"...In the end, people either have excuses or experiences; reasons or results; buts or
brilliance. They either have what they wanted or they have a detailed list of all the rational reasons why not."

~ Anonymous
(taken from Matt Erbele's, It Takes Time to Get Good)

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Race Report: Auburn Triathlon Olympic Distance - May 31, 2009

Well, it may not be flattering, but good god damn, I think that stupid suit actually made me faster.

UPDATED with official times:

Overall: 3:55:25


That is only 3 minutes off my Olympic distance PR at Pac Grove on a MUCH tougher course. But I am getting ahead of myself...


A group of us that train with Terri were all doing this race, so we headed up together on Saturday. We grabbed some lunch at the Auburn Alehouse Brewery then drove part of the bike course.

Taken by an older woman at the restaurant that was not super familiar with using a digital camera. She almost succeeded in taking a picture of herself three times before we got this one. This cracked Jane up. Obviously.

At our pre-race dinner I was openly coveting a HUGE piece of chocolate cake that was being delivered to the next table. Apparently, I was so pathetic the girl offered us some of her cake (yeah, yeah, my mother would be horrified. Whatever. Did I mention, FREE CAKE?)

Well, lucky for me this tiny, little gal was 1. Tiny and obviously not equipped to handle cake of this proportion and 2. Recovering from a broken jaw and her already tiny, little stomach was even more shrunk down and well, ... tiny. I think she cut off about a 1/10th of the cake and gave us the rest.

We were on that cake like flies on...

Race morning

The Auburn Triathlon is a point to point race with two different transitions. Which, with limited parking, is a logistical nightmare. We decided to get to T2 early to leave my car and then go down to T1 to set up there.

Best laid plans and all.

We did get there nice and early and even got rockstar parking, but Jane soon discovered that she had a problem with her tube valve and needed to change it. This was on her brand new tire, and we all know that it SUCKS ASS to change brand new tires. (I got to learn this little lesson in the pouring fucking rain at Grizzly Peaks, so I win in the sucks-ass-to-be-me contest, but right before a race is a close second)

Let's just say that the tire changing was not going well and at one point I asked Jane if it was time for me to start offering sexual favors for a tire change. Of course, because it is me, a nice guy in his mid 40's was riding by at that EXACT moment. (Again, with a would-be-horrified mother moment.)

Super classy as always.

I don't know if the look he gave me was one of disapproval or if he was weighing if he had time to change the tire for us, but it did stop him in his tracks.

We did eventually get to T1 and had plenty of time to get set up and do a warm up swim before our wave at 7:05.

Swim 1.5K (43:09)

That is 12 minutes faster than Pac Grove, but before we get all excited it is a MUCH easier swim than Pac Grove.

However, here at Run Bitch Run we celebrate ALL swim victories, real or imagined, so...


T2 (No idea)

They lump the T1, bike time, and T2 all together, so I have no idea and I did not self time, but the tri suit made this transition easy and I felt pretty fast.

Bike 40K (1:58:48)

Includes T1 and T2 times. (that makes the time for both transitions combined about 5:28!! Go me!!)

Boo yah, baby!!

It is only 14 minutes slower than Pac Grove, but MUCH harder course. 10 times harder in terms of elevation gain, as a matter of fact.

In the Auburn course there is 3,200 feet of climb in 24 miles (the course is a little short, but what it lacks in 0.8 mile of distance it makes up for in hills.) PLUS, since it is point to point, you have a net gain in elevation meaning you do not get to descend all of those 3,200 feet you climbed.

Elevation profile for Auburn Olympic Distance

For comparison, I will post the profile for the Pac Grove Bike course. This is from the internet I have not used my Garmin on that course because it is FLAT as a pancake.

This is from the MotionBased website, which is LAME. If my students turned in a graph without the axes labeled I would give it a ZERO. Total elevation gain is 385 ft. which is different from total climb, but I bet it isn't much more than that.

