Finished the Sept 12, 2010 Tour de Tahoe

This was a ride that I’ve had on the schedule for most of the year – and one I’ve very much been looking forward to.  The Tour de Tahoe – presented by Bike the West –  is a clockwise loop around Lake Tahoe, covering over 70 miles of road and (depending on who’s data you look at) either 2,100, 3,700 or 6,000 feet of climbing.  I managed to bang it out with 4:42:15 of actual pedaling time (plus 32 minutes of time spent munching at rest stops) for a total elapsed time of about 5 hours and 15 minutes from start to finish.

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Three days of “cyclebration” in Folsom, CA

Folsom, California.  Home to Folsom Dam and Folsom Prison.  And for three days in September, it is also host to an event covering almost all facets of modern cycling – the Folsom Cyclebration.

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Seattle to Portland set for July 9, 2011

Cascade Bicycle Club has set the dates for the 2011 Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic at July 9th and 10th.  Registration for the event – which does sell out – will start on January 4th for club members, and sometime in February for non-members.  While not required to ride in the event, club membership can be purchased at various levels starting at $35 per person.

After the amazing time that I had riding the 2010 event, I will definitely plan on being in Seattle for the 2011 start.

Note: Also see the updated date information here.

The world famous Ione crash

Here it is folks – the now world famous (really!) crash out to Ione, CA.  Caught in brilliant detail thanks to the careful placement of a GoPro HD Helmet Hero camera right on the handlebars.

2010 Seattle to Portland: To the finish.

We woke up a little more relaxed on the second day – but noticeably more sluggish and a little bit sore from the first day’s effort.  (If you didn’t catch the first day’s details, check them out here.)  We got a 7:45am start out of Centralia – downright sleeping in compared to the 5:30 start of the first day.  We were both quite slow and heavy in the legs though.  It was a relatively flat start through farm lands and into Chehalis under overcast skies and downright chilly conditions.  We slowly – almost grudgingly – made our way onto a rode in Chehalis lined with beautiful older houses with great big lawns.  That is when I saw it – “Free Starbucks Coffee.”  Really?  Sure enough a guy had quite literally ran an extension cord out his front door to the sidewalk to where he had a coffee pot brewing coffee on the sidewalk.  We stopped and chatted for a couple of minutes – the guy actually refused any sort of payment or donations.  Yet another example of the amazing support of folks along the route.  That little stop for coffee completely energized us in a huge way.

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2010 Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic: Check!

As hinted at in my uber-short, from the freeway blog post yesterday, Melissa and I successfully completed the 2010 Group Health Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic event.

Photo by Brian (@poptopvw)

It is said that over 10,000 folks started the event this year, where the 202 miles (plus or minus, due to some construction detours) is covered in either one or two days.  Given that neither Melissa nor I had ever completed a full century prior to this event, we opted for the two day option.

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Seattle to Portland quick recap

Well, the ride is in the bag.  I haven’t got my laptop, so it will be tomorrow at the earliest for a full post with photos and all (posting from my Droid phone is kinda painful…)

A couple of quick notes, though.  The support and orginization of this ride is nothing short of amazing.  I’ll be back for sure.

So, more details after I figure out why north bound I-5 is a parking lot.

The long road to Seattle

The Group Health Seattle to Portland classic is this coming weekend. What does that mean for me – it means I’m blogging from the highway (literally – while Melissa is doing the driving.) What does that mean for you? It means you can ride it vicariously through me, either here at, or by following my tweets on Twitter.

The road from Sacramento to Seattle wasn’t a straight, direct path has it has been in the past.  Started late on Tuesday night, stopping off in Medford for a few hours of sleep.  I was actually holding up on leaving Sacramento, hoping that my promised delivery of my Tour de Cure jersey would arrive so that I could take it along to Seattle.  By 7:30 pm – no jersey.  Oh well.  When I got to the hotel around midnight, I checked its shipping status:  delivered.  Figures…
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Sacramento to Portland – via Seattle

There are now only about six weeks remaining until the group Health Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic.  My wife Melissa and I will be doing the double century in two days.  This is actually a ride I’ve been waiting to do for quite some time.

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Details on the Folsom Ride

The ride from south Sacramento to Folsom and back went great.  Not only did I have an extremely enjoyable ride, but I definitely got a little training stimulus (judging from the slight ache in my legs the next morning) and learned a thing or to as well.

in_flightI got a nice, ease in introduction to the ride.  After the 8 miles or so to get through down town and Old Sacramento to Discovery park, I initially settled into an easy 18mph pace.  I probably had a decent tail wind for some of that (based in a large part to the head wind I had coming back.  More on that in a minute) so that pace actually had me gliding on the slightest decline.  As I approached a family on the trail, I quickly glanced over my left shoulder preparing to go around them.  There was someone else right there, sitting on my wheel.  No idea how long they had been there, but as I became aware of them I knew they were keeping up with me.  I could hear the guy breathing.

