Temecula Challenge

Temecula Challenge Start
With time off of the foot, it was time to put some miles on the bike. I had my biggest week on the bike since I started training---logging in just over 8 hours almost all on the road. With my next race being my first road Olympic triathlon (San Diego International) next month, I wanted to start focusing a little more on my road bike. With this being the case, I decided last minute to ride in the Temecula Challenge on Saturday in the 75 miler. This ride is claimed to be harder then most century rides in the US with 6000 feet of climbing and a 3.5 mile time trial starting right after your legs are feeling great...you know at mile 67...more on that later. First a funny/embarrassing story...

All smiles at this point...
 Earlier in the week I went on a 45 miler in the morning and later that day I wanted to just go for an easy 30 minute spin with the family to shake out the legs a bit. This was the first "family bike ride" we had done and it couldn't have been a better night. The weather was perfect and the sun seemed like it didn't want to set. I was just cruising behind them on the community side walks hootin and hollering at my wife, chattin with the kids...good times. Then we started heading down a hill and things got ugly...I was about 5 feet from the kid's trailer following them down. Then a bee started to sting me on my stomach. Naturally I used my right hand to flick the bee off. As I was flicking the bee off, I look up and realize I'm about to smack right into the kids (I was going faster). So I slam on the breaks---only it was my left hand (front break) since my right hand was flicking the stupid bee. Over the handle bars I go, over the curb I go...slam...slam, slam, smack. I think it was frame, elbow, knee, hands in that order...Couldn't tell happened so fast. I was just lying there on the street looking up in the sky thinking to myself, "are you kidding me!!??" My first road crash is this? I always imagined a dramatic slide out in a crit or something cool...but this? Apparently I laid down there too long, cause Amy hears this loud crash and turns around and just sees me on the street motionless...funny actually. She comes running up and for those of you that know me I get up and say my typical..."Awww....son of a b....!" looking up and down my body making sure everything works...Just a ton of bruises, road rash and TONS of cool points.

Taylor sweeping the floor before I head out
 So fast forward to a good weekend...I actually ran on Friday night for 30 minutes and the foot felt good -so very good news. I'm going to keep easing my way into it and hopefully I'll be ready to tackle to some workouts soon. Saturday morning I got up had a cup of coffee, ate a bunch of eggs and pancakes and actually rode 5 miles to the start to get registered...So I guess I did 80 for the day. They had 100, 75, 50 and 25 mile rides going on for the day. They just had windows (7-8:30) on when you could start (there were about 500 riders). Apparently the 100 and 75 milers left around 7:00. It was 7:45 by the time I finished registering...Great, is this going to be a long lonesome day? After registering, I hurried out and decided to try and turn it into a game and see if I could catch up to some packs. Don't know why, even after stating on FB that I have problems with pacing I decided to push a little early. So I was in the 20 mph range for the first hour...Dumb, but I didn't want to ride 5 hours alone!

This was actually my longest ride to date by like 15 miles. I hadn't gone over 50 in awhile either so I wanted to make sure my nutrition plan was dialed in. I just forced myself to consume as many calories as I could throughout the day since I had no idea how my body would even handle it. I think I ended up taking in about 6-7 bottles of calories, 2 powerbars, 1/2 cliff bar, 1 GU and a sleeve of cliff shot bloks....More on this later. The route took us through a lot of the sections I ride every weekend, but at the same time I had never gone UP Cole grade, Couzer and Rainbow Canyon all in one ride. Blue Steel and I had our work cut out for us. I finally caught up to some packs after 15 miles or so but I think they were just very slow 50 milers that set out early. I finally decided to start conserving some energy and focus on the fact that I have 60 miles to go - so I backed way off and just started enjoying the ride. I think the coffee had me all amped up. We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day as far as sunshine goes...however the wind was pretty brutal coming back. Pretty much 50 of the 75 miles was into a head wind. Brutal!
50 mile aid station
 I found myself passing a lot of riders but none of them seemed to be going my pace. I finally figured out that I won't be catching anyone that is doing my pace unless I minimize my breaks. So out of the 4.5 hours I rode I only spent 15-20 minutes of non-riding (bathroom breaks, refueling). As I approached Cole Grade I remember going down it months back and thinking this was the steepest decent I've ever gone down--now I'm going up it. Time to turn on some Pandora on my phone. For some reason on the road bike I've really been into club/dance/house music which is really weird since the majority of my life I have been into punk rock and hardcore. Whatever works. It's about a 5 mile steep climb and then about 4 miles of rollers before we hit an aid station and finally start making our way back home.

