Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 Overview: Another fun year of cycling

2012 started out as usual...feeling out of shape...although I don’t think I was out of shape from a normal persons perspective. For me, I was feeling fat after the holidays and just felt slow and sluggish on the bike. My idea of feeling out of shape.

Mount Soledad in San Diego
I did my usual. I started to bring up the base miles. I have never really trained scientifically through all my years of riding. Maybe if I did I would do much better. I just do what feels right for me. January miles for me....680 miles, mostly just shorter rides with some longer rides mixed in. The two most memorable rides were a ride with friends up Hwy 39 to East Fork then up to Mount Baldy Village via Glendora Mountain road and Glendora Ridge road.
 The other ride was a short one down in San Diego with my daughter Nicole. She gave me a bike tour of Pacific Beach, Mount Soledad and La Jolla. It was great. I have to go down an ride there more.

 I pumped up the mileage a little to 890 miles. I did base miles and capped off the month with the first double century event of the season, The Camino Real Double.
Early in the month I did a nice ride with my brother in law, Vince, out to Acton for a wine party he was attending. I rode out with him and he got a ride home with my sister in law Mardjie after the party. I partook in the munchies and a couple of sips of the vino and I rode home. 92 miles. 
Vince heading up Soledad Canyon into Acton

On the 18th of the month Vince and I worked support crew on the Camino Real Double. We worked the rest stop in San Onofre and then we drove the course to offer assistance to anyone in need. 

Left to right: John, Lynn with her potatoes, Vince and Ron at San Onofre.

On the 25th Vince and I did the Camino Real Double as a staff ride. Vince is getting back into doing the ultra events with me. He was my tandem stoker on many of my early doubles and prior to The Triple Crown events. Camino real:
  My friend John Clare came out and met us in San Onofre. He then did the rest of the ride with us. A 140 mile training ride for him on.....can you believe it...his new mountain bike!! 
John on his mountain bike in Camp Pendleton.
John got this great shot of Vince and I in Fallbrook, Ca.

Slowly bringing the mileage up to 1,057 I had some great training rides and a monthly cap off with the next double century event. Plus this was the month that the “Strava” climbing challenge started. 47 days to see if you can climb a little over 105,000 vertical feet. Climbing is my weakness so I thought I would give it a go.
I had a great training ride out to visit my sister Denise and brother in law John in Burbank. After having some coffee and something to eat, John and I rode around Griffith Park past the Greek Theater and up to the observatory. Then we returned on a paved fire road down the other side to Travel Town. I can’t believe I had never been up there before on a bike. I have to do it again!

 I had another great ride with my friends Chris and Saralie up on Latigo canyon and beyond in the Santa Monica’s. Saralie was starting her training for the Furnace Creek 508, “the toughest 48 hours in sport”.
Chris and Sarlie
 I capped off the month on the 24th by doing the Solvang Double Century. I did it again on the tandem with Vince. Solvang: http://app.strava.com/activities/5685607
Vince and I heading into Los Osos on the Solvang Spring Double Century
Mileage stayed about the same for April.
Circle X Ranch in the Santa Monica's with Saralie, Terri and Julie
On the 7thI went out to meet up with friends who were doing The Mulholland Double Century staff ride. I did 140 miles of it and almost 12,000 feet of elevation gain. It was great fun! My friend Chris was driving SAG support for the small group which was composed of Saralie, Teri and Julie.

Vince and I did the Hemet Double Century on the tandem. It was cold and windy. This used to be one of our favorites on the tandem. We really felt like we were getting back to in the groove on the tandem.

Hemet: http://app.strava.com/activities/6763229
On the 29th we did a real hard trainer on the tandem in preparation for the Borrego Double which has allot of climbing. We did the Hwy 39 climb, East Fork, Glendora mountain road, Glendora ridge road to Baldy village. We then did the Mount Baldy Ski Lifts climb. That was tough on the tandem although we had done tougher in the past since we did climb’s like that on the tandem during a double century. On this day we would do almost 12,000 vertical fee of climbing in 93 miles. Epic day on the tandem.
Map: http://app.strava.com/activities/7603868

Vince and I climbing the Mount Baldy Ski Lift climb. Thanks for the pic Karen!!
 My friend Karen came up to ride with us. We started real early with lights and we met her on East Fork Road near Camp Williams.
Karen at the top....whew...a tough climb!
 This also capped off the “Strava” climbing challenge. For the 47 days I finished 261st out of 10,706 participants. My total elevation accumulation was 117,969 vertical feet.
I also dropped quite a bit of weight during this period getting down to just over 160 lbs from about 175.  I don’t think I have ever been that weight before.

In May my mileage went down as I just stayed in maintenance mode due to the two very tough double centuries this month.
I did The Central Coast Double Century on the 12th up on the beautiful central coastal area of the state. I did this one on my single bike. I somehow contracted some sort of intestinal bug and was very sick to my stomach for the second half of the ride. I got through it but was sick for days after.
My friend Helge climbing away from the foggy central coast.
Central Coast Double: http://app.strava.com/activities/8425508

Then Vince and I did the very tough Borrego Double down in Borrego Springs on the 26th . It was cold and rainy at the start and then downright cold at the finish.
Heading up Montezuma Grade out of Borrego Springs. Into the freezing rain we go.

Total monthly mileage 846 miles.

A very easy maintenance month with about the same mileage as May. There were a couple of epic and tough rides this month though. A nice climb up to Dawson Saddle on Angeles Crest with friends and The LA Wheelmen Quad event.

Teresa (Tiger) and Les at Dawson Saddle

 I met up with friends who were riding to Wrightwood and back from Duarte, Ca. We had a great time climbing up to over 7,000 feet and then bombing back down the hill.

On the 16th Vince and I did the ride we were most excited about all year. I wanted to reenact our 1993 Grand Tour Quad for my 60th birthday. I asked Vince and he did not even hesitate before saying yes. We asked the Grand Tour Staff if we could do it the week before the event as a staff ride since we were staffing on it the following week. They said no problem; we put a crew together for support comprised of my Daughter Cherisse, her husband Chris and Vince’s wife, my sister in law Mardjie. We had an awesome time and finished in 23hrs 55 minutes just barely. We figure we lost 30 minutes or more waiting for stoplights along the course. Not as easy as back in 1993 when there were not as many lights but not many were the multi arrow turn lane type. (those keep you waiting forever)
Hwy 101...heading into Gaviota, Ca...almost 200 miles into the event and feeling great!

I turned 60!! Wow.  I started easing back a bit and rode only 694 miles. Other than rides in my local area I did one nice ride up on Angeles Crest Hwy from La Canada.
I would call this a maintenance month.

This month I did some real epic rides but my overall distance was not that much, only 760 miles.
The first ride was one of my favorites. My niece was having a baby shower up at my sister’s house on the North Shore of Big Bear Lake. Ginny and Cherisse were going up for it so what a better opportunity for a training ride to.....you guessed it....Big Bear.
I left a 4am in the morning and did a solo ride from home. Fully loaded with a back pack and heavy on supplies and water. The climb from Redlands to Onyx summit at over 8,000 feet is almost 40 miles. One of my favorites. My total ride stats: 140.4 miles. 10,000 vertical feet of elevation gain from home in about 10 hours. Then I got lots of food and a ride home. Couldn’t be any better!!
On the 11th I invited some friends out and we did “The climb/heat-fest in Steve’s back yard”. I invited many but only a few came. We had terrible heat so we cut it down to about 72 miles instead of 100. The temps were over 107 and heat measurements on the tarmac were off the charts. We had some readings on our computers of 120 degrees on the bike. http://app.strava.com/activities/17955275
The final memorable ride of the month was to the top of Mount Wilson from home and back. 107.5 miles round trip with about 6,800 feet of climbing. I had never been up to Mount Wilson before so I could not pass it up. We had a great time. My friend Shai did it on his fixed gear bike....amazing to watch.
Shai on his Fixed gear bike heading toward Red Box....the turn to the Mount Wilson climb.


