Home > Uncategorized > Moss Beach 200K Brevet – March 12, 2011

Moss Beach 200K Brevet – March 12, 2011

Right, then…

So, in one fell swoop I managed to meet two of my goals this year:  Do a century ride and do a Brevet of at least 200K.

Admittedly, I was a bit concerned going in to this.  While this is something I wanted to do, actually signing up was one of those “wild hair up ass” moments.  In short, I saw that I was running out of time and signed up without really thinking about it.  So at the beginning of 2011, I knew that I would not be riding the Gray Whale 200K as I would be out of town.  Also, I hadn’t trained for it.  For that matter, I hadn’t trained for this one, really, either.  I mean, yes, I’ve been exceeding my goal of riding 60 miles/week, but I’m not sure if that counts as training for a 200K ride.  So, again, I was concerned, but optimistic.

Optimistic until I mentioned this to a co-worker who told me that there was going to be shitty weather and headwinds both ways and I was going to hate life the entire time.  That was almost enough to get me to bag out until the summer when SF Randonneurs had something scheduled for August.  What it got down to was the weather.  Up to 10 days before, I had been checking the weather for Saturday.  Initially it started out as cloudy, but then upgraded to partially cloudy; the wind was reported from the south, then the north then the west.  The closer we got, the more confident that it would be livable weather, so I made plans to head over the hill.

Then the earthquake and subsequent Tsunami hit Japan.  Now it’s odd that something that happens 6-ish thousand miles away should affect me, but this does as it sent waves to the California coast.  Not knowing what to expect, we all hunkered down.  In the end, it seems that the worst damage by far was not with the coastline or Pacific Coast Highway…but the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor.  When I called the hotel on Friday afternoon, they informed me that things were more or less normal, so off I went.

With a combination of nervousness, being teetotal and marathon experience, I started fueling up on Thursday night.  To be quite honest, I don’t know if it helped at all, but I think it made me feel like I was doing something to prepare, especially since I had been backing off on my riding to save my legs.

The Universe must have wanted me to ride this ride.  Not only did I get a surprisingly good nights sleep, the weather was about as good as I could have asked for.  When we all met at the Lighthouse at 6:20 or so, it was in the high 40’s; at its peak it was in the low 60’s.  There were some clouds, but it was mostly clear and sunny.  There was some headwind about hour before I hit Moss Beach, but it wasn’t debilitating – just enough for me to realize that it wasn’t apparent wind.  Also, my clothing selection was spot on – bibs, leg/arm warmers, jersey, beany, wind/rain jacket and gloves were on for over 100 miles with little issue.  About 20 to 25 miles from the end, I finally took off the jacket and beany as I was getting a little overheated.

The ride itself was great.  I didn’t measure, but I’d say it was about 50% PCH and 50% inland farm roads (going north, Gazos Creek, Cloverdale, Stage Rd; going south, Stage Rd, La Honda/84, Pescadero, Butano Cut off, back down to Cloverdale and Gazos Creek to PCH).  Yes, hills were present, but nothing that was insurmountable.  Besides, I have 28 x 32 gearing going on, so while I was slow, it was a matter of grabbing the bar ends and keeping the cranks turning.  All this on a 35 lb bike, by the way.

Interesting surprise:  I figured that after the last big hill (Haskins Hill – about 2 miles at 10% grade) it would be cake on the way back in.  That last 25 miles still took effort – I think there was a wind shift at some point, so there was headwind; also, I had forgotten the hills on PCH that I rode just that morning.

So, I’m tooling down PCH into Santa Cruz when I spot King St – my turn that takes me off of PCH and to the end.  Bing bing bing, I’m sitting down at a folding table, signing my card, signing in on the roster and being applauded for completing my first Brevet.

In the end, I rode 128 miles in over 10:37; just under 3 hours left, if I needed it.  This, mind you, included the control stops.  According to the bike computer, it was actually 9:37 spent in the saddle.  After saying my goodbyes, I spun back down to the lighthouse to where the truck was parked, loaded up and called it a day.

Today, I am a bit tired, a bit stiff and a bit store…and I feel great!

Being one for process improvement, here are my thoughts for my next Brevet (either another 200K or – gasp – a 300K)

  1. Train (which, translated, means keep riding long distances)
  2. Do not rely on sandwiches at the control points; pack my own, or find a subway
  3. Spend a little more time in the controls resting and stretching
  4. No need to bring a lock; there were enough folks around that the bike was safe
  5. I do wonder if I over-fueled before the ride.  I mean, I don’t think there was a long-term detrimental effect; I just don’t know if there was any benefit, other than giving my mind something to do.

Things that worked:

  1. Fig Newtons – about 1 every 20 minutes – is a good ratio
  2. Try to eat 400 to 600 calories at the 4-ish hour mark
  3. For these temps, 2 20 oz bottles of water was fine.  I’d use one by the time I reach a control, then refill.  No Camelbak needed.
  4. I drank 2 20 oz bottles of Cyto-Max (brought mix and poured it into a water bottle) in addition to one 20 oz bottle of Gatorade
  5. Snickers always satisfies
  6. 2 bananas = no cramps (the Cyto-Max probably helped)
  7. I think the Dawes is going to be my Rando rig.

200K.  Ye gods.

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