"...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)

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!


Carolina John said...

hey, at least you made it 74 miles. in the rain on a flat front. that's pretty impressive.

those tan lines are sexy.

Kelly said...

All that I can say as I bow down to you...is that you are one hard core b*itch!

RoadBunner said...

I would have freaked like a baby in rain & descent. I give you credit for going 74 miles in those conditions!

p.s. I was the junior prom photography chair. You can now delete me from your google reader :)

EatRantRun said...

Your definition of slacker and mine are very, very different. In fact, I would say you sound more like a hard core athlete than a slacker, but what would I know, I'mnot training for an Ironman...

Julia v said...

Hey! We had WAY more fun than you are letting on here! We were cracking ourselves up constantly. Remember that this is a ride that only badass cyclists do? And that we did it? Which makes us badass cyclists? And that 7601 ft of climbing within 74 miles is MAJOR???? And 3.5 hours of that was in the pouring rain? And how we rocked the hard parts of the course even though it was a surprise? I am going to have to write up my account on my blog now to counteract this MISINFORMATION. Finely Illustrated with your photos of course.:)

IronSnoopy said...

Good fucking lord, woman! Cut yerself some slack.

For starters, do you *ever* ride or run on, like, flat land? You need to come ride in the Midwest - you'll feel so awesome breezing past all of us as we huff our way over an overpass that you'll be downright giddy.

Secondly, you've been going pretty hard lately. 74 miles of insane climbing in shitty conditions is nothing to hang your head over. You said it - you felt fine, it was mental.

Some days its best to be smart, listen to yourself and pack it up. Especially in crappy weather. Safety always trumps. Always.

I would have done the same thing!

René said...

74 miles on a wet diaper is alot! Especially considering many riders never showed.

Jo Lynn said...

Blah! One of my blog follower's was a volunteer. Says she served coffee and hot chocolate to you poor suckers.

Wanna do a Garin run early on Mother's Day?

Missy said...

You made it! I don't know that I would have even started, I swear. Rain and riding are the suck BUT a trainer is worse sooo, way to get out there.

ShirleyPerly said...

CONGRATS on going 74 under brutal conditions!!

I totally agree with IronSnoopy. What good would it have been if you'd worn yourself down so much that you got either sick, injured or both as a result of this ride? You did the smart thing and, hell, in 2 weeks you get to do it again, hopefully, sans the rain at least. Rock on, RBR, and don't look back!

Ordinarylife said...

wow, in that weather and with those hills I don't think I would have made it that far - even if tempted by food!!!

Well done.

Angela said...

You have pretty feet. NEver mind the whole race report.... just like your toes!!

Aileen said...

LOVE the tan line! I look like that...only with less tan and more pale.

Props for even doing ANY miles in scary, rainy weather like that! Sometimes you just have to say enough is enough and call it a day.

Willie said...

You were a prom adviser!!! OMG, that's funny. You kind of down-to-earth realism just doesn't seem like it would fit well with hormone-raged teenagers living off their parents. I would love to see you in action with them, I can just imagine.

Did you say something about a ride?

JenZen said...

OMG - those climbs look killer! AND in the rain? WOW...just...WOW!

Calyx Meredith said...

You are a total badass! I can't believe you gave yourself any grief whatsoever. You rocked a stinkin' hard ride in nasty weather on next to zero sleep after two other monster training/racing events in a row!! What on earth does it take to impress yourself?? (Love the cow pictures by the way!) :D

Aron said...

you are freaking awesome :)

i have that tan line too, it goes well with stilletos :)

Jessica said...

You did great! Don't be so hard on yourself--sounds like a tough ride! Nice job.

The Stretch Doc said...

Nice Job!! Your an animal, oh wait, like that crazy SOB Formulaic!!
Glad you too are on the course at Cda together!! lol..

And can totally relate to the Brake pads wearning out as that happened at Muholland ride!

45 more days!! your so ready!!


PunkRockRunner said...

Great report! Bad weather always make any distance seem longer. The way I figure it, you're riding for fun and when it's not fun it's time to stop. I would assume a bunch of people didn't even show up because of the rain.

My Eugene Marathon was wet too so I ran really slow so I could finish after the rain stopped (that's my story and I'm sticking with it)...