Even though the course is hilly and winding, it is beautiful and there was a plethora of adorable farm animals that I would have LOVED to photograph. Including, but not limited to: a miniature horse, a miniature donkey, an emu, and lots of pygmy goats, cows, and horses. Sadly, I had serious business to attend to and did not bring my camera. Rats.

One animal encounter was not so pleasant and nearly gave me a fucking heart attack. On a downhill section at about mile 20 a squirrel decided to play chicken with my bike and shot out of a bush in front of my wheel. I thought for sure I was going to hit it and braced myself to go down hard, but somehow I didn't. It took me a good 10 minutes for my heart rate to return to normal after that. I bet it took longer for the squirrel. That close call would have worked out much worse for him had it gone the other way.

T2 (no idea)

I think it was pretty fast, but I am not sure. I had to pull a shirt over my tri suit because 1. I needed to put my race number on something since I don't have a race belt and 2. there was not nearly enough pink and I need pink when I run.

Run 6.2 miles (1:13:27)

8 minutes slower than Pac Grove on a much harder, much hotter course.

Auburn Run Profile

Again for comparison, the Pac Grove profile from not-worth-a-shit motion based website, but at least you can see that the course is flat.

Seriously, Motion Based, I am begging you? In who's world are graphs like this useful or acceptable?

I was ok with my run. As usual I felt pretty happy and cheerful on the run, but I was hoping for a little faster.

At one point on the run, one of the half iron triathletes passed me (let's be honest. LOTS of the half iron people passed me despite the fact that their bike was over twice as long as mine, but at least they were all hard core.) Anyhoo, back to the runner, he was GORGEOUS and not wearing a shirt. My response was "Day-um!" as he ran by. He responded by waving and saying "Thanks, love the pink!" (I don't know what is wrong with me, maybe I need my hormones checked)

The Finish

As I ran to the finish I was seriously hoping I would be under 4 hours. Before the race, knowing the terrain I would have never thought I could have even been under 4 and a half, but some calculations on the bike made me think I could possibly be sub 4. AS I ran to the finish the clock read 4:00:20 I thought, shit. Oh well. Still way better than I expected, but after checking the results I remembered that the woman's wave started 5 minutes after then men and I had really finished in 3:55: 25 I was thrilled!

Unfortunately, they ran out of medals.

No, I am not fucking kidding.

Now, there are two things that are ridiculously important to me on these things: 1. I like to know the numbers and 2. I like the medals.

But, no medal for me.

What pisses me off is that they were doing late registrations like mad at the expo, and I am sure that they only ordered medals for the pre-registered people. So, me and everyone after me (seriously, the woman that finished right before me got the last International distance medal) get fucked over.

I emailed the race director. Hopefully, he will make it right. I will let you know.

Post race. Note: Jane was the only one fast enough to garner a medal.

Sugoi tri-suit

I wore it and honestly there were things I really liked about it and some things I was not crazy about. I will write a more detailed review later, but the one stand out compliment I have for the suit is a biggie for me

The chamois was comfortable for the whole ride. As a matter of fact, I didn't even think about it.

Yep, THAT comfortable.

I have NEVER said that about a tri short or tri suit chamois. I am EXTREMELY picky about chamois (how the hell do you pluralize "chamois"?) and live by the motto "If the girl parts ain't happy, ain't NOBODY happy."

But this little tri suit chamois gets a vote of approval that four pairs of real bike shorts in my only-wear-under-extreme-laundry-emergency pile could not attain.

FYI: For you non-cycling types the chamois is the pad that you sit on in bike shorts. Tri suits and tri shorts usually have a bullshit panty liner looking thing that serves no purpose, but to make the shorts more expensive.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Pre race: Auburn Triathlon

As I sit here procrastinating on packing for the Auburn triathlon (oly distance) this weekend I have several things running through my head:

1. I am tired. Bone. Fucking. Tired.

2. In the last two days I have read about, or heard about at least 10 other teachers that are done for the summer. As in, they have no more cherubs.

