Monday, January 15, 2007

The Stagecoach Century-Brr

Sunrise in Ocotillo (population ?300) is over 80 miles east of San Diego along Interstate 8. It is truly in the middle of nowhere. The sun never came out till after noon, and the temperature was between 36 and 44. Even with 4 top layers, two gloves, and neoprene shoe covers, it was freezing-no thanks to Global Warming?

The Stagecoach Century travels along the historic Great Southern Overland Stage Route of 1849. Also called County Route S2, it is the Imperial exit off Interstate 8 in Ocotillo and heads north to California Hwy 78 near Julian.

Google Earth view of the ride-not a house or road in sight.

The elevation map is symmetrical because this ride is "out and back" along the same road. The first half is a steady uphill climb to 2600 feet. The return is mostly downhill with two hill-climbs. The ride back was into a headwind so the downhill required some work. The return leg took me 30 minutes less than the outgoing uphill leg.

"Scenic, this ride is not"-as Yoda would say.

Typical view during the beginning of the ride is a long, lonely, uphill road, surrounded by rocks, sand, and shrub.

Google Earth view of "The Wall" seems tamer than it really is. After climbing for 30 miles, this 13% grade 300 feet climb took everything out of me. At about mile 37 (3 hours) I hit the Bonk -"a term used by cyclists, to describe a condition when the athlete suddenly loses energy and fatigue sets in, usually caused when glycogen stores in the liver and muscles are depleted, resulting in a major performance drop, dizziness, nausea, and sometimes hallucinations." I recovered by sucking down 3 glucose gels, drinking all the liquids I had left, and slowing my heart rate down to the 130's.

After climbing for 3 hours in the cold, and having no breakfast, I almost climbed into the Sag Wagon-"A car or truck that picks up or otherwise assists riders who have had to stop riding, either due to fatigue, injury, or mechanical failure."

A welcomed site-the Pleasant Valley Community Center. Lunch stop at the half way point where hot chili and sandwiches were served. There was a line at the heaters to thaw out frozen toes.
As scenic as it gets along this ride-the sun finally out and a little bit of green.

Snow in San Diego at 3000 feet-Brr. I was glad to survive my first 100 mile ride. It took me 7 hours:17 minutes of ride time with 1 hour of total rest time. Average speed 13.4 MPH.

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