Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Mike Nosco Memorial Ride

So on Tuesday I took the day off work to join 400 or so other likeminded individuals and ride the Mike Nosco Memorial Ride. This was never on my radar as I had planned for my Everesting ride to have been on October 23 but with Becca’s mishap resulting in me pushing it out five weeks this seemed like a great opportunity to get some mid-week miles and test out the final pieces of gear that I had assembled for the event. In addition to this I was able to support a great cause and pay my respects. You can read more about Mike on the event’s website.

The weather had been pretty crappy the prior couple of days and it had even rained some but the morning was bright and clear. There was also a chill in the air. I figured I would skip a vest or arm-warmers and go with just my usual jersey and undershirt. That proved out the best decision although it was super windy and as a result got a bit cold at the end of the day, but that was really an incentive to HTFU.

I drove out to the start which was only a 20 minute drive, parked up and then rolled to the start. A few words were said and without much ado we were off. I placed myself firmly at the back; risk mitigation. I wasn’t worried about being “last”, it wasn’t a race and I expected to catch a few folks on the climbs..

The route was one I was very familiar with, there was one climb, Deer Creek, which I had never ridden but the second climb will be my Everesting Segment and the third I have ridden only twice before but both rides were in the last 4 weeks. The one real concern was the first descent which is a twisty steep drop from the Conejo Valley down towards the farmland of Camarilo.


To ensure there were no disasters the organizers had slowed everyone down until the bottom had been reached.


From here we rode out to the actual Memorial site where more words were said. The entire peloton then bunched up and broke apart in the space of 2 miles. Sometimes I have glimmer of what riding fast could be like then I see what others can do and I crawl back in my shell. So with that said and having been caught at a set of lights and stopping to pee I was pretty close to being the Lanterne Rouge. Well apart from the 20+ flat tires in the first 10 miles (people look after your gear!) I caught up with a group of ladies and just as I was in the just in the draft zone we got to the first climb. Oh well.

Deer creek wasn’t too long it was more a short sharp climb, 2.2 miles with an 11% grade. At the top it leveled off and then there were a few ups and downs before the descent.


As this was new to me I used my on board Virb and filmed the entire thing, it’s below at 600X. It’s hard to tell but the descent was very rough, the road could certainly need a new surface. I was happy with my climbing and the way the bike handled things, I passed a lot of people and no one passed me…well on the climb at least.

At the bottom it’s a left turn onto PCH and it was a 2 mile stretch to the left turn into Mullholland. This was the KOM segment for the ride and obviously a stretch of road I was very familiar with. I rode it hard. Passed many people and even sprinted for the last 50 yards or so against someone. I bested my Strava time by 18 seconds down to 38:17, the winner oh he cruised in in 25:35!



Some rollers at the top and it was another decent back to PCH where we turned left again for a 6 mile stretch to the last climb Latigo. This was the third time of riding this in the last month or in fact ever. With that in mind I sat in and rode up, passing people and rolling through the Aid Station at the top. I eased off the gas vs the Mullholland climb but had in mind a target of an hour to the top; 9.2 miles 1982’ of gain and average of 4%. Mission accomplished.


Let’s talk quickly about Aid Stations. All the local bike shops were out in support for this ride. AS were placed strategically at the top of each climb. There was at least one maybe two guys on mopeds checking in with riders on the road. A couple of other motorcyclists were providing roving support. Mavic had a car and a motorcycle too and then there were a few repair stops that also had light provisions and water. There was also plenty of support from the local Police and Fire departments with crossings and turnings mostly covered. All in all the support was great and you never felt out of touch or abandoned. That said I was entirely self-supported throughout this ride, I had 5 Lara Bars and two bottles of Skratch. The weather was not hot, not even close, the average temp for the ride was 67f with a low of 55f and as I wasn’t sweating (you know what I mean) I drank only one bottle…yes one in 6 hours. I’ll say now don’t do as I do! Finally there were a multitude of photographers out and about, here’s a couple of great shots of me…if I say so myself. One was free and the other I am waiting for the download link.


Ok back to the ride. At the top of Latigo, you’re not actually at the top. There are a few more ups and downs to get to the start of the decent which is, by comparison to the climb, short at 0.8 of a mile! Right turn on Kanan, left turn on Mullholland, right turn and back down Decker. Here I dropped my last Lara bar so I stopped to pick it up and grabbed a couple of bars from the AS/Repair stop just in case.

At the bottom of Decker that last stretch home was through Hidden Valley and the wind was blowing a gale. Mostly a headwind which was better than a side wind. One final climb out of the valley and it was a nice decent back into Newbury Park and to the start finish. Here’s the overall breakdown of time/elevation;


At the finish there was hot food, a silent auction (I missed out on the Road Bike Magazine jacket) and Beer! I was cold and so I ate, waited for the auction to end and then headed home.

All in all it was a great day, a challenging ride and 80 solid miles in the bank. The website stated 11,000’ of gain but I only managed 8300’ even so it was the largest gain on a ride…so far! It was also a great day to test out my final gear check for the Everesting ride in three weeks which all worked really well. 

As you have probably realized the ride was amazingly organized, more so than others that I have ridden.

When this comes around again next year I’ll definitely add it to my schedule.

Here’s the Strava data for the day.

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