I still have cherubs.

Lots of them.

Can I send anyone a few?

'Cuz I am really quite sick of them.

And they of me.

I am just sayin'...

3. I have a conundrum that I would like some input on. A little while ago the lovely and speedy Lindsay gave my name to a Sugoi rep as someone that might be interested in trying out some tri gear and reviewing it.

Now, this blog is my journal and as some of you may have noticed, my blog is not a super PC or "suitable for all audiences" type blog. (If you hadn't noticed then you, my friend, are just as classy as me and WELCOME!)

Anyhoo, I did not think that this would be something I would be asked to do, but I was and in true RBR style, and against my better judgement (this will become more clear later) there will be pictures!

When I opened the package I removed this teeny, tiny, little tri suit.

I held my hand up for perspective. NO WAY is this tiny, little thing going to cover my ass! And what is that, a four inch inseam?!

Speaking of ass, here is the rear view. For the record my ass is significantly larger than my hand.

Me thinks: Well, shit. This sucker is going back IMMEDIATELY.

But I decided to go ahead and try it on. It is made of this parachut-y feeling fabric (man, I am g-oo-oo-d at this. I bet they ask me to do the marketing on this suit!)

Amazing. I don't know what this fabric is, but apparently with 12 square yards we can clothe the world.

Now, here is where I have to question the designers at Sugoi. Why the hell would you put huge white panels on the side of the suit? Not exactly slimming and what happens when it gets wet?

Too bad you can't suck in your ass.

and the ABSOLUTE worst part... (this is serious commitment to the truth. I can NOT believe I am posting this)

Sugoi, seriously, what the fuck where you thinking? Was the intention to create arrows to my saddlebags? 'Cuz that is what you did.

The suit feels really comfortable, not binding or suffocating, but I am NOTHING if not vain and I need your help here people,

is it too awful to wear in public at Auburn this weekend?

I realize I am not the shape Sugoi created this suit for if you want to see that look here...
Old Stevie looks fab in it, of course. Asshole. Gee, these grapes sure are sour...

I said I would wear it and I am a woman of my word, but dude! Will it cause young children to cry? Villagers to don their pitchforks? Am at risk of litigation for retinal damage to fellow triathletes?

I need some advice here.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Week 20: Long workouts and Ride Report (yeah, yeah I am behind)

Let's start with a big thank you for all the kind words and well wishes for Ironman. I have resolved myself to the fact that it will be what it will be. I am going to show up and race my heart out. That is all I can do.

I am really sorry that all of my posts are these long, multi-day diatribes with ride/race reports that go on for days, and show up once a week (or sometimes less), but I am DYING!

Ok, dramatic.

But I am buried at work and training, and recovering from training (i.e. napping) takes any other available time I have.

I can't remember a time in my life when I did not get up at 4 or 5 am to be somewhere to torture myself on both Saturday and Sunday of the weekend.

Now, it is not that it has been that long (I certainly spent MANY more YEARS sitting on my fat, Ho Ho eating ass than I have spent Ironman training) it is more that I no longer have the energy reserves to think beyond the previous or next 20 minutes.

On to this past weekend...

Friday - 50 minute Run

It was going to be hot, so I I decided to head up to Skyline to find a nice shady trail. As is par for the course, anytime I do not know the trail ahead of time it is either hell, or I get lost.

Well, I didn't get lost.

It started with a 2 mile descent. Not a sweet, gentle descent that makes you feel like you weigh 47 pounds and are the most gifted runner alive. It was the steep ass, bone jarring descent that makes you feel like a lumbering hippopotamus forced to descend the Sierras. (I don't know why a hippopotamus would be in the Sierras, or why someone would force it to run down the mountain, but it is a funny image, no?)

Of course this descent means you have to climb back out.


