Critical Section

riding the Stagecoach

Saturday,  01/17/09  08:30 PM

Peter's Trek - my mighty steedMore cylo-blogging; today I rode in the Stagecoach Century in Ocotillo, CA.  (That's East of San Diego, in the desert near Mexico.)  It was a wonderful event, if any of you ever want to try it I totally recommend it.  Great organization, good SAG everywhere, and a really nice ride surrounded by desert beauty.  Oh, and the weather was perfect, thanks to the organizers for arranging that!

I have to give a HUGE thank you to Peter Simons for the loan of his wonderful Trek Madone; in the wake of my weird disaster I am temporarily bikeless.  The more I ride it the more getting a new bike is getting mental traction :)

The Stagecoach Century is an out-and-back, so you can pick your distance; some people did 26 miles (turnaround at 13 mile stop), some 50 miles (turnaround at 25), some 90, and some 100.  There’s 4,700’ of climbing if you go the distance.  There were about 1,000 people total but it never felt crowded.

Stagecoach Century profile
the route profile - steady up on the way out, steady down back

And here for your viewing pleasure, some pictures from the ride...

mile 1: sun just up over Imperial Highway, 100 miles to go

mile 10: blasting along the desert at 26mph

mile 20: I pick up a nice paceline

mile 40: cresting a climb (wild descent to follow!)

mile 50: at the turnaround with my impromptu team

mile 65: heading back down as riders still coming up

mile 97: at the finish!

Overall it took me 5:30 of riding time and 5:45 elapsed.  I think I was around the 12th to finish, yay me.  That is the first time I've ever ridden a century in under 6 hours elapsed; must have been the pacelines I was able to join and the stops I didn't make :)

I have to relate a particularly delicious moment.  Towards the end I'm riding in a paceline with eight other riders, all strong, we're flying along, and at 15 miles to go we get to the last climb (see the route profile above).  It's about 500' at about 8%, enough to blow up the paceline.  A few guys attack and go up the road, the rest of us settle into a climbing pace.  I find my rhythm and start grinding people down.  One by one I move through my pack, and then pick up each of the attackers.  I get to the summit with a decent lead, and now we have 10 miles downhill to the finish.  Can I hang on?  I descend madly and power along the final straight into Ocotillo, and beat the next guy in by over two minutes.  It was great.

And so now I can watch football tomorrow, and eat to my heart's content...

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