Friday, March 2, 2012

2012 Season Begins with a great ride, The Planet Ultra, Camino Real Double Century. #103

I volunteered to drive SAG support for the event with my long time tandem partner and brother in law, Vince Paradero. 
We had a great time working the ride and were excited about doing the staff ride to follow in the weeks after the scheduled event.
My goal for this year is to do more of the events on the tandem with Vince and work towards getting him to the Triple Crown Hall of Fame in the next few years. We started doing the Triple Crown together on the tandem in the early 90's  and have over 30 doubles under our belts together.
We are hoping to cap off the spring rides by doing the very tough Borrego Double and then the Grand Tour Quad Century which we completed with plenty of time to spare in 1993. We will see how it goes this year on the older legs.

I saw many friends which I hadn't seen in quite a while at Camino Real. I also met some awesome new people. Anyone that can accomplish a double is a special kind of person . It really takes mental toughness and perseverance to complete even the easiest of doubles.

Here are a few pictures I took at the start:

Kevin Walsh and Isabelle Drake

Roland Hoffman
Mr. Triple Crown Chuck Bramwell

New Hall of Fame'r Teri Boykins

Camino Real is a pretty urban ride with lots of stop lights. It is a good first time double because there is not too much climbing and you have access to many places for supplies if you cant get to an aid station soon enough.
We really had a great time driving the course and rendering support where needed.

We left the hotel after sun-up, passed the fast guys then we leap frogged with the early starters for a while. We stopped at the first check  point in Dana Point and watched as many of the late starting fast riders didn't stop and kept on going. Animals!

 We waited for most to go through then we slowly made our way south to the different check points along the course.

We were working the morning shift but decided to drive the course after lunch and take pictures of riders and hoped to catch the fast guys before they reached the finish.

Isabelle and Jeanine
 At San Onofre check point on the way south we saw two of the famous "4 Raw Milk Cats", Isabelle Drake and Jeanine Spence. Their team set a new all time world record at The Race Across America this past year.

I also saw my friends Saralie and Chris who I had not seen in quite awhile. We stopped on the course and took Saralie's aero bars from her. They were causing a problem with her shifters. She did the rest of the ride without them.
It was really great to see everyone!

Ron Hansen, John Long, Vince, John and me. San Onofre Southbound

Saralie and her prized "Mr. Merlin"


We made our way to lunch, had a sandwich and then headed slowly along the course to eventually get back to San Onofre on the return trip.
John, Lynn, Vince and Ron at San Onofre with Lynn's famous potatoes. Northbound return trip.

Roehl and John Clare with his Dads jersey. John also rode his dads bike in his memory.

We finally did catch up with most of the leaders who were averaging an amazing 19 mph for the ride. We caught them at the final stop in Trabuco Canyon.
We took this video of them cresting one of the summits on Santiago Canyon with under 20 miles to the finish:

There was only one guy off the front who finished about 20 minutes ahead of them. Joel Sothern. We caught up with him right as we reached the finish. He finished that ride with all those stop signs and stop lights with a time of 10hrs 39 minutes for the Double....WOW. That is overall time....not moving time.


Some of the staffers did the staff ride the following day on Sunday. Vince and I decided to do it on the following Saturday.

I got a great surprise the day before our ride. My new, eye protecting glasses from SafeVision  arrived. Boy was I happy. I had them for the first Double Century of the season.

Vince picked me up real early for the ride down to Irvine for the start. We started the ride about 4:30 am and pretty much just took our time and relaxed for the first part to Dana Point, the place of the first check point.

My friend John Clare contacted me and wanted to go out for some long training this day so he was going to do about 140 miles of the ride with us. John did the actual event on the 18th. 
He is training to do "Fireweed" the Race Across America qualifier in Alaska. 400 miles with 28,000 feet of climbing. Nice!
John met us at the entrance to San Onofre State Park and was trying out his new 20lb mountain bike with road tires mounted on it.

We made our way through the park and then, like last years staff ride, we decided to go through the Camp Pendleton Marine Base. This is just a awesomely better way compared to getting up on the freeway for 7 miles in all that noise. It is about 3.5 miles longer but is so nice with hardly any vehicle traffic.

After getting through the base we entered the San Luis Rey River bike path for 7 miles heading East out of Oceanside.

Heading east on the bike path

We then made our way to Bonsall where we stopped at the RV park. This is the lunch stop on the main event. We made it there a little after 10am I think, stopped and grabbed a little refreshment and then the steeper climbs began.

We climbed from there up into the beautiful hills above Bonsall on Circle R Drive then Lilac road heading for Fallbrook, home of many Avocado farms and some more good climbs.
Circle R Drive. The first long climb of the day

Got first flat right after this

 At the top of the first climb we got a rear tire flat. I was wondering why we were going so slow.
After fixing the flat, we rolled onto Lilac Road where I got this great video of John climbing up on his mountain bike.


We then flew down the hill passing a whole bunch of people who had passed us on the climb just to notice that we had another flat as we started climbing the next hill.
Turned out I had a slightly torn tire. It was a good thing I brought a spare tire and 3 tubes.

After a blazing descent on Old Hwy 395 we had a long gradual climb the a left turn on Reche Road.

Up Reche road we went into Fallbrook, climbed and descended through there and then headed back down to the coast again on the same bike path.  NOW WE HAD A BAD HEADWIND! Arrhhhgggg!
Headwinds all the way back through the base and San Clemente.

Reche Road...Fallbrook
Climbing into the headwind in Camp Pendleton

Vince and I were really suffering hammering the tandem into that wind and we really needed a break. This was the only time all day that we felt at all very tired. In fact we only used the granny gear once. The nice steady pace was real good early season training on the tandem.

Hammering into the wind passing San Onofre Nuclear Power plant

We stopped at The Green Burrito and chowed down on some Burritos and sodas.

After that we all really perked up and just flew through San Juan Capistrano and into Rancho Santa Margarita.

 It was mostly up hill to Santa Margarita and took until just before sunset when we reached the cold descent down Trabuco canyon. We donned our cold weather gear, put on the lights, at one last stop then dropped down into a chilly canyon.
Heading up Antonio Parkway into Santa Margarita

Now we had a good climb to get out of the canyon. Still feeling great but a little wet and cold, we cranked up out of the canyon without using our "granny" chain ring. We both felt real strong still.

After a real fast descent to "Cooks Corner" and Santiago Canyon, we now had the long, gradual but not too steep climb out of Santiago Canyon. John climbed up ahead of us and then we passed him on the descent then he caught us again on the final climb. We flew down to Jamboree road for the easy finish.


We had great tandem speed and momentum between all the lights but we must have hit almost every one. Losing all that momentum on a tandem really sucks! Felt like we lost 15 minutes just in that last stretch.  It takes longer to get back up to speed and then just when you think you are rolling good you have to stop again. All this when you are tired.

We finished around 7:30 and sat down for a burger and fries with John before heading home.

We had what we considered a great training ride.

It took us around 15 hours total but my computer was acting up so who knows how much time we actually had on the bike moving. We stopped allot and hit many lights, not to mention the flat tires.

Great ride!! The new glasses were awesome! My eyes felt fresh after just a few hours sleep the night before and then 200 miles on the bike in the wind. It was not a dry wind but I could tell by how both my eyes felt at the end that I was in luck. My left eye especially had no issues.

I would recommend these glasses to any athlete who wants to really protect the eyes.

Pictures I took on the main event and this staff ride can be viewed at:

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