Adobo Velo is Everywhere

It’s my monthly visit to LA, and I didn’t have a climbfest ride planned, so I posted on Facebook if there is one this weekend.  Vic chimed back stated he’d be doing a ride up to Baldy Ski Lift, and invited me to join.

We started out with a modest group of 3 (myself, Vic, and Molly aka Pixie).  We started out early, at 6:30 am, so we can beat the heat.  

The plan was to go up to the ski lift, so we should conserve our energy, and not blow up before we even reach the village.

We all conserved pretty well, and we were able to pace off each other.  As we ride up, our minds suddenly shift to food, and cinnamon rolls are on our minds.  Hey, let’s reserve 3 cinnamon rolls, so that by the time we get down from the ski lift, we can scarf it down back at the village.  Sounds like a plan.

At the village, we meet up with Young, who is notorious for taking tons of pics, and is a hoot.  He rode with a bunch of others from Adobo Velo, who are on their way up to the ski lift.

After the short greeting, it’s back to climbing up the ski lift.  Leaving the village, the grades fluctuate from 5-10%, and it persists for an average of 8.6% for 4.7 miles.  With the sun beating down on us, that made it even tougher, and I was shooting for any shade possible.  

Yes, I was able to crack a smile, every now and then, but there is just something about having your friends out on a tough grueling climb, and being able to suffer with your fellow comrades.  If it weren’t for the camaraderie, I don’t think I would have put together such a good time.

Oh, and when I’m climbing and suffering up a climb, expect some suffer faces from me …. And this is no different.

Vic was being the ever gracious ride escort, looking out for each of us.  He let me know there was one more curve, then it levels off, before the final climb up the bowling alley.

The final climb ramps up to 12% then up to 15%.  I love when people see me climbing up, giving me the nod, thumbs up, and I give them the thumbs up back.  That was one tough mofo climb.  I had nothing left, and just had enough energy to clip out, and lie my bike down.

There were a few Adobo Velo riders at the top.  Soon after I get there, others reach the top, and the number of riders keep piling up.  Pretty soon, we had 10-15 up there.  Adobo Velo had a driver with water, ice, watermelons … And even though I’m not a club member, they insist on me taking it in.  They are fantastic.  Ice water and watermelons felt soooo good.

Of course we had to take a group picture.  Imagine, we started out as 3.

OK, now to descend down the mountain, onto the village for some much deserved cinnamon rolls.

I couldn’t scarf it all down.  Vic, Young, and Molly … They were not shy … They scarfed it all down, including whatever I couldn’t finish.  There is still some more climbing to do, so that’s why I conserved.

Coming down GMR, we had a pleasant surprise citing .. My friend Terri met us at the shack.  We keep meeting so many friends on this ride.

We are always thinking of food .. so we were already planning our post ride meal.  It was decided that we should go to The Hat, and mmmm pastrami burgers!!!!  Young also wanted to get some from Donut Man, which Zagut reported as the best in California.  Man, we’re just a bunch of foodies.

I wonder if I’ll end up gaining weight on this ride?

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Too Many Consecutive 15%+ Grades Took Its Toll on Me

It was an lofty plan.  My climbfest for today was Redwood Gulch, followed by On Orbit, followed by Hicks, then Mt. Umunhum.

Redwood Gulch is fairly short, with 10-15% grades (although Al says he saw some 20% on his Garmin).  It punches you with 12%, then you get a break, before it kicks up again.  It’s a nice first hill for the day.

Then we headed down the hill, destined for Saratoga, where we make the climb up 6th street, to Bohlman.  I took us up some good steep pitches up Norton, then Kittredge, and Quickert.  That was a really tough climb, with sustained 15% grades for a good mile and a half.  There were some 25% grades there.

 

If that wasn’t bad enough, when we turned onto On Orbit, the grades kicked up even higher.  There were some 35% grades there.

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When I finally got to the crest, I just had to lie down, in the shade, get my heart rate down just to recuperate.

Descended down the hill from here, which was a challenge in itself, trying not to overheat my disc brakes coming down those steep switchbacks.  That was tough.

When we finally got to the other side of Los Gatos, we got to Hicks, then took a breather, just before the steep climb.  It was also heating up quite a bit, with temps in the upper 90s.  Couple that with climbing Hicks at 15-20% grades, my legs were screaming.  Slowly turning the crank, one by one, with the heat bearing down on me, there was only so much I can handle.  I ended up having to walk one particularly steep section, to a flatter portion, just so I can re-mount back on the bike.  At that point, I made the decision I can’t do Umunhum.  I’m having enough troubles with Hicks.

So unfortunately Umunhum would be a bust, but maybe next time, we’ll just do Umunhum alone, and not pile on On Orbit with its 30% grades.

