Critical Section

Riding the Stagecoach (Century)

Saturday,  01/16/10  07:38 PM

Man, today was a  l o n g  day...  got up at 0400, drove from Carlsbad to Ocotillo, rode the Stagecoach Century (more about that below), drove from Ocotillo to Westlake (took approximately forever), and now I'm blogging.  Whew.  And tomorrow I'm driving down to San Diego to watch the Chargers beat the Jets!  And driving back.  And Monday, back to Vista...

But about the Stagecoach Century - well, I did it last year, and it was much the same, and actually I did it slightly faster, 5:22 riding time.  It's a nice out and back - on the way out, you're somewhat climbing, so you know once you make the turn "it's all downhill coming back".  It isn't really but it's a nice mental image.  The skies were threatening but no rain fell, and the wind was moderate, and overall it was a great day.  I am hobbling around but feeling great.

I have to relate a little story; on these rides it is all about pacing with other riders, and at 75 miles I was with one other guy and he was blown.  So I went into a rest stop for water, but really to pick up some riders.  No good, nobody there.  Just as I'm getting back on my bike, a paceline of four riders blazes by.  I realize if I can power for a few minutes and catch them, I'm set.  So I ride as hard as I can but it's no good, one rider against four and I can't catch them.  Suddenly they hit a little climb and slow down, and I'm able to hook on.... and I can see they're four women, riding as team.  (The Stagecoach has team racing as well as individuals.)  They're all strong and working well and we're blasting through the desert at 30mph.  I go to the front to take my turn, and the lead rider says she can't hook on, as a team they're not allowed to have any help.  I can draft, but I can't pull!  So for the next fifteen miles I rode caboose on the paceline, being towed along by four women.  How excellent is that?

A few pictures, of course...

the desolate beauty of the desert is ever-present on this ride

turnaround point - 50 miles down, 50 to go
this guy is going to stamp my hand to prove I made it

so far so good, still able to smile
knowing there was more climbing in the first half than the second helps

the final approach to the checkpoint, check out that sky!
(click to enbiggen)

my paceline from mile 75 to mile 90
they let me draft, but I was not allowed to pull
so be it

self portrait riding through the finish
5:22, yay

Well it was a great day, even if it was a little long...  onward!

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