Tuesday, November 1, 2011

2011 Deer Creek Challenge

I was invited to do a real nice and challenging ride in the Santa Monica Mountains by my friend Karen. The ride is called the Deer Creek Challenge, ( Deer Creek Death Ride).
It is such a challenging course that I had to share it with a bunch of my "All Day Ordeal" friends on Facebook.
Many of them showed up.
Left to right: Shaun, Nicole, Me and Vic....freezing!

The ride starts in Westlake Village just west of the San Fernando Valley and at the foot of the coastal mountains.

The ride was scheduled to start at Wins Wheels on Agoura Road in Westlake so I left plenty early to arrive in time for the 7am start. The ride was pushed to start a little later, at 7:30 so I just hung out, got ready and talked to friends at the start. I saw a bunch of my friends. Karen, Vic, Nicole, Shaun, Colin and his wife Julie, and Ron who came from up north in the bay area.

Shaun and Nicole just completed the "Furnace Creek 508" bike race just a few weeks prior. Shaun did the event on his fixed gear bike and Nicole did it in the "classic bike" division. I think Shaun was only the 11th rider to complete it on a fixed gear bike. That's 508 miles, 35,000 ft. of elevation gain on a fixed gear machine. Ouch and double ouch!!
Nicole is a veteran of the race and Vic has also done it.

We rolled out of the parking lot at 7:30 and headed up Lindero Canyon toward the mountains. It was in the low to mid 40's when we left and pretty cold. It has been really warm in the area up until the past week. It got really warm as we climbed into the hills and stayed that way. It was pleasant though.

I tried to use my usual camera and the battery was dead. I was forced to use my phone for any pictures which was kind of frustrating because it reacts so slow when you press the shutter.

We made a left turn on Westlake Bl. and started the first climb. This climb takes you up to Decker Canyon and is pretty steep on the Westlake side but not as steep as it is coming up from sea level on the other side.
We made a quik stop at the top and then headed down Encinal canyon for a fast descent to Pacific Coast Hwy. I had a blast going down Encinal. It is one of the nicest and smooth descents in the area.

We headed up PCH and past Leo Carillo State Park before we stopped for a re-grouping at the bottom of Deer Creek Road

Shaun and his fixie stead
 We took a little break before heading up. I rode along with Karen, Shaun and Ron on the way up. Nicole went up a little before us.

 We had a great time going up. The views of the Pacific were just epic.

Nicole getting ready for the climb

Ron took a great video of the climb with his helmet cam. I was riding along side of him most of the time while he was filming. What an awesome view it was. The video is below.

We just had to keep a steady pace on the way up because this climb goes from sea level to about 1,400 feet in a very short time where it meets Pacific View Road before climbing more to the top of Yerba Buena at about 2,300 feet.
Shaun grinding the gear up the hill at the bottom with Ron ahead
Ron and Pink Lady Karen with the Pacific to the rear
What a view!!
We stopped at the summit of Deer Creek where it meets Pacific View for a little respit. The awesome sag crew was there and had water and food for us. The climb from the coast to this point was totally unforgiving with no areas of level road. Just UP!! Now we had a little break before more climbing on Yerba Buena.

Before the top we had a nice break at the Circle X Ranch. The sag crew was there with sustenance for us. What amazing support for a free ride. Thanks so much to the organizers at Wins Wheels.

Thanks guys for the awesome support.....cow bells included.
From here on Nicole and I decided we did not want to dilly dally too much longer so we headed out. I did most of the rest of the ride with Nicole until I had to cancel the final climb to head home.

We headed up Yerba on the very rough road to the top. It was so beautiful up there! The views are so awesome up in the Santa Monica's. Cycling paradise.

Nicole Honda not wasting any time getting to the top of Yerba Buena Road

Looking West toward the Pacific and Point Mugu State Park.
Once we got to the top we had a nice descent down to Mulholland Hwy before another regrouping. We didn't stop long and made our way to Encinal Canyon again and this time we went East for the climb up to join Mulholland Hwy once again.

Up and over the Crows Nest looking down on the Rock Store below and then down the very technical rock store grade and past the Rock Store itself before circling around Malibu Lake and our next stop. Here at the corner of Cornell Road and Mulholland we were at about 50 miles into the ride. Some people headed back for a half century. We headed out for more punishment and another 50 of climbing.

Heading up Mulholland from Cornell to Las Virgines
    In my home territory now where I do most of my training we made our way past Malibu Canyon Road and then up one of the nicest sections of Mulholland to infamous 7 minute hill. It is a small section of Cold Canyon that off shoots the main road which is supposed to take someone fast 7 minutes to climb. Maybe I did in my younger days but I cant imagine doing it in that time now without killing myself. 
We still were feeling great going up 7 minute hill and really anticipating Old Topanga because we were planning at stopping at the Fernwood Market for a much needed Pepsi or Mountain Dew before the Fernwood Climb.
Heading up seven minute hill. Not too many of us left. Where did everyone go?

Jonathan and Nicole on Old Topanga Canyon Road
      We made it over the very easy Old Topanga and made our stop at the market. Man that Mountain Dew tasted good. When we started up Fernwood I made a real rookie mistake. I started the steep bottom section without changing gears. (Colin had no trouble reminding me what a rookie mistake I made...very funny Colin!)  I tried to down shift and crack.......it would not go into gear.....and I had to get off and manually shift......then I had to get back on and play catch-up.
I felt fantastic on this, one of my favorite morning climbs, up to the summit of Saddle Peak, where I take many of my sunrise photos. (my blog page photo was taken there)

We went over the summit and we made a quick stop at the top where Stunt Road meets.  The last climb of the ride is Piuma Road which is another one of my favorite rides in the Santa Monica's. I opted to forgo this last one because I was going to a football game and had to get back by 4pm. If I hadnt stopped so much early on and gone at my usual training pace I would have been able to do it but I would have been quite tired.
I dropped down Stunt to Mulholland and headed West, back to Cornell Road for the return to Westlake. I felt fantastic at the end and like I could go another one. I guess I will be ready for the Borrego Double which is up on November 5th. We will see. It is a tough one!

I would like to thank all my friends again for the camaraderie. I love riding with you guys!!
Thanks to Wins Wheels for a great time!

My final stats:

About 90 miles
9,859 feet of elevation gain.

Vic clowning. Thanks for the pic Karen!!!

All the pics at: www.stephenpaul.shutterfly.com                        

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