I hit Couzer Canyon (back/easy side) and was still feeling pretty strong and as I rode up to the last aid station at mile 65 and right before the time trial starts, I got off my bike to refuel and my hamstring cramps up really bad. Holy crap that hurt! I tried to walk it off all cool and talked to the volunteers, thanked them, grabbed some trail mix and filled both of my bottles up with the Powerade they had. I had decided earlier to just do a bunch of watered down sports drinks for the day. Although I think it was the right choice, the fact that each aid station had different brands caught up with me. At first I had Heed in both of my bottles then at the aid stations it was Gatorade then Cytomax (twice) then to Powerade...I think it caught up to me because as I reached the start of the 3.5 mile time trial climb my stomach was acting preeettty funky. I was joking with the ladies running the tt, saying how I'm not sure how I feel about this..as this was my longest ride already and I was going to go hard for 3.5 miles and 900ft of climbing. I took off and hit it hard. The cool thing was I was seriously enjoying this...loving this hurt. Loving the burning in the legs, burning in the lungs, heat baking on my back, picking off riders...this is the sick thing I love about endurance sports...and then as I approached the end of the tt I started feeling that nasty Powerade coming up. I finished, the timer got my number, I stopped for a bit and fought that Powerade back down into the tummy. 
Enjoying the beer garden at the finish

I quickly realized that my stomach was just saying no to Powerade and I still had about 7 miles to the finish. That was the longest 7 miles I've ever done. Rather than throwing up, I just gutted it out and took nothing in the last part of the ride and felt it. I probably screwed up mixing so many energy gels, drinks and not taking in enough "real food." I know I would have enjoyed the ride a lot more if I had been with a pack, taken more/longer breaks and been a little more conservative in the beginning, but lesson learned---that's why I signed up for it, learning experience and a great workout. As I crossed the finish I was so happy to see my family. They were all smiles and I sure was. We stuck around, had some burgers and beer and waited for results. I honestly thought I had a terrible time trial. I blew up with about 1/2 mile to go and it was unexplored territory for me. When the race director made his rounds he indicated to me that I won. Holy crap! Seriously? I definitely wasn't expecting that and it was a good confidence booster (something I needed after getting my a$$ handed to me the past month).

Well earned beers at the finish...Who doesn't
love a women that loves dark beer!!??
That's one thing I want to accomplish through this blog is to not only show the good times I have at races, but also try and illustrate how hard and frustrating it is to be successful in endurance sports. I won't beat around the bush when things are tough and with all the work I put in over the winter, I wasn't so pleased with my results in April. That's when you have to make a decision at whatever level you are at. Do I quit because I think I am no good and this is hard? Or do I use the poor performances to fuel the burning fire you have inside? April pissed me off and I want to make it right. This was a good start for me. I definitely pushed passed my comfort zone and it paid off. I don't have any other races planned for May, so I'll just focus on building my fitness for the San Diego International Triathlon. I might jump into a sprint tri before that race, but we'll see.

Thanks for reading, and here's a few more pics from the weekend:

Bruised hands from the "incident" didn't make
riding so comfortable...

Scarlett getting a flower painting at the race EXPO
This one was a hard earned one!
Scarlett wanted to wear one like daddy...but she insisted on wearing a lot..so funny


Anonymous said...

Good Job!!! Doing Cole Grade/Couzer/Rice is no easy task. I did the 50 and had a blast. Next year I will do the 75 or 100 depends on my training...or lack of.

James Adams said...

Thanks, that 50 is no joke too, great job!

Post a Comment