Yesterday I rode the Breathless Agony, "the toughest century in California", for the ... (counts fingers) ... seventh time. All 114 miles, 12,300 feet of climbing, and [in a special treat] 100 degrees from Redlands at the bottom to the 8,443' Onyx Summit at the top. Gasp.
I was definitely out of shape this year (argh!) and had to rely on my gears (yay, 34x28) and my stubbornness to make it to the top. That final five miles to the summit is horrible, and seemed to have extra sections since the last time I rode it. As I was struggling up at 4mph a bee decided to sting me in the neck. I was not happy with that bee.
Anyway I made it - yay - and after about five minutes of feeling like I was going to throw up and die, I was okay, and then the feeling of accomplishment took over. My total time to the top was 7:23, not my best - at all - but not horrible all things considered. As usual I wondered why I did it while I was doing it, and as usual with 24 hours past I can't wait to do it again. And I am resolved to be in better shape!
early morning, driving in - yep, I'm riding up there
paceline through Moreno Valley
sun peaking up and it is *hot* already
Jackrabbit Trail, the first climb - road surface has not improved
this guy is always here, on the second climb to Glen Oaks
summit of the second climb, now a fast descent, and then the real climb begins
onward and upward into Damnation Alley - 12 miles at 6-8% without a break
whew made it to Angelus Oaks checkpoint
yay, bacon :)
a brief respite before the final climb to the summit
view back down to the valley is incredible