Take care,


Marie said...

Way to ride 74 miles in the rain! I did 42 and then some this past weekend in the rain, and by the end I was ready to be done. Cold, wet and covered in NYC grime.

Way to tough it out!

Aaron Cunningham said...

Hey, some of us like long ride reports!

Hey, how many other people at the SFP rode 74 miles? In the rain.

Doesn't sound like slacking to me. Sounds like knowing your limits.

Maryland Girl aka Michelle said...

I don't know if i would have even started the ride in conditions like that. Congrats on any miles!

Bill said...

I worked the last rest stop and I remember the rider who had gone to the prom the night before. I have on occasion, while having breakfast before a century ride, found myself sitting in a booth next to a group of students who have yet to go to sleep after a prom. We have looked at each other and known the other one was crazy. But it has never occurred to me to combine both activities.

I am pleased you liked the support, but not too surprised. After more than 30 years we have got it down to a science and there are very few complaints. I hope you will consider doing the ride again next year. The weather is most likely to be much nicer.

Over the years, >30, I have ridden in some truly awful conditions and survived. The great thing about a ride like the one you did on Sunday is that the next time the weather throws you a curve you can say, 'I been in worse and survived, I can deal with this.' It really will help the next time.

Klassenator said...

What? You don't want to vacation to Martinez? HA, I don't blame you... Pacheco is even WORSE.

You say you did ONLY 74 miles in the pouring f-ing rain like my 80 year-old neighbor could do just the same in a heartbeat. I think sometimes you lose sight of the fact that you are making some AMAZING accomplishments.

Your three words may have been "lots of climb." Mine are "Proud of you."

Lindsay said...

you are relentless. 74 miles is awesome. 74 miles is even more awesome the week after a marathon and 2 weeks after a half iron. you are one tough cookie! (i'm such a pansy in comparison.) i'm not sure which is worse though - the ride or prom ;-) those tan lines are hot! you have my congrats and admiration for putting up with prom and high schoolers and, more importantly, completing that insane bike ride.

JenZen said...

Thanks girl! I actually just changed it today. And I changed the url too...just because I was feeling spunky (or bored, or gassy, or something). But I'm still pretty slow with this html stuff. It took a while to get it like I wanted.

Yeah - I'm a crazy person for trying to kick the sugar habit. So far so good - haven't cheated (too badly...) :)

Bootchez said...

Slacker-esque? REALLY? That is so NOT slacker-esque! I don't think you really know the meaning of the word.

Aka Alice said...

OMFG GIRL! You and I need to have a serious talk. Prom Advisor...are you insane???? SFP made me laugh out fucking-loud...hahahahaha

If they ask you to be senior class advisor...Just Say NO...it's not worth it. (trust me on this).

Oh, the ride, soooooo not a slacker. Once again, you make the rest of us look bad...

Formulaic said...

SO I was wondering:

Why are you such a loser?

Only 74 miles not the 112??!!

I mean sure it was raining down cats and dogs

And sure maybe most people where to afraid to even show up!

All you did was climb a FREAKING MOUNTAIN!

What you think you're hardcore for changing your tire in the rain and the mud and the hail (and the HELL)

And don't get me started about how cool you must think you are because you fought off hypothermia and the cold and the flu and pneumonia and probably the bubonic plague!

All of that stuff doesn't matter!

After all...Ironman is not about mental fortitude or a ‘tougher than nails’ attitude. It doesn't matter that you are stronger inside than most of America.

All that matters are numbers!! Silly, stupid and in the end completely pointless numbers. If you don’t have those then why even try??

I mean who are you trying to be? Are you doing this for your public or for yourself? Because if you’re doing it for me(the public) then the numbers are all I care about. Numbers are some random and meaningless standard by which I measure everything against. You can measure what is inside. You can measure the ‘heart of the beast’. You can do this Ironman not to prove something to me, but to prove something to yourself.

You can do all those things, but for me…I will base life solely on numbers. Because life is black and white.

Herself, the GeekGirl said...

Boy, you are way ahead of me on the training, dear. I think my long ride is, um, like 26 at this point. Yikes. NICE scenery!