Monday, February 9, 2009

Riding the Rectangle

So southern California has been having a bit of rain lately, basically on and off since Thursday, I had a very soggy 9 miler Friday night but having spent all week on either the treadmill of bike trainer I needed to get outside come hell or high water and I went with the high water option. In some places the water was running over the curb; that's about 6". I got soaked, but had the most awesome of runs!

This weekend was a bike weekend so I was really hoping the weather would hold as the route I had mapped out took me through some twisty canyon roads, both up and down, and the thought of wiping out going round a corner really didn't appeal. So Sunday morning I set off a little later than I had planned but not by much; it's a trade off between waiting for the light and getting out there early, at least the mornings are getting lighter, slowly but surely.

The route is basically a rectangle, with two flat sides and two canyons to ride through. The first flat side was spent warming up, with all the rain there was a real dampness in the air and the small downhill's were shall we say 'bracing'. I reached the entrance to the first canyon and started to climb, then I rounded a the gradient increased and then after another corner increased still. My bike has a triple chainring and so I have maybe a little greater range than one with a double, but here I was in the granny ring, standing up and moving at around 5mph, a strong side wind would have blown me over! Fortunately the steepest section of the climb was over after about three miles, when I looked at the MotionBased data I saw that in those three miles I had gained about a 1000' (it works out to be about a 6% grade). I finally reached the top of the pass and took some panorama photos looking inland towards the San Fernando Valley and westward towards the ocean. Click on the pics, they're really big.

The descent had a few rollers but essentially I dropped 1800’ over 10 miles, the roads were still wet and so I was riding pretty gingerly and by the time I had reached PCH my forearms were screaming from hanging onto the brakes!

The ride along PCH was uneventful, the surf was still good as a result of the storms and the surfers at Zuma were catching some pretty good waves. There were no dolphins to watch but the cloud was lifting and the sun was twinkling off the ocean. I stopped to strip off few layers, in anticipation of warming up on the next climb.

The ride through Topanga canyon went well and I was quicker than the last time (two weeks ago) by nearly an average per mile of 30 seconds which at least shows some semblance of improvement, doubly pleasing as I had had a longer harder ride before hand. I reached the top and cruised down the backside into the San Fernando Valley, made my way back along the final 5 miles and was home with 61.12 miles 4:56:53 total time/4:36:24 moving time (the variance is due photo stops and clothing changes etc) and an elevation change of +7,013 / -6,822. And best of all, it only started to rain within the last 1/4 mile!

This ride starts week four of the plan, no time for reflection yet as there is some ways to go but so far so good (ish)! I was using a different fueling strategy this ride which went well and I am going to share in a different post.

Here is the MotionBased data and there are quite a few photos here…some of them are actually pretty good!


  1. Riding on wet pavement makes me nervous! We did the Chattanooga tri last summer in a summer downpour, and Tennessee ain't flat!!

  2. How you can bike that far is beyond me... Great workout and pictures! Glad you were able to get some workout in despite all this rain we are getting!

  3. 6" of rain is a lot to run through!

    Great job on the long ride. Sounds like it's a beautiful course.

  4. Fantastic photos. What a ride!

  5. Glad you're not leaving the blogging circuit!

  6. Love the pics! Great workout, and I listened to your podcast before my run saturday morning! It's great!

  7. That is one serious mountain to descend/climb

  8. Now that is a ride for the books! Can't wait to hear more about the fuel used on the ride.

  9. Dude!!! Those pics are insane! Very nice! It's nice to see some green if it means from over a comp screen (for me :P)


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