Saturday - On schedule 3 hour 20 minute run (Actual Stats: 14 miles/3264 ft of climb/Time 3:45:00/90 degrees in the shade/15 billion mosquito bites)

I got up at 4 am to meet students at the Flea Market for a Red Cross Club fund raiser at 4:45 am (I know, I know. I got suckered into being the new Red Cross Club's adviser. Damn kids. They sure can be cute when they want something. They were decidedly less cute when they got there at 5:15 am and I had been waiting for 30 minutes.)

After I helped them set up (HUGE clusterfuck, btw. Do not do a fund raiser for students at the Flea Market. Just don't. I think they made $150. I would have given $150 to not have to deal with it.) Anyhoo, after that I took off to do my long run. It was supposed to be blistering hot (99*) so I headed out to the trails with some cover.

Kind of a boring picture, but I look like a toad in the other one I took and it is my blog, so I reserve the right to only post flattering or semi-flattering pictures of myself.

The Santa Cruz Mountains favorite Mollusk! The California Banana Slug

I chose AGAIN to pick a trail I had never run before.

Again, I did not get lost. Which means...

Elevation for the run (Please note: the gradations are in 500ft increments!)

Notice that you don't see the trail after about 3 feet. It is THAT steep. I just came up that and the climbing was not done for another 2.5 miles.

Umm... yeah.

Going to dinner that night I could barely walk with the soreness in my calves and knees and all I could think was "I have a hilly-ass century ride tomorrow. Great."

Sunday - Strawberry Fields Forever Century (Actual 103 miles/7946 ft of climb)

Julia, Lori and I met up to start together for a planned start time at 7 am. I will have you know that we rolled at 6:59 am. Finally got my shit together on these things.

Ready to roll! On time I might add.

Lori was doing the metric and, unfortunately, the two courses split pretty early on so we didn't get to ride much together, but she met up with some of her peeps and had a great ride so all was well.

The ride started with a 13 mile, 2000 ft climb right off the bat. You may be able to spot it here on the elevation chart.

Ummm....yeah. Again, with the 500 ft increments. It makes the climbs later on look like nothing. Believe me, they were NOT nothing.

At the top Eureka Canyon (the big climb) enjoying some Newtons du Fig. (pronounced in an obnoxious french accent because it cracks me up)

The first rest stop mascot. I didn't exactly catch her name, Sully or something like that. Very cute old girl!

Somewhere during this climb Julia's bike developed this god awful creak. We tried to find the cause but no love. It wasn't until 74 miles in that a fellow rider that was a bike mechanic discovered her crank was loose. Yikes. She gutted it out, trooper that she is.

After climbing Eureka Canyon there was a glorious descent down Old San Jose Hwy (Rd?
). Sometimes this descent can be a nightmare with road rage drivers, but was wonderful today! About 50 miles in we reached the second rest stop that was sponsored by a local bike manufacturer Calfee.

Now, I don't know a damn thing about Calfee bikes except people say they are go
od, but they are my new favorite company because of this

Lattes made to order with an ocean view! Are you fucking kidding me?
Freaking AWESOME! Yes, I eventually pulled myself away from the rest stop, but it was tough.

It was also at the rest stop that we met up with Jill, hereafter referred to as Bad Ass Jill. I call her Bad Ass Jill, because similar to Bad Ass Helen, she is freaking FAST. She is a total hoot, but WAY faster than us so I thought our encounter would be brief. However, she was trying to ride off a bad week (you know, just a little century with 8000' of climb to dust off the cobwebs. Easy peasy) and decided to hang with us because, let's face it, we may not be fast, but we are a freakin' blast!

Bad Ass Jill, Julia, and moi. Ready to blaze over some hills and laugh our asses off.... well, at least we did the laugh our asses off part.

After the rest stop we rode through Elkhorn slough which, while stinky, is a beautiful
ride ending with a tough climb up Strawberry Road.

