Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Val Verde (Solo) Century

That was quite a ride.

I started out at my usual 6:30. The high for the day was supposed to be in the mid-sixties which, it turns out, is warmer than I imagined the mid-sixties to be. That meant I was dressed slightly warmer than I should have but it sure felt great for the first few hours when the temperature was still in the 40s. I was zooming along before dawn nice and cozy (except for my freezing face, natch) and when the sun started to hit the hillsides and the steam was rising off the plants, I was still nice and cozy.

Since it promised to be a long, hilly day, I stopped for each of my fuel-ups. Every 45 minutes for a gel and every 2 hours for a Snickers. Sure, it added to the time I would be out but I knew it would be worth it. Do you know what happens to Snickers that have been in a Bento Box for two hours while you're riding around in the 40s at 15-40 mph? That's right, they practically freeze. That first Snickers was kinda tough.

Things were humming along when I got a flat about 1/3 of the way into the ride. I took the tube out and checked the tire so I could remove whatever caused the flat. Nothing there. I checked the tube but I couldn't find the leak. More on this later.

The ride westbound on Highway 126 was fabulous because it was a net descent. Even the hills were great. I knew I'd go back uphill eventually but, while I was on it, it was great.

Then came the turn south to head into Simi Valley (and you always go into a valley by going over mountains). Halfway done and I had mountains to climb. It was a bit deceptive at first, though. Instead of going straight up, the route had me make a right and go for quite a while. I was happy because I thought maybe I would be going the long way around into a pass. No such luck. Once I hit Grimes Canyon it was up, up, up, switchback, and more ups. It wasn't that it was too steep but it came at around 64 miles into the ride which made it so tough (I had to take one break two switchbacks before the top). I met a couple of cyclists at the top and we chatted for a bit before heading down into Simi Valley.

I thought that taking Snickers along would hold off lunch cravings but no such luck. Maybe on a flatter ride but this one was quite hilly and I still had a few more to go so it I found a Subway for a small sandwich, chips, and a coke. Then it was back on the bike, ride, ride, ride. Finally made it home.

The stats: 110.4 miles, 7:34 in the saddle, 10:10 elapsed, 14.6 mph avg., 6687 ft of climbing, 7 gels, 3 Snickers, 1 6" turkey sub meal at Subway, 2.5 bottles of water, 1 taco asada, and 1 flat.

Lessons learned:

The next day I cleaned up my bike and checked on that flat tube. I did find the leak--on the inside wall! Huh? I looked in the rim and the only thing I found in the area of the leak was what looked like a tear in the rim tape, like the spoke had pushed through. I did some research on the net and it turns out there there is rim tape and there is high-pressure rim tape. Let's back up a bit. There is this bicycle tire pressure chart by Michelin which recommends for riders over 180 lbs (that would be me) that tires should be inflated to their maximum pressure, which for the Vittoria Rubinos is 140 psi. It appears that regular rim tape may not be so good at that pressure so I have ordered some Vittoria High Pressure Rim Tape. We'll see how that works out.

Chamois cream rocks! I thought I didn't have a problem with chafing but on long rides I did have a problem with getting sore. Guess what? That was chafing. I had tried some Chamois Butt'r on a previous medium-distance ride with no problems so I was curious how it would work on a long ride. It worked great. None of my previous long-ride soreness at all. I'm going to be using chamois cream on any future ride longer than three hours.

I like taking Snickers along on a long ride.

I'm usually really good about dressing properly for a ride but I didn't nail it this time. I knew the afternoon would be too warm for my proZERO base layer so I wore a proCOOL base layer under a long-sleeved jersey with arm warmers and a jacket plus full tights. It turns out that the mid-sixties was warmer than I thought so if I had to dress for the ride again I would wear a short-sleeved jersey with the arm warmers under the jacket and shorts with leg warmers. The jacket kept me warm enough that I didn't need the long sleeves.

No comments: