6-15-2013: The Classic Tour of Two Forests

Training continues for The Inyo Ultra 466:

With only a week of easy active recovery from the heat fest that was The Sherman Pass SuperCentury, I decided to step up the training a little bit and do the Tour of TwoForests, one of my all time favorite rides.
This ride was, back in the early days, one of the top 3 toughest.

I decided to use it as a training ride from home and to experience some of the lack of sleep I will be dealing with on the race in August. By the time I got home and to bed, I figured I would be up almost 24 hours without sleep.

I arose at a little after 1am with about 2 hours of sleep, had my coffee, ate, took my supplements then I mounted the bike for the 21 mile ride to the start of the event in Santa Clarita.
It was a foggy, warm 60 degrees as I rode through the valley. Then it was up over Newhall Pass to the start just over the top.

I left at 3am or so and arrived around 4:30.

Jon Shellenbarger was our awesome support driver and he kept us happy all day.

I decided early on that I was going to carry all my support items with me in my pack. I had my large camel-bak with all my food, full 70 oz. water bladder, warm cloths, lights ...etc.

I rolled out a little after 5am with my friends Terri and Nabeel. I had just met Nabeel a few months before but had not got to know yet.

Terri and Nabeel heading out of town.
We rolled easy out to Hwy 126 before heading west.

It was along this stretch I got a flat, fixed it quick but then had a small problem which could turn into a large one. My trusty pump decided to self destruct while pumping my tire. Luckily Terri had lots of CO2 so she pumped it up for me. I was lucky I did not have a flat the rest of the ride since I had no pump. We stayed together all day anyway so it was OK.

We then hit Torrey road and were off that god awful hwy for good. Nice orange groves for many miles before hitting Santa Paula.

Terri, Jeff and I heading toward Santa Paula

Then we made it up Denison Grade to Ojai, one of my favorite places.

Heading up Dennison Grade

Nabeel rolling through Ojai

From Ojai we turned on Hwy 33, The Maricopa Hwy.

Heading into Wheeler Springs on Hwy 33

This road takes you up the beautiful Wheeler Gorge one of the most beautiful climbs in California when the weather is right.
Up, up we went to the summit.

The sweet broom plants were everywhere
Photo opp at the Wheeler Summit with Jeff, Nabeel and Terri
Looking toward the Pacific Ocean in the distance and Wheeler Gorge

Then it was flat to rolling until we climbed over Pine Mountain Summit. It started to get a little hotter here but on this day it was cooler than I can remember on this event.

We all joined up again at the bottom of the long descent to Lockwood Valley Road for a right turn.

Time for more heat training......arrrghhh!
I have been on this road so many times on events that I cannot remember how many. It is one of the toughest sections on any long event. We start up Lockwood Valley road toward Frazier Park. It is ALWAYS warm, it seems to go on forever, not particularly tough, but it seems brutal because of the heat and the gradually growing uphill gradient to the summit of “Heartbreak” Hill. It is only about 10 miles to the summit but it always seems like forever.
Looking down at the lower section of Heartbreak from from up above on the turn. Terri is that little speck on the road to the right of the middle tree.

We all kind of spread out then reached the summit for some refreshment before heading up over Lockwood Summit and the final summit before Frazier Park, Owls Barn Summit.
Ahhh....food and water!

Those summits seemed effortless to me. I think I am getting somewhere with my training.

I am almost 61, I am not as fast as in my younger years but I feel better mentally and physically on a ride than I ever have, especially in the heat.

We flew down the descent into Frazier Park and Lebec for a stop at the Flying J store for ice and some more refreshment.

Now comes the final climbs: The old ridge route, Pine Canyon Road, Lake Elizabeth road and Bouquet Canyon.

Pine Canyon road from halfway up.
We kept spreading out and then regrouping on these final climbs. The toughest ones for me were on Lake Elizabeth Road past 3-Points. It just seems to keep going up and then when you think it is over you have one final kick-up before the descent to Lake Hughs that just kicks your butt.

Terri and I made it to Bouquet Canyon just as the sun set with tailwinds getting us there.

Heading to Bouquet Canyon at sunset
Up Bouquet we went with still some light but we were pummeled with terrible head winds all the way up to the summit. It is not a difficult climb at all but on this day it was made hard.
Then we were rewarded for the ride to the finish. The wind completely died for the descent into Santa Clarita. This is very unusual! I have always had headwinds going down the canyons leading to Santa Clarita.

It was glorious!!

We rolled into the finish a little before 10pm and I was feeling great. Terri and I talked for a little bit, I ate a sandwich and I was on my way back home for another 21 miles to finish my day.

Thanks Terri for the help with the flat and for giving me a couple of CO2 Cartridges for my trip home in case I got a flat, (which I did not).

Thanks Jon for being there for all of us. 

The Garmin GPS data for the ride is available here.

Easter Sierras here I come!!


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