Hubby and I have been talking about kayaking here FOREVER. We even bought Lucy a doggy life jacket so she can go too. (BTW: Lucy would NEVER do this, but she is damn cute in the life jacket!)

We pressed on to the dreaded Tustin Road climb that Julia had been warning us about all day. It was a short climb of only about 1-1.5 miles, but the last 1/8th of a mile is at continuous 18-20% grade. An eighth of a mile doesn't sound long until you try to ride up an 18 % grade. Several people were walking their bikes, but I decided, fuck it, I was going to ride up it or fall over trying.

Surprisingly, this story does not end with a road-rashed RBR. I made it up. Not fast, not pretty, but I got it fucking D.O.N.E.

Boo yah.

We headed off to the lunch stop thinking the worst was behind us. Nope. One more brutal, albeit shorter, 15% climb awaited us right before the lunch stop. Lots of walkers on that one as well.

Did I make it up that one?

You bet your ass, I did.

*smug grin*

Then in the ultimate insult, we had to climb a steady grade into the park where the lunch stop was being held. I don't think we were even getting credit for that mileage. This caused me to swear loudly and demand a sandwich upon arrival and after dumping my bike petula
ntly on the grass. (I was kidding, but I did notice that I did not take any pictures at this stop. I think some of that bitchiness was real. Oh, and NO cookies at lunch? What is up with that?!)

We pressed on and a mere 9 miles later we were at another rest stop. Odd, but it was the locally famous Gizdich Ranch and they had PIE!! I am not shitting you! Actual PIE!!

Lattes and pie?! I am currently pre-registered for this ride for the next 22 years!

I would have taken a picture of my piece of pie, but the shutter speed on my camera is not that fast. (Ha! A camera AND gluttony joke all in one! I crack myself up!)

The last 20 miles included one more big climb up Hazel Dell (more walkers on a steep section of this climb. Not me, baby!) and then it was smooth sailing into the finish.

I pushed hard these last 20 miles and I felt really strong. Much stronger than I had expected to feel considering the amount of hard running I had done for the 2 days prior, the general beat-upness of my body these days, and all of the climb in this ride.

The upside of all this is that I am cautiously optimistic about my ability to make the cut off for the bike. If I can just make it through the damn swim.

Bad Ass Jill bought us all pies at the end (they were selling left overs for $2 each! Woo Hoo!)

I have some SERIOUS blog reading catching up to do. Good thing it is a 3 day weeken

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Week 20: Oh God, there are only 5 weeks left.

That means that Ironman CdA is really, really soon. That is unfortunate if you are a psuedo-athlete with completely unrealistic Ironman dreams that is still not fast enough to make the IM cut offs.

Meaning, if you are me.

For those of you unfamiliar with the cut off times for Ironman , let me fill you in:

Total time allowance: 17 hours - mass start at 7 am then you must cross the finish line by midnight. Meaning: even if I make all the other cut offs, at 12: 00:01 little Miss RBR turns into a pumpkin... I mean, a very sad non-finisher

Swim Cut off: 2 hours 20 minutes from start- 9:20 am.
Meaning: little Miss slower-than-slug-snot RBR can not hide in the back and wait for all the real athletes to swim away first. She must duke it out with everybody else. Super.

Bike Cut offs:
First cut off - must be done with the first 56 mile loop by 1:30 pm (6.5 hours after start/4 hours 10 min after swim cut off)
Second cut off - must be done with full 112 miles by 5:30 pm (10.5 hours after start/8 hours 10 min after swim cut off)
There are TWO! I just learned this about a month ago. Again, super.

Run Cut offs: There are two. This, I knew about.
First Cut off - must be done with the first 13.1 miles by 9 pm (13 hours after start/3.5 hours after bike cut off)
Second cut off - midnight (17 hours after start/6.5 hours after bike cut off)

Now for a bit of "Go me!" news:

Today on my bike ride I was riding on the bike trail (meaning FLAT. See, Iron Snoopy, I DO ride on flat courses!)

