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Stagecoach Century - CycleCentury

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Ocotillo, California
United States
Shadow Tours
40F / 4C
Total Time = 5h 57m
Overall Rank = /
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Stopped by 7-11 and picked up an Apple Fritter. Then went to Alpine to pick up MikeB (Mike)and Jazz (Alaina)
Event warmup:

  • 5h 57m
  • 93 miles
  • 15.63 mile/hr

I am so happy I bought some cold weather gear on Friday. I bought some knee warmers, full fingered gloves, a jacket and toe covers. I needed every bit of that stuff. I wouldn't have lasted 20 minutes without it.
The ride started out pretty good, not too fast, not too slow. The road looked flat but didn't feel flat, which is a good thing because according to the ride profile, the course had a consistant amount of climbing for the first 13 miles, so if this was it, it wouldn't be too bad. we got to the first aid station at mile 13 but didn't stop. Just after that we hit a massive downhill. Lots of switchbacks and steep downhills. This is where the mental struggle started with me. If we hit this monster downhill at mile 13, then we would hit this massive uphill at mile 87 :( We cruised around to the next aid station where I ate half of a peanut butter and jelly sandwhich. I spoke with a volunteer and he said we would warm up after we start the climb that is coming. He said it was as bad as the hill we came down, but shorter, OK, great. We started to ride again, but this time we joined some people from my tri club. The pace was a little faster, but we were drafting so everything was good. Suddenly I looked and there was this wall. People were absolutely crawling up this climb and it seemed to go on forever. I started the climb and immediately my HR shot through the roof and I was short of breath. I suffered almost all the way up. At one point, it was everything I had to get my legs to turn over. I looked down and saw... I had one more gear. I changed gears and just barely made it to the top. At the very top of the hill the group was waiting. I didn't stop, I just cruised down the other side. At this point I knew I wouldn't make it up the other climb. I just had to find a way to tell Mike and Jazz.
Now the paceline was going too fast for me. My legs were still hurting from the climb, so I put it in an easier gear, popped off the back and tried to ride myself back into form. I rode solo for a few more miles, up another climb (not so bad) to the next aid station where the group was waiting. Mike and Jazz were ready to go, so we left my tri club friends and kept going. There was a hill at mile 40 something that led into Shelter Valley. I got so much speed going downhill, that I didn't need to pedal for (felt like) 5 minutes. Jazz caught up to me and we were flying down the road. Everybody that was going the other direction, looked miserable. We kept riding, happily pedalling, moving at 20+ mph. We passed the lunch stop as the turn around was a few more miles down the rode. When we got to the turn around, it hit us. Boom, the headwind. We suffered back to the lunch stop and at this point I was frozen to the bone. Someone said we needed to do that little loop again if we wanted 100 miles (we were short by a few miles). We didn't. The day started out cold and seemed to get colder.We went inside and I started shivering uncontrolably. They offered us chili, so I took some. I walked back into where everybody else was sitting and realized I had my thumb in my steaming hot chili and didn't feel it. I ate most of it and about half of a Coke, then went and sat in front of a heater. I was so miserable and really wanted to quit. Mike then came over and said "What do you want to do?" This was not an "A" race for either of us, so we didn't mind bailing out, but who was going to ask Jazz? We went outside and she looked so excited, I wasn't going to be the one to say we should bail. Jazz needed to head for home at 3:30 and after they figured it out, it might be faster to ride back than to wait for the SAG wagon. So we started riding again. Even though we were riding into the wind, we were riding downhill and now I am feeling better, cold but better. Mike and I stuck to our original plan (let Jazz pull us on the flats and uphills). This seemed to work perfectly. We flew past the first aid station and the three of us took turns pulling into the wind. We then got to the second station. I asked if we could stop because I knew this was the last stop before the monster climb and I knew I couldn't make it. I really tried to get out of riding back, but both of them convinced me to keep going, no matter how slow I had to go, even walking if I needed to. Alright I'll try it. So we again start riding in a little paceline and we are passing people right and left. I took a turn and pulled and as I dropped back, our 3 person line was now 15 people and none of the others took a turn pulling. Bums. Just before the big climb, I changed gears and mentally tried to ease up on my legs, I got to the last turn before the monster climb, turned the corner didn't look that bad. I started up the first section of the climb and saw Jazz already heading up the second section. She waved, of course! Then I turned and started up the second section. That wasn't too bad either. Someone said that when you think you are at the top, you're not, so I didn't get too excited about being at the top. As I got to where it turned again, it kept climbing but actually flattened out. I got to the actual top at the same time as Mike. We met up with Jazz at the aid station. She was relaxing, drinking a cocktail, I believe. With only 13 miles remaining, we hauled butt back to the finish. I felt really good all the way back to the finish.
We made it back to the car at 3:23, 7 minutes to spare :)
What would you do differently?:

