Monthly Archives: February 2012

Jack Frost Time Trial, or how I ripped my lungs out.

Average Power: 257 Watts
Average Heart Rate: 157 bpm
Average Speed: 22.1 mph
Time: 32:38
Weather: Ugly, but no wind

The weather forecast for the Jack Frost TT had been ugly all week long – 100% chance of rain with temps in the low 40s. The forecast was not wrong.

We woke up to wet roads, but no rain falling. Joanne and I headed up to Vancouver and arrived with over an hour before Joanne’s start time. I set up the trainer underneath Olson’s Bicycle Shop canopy and Joanne had a dry place to warm up as it did start to rain lightly. And it was a cold rain.

The question of the morning was what to wear? If you wear too much, then you overheat and this causes you to slow down. If you do not wear enough, then you suffer. I finally decided upon two base layers (one long sleeve) and my Race Across Oregon finishers jersey as our RAO/Imperial River team kits have not come in yet. On my legs, I opted for leg warmers and only wind booties for the feet. I did choose long fingered gloves.

At first, I thought that I had not worn enough, but soon I felt find. I did not even feel cold when the snow began to fall. But true, the snow fell for only a few seconds, but my arms were displaying white flakes of snow.

The Felt S32 TT bike ran well. I had no shifting issues and the SRAM 55 tooth chain ring allowed was nice to have.

My thirty second man was a no show, so I had to chase the fellow who started one minute in front of me. It took me a while to get to the point where I could even see him, but once I did, I slowly caught up to him. I passed him after the half way turn around, but I could already see another rider in front of him. I again slowly worked my way up to him, but I was still 30 feet behind him when we came to the last corner. I took that hard left very easy and I could not catch him in the final sprint to the finishing line.

None the less, I was very happy with my effort. I improved my time by 1:20 over last year and improved my power 38 Watts, a 15% improvement!

Joanne also did well, very well. She took first in her division winning over three other ladies.

Winter Cycling Training – Day 1 of Week 10

At this rate, my Winter Cycling Training will not be done until late spring!

I’m back to the trainier after a week of riding the deserts of Southern California. The ride plan was to do five 3:15 minute intervals in the main set. Another epic fail. The first was OK, but after that, I could not ride the entire interval. So, I did the best I could and I’m happy with that.

This week should be a rest week as my first time trial is this Sunday – the Jack Frost TT. So, I will not get to Week 10 – Day 2 till next week.

Borrego Springs Training Camp – Day 5

Yaqui Pass via Montezuma Grade

Distance 57.2 miles
Ride Time 4:13:44
Elevation Gain 4,482

Joanne and I woke up to clear skies and the promise of warm mid-day temperatures. This was better than yesterday’s rain!

The plan today was a full climb up Montezuma Grade Road, something that has been denied us due to rain and wind. But today would be the day. Joanne and I rode to breadfast and at 8:00 am sharp we head up the hill. Soon we saw a rider behind us slowly closing the gap. It was Marsha who told us that Renee should be just in front of us. Our pace was easy; we chatted as we slowly wound our way up the climb. However, our pace must have been a bit slow for Marsha, or she decided to catch Renee as she pulled away from us.

This left Joanne and I to climb, and climb, and then climb some more. Montezuma Grade is about eleven miles long and climbs over 3,000 feet. The first half is the steepest often over 7% before your reach a easier section that lasts a mile or so before returning to 7%. But then this is a 9% kick at the very end that is just mean. I pulled away from Joanne on the less steep section and then caught and pass Renee and then set off to catch Marsha. But that did not happen. I would have to dug deeper than I wanted. She was 100 feet ahead of me when she crested the top.

The group met at the Henrietta Store just a mile down from the summit. It sits at an even 4,000 feet. The sun was warm and this allowed me to dry my sweaty cloths in preparation of our first descent of the day – an easy drop down the San Felipe Road.

There, the rest of the group turned to the right in search of more climbs, coffee and pastry but Joanne and I turned to the left to head toward Yaqui Pass and home. Our route home became as a slight climb. We enjoyed wide shoulders which were needed due to all of the RV/OHV traffic.

We did lose the shoulder when we turned onto CA 78. The high traffic continued as we entered a tight canyon with twisty roads. To accommodate the traffic, Joanne I pulled off of the road when a large group of large vehicles came up behind us.

We pulled off of CA 78 at Yaqui Pass Road leaving the RVs behind. After a quick two mile climb, we had a five mile descent down to Borrego Springs Road. There we went into Borrago Springs and had a nice lunch at a small French Restaurant before returning to our motel.

Borrego Springs Training Camp – Day 4

Yaqui Pass and and a portion of the Montezuma Grade

Distance 53.4 miles
Ride Time 4:09:22
Elevation Gain 4,669

Today was a good day.

When we woke up this morning, it was raining. Yes, rain in the California desert.

But it soon stopped and the roads dried off. Joanne and I joined the group up and over Yaqui Pass and toward the junction of San Felipe Road. They Joanne and I turned backed while the rest of the group continued on. Back over Yaqui Pass (much slower this time) and back to Borrego Springs where we had a nice lunch.

After lunch, Joanne returned to the motel and I decided to climb Montezuma Grade. I took it much easier than Monday and had an enjoyable climb to the lookout. There I turned around and returned to the motel.

Borrego Springs Day Three – Recovery Ride

Distance 26.9 miles
Ride Time 2:16:06
Elevation Gain 521

After yesterday’s hard ride, I needed to do something less intense. While the rest of the RAO/Imperial River group headed up into the hills, Martha hooked Joanne and I with a group of locals for a short, flat ride.

Just as we were leaving, the wind picked up and it was much stronger than yesterday. We meet Renee at “the circle” and she lead us out of town to the rest of the group. The group was quite large, about a dozen folks and we headed out of town on Palm Canyon Road as we did yesterday. However, we turned back toward the west on Henderson Canyon Road (and into the wind yet again). They lead us through Orange Groves and Palm Tree Plantations (I had difficulty believing how much they cost) and up to Galleta Meadows Estates before returning us back toward Borrego Springs.

The weather was nice, the company was lovely and the ride was fun!

Borrego Springs Camp – Day Two

Distance 87.3 miles
Ride Time 6:00:19
Elevation Gain 3,118

The above does not tell you about the wind. The 34 miles of head wind. The 34 miles of up hill with a head wind. The ride was hard.

We headed west out of Borrego Springs toward the Salton Sea. The wind was behind us and we flew down the road. I knew that we would have a head wind on the way back, but such things did now worry me. It should have.

Along the way, we saw many RVs camping (for free) off the side of the road. No hookups, but then no rent either.

Soon we arrived at Salton Sea, or at least CA Hwy 86 where we turned south and rode the wide shoulder avoiding truck tire remnants along the way. 86 is a divided highway, not quite a freeway but with all of the truck traffic one would expect on a freeway. I was very impressed with the courtesy given to us; almost all of the trucks changed lanes to give us as much room as possible. Very cool.

After 9 miles on the (almost) freeway, we turned westward on Ca 78, and into the wind. Our speed dropped from 18 mph down to 12 mph and we were lucky to hold that! We took turns in the front, but soon my stomach decided it did not like something I ate that morning (a Latte?) and I needed to stop. The rest soft peddled onward while I relieved myself. I was off the bike for quite some time and I appreciate Mick who came back to tow me back up to the group.

At 64 miles into the ride, I could have taken Borrego Springs Road back, but I continued on CA 78 for another nine miles into the wind so I could climb Yaqui Pass from the north (I did the south side yesterday). The wind pushed me up the hill in a very short time. The descent down to Borrego Springs Road was quick and a bit windy. Then I turned back into the wind, with absolutely nothing left in my legs and limped back to our motel.

Borrego Springs Camp – Day One

We came to the desert for hill training. But what we will do is wind training.

Woke up to a very windy Borrego Springs – with the National Weather Service issuing wind advisories to prove it. After a conference, the group decided to ride a 50 mile loop I calling Yaqui Pass / San Felipe Road loop. We would climb nearly 6000 feet up to an altitude of 4000 feet at the top of the Montezuma Grade. The weather up there was reported to be below 40 degrees and raining. Joanne and I looked at each other and shared the same thought, “Let’s find a short cut!”

We headed west out of Borrego Springs on Borrego Springs Road but soon turned south on Yapui Pass Road. As with any road with the word “Pass”, it began to climb. The incline was slight, perhaps 5 to 6 percent with no steep pitches. The sun was out keeping us warm; the climbing was good. I did the first third easy, the second third hard and the final third at a recovery pace so I could finish with a sprint. It was fun.

The descent was short and windy. The descending lane was next to the hill side so I did not feel that I would get blown over the guard rail. At the bottom was the junction with CA 78. If you turn to the right, you follow the route to San Felipe Road. If you turn to the left, you can descend back down to Borrego Springs Road. If you turn to the right, you ride into the head wind. If you turn to the left, you ride with a tail wind. Joanne and I turned to the left while the rest of the group turned to the right.

Traffic was light and we flew down the road at 30 miles an hour plus. But soon we had to turn back toward Borrego Springs and into a fierce cross wind. Descending down into “Texas Dip”, the largest dry wash I have ever seen. 9% down with a fierce crosswind, along the bottom for 100 yards, and then 9% up which I did in the big ring by mistake.

We now had about ten miles to ride back to Borrego Springs with a cross wind. It was slow going, but we labored on and soon arrived in Borrego Springs. We had lunch at the local bar and then decided to climb another hill – Montezuma Grade.

The Montezuma Grade starts just outside of Borrego Springs and climbs up to the west at a steep grade. Joanne and I started together, but I soon pulled ahead. My intention was to ride it hard, so I kept my effort high. Soon sweat was dripping into my eyes. As I climbed, the wind got stronger. At one point, I came around a corner to be hit by a very hard wind. It was all I could do to stay upright! Luckily, I was already in my inner chain ring so I shifted down to my lowest gear and I could barely turn the peddles. After a few feet, the wind let up and I could continue on. But, the higher I climbed, the windier it got. Shortly, I decided it was time to turn around to avoid the wind and the mist that was coming down the canyon.

The descent was not fun. Wind pushed me and the bike around. With a cliff on one side, the wind on the other side and a very concerned rider in the middle, brakes were used.

Happy to say, I made it back to Borrego Springs without incident.

Distance 41.2 miles
Ride Time 3:38:41
Elevation Gain 3,566