Elevation profile for the bike trail route from a previous ride. I don't use Garmin on rides without climb anymore.

and I was trying to push and practice staying my in my aerobars, when I turned around I hit a nasty headwind, but I kept pushing. Then I noticed a cyclist on my back wheel. I didn't slow down, but I moved over assuming he wanted to pass since he looked WAY more hardcore than me, but he didn't pass.

He was drafting!


Holy shit!

That NEVER happens to me. Usually the local cyclists blow by me like I am a dumpy, little cyclist statue and often don't even bother saying "hi" or "left" or acknowledging I exist at all.

I kept pushing, but I assumed he would get frustrated and pass, but he just hung on all the way back to the trail turn off.

When I got home I found that I averaged 16 mph on the bike trail (You have to dodge walkers, double wide strollers [old post on my thoughts on the double wide strollers], geese, and there are four stop lights you can hit (I only hit one today though), and 8 stop signs (I only stopped at 4. Oops! Bad girl).

That is FLYING for me!

Like I said, a Go me! moment.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Week 19: Trudging along

Saturday long Ride - Ride with Roberta for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

I had a 6 hour ride on my training schedule and I was trying to find a group to ride with when I got an email about a 100 mile ride/fundraiser event for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society being put on by Roberta Gonzales (a local TV celebrity. Channel 5 News) I knew she was fast from reading a report she had written on IM Lake Placid, but I thought, what the hell? It is a TNT event there should be some other slow people.

Uh, wrong.

Here is the group shot before we took off. Nope, not a slow one in the bunch. Well, except the round one on the end in the pink.

I got there early and when all these skinny guys on expensive bikes started showing up I panicked and almost bailed. I was even texting Southbay Girl telling her I wanted to bail.

The fast guys were actually VERY nice and a couple of them were at Grizzly Peaks Century the weekend before and were very impressed that I had stayed to do 74 miles. They had packed up and left when it started pouring at the start.

Roberta Gonzales was gorgeous and as sweet and energetic as a person could be. She is being awarded the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Woman of the Year Award. Which is HUGE honor.
Roberta and I at the regroup. Taken to prove to my mother that yes, I was riding with THAT Roberta Gonzales.

You know you are gorgeous when 4 men pull over to change your tire for you.

Fortunately, I saw one of the ride leaders from the Cinderella Training and she told me that she was coming off an injury and she and her friend were going to be slow and I could ride with them.


They had decided to cut off a 10 mile loop from the beginning of the ride so that the rest of the group would not being waiting at the too long at the regroup. Our ride would be about 84 miles and the rest of the group would be doing 94. I would have preferred to ride the full 94, but versus being dropped instantly and riding 94 miles alone, I would take 84.

Me and my crew! Thank you Pat and Al. You rock!

As seems to be my norm lately, I started my Garmin late and I only recorded 81 miles of the ride, but I got all of the climb. 5,011 ft of climb to be exact, most of which was between miles 20 and 45.

The elevation profile for the ride.

Al and I head up the first long climb together...

It wasn't long after that he looked like this. (Hint: The little dot waaaaay up the hill is Al. The person waaaay back holding the camera is me.)

Overall I am feeling much stronger climbing. I am not setting any land speed records, but I feel like I can climb just about anything.

There was not much shade cover and it got a little warm, but my new Neutrogena S
PF 70 sunblock seemed to protect me pretty well and I got away with minimal redness. Unlike Rage, where I burned so bad, I was branded with my race number for a week. Apparently, magic marker has A LOT of SPF, as the race number practically glowed white surrounded by bright red. My students thought it was HILARIOUS and referred to me as "Ms. 581."

Horses sunbathing on the side of the road.

Climbing in the full sun while taking a self-portrait. Mad skillz!

All in all, it was a great ride and when we got back Roberta treated everyone to a delicious Mexican buffet.
My ride buddy, Al and I after lunch.

Sunday Long Run - The long anticipated threesome at Garin!