Not get so mentally freaked by the hills and cold.
Post race
Warm down:

Drove back to Alpine. I dropped off Alaina so she could go to dinner. Mike and I went to Carls Jr. for dinner

Event comments:

I really owe Mike and Alaina so much. I would have quit at the turn around if they weren't with me. If I hadn't quit then, I would have quit before the last climb at mile 87 for sure. They convinced me to continue and because of them I did
Thank you both!
Also, I can't believe I rode for 6 hours on very little calories. I had 2 bottles of my cocktail (500 cal./bottle) I drank about 1 3/4 of the 2 bottles. I had half of a peanut butter and jelly sandwhich, a fig newton, half a bowl of chili and 3/4 of a can of Coke. Probably 1400-1500 cal for the whole ride...humm. Must have been the 40 miles of downhill :)

Last updated: 2007-01-14 12:00 AM
05:57:00 | 93 miles | 15.63 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Wind: Headwind
Course: Leave from Ocotillo to Shelter Valley, then back to Ocotillo
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2007-01-15 12:52 AM

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San Diego
Subject: Stagecoach Century

2007-01-15 11:34 AM
in reply to: #654530

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Newbury Park, CA
Subject: RE: Stagecoach Century

I'm sooo glad I forgot about this ride!  Hope you are thawed out by now and ready for more.

Have a great 2007 season Tom.

2007-01-15 11:42 AM
in reply to: #654530

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Hurst, Texas
Subject: RE: Stagecoach Century
Great job with the mental game, Tom.  That takes so much determination...proud of ya my friend!  Very, very impressive ride.

Edited by OldAg92 2007-01-15 11:43 AM
2007-01-15 11:47 AM
in reply to: #654530

Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: Stagecoach Century
Great race report.  I feel your pain.  You have some very good riding buddies to help you get through it.  Now any other centuries you do will be a breeze, you've done the worst one!  Way to go!
2007-01-15 2:41 PM
in reply to: #654530

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Subject: RE: Stagecoach Century

Man I have been halfway out on a bike and been COLD before.  I guess we all have.  I admire your guys' fortitude for sticking it out for Jazz.  That is a truly good race partner.  And they were awesome for getting you to at least try on the hill at the very end.  If you wouldn't have tried, you wouldn't have found out you could do it after all.  The support you guys gave each other is what it is all about sometimes. 

Great JOB! 

2007-01-15 9:31 PM
in reply to: #654530

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Dallas, TX
Subject: RE: Stagecoach Century
Great race report and ride! Terrific job on finishing!

Yea, those fingers can get numb... QUICK! Last year, I rode with thin full fingered gloves... in 30-40 degree weather. My fingers were always numb.

This year, I bought some REAL gloves. Very thick and my fingers are very toasty inside of them.

I have also learned to pack toe warmers in my shoes to keep my toes from going numb.

Now, the real question is.... why didn't you RUN after the ride?

2007-01-15 9:41 PM
in reply to: #654530

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Los Angeles, CA
Subject: RE: Stagecoach Century
Hey Tom,

Great race report! It was a pleasure to ride with you. Let me know when you're ready for a double.


Edited by MikeB 2007-01-15 9:46 PM
2007-01-15 11:04 PM
in reply to: #654530

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Ann Arbor, MI
Subject: RE: Stagecoach Century
I still get cold thinking about that ride

Great job mentally making it through the ride. I know it was harder for you mentally than physically and I