Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Century Quest 2011: The Hemet Double Century

Well number 95 this year turned out to be a somber and brutally hot event.

It is not one of my favorite events as about 2/3 of it is very urban with lots of traffic.

The 2011 Hemet Double Century was run this year as a memorial ride for Jim Swarzman who we lost on April 10th in a hit and run accident. He will surely be missed.

The course was somewhat different this year with less traffic on the early morning part of the first loop.
The course is made up of two loops with Hemet at the start and finish of each one. Here is the link to the maps:
Loop 1
http://ridewithgps.com/routes/369769

Loop 2
http://ridewithgps.com/routes/369775

I left home at around 1:30 am and arrived at the start at around 3:30.





Lynn and Kermit looking pretty chipper at 3:30 am
  At check in I saw my friends Lynn, Kermit and the ride organizer Jim Watrous. I talked with them for a while and then went to the car to get ready.


I started by myself at around 4:40 am.
Usually we go out to the Ramona expressway first thing in the morning and take it all the way out to the riverside area and March Air Force Base. This year we took a little longer way to get there but much less traveled by cars. It was great riding out in the darkness with little traffic.
I cruised for a while and then ran into my friend Terri who started not long before me. We ended up riding together the rest of the day. Terri has the nickname,  "Queen of the Santa Monica's". We gave her that name because we are always running into her up in the Santa Monica Mountains on some of the toughest climbs. She lives on the bike up there!!
We made our way around the Air Force Base and to the first checkpoint just west of it.
Heading toward Corona

Shadows

It was then off toward Corona. We stopped and took off the winter layers as it was getting hot coming into Corona.
We then made it out of that area and into Temescal Canyon on our way to Lake Elsinore.
Temescal Canyon parallels the 15 fwy from Corona to Lake Elsinore.












Partway up the canyon we had our second checkpoint at "Toms Farm".
We stopped for water, ice and some fuel and were off for the climb up to the Elsinore area.


We turned left on Lakeshore Drive as we came into the area and then skirted the east side of the lake.

Heading up the east side of the lake with the group from San Luis
Along the way we started riding with a group of people who came down from San Luis Obispo for the event. One British man, a couple of girls and a few others who joined us. Don't know where they were from.

It was then up Railroad Canyon and over the hill into the Menifee area.

 We stayed together the whole way back to lunch in Hemet.







After the final morning check point in the Menifee area we meandered around until we hit Domenigoni Parkway which took us back to Hemet.
We were flying in a group all the way back and we made this section real fast. It was also getting real hot and was in the 90's already. Here is a video of us heading up the parkway.

video


When we got back to Hemet and the start, we had a great lunch. We took about 30 minutes. I dumped all my cold weather layers in my car and took only what I would need in case it got cool later.


Heading East after lunch
Then Terri and I took off for the second, more difficult loop. Terri had never done this ride before so it was all new to her. This was her 46th double century and she had never done the Hemet Double.
Now we headed East out of town on the Parkway again toward Sage Road.


Sage road is known for its thermonuclear heat on the 6 plus mile climb to the top of the canyon. Its hot even when its not a hot day.


Today it was 100 degrees on the road as we made the turn on Sage for the climb to the top. On the way up it got to 106 degrees on the pavement with no wind or breeze at all.

I THOUGHT MY HEAD WAS GOING TO POP OPEN LIKE A MELLON IN THE SUN!!

We just took our time getting to the top where we found my friend Vick Cooper up at the top with water for everyone. Thanks Vick for being there.
After filling up with water, it was down down down on a nice downhill to East Benton road and a right turn. There was a cool breeze in our face now but the temps were still in the 90's.



Looking East. Mountains above Palm Springs in the distance.

A few 12% bumps on our way to the next stop

We rolled through the hills East of Temecula before the next check point at Danza Del Sol Winery for a wine tasting. (not..just joking)

We then dropped down to Hwy 79 for a short while in the traffic before turning on to Butterfield Stage road.
We rolled along side of Interstate 15 for a while then crossed over it and made our way all the way up the West side of the valley to Lake Elsinore again for a clockwise loop around the lake before the check point in Elsinore. There we saw Kermit, Lynn and Tom again.
Now for the final couple of legs. We now pedaled South along the lake to Murietta Hot Springs for the final check point before the return to Hemet. We had a head wind on this 15 mile section and it was not fun at this point. It was now still in the 90's. Whew.....it is at least a little cooler!

Into the final check point for some water and food.

Home stretch now!!! Wooohooo!!!

Final Climb
One more climb to get out of the area then we had a nice decent into Menifee again and Domenigoni Parkway for the return.
It was now getting dark and cooler. It felt great!!

Sunset in Menifee

We made the final turn into Hemet and were done. I felt really spent from all the heat and the traffic.
This didn't feel like the easier double century that it was.
Not much overall climbing but all the circumstances made it much tougher.
I had a great BBQ chicken dinner put on by the organizers, talked with friends and went home. Another one down the pipe.

The link to all the pictures:

http://stevemeichtry.myphotoalbum.com/albums.php?page=1

204.6 miles
Start time: 4:40 am
Finish time: 8:10 pm
Ride time on bike: 12:55
Elevation gain: 5,977 ft (from my VDO computer)
Time at stop lights: FOREVER!!!!
Average climb: 2%
Max climb: 13%

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