I was invited by the lovely Jo Lynn to join her and her adorable Boomer on a trail run early Mother's Day morning. How could I say no?

Damn dog never stops moving. This is the best shot I got, but I had to put it in because he is absolutely A-DOR-A-BLE!!

Let me start this report with some more Blogland truth:

Jo Lynn often reports that she is slow. Jo Lynn is NOT slow. She, in fact, joins the ever lengthening RBR list of Big Fat Blog Liars.

My picture is sucks and is all blurry, but it has that "Cybil Shepherd Vaseline lens" effect that a woman of my age and sun exposure appreciates.

Here is Jo Lynn's much clearer and much more historically accurate picture. I look like I am suffering, and I am.

Now, we had planned to do 10 miles, however, after about a tenth of a mile I was hoping that Jo Lynn, our little trail bunny, would have forgotten that minor detail. She is incredibly hot, so she must be stupid right? WRONG. Damn it! Why do I keep meeting these smart AND beautiful women?

She kept trotting along like we were on a Sunday stroll while I huffed and puffed next to her intermittently stopping to check the side of the trail for my expelled lungs.

In my defense, I present Exhibit A:

Elevation profile for our run. Total 1900' ft of climb

We did get to see some of my beloved cows up close: In honor of Carolina John who shares in my bovine love (not as creepy as it sounds) but did not have his camera on his last time out (again, not as creepy as it sounds):

This big boy could have cared less as we ran right by him.

It was a great run and we had a blast even if my bootay was seriously screamin' from those hills. And if the lovely, trail bunny will have me, we will definitely be running together again soon!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Ride Report: Grizzly Peaks Century - May 3, 2009

Well, that didn't go so well.

I am too tired to do one of my exceedingly verbose ride reports, so I am going to bullet-point-it-up this time (hey, cheering out loud is kinda rude. Knock it off.)

Ride Review: The Grizzly Peaks Century

The GPC is put on by the Grizzly Peaks Cycling Club. It boasts a tough ride with three length options: 74 miles, 104 miles, and 112 miles and gourmet food.

The organization, volunteers, and course are AWESOME. I highly recommend this ride, despite the fact that my day did not work out as planned.

Oh, and the roasted red potatoes with dill and the peanut butter cookies kept me going as long as I did.

Ride Plan:

  1. Ride easy
  2. Get LOTS of climb practice
  3. See how legs felt after first loop (74 miles), due to this last weekend (Big Sur marathon) and this the weekend before that (Rage 1/2 Iron Triathlon)*
  4. Go for 112 miles.
* post script: Notice how I threw those links in there? It is tacit mitigating, and not-so-subtle foreshadowing for the bullet that says, "Nope. Did NOT do 112 mile loop, nor the 104 mile loop. Only 74 miles done.")

Total Ride distance:

74 miles (see # 3 and post script above. Whatever. It is not like I am training for and Ironman or anything.... oh, wait...)

Total climb on ride:

7601 ft (Oh, yes, I AM claiming that 1 ft. I worked really, really hard for it and I am NOT rounding down to 7600')

Elevation for Grizzly Peaks Century. Yes, it says 73.54 miles. I AM willing to round UP.


Considering my penchant for eliciting absolute shit weather for just about any event I do I shouldn't have been so surprised.

Getting ready to head out. We are already wet.

Ride time:

6:52:56 (Three words: LOTS. OF. CLIMBING.)

Pre Ride Festivities

I am not sure if I have written about the fact that I was hoodwinked into being the Prom advisor this year, but I was. Most of you are probably surprised that I am a teacher and even more shocked that I was the prom advisor. The code I used for all communications with the activities director about the prom was SFP for Stupid, fucking prom.

If anyone ever asks you to be prom advisor. Immediately punch them in the mouth. They obviously HATE you.

SFP was the night before the ride.