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I Think I Created a Monster

I’ve always been one to encourage someone to get more and more into biking.  I just love to see the enthusiasm of someone who found the love of bicycling.  The latest is a co-worker, who got into hill climbing.

As a challenge, he decided to sign up for, and train for the Death Ride.  I’ve never done it, but it’s more because of the logistics of getting there, lodging, and the altitude there.  I’m happy to report that he did finish it, but that also meant he wanted a training partner, and the past month or so, he’d want to up the ante on the hill climbing.

So a couple weekends ago, a week after the Death Ride, he led me on a portion of DMD, Mines Road and Mt. Hamilton.  That was a tough ride, with triple digit heat, as we rode along San Antonio Valley, before the final climb up Mt. Hamilton.  That was tough, and by the time the day finished, we ended up with 100+ miles, 8400′ climbing.

So it’s now my turn to lead the ride … and everything I suggest, he’s game … I add in more epic climbs, and he’s in.  Damn, I think I created a monster.  So this weekend will be another epic climbfest … 70.7 miles, and 7236′ climbing.  It’s going to be epic … hope I’ll survive.

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Garmin Edge 510 Dead – Upgrade Time

I thought I let my Garmin go without a charge too long … No biggie, I’ve got Strava on my Android phone, and I can you that in the interim. I plug in the charger in to my iMac.  Wake up the next morning, and  damn, it’s still dead.  It wouldn’t even beep when I plugged in the charger.

Check online, and yup, it’s out of warranty.  Time to upgrade to the 520.

Looking back, I’ve only had the 510 some March 2014.  That’s only 2 years.  That’s not very long for a hardware device.  Hope this one will last a little longer.

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I’ve Had it with this Tire

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I hate it when you buy a new tire, and you have to toss it away, after not even riding 500 miles on it.  I’ve always ridden Continental Grand Prix tires, and having to toss this after about 4 weeks is a shame.

This is the same tire that had me shorten the Bonny Doon ride because of multiple flats.  First hazard was a sidewall puncture … I even put a boot on it.

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Then earlier this week, I rode into work, all excited to do the evening ride.  Getting to the bike cage, I found it completely flat.  Another tube gone, so made it home without issues.  Then, drove down to LA, with a stop off at the Rose Bowl, before a nice short climbing ride … no issues there.  Then, the next day, I’m ready to do a climbing ride, and yes .. it’s flat again.  Replace the tube, and no issues for the ride  (had to shorten the ride again), but 3 flats on the same tire … time to replace.

Don’t you hate it, when you buy a new tire, and have to replace it not even a month later?  I even booted it, thinking that should make my tire last … NOPE!!!!  And this was not even the back tire … it’s the front tire.

Oh well … tire’s replaced … looking forward to Karen’s climbfest on 4th of July .. you better not flat on me!!!!

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Bonny Doon Plans Thwarted by Flats

My co-worker Al, and I, had this lofty plans of doing a killer loop, with about 105 miles, and over 10,000 feet of climbing.  This was definitely going to be an epic ride, something Al has wanted, in preparation for his Death Ride training.

Those were good plans, but plans are not set in stone.  It all started fine, getting a nice warm up by climbing Page Mill (including those 12-16% pitches).  I felt ok climbing Page Mill, despite having some lower back “irritations”.  Al was faster up the hill than me, but I wasn’t too far behind.

All good there .. then we descended West Alpine, along with another faster group, which was going in the same direction as us.  However, during the descent, I heard some other noise coming from my bike, other than the freewheel … I had to slow down, and just as I feared, it was a leak.  My front tire got a flat.  Luckily this was just a slow leak, and I was able to hear it on my descent.  This was just before the right turn to continue onto West Alpine.

So we stop to fix the flat, and as I inspect the tire, I notice a sidewall gash.  It’s one of those, where once you pump up the tire, part of the tube will bleed out through a hole in the tire, and pow, there goes your tube.  Al had those tire boots, so we installed that, and we’re ready to go.

I think Al is ready for Death Ride, as every climb, he was definitely much stronger, and he was just flying up Haskins Hill, and didn’t see  him until I got to the corner of Stage and Pescadero Creek.  Good for him, but lot more work for me.  I was lucky enough to catch a few guys in a mini-paceline going to the coast.  One guy even had a DSLR, and was even able to take a few shots, without stopping!  Wow!

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Paceline to the coast!

I re-grouped with Al at Stage Road.  We had to make a decision here .. do we continue on to the original plan of doing Bonny Doon loop, or do we alter it and do the obligatory Tunitas Creek loop.  With the tire situation, I was leaning more towards Tunitas, but Al had his sights on Bonny Doon, so we are continuing on.

We continued down to Hwy 1, with a scenic stop at Pescadero State Beach.  I mean come on, you gotta take a few pictures here (although we would be riding parallel to this anyways).

