be able to handle it now. The day before the ride I caught the 100 mile bug really bad. Although I didn't come out and say that I was definitely doing the full 100 I had made my decision. I re-arranged some travel plans and began preparing mentally and organizationally.

I hooked up with Sebastian at 4:30 a.m. to drive up for the ride. We talked about the ride, what we expected and the weather. We parked got registered and got ready. We rolled out at 7 a.m. with his team (TNT) and much to my chagrin Andy Popinski. We made our charge out of Ventura and down Emma Wood. we paced up the freeway and then I pulled away until the exit so I could eat and drink since we weren't stopping at the first sag stop. We ascended the first climb with ease and I rode away thinking they would catch me on the descent due to my relaxed pace. I ascended another climb, caught a different group of TNT'ers and watched a girl crash hard on the tarmac. I hung with her and her group to make sure she was alright while at the same time waiting for my group.

It turns out my group had stopped for a while so they took a bit, but once we were going again we were really going. we were setting a tempo around 20 mph and were well on our way to sag 2. we hit Ortega Ridge, the 2nd climb of the day and the group splintered. I made it to the sag stop followed shortly by the rest of the group. We exited the rest stop and began the penultemate climb of the ride. This is what makes this ride worth it for me. I remember blazing through these roads in 2005 and how much I loved it so I was chomping at the bit as we left the rest stop. Andy and I played a little cat and mouse up the first few parts of the climb and then after a quick regroup we hit the rollers above Santa Barbara. these are fast, lightly traveled winding roads. I went and went, guided by a local around various hairpin turns until we came the major descent. By this time I had lost the group, and decided to just continue ahead to the lunch stop using other riders as my guide. This WAS the part of the ride where I got lost in 05, so I was careful through here this time. I made it to the lunch stop without incident. for anyone who hasn't been there Stowe Park is beautiful. I waited for the group, then got a light lunch and refueled.

We rolled out together after lunch and took an easy pace to rewarm the legs. we kept this pace through Hope Ranch and much of Santa Barbara. Towards the end of the road in Santa Barbara the faster members of the group were let go, so we set a pace between 20-22 mph and paced our way to rest stop 4 (which was the same as sag 2) We made quick work of sag 4 and rolled out. I forgot to eat, so I cracked a bag of blocks and chowed down before we hit Ortega hill. I had issued a challenge with an associated bet. We'd pace up to Ortega, and it would be "may the best man win". We hit Ortega and to my surprise the organizers had changed the route to not include it, but instead to use the flat bike path that bypasses the hill! what a bummer! I was the only one to go over the hill, and received shouts of encouragement and laughter from the group of guys who were behind me in the "Breathless Agony" Jerseys as we both exited our paths onto the flat stretch of Ortega road. The shouts spurred me on and I went full sprint to hot dog those guys a little bit, forcing a chase over the freeway and onto the last stretch of road before sag 5. We took it easy to sag 5 to conserve energy for the very fun, very fast last 12 miles of the ride. I passed on the celebratory Popsicle at sag 5, opting instead for the watered down lemonade and a quick conversation with the Breathless Agony guys. Now it was time for the Freeway.

Our plan for the 101 was to set a pace of 27 mph and to paceline the whole way. Easy enough right? Wrong. By the time we got to our exit Gavin and I had rode everyone else off our wheel. We regrouped on Emma Wood Dr. and proceeded to act like jack asses the rest of the way into Ventura. We crossed the line together, our group of 5 plus Hank, the guy in the ONCE jersey. All in all it was an awesome ride.

I will edit this post as I receive pictures.

I knew after this I would need a recovery ride, and Jerry had mentioned he was going to do the Love ride on Sunday. "Great" I thought, "I'll hang back with the older guys and take it nice and easy". Wrong and wronger. There were no older guys, and there was no taking it easy. My recovery ride turned into a big effort ride and I'm definitely feeling it today. The map below isn't totally accurate, but I was feeling lazy and didn't feel like mapping a new route. I simply didn't go through the Rosebowl, opting instead to just go down Verdugo. Total mileage was about 32.

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