Easy 617 miles for the month.
At the beginning of the month I did a great ride organized by my friends Ken and Teresa. “Ken and Teresa’s Monster Mountain Ride”. Epic ride with many friends old and new. 119 miles with 11,800 feet of climbing. We started at Encanto Park in Duarte then rode out to Sunland before taking the Big Tujunga route up to Angeles Crest Hwy. We then rode to Hwy 39 above Crystal Lake. We bombed down to East Fork Road where some of the riders headed back to the park. About 5 of us continued up East Fork Road to Camp Williams and Glendora Mountain Road. It was a holiday weekend so this road was closed to cars. We climbed up to the ridge then descended back down into the San Gabriel Valley before heading west back to the park.
Looking at Hwy 39 from Angeles Crest. A very long descent!!

Hawaii Ultra-man Veteran Suzy Degazon. I met Suzy on the double century circuit but hadn't seen her in years.
During the middle of the month I had joined Chris and Saralie again for an impromptu crew meeting/ride up in the Santa Monica’s:

This was a real easy month with a couple of tough rides thrown in. 599 miles total.
I started off the month helping out on the crew for my friend Saralie. She did the Furnace Creek 508 in the women’s solo division.
Team Micro-Raptor

Saralie flying through the blazing hot Mojave desert heading toward Randsburg and Trona.

 This was one of the most life changing experiences for me. I have always wanted to do this race but it scared me. 508 miles through the California desert, 35,000 feet of elevation gain and a 48 hour time limit. Wow!!  Now after seeing the course first hand and what is required to do it, I am not so fearful of it. Now I think I will give it a go!!
I had two memorable rides for this month. The LA Wheelmen 5 Counties Century and the Deer Creek Challenge. Both ride were great fun and very challenging.
Heading out of Frazier park toward Pine Mountain Club. 5 Counties Century
 5 Counties Century: http://app.strava.com/activities/2560806

This was a very easy month with only 497 miles. Holiday time with too much food and not enough riding equals you know what!

This month I started pumping up the volume again with some great rides and one new “Strava Challenge”.
Besides my regular rides I did the climb up to The LA County Fire Suppression Camp 9 twice. Once by myself and then the following week to show it to my friend Stefan who had never been up there before. We had a great time.  http://app.strava.com/activities/31509879
I also did part of The Black Canyon Century with friends. I met up with Stefan and a few others and over 80 miles of it with them. None of them had ever done Black Canyon before. It is one of the steepest climbs in the area and just brutal. 3-4 sections over 20% grade taking you from Simi Valley to the San Fernando Valley over the Santa Susana’s.
Heading up the lower section of Black Cyn with Simi Valley in the rear.

For the final week of the month, the week between Christmas and New Year, I did the “Strava Festive 500 Challenge”. The challenge is to try and ride 500 kilometers during the period. I ended up finishing the challenge in 5 days doing rides of 30.3, 70.4, 164.4, 26.3, 43.2  and 33.9 miles . The long, one day, ride was to Santa Barbara and back. A beautiful day for a ride too. This is the link to the map for that one:   http://app.strava.com/activities/34281419
I finished up the challenge with one more ride on New Years Eave for a grand total of 368 miles for the week and a 980 mile month.

My overall yearly mileage was:  9,515 miles and over 600,000 vertical feet of elevation gain for this non-climber.



  1. Steve, I really enjoyed your ride recap. As I was on several of the rides you mentioned, it brought back great memories of a very memorable year. Thanks for taking the time to share this. Ride on, my friend!

    ~ Les Mc

  2. that was a great write up. Thanks for sharing it.