 

Off we go and the winds were going in a southerly direction, and guess what .. we’re going south.  We have a tailwind, and that means kick it up to high gear, and just spin.  Al wanted to just charge on so he passed me, and he was flying.  However, there’s a lot of crap on Hwy 1, and one of those pieces of crap was a stray wire, that caught my front tire.  It was stuck to the tire, and it kept rolling it with.  I think I rolled with that in there for a good mile before it dislodged itself, and now it’s just a matter of time before it does go flat.  It finally went flat a little after Gazos Creek.

So this is where the day turned sour.  I have no more tubes available, and Al is at least a mile ahead of me.  Hmm … cell phone … no bars … damn, can’t even text him.  I was close enough to a gas station, but they had no tubes to sell .. damn.  A couple guys were fixing a flat by the station, but no extra tubes.  Damn.  Eventually, I flag another rider, who happens to have an extra tube.  A lifesaver!  I’m all excited, replace the tube, pump it up, and as I take the pump out, it strips the valve.

Arghhhh!!!!  It is just not my day.  Another good samaritan comes by, who happened to be a SAG support guy for years.  He doesn’t have any tubes, but he tries to help.  Took part of the tape on my handle bar, and I was wondering what he was trying to do.  He was trying to use the tape as a patch, but I’m thinking that’s not going to hold.  Surprisingly, we pump it up, and it seems to be holding.  He takes off, then I put everything together, then I feel the tire, and it is not holding … damn.  So I pump it up some more, ride as much as I can, and I go maybe 1/4 mile, before it’s deflated again.

I guess I’ll just walk south for a while, until I see Al come back.  I’m not sure how much time we lost, from both the tube change back up on West Alpine, and my adventures on Hwy 1, waiting for Al, but we had to find the quickest way back.  I decided we should just head back up Gazos Creek, then double back up Haskings, then West Alpine.  I figure that should still be an epic climb, but at least it will be more familiar territory.

The wind is still blowing in a southerly direction, and we are going northbound … headwinds!  Oh well, this is kind of expected, but we charged on through it.  I think when Al u-turned back on Hwy 1, it may have taken a bit out of him, because on our way back on Pescadero Creek, we was behind me.  I guess he’s conserving energy for the W. Alpine climb, so that makes sense.  Maybe part of it was I had rested awhile, so I was more refreshed?

There is a warmup climb before West Alpine in this direction, and that is Haskins Hill.  It has some 10-12% grades, so it is no slouch.  At this point, I got my second wind, and I felt good climbing up Haskins, and as it turned out, I got a PR on this segment.

At this point, climbing up W. Alpine was not too bad … my legs were still pretty fresh.  Al and I traded leads up this hill.  By the time we got to Skyline, we had a sense of relief … we are in the home stretch.  Legs are tired, and we just want to get back to the cars.  By the time we got back, I had logged in 82 miles, and 7877 feet climbing.  Al wasn’t sure how far on Hwy 1 he got before he turned back, but I think he was by Davenport … he got in 99.4 miles.  We was too tired to take an extra loop around the block to even it out to 100.

That was a tough ride, even though we skipped on Bonny Doon and Zayante … not sure which way would have been tougher.  We didn’t get the 10,000 feet climb we were shooting for, but it was still one hard ride, so we still had a great workout, and a great day.

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Epic Jamison Ride

Jamison Creek is one hell of a hard ride (not just because it is steep), but the climb comes in after 40 mile and 4000 feet climbing in your legs.  This is my climbfest in the Bay Area.

It started out with Redwood Gulch, which is no slouch either, with some 15-20% grades in a 1.5 Mike stretch.  Then, a long climb up Hwy 9 over Skyline, down into Big Basin.  And oh, there are some rollies when getting to Big Basin.  Believe me, those rollies can wear on you.

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I always going through Big Basin, and in those hot summer days, it’s cool to ride through tree shaded park.  Has some pretty awesome trees too.

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Finally, got to Jamison Creek at Hwy 236.  The house at this corner always has some cute decorations, letting you know where you are.  This time, it’s strawberry theme.  Not sure what the significance is, but it’s pretty cool.

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Having ridden this before, I know what’s awaiting me … some really tough switchback, and one particular that kicks you at 16%.  I was looking out for that … don’t want to get stuck dismounting and struggling just to climb again.  All I know is I had to concentrate on breathing and just push through each stroke.

I was the only one on this climb.  I guess it’s either not that popular, or people are more sane than to try this.  Finally made it to the top, and I had to take about a 10 minute break, just to recover.

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Ugh, now I just realized the second part of this ride is getting back home.  That’s like another 30 and 3000 feet of climbing.

I did make it back, but it was crawling up that hill (I guess as long as you complete it, that’s all that counts).  Total stats … 75.9 miles, 7838 feet of climbing.  Wow, big ride.  So much that I couldn’t even muster up a recovery ride > 20 miles.  But I guess I just gotta get my body back into long distance shape.

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