Didn’t bother me any – I was riding at my pace anyhow.  But, on a whim and after about 1-2 miles of dragging this guy along I decided on an experiment.  I faded to the far right of the trail and slowed down.  Sure enough, he pulled right around me.  A couple of quick hard pushes and I was right off his wheel.  He was pulling a harder pace than I had been – 21-23 mpg – so things sped up a little.  This was the first time I’d really been on a wheel at any significant speed and it was great.  I was actually gliding a significant amount of the time.  We must have gone for another few miles at least with him in the front.  Finally, some rolling hills and turns brought our speed down under 19, so I made my way around the front for my pull.  Same thing again – couple of miles, started to feel heavy in the legs, faded back, he took the front again.

By this point we were traveling through a park.  There was a little traffic – kids swerving around on the trail, and I had to grab the brakes.  That, coupled with the fact that I was juggling my cell phone in one hand, lead to a pretty significant gap between myself and our mystery cyclist.  I dropped down a gear and accelerated to catch up.  I’d probably bridged about half of the gap when I started to feel it in the legs.   I’m pretty sure I could have caught him, but I was only 30 miles or so into my planned 75, and was still in conservation mode.  I had to back off and let him go.  Felt a little guilty for not taking my fair share of the pulls but hey – hope you enjoyed your ride.  I cruised the rest of the way to the Highway 50 / Folsom Blvd interchange solo.

windy_bike_trailFrom here things got a little more interesting for me.  I’ve never ridden the trails bast this point.  It gets really pretty along the river between highway 50 and Old Folsom.  The trail gets nice and curvy, with some great short hills in there.  Really pretty.  I have to admit, though, this is one of those places that makes me selfishly wish this wasn’t a mixed use trail.  Some of those descents down into sharp curves would be a blast down in the drops, but you never know what might be right around that sharp corner.  Had to keep the speed in check to keep things safe.

I finally found my self at a dead end – the trail just turned to a dirt path.  What the hell?  Where was I?  I looked around and noticed a large two story building that seemed somehow familiar.  Looking at the top floor balcony I noticed 20 or so bikes hanging from hooks.  Oh yea – this is Bicycles Plus.  Now I know where I am.

But I was quickly confused again – probably just because I’m an “out of towner.”  I knew where I wanted to go – Coffee Republic for lunch.  Trouble was, I wasn’t sure of the best way to get there from where I was.  I wandered around a bit and finally found myself on the newer bridge across the river.  From here, I just had to manage the traffic and get myself to a position where I could make a left hand turn across a busy 4 land road.  Done and done.

folsom_bridgeCoffee Republic is a great place to end (or in my case, take a short break from) a ride.  I’ve seen a lot of postings from clubs using that as their meeting point, so I had the general impression that is was very bike friendly.  Sure enough, as I pulled up there were at least 5 other cyclists already there.  They’ve got a great covered patio area with lots of floor space, so you can drag your bike in right next to your table and not have to stress through the whole meal trying to keep an eye on your faithful steed.

The ride back was pretty much the same thing in reverse except for a could of “minor” changes:

  • Strong headwind
  • Less energy
  • No one to share pulls with

Right around the 50 mile mark I seriously tanked.  I could barely keep the bike moving.  The wind was gusting against my chest, and with each gust I’d watch 5 mph fall from my speed.  My legs were burning, my chest was heaving.  This was my learning moment – I’d made a mistake.  I’d stopped taking on carbs before I got to Folsom as lunch was planned.  I also didn’t consume any more as I started riding out of Folsom.  I’d forgotten that things like wheat bread and potato salad – while delicious – take some time to digest.  I was seriously out of fuel.

Luckily this time I’d tried something different.  I normally fill my bottles with just plain water, but this time I’d stocked up on Gatorade.  I drank pretty much a full bottle between miles 50 and 55, and by mile 60 I was feeling strong and fit again.  Still had the head wind to battle from time to time, but now it wasn’t completely in charge.  I ended my ride on an up note, rolling into a friend’s house for dinner.

Mission accomplished!  What did I learn?  Well, consume enough carbs.  Aside from that – riding a century?  Totally within my range.  A metric century?  I’ll do those before breakfast.  Double century?  Well – ask me about that after next July!

P.S. I’ve added a map of this ride to the “Rides and Routes” page.  You can also find it under ‘Pages’ on the right hand panel.