Sunday, January 25, 2009

After being cooped up from the rain, I was itching to get a ride in. Since I missed a day I wanted to get some good climbing miles in, and decided to go to the GMR-Baldy Village loop. The forecast said it was going to be “cloudy,” which ended up being “rainy.” Just my luck of course, I stay inside and then get pissed on the next day, that’s what I get. As I ride through La Verne/Claremont area, the rain starts. I start thinking maybe I will just go up Shin loop and call it a day. I am sooo not dressed for rain, with a base layer, and just arm and knee warmers.

Then I start thinking, “what would the real studs do? What would Mark Noble, Karl Bordine, Greg Leibert, Mark Fennel, and Chris DeMarchi do?” Mark Fennel would pound, unmercifully, teaching those mountains a lesson. DeMarchi would hammer skinny peckerheads into submission. Imagine if I was on a ride with these 30+ super studs and told them I’m going home because of a little rain? What happens this year when I’m lined up on the start line with a bunch of mutant strongmen with names like Reutiman, Ainsworth, Ford, Zaleski, and Easter? They are going to eat my lunch if I don’t drop the hammer, but hard.
So I kept going. Up through Glendora to the start of the SDSR Time Trial area, which is where I start my time to the village. This is now 20 miles into the ride, about an hour of ride time. The mist had settled into the mountains and I started the climb. I try and stay in Zone 2 the whole climb so I can throw out short intervals toward the peaks. The switchbacks were super foggy and I couldn’t see very far up the road. Now I was glad I was here. Just me, the mist, and the sound of the tires on the road. The first climb is about 7.6 miles, and eases at the top which is where I do the last mile as fast as I can around 175-180 bpm.
Going down the descents is where I lost mucho time. Normally I descend as fast I can but because of the fog and rain I was feathering the brakes. Not to mention the rain had caused several rock slides, and I swerved several times to avoid huge rock piles. About this time I was not having fun anymore as my feet and hands were numb. Normally I try and picture myself in a race dropping everyone, but it was hard to focus. After the short climb over east fork and the last descent, I finally began the last climb. I always watch the trees pictured here…They looked cool in the mist and I know this marks the final climb, which is the steepest of the ride. This is about mile 16 or so, and the grade gets up to about 7-8% I believe, but I suck at guessing grades so don't take my word for it. Not steep by Baldy standards but enough after the ride. The last 4 miles although the steepest went by quickly. Normally I love this ride buy I was flippin’ freezing and all I could think about was a hot bath and a cup of coffee. I finally hit the Ranch sign and drop into Baldy Village, which is now mile 40. I descend down Baldy with my teeth rattling and just hoping to get down to lower altitude. I guess this is what separates the serious bike racer from the club rider. I was hating life almost the whole time but the need to lose weight and get in shape outweighed comfort and/or safety on the backside of a mountain. I suppose we really are a sick breed. Total miles: 57, total climbing: 4700 ft, ride time: 3hrs 34 min.
BTW, lots of people raced today, I wonder how it went. I am not in a hurry this year, maybe another month or so, we’ll see.

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