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Breathless Agony Century - CycleCentury

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Redlands, California
United States
Santiago Cycling
50F / 10C
Total Time = 7h 30m
Overall Rank = 67/551
Age Group = M
Age Group Rank = 62/486
Pre-race routine:

Woke with a headache around 3am and had difficulty sleeping until I got up at 5:30. Probably had something to do with the 2 glasses of chianti I had at our club dinner the night before.

Event warmup:

Drove the 1.5 miles from the hotel to the start, parked, and ate a banana. Rode a short distance to the ride check in.

Nutrition: 1 gel flask (4 gels), 2 packages of shot blocks, 1 otawalla bar, 1 bag of heed mix (enought for 2 bottles).
  • 7h 30m
  • 114 miles
  • 15.20 mile/hr

Claimed to be the toughest century in Southern California, Breathless Agaony is 114 miles of goodness with 12,000 ft. of climbing. It is the second ride in the King of Mountains Challenge. The ride is comprised of 4 main passes, the last of which is a 19.6 mile climb from Angelus Oaks to Onyx Summit.

The first pass begins with a ride through the streets of Redlands. This is the only opportunity to really take advantage of any group riding benefits. At one point, we came upon a railroad crossing of which many of the faster riders were caught waiting for a freight train to pass. Soon many more riders accumulated. When the train finally passed, there was quite a large group anxious to go and they lept off to an ambitious pace up one of the first real hills. I pushed to keep with the front of the pack knowing it would be important to ride with them to first real pass - Jack Rabbit Trail.

My target heart rate for all day climbing is 155-160, but I found myself at the 170's trying to keep up for sections of this.

New this year was a timing checkpoint at mile 12, which I understand was put in to keep riders honest. There were 2 volunteers there who were soon overwhelmed by the mass of riders who approached in the pack.

The check in process broke up the main group into smaller groups and I found myself in a group of about 6 or so for the remaining 5 miles to Jack Rabbit Trail. We organized and took turns pulling which worked out pretty well.

Jack Rabbit Trail is 4 miles of nasty, torn up asphalt ridden with pot holes, gravel, and erroded edges. We pre-rode it the day before, so I had a good idea of what to expect.

I enjoyed riding it again during the race as it was the first opportunity to get a view of the other riders who had left earlier now enjoying their first suffering of the day.

The end of Jack Rabbit Trail deposits you on a short section of Highway 60 leading to Beaumont. As warned in the race communications as well as by cones and a volunteer stationed at the exit, there are storm drain grates along the edge of the road. The grates run in the direction of travel and are wider than a bike tire.

Someone managed to hit one of these and was lying on the ground pretty banged up and bleeding. The police were arriving just as I passed. I hope he was okay.

A short while later I hit the first rest stop and checked in. I filled up on water,ate a quarter muffin,grabbed a banana, and then got out of there.

Next up is the Oak Glen Climb. This is where you hit some of the steepest sections of the ride. It is followed by a long and fast descent down to the second rest stop at Mill Creek Ranger station. The grim reaper is there to great you on this pass. I didn't find any of these sections overwhelming and was glad that I stuck with my 11-25 cassette with compact crank. Some of the training rides in preparation for BA had much steeper grades and at times I was considering going to a 27, but it wasn't needed.

The third pass, includes an 11 mile long stretch called Damnation Alley which has 3,000 ft of climbing. I managed to find a wheel of someone who was pacing very close to my target HR, so I followed his wheel for much of this climb. Eventually, he faded off, and I launched off solo for the remainder of the ride.

Upon reaching the third rest stop Angelus Oaks, I quickly checked in, refueled and departed for pass four, the climb to Onyx Summit. This last part is not terribly steep, just long with maybe a few 10% sections at the end.

Without having done this ride before, I didn't really know whether or not I was on pace to break my goal time of sub 6 hours to summit. There were several times when climbing the steeper sections, that I reasoned I wouldn't make it if the grade remained consistently steep. Then there were times that it leveled out a bit and I got much more optomistic.

It was not until the last mile or two that I felt relatively assured that I would make it.

Upon rolling into the final rest station, I was greeted again by the grim reaper. Volunteers were there to take your bike so you can get some food and lie down on blankets as you waited for friends or other team members to arrive.

Final time to summit, 5 hrs. 54 mins.

We hooked up with another group of riders for the 40 mile descent back to Redlands.

Although it's not timed, we hammered down the hill despite some descent headwinds.

I found myself counting down the last 7 or so miles, just waiting to get off the bike.

Post race
Warm down:

Had two huge helpings of mexican food at the finish. Talked with fellow riders a bit and drove back to San Diego.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Although I had been training for the last couple months in anticipation of this ride, it was still just part of overall training for IMCDA. I was a bit tired going into this ride as training volume had ramped significantly in April. Probably could have gone faster if I tapered more specifically for it.

In the end, I'm completely satisfied having achieved my main goal of doing sub 6 hrs. to summit.

Event comments:

A well run race with a down home and friendly feel.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2010-03-02 12:00 AM
07:30:00 | 114 miles | 15.20 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/486
Overall: 0/551
Performance: Good
Start to rest stop one 1:38 Start to rest stop two 2:51 Start to rest stop three 4:10 Start to rest stop four (summit) 5:54
Course: This is a timed course for the first 74.2 miles which starts in Redlands and ascends Mt. San Gorgonio to Onyx Summit. The 40 mile descent back to Redlands is not timed, but you do need to check back in at the start to ensure you rode your bike back. Total distance is 114 miles with 12,000 feet of climbing. It is claimed to be the toughest century in So Cal.
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2010-05-02 7:30 PM

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Subject: Breathless Agony Century
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