I spent most of the night resisting the urge to try to get kids to leave early by reminding them that, "you should leave now, while she/he still likes you", and taking bets with the chaperones on who the next girl/boy to cry would be.

I got home at 1 am and had to get up at 4 am to get ready for and leave for the ride.


The Ride: in pictures and snarky captions
Disclaimer: My pictures are not great. Almost all of them were taken while riding. Yep, I am all about safety.)

Little damp out here. Little damp.

It rained steady for the first 3 and 1/2 hours of the ride.

I hear there is a beautiful view from the top of skyline. I wouldn't know.

The slip 'n slide to the coffee at the first aide station.

Huddled and looking pathetic under a tent at the first aide station. Only 20 miles in. Christ.

My brake bads after the Wildcat descent in the pouring, fucking rain. Water was sheeting down the road and it was pretty terrifying or I am just a big, fat baby. Either way a little disconcerting to say the least.

Here is what my brake pads look like when they are new for reference. Yeah, scary amount of wear for one descent.

We rode down the highway for a while and the gentle downgrade got our speed up to about 20 mph, which is when I realized that once you are no longer scared for your life, you can feel how badly rain stings at 20+ mph. Plus, it is very hard to see without your glasses and rain driving into your eyes. But don't worry, I got to stop and take a break when I had to change a flat in the rain. So that was nice.

After that I was covered in grease and brake pad sludge. There we
re more flats on this ride than I have ever seen at a ride or race.

We continued on and rode through the town of Martinez which had some small town charm, but probably not destined to become a vacation hotspot anytime soon. (Sorry, H but you know it is true.) The highlight is the Carquinez bridge. Yeah, that is the highlight.

Carquinez Bridge and some other bridge that is not interesting enough to
research the name of.

Sweet face cows at the top of McEwen Road.

The McEwen Road climb is one I wished I knew about ahead of time. It is a brutal, one mile climb with the steepest grade topping out somewhere between 17-20% (there is MUCH disagreement about this on bike forums. I am cool with "it is REALLY fucking steep", but they like to argue I guess.) The average grade for the climb is 13%. Ugh.

No, I did not stop because of the steep ass climb just ahead (before the top of the Pig Farm climb). I needed take a picture of the goats. Yeah, that is it. But they are cute!

I stopped taking pictures at about this time. I just wanted to be done. I was cold and tired of being wet. My gloves never dried out making my fingers all pruney and I felt like I was sitting on a big wet diaper all day.

To add to this, at the top of the Papa Bear climb I realized that I had a slow leak in the tire I had changed and I had maybe about 30-40 pounds of pressure left in my front tire (it runs at 110-115 lbs). I tried to pump it up because frankly I did not want to deal with changing it again. It did not last and the last 8 miles were a major struggle. Riding, and especially climbing, with mostly flat front tire SUCKS ASS. In case you didn't know.

When I got home I found a huge hole in my new tire. Super.

We finally made it back to the start where the lunch rest stop was. I was pretty obvious ot me that I had lost the heart to go on to the remaining loop after lunch. I was cold, wet, tired, had some tire problem that needed to get fixed, and no brake pads left.

Fuck it. I am done.

Sexy tan/dirt lines! And yes, I do paint the little nub left on my second toe after my toenail comes off.

The sexy sock tan lines had made an appearance at prom the night before too. Soooo hot! (Note: I have much cuter shoes, but I had to run around all night and my feet are a little beat up. Don't judge me by my matronly shoes!)

Post ride dirt

Grizzly Peak Survivors

I am trying to not beat myself up about cutting the ride short. A major part of me feels like I should have sucked it up and did the whole 112. I was tired and sick of being wet, but I was not done, if you know what I mean. Really, I think I called it quits because I wanted to go home. I was so tired and I had to finish some grading and progress reports for the next day.

I don't know. It sounds pretty slacker-esque to me, now that I have typed it out.

I read some pretty awesome race reports from this weekend! You guys are rocking it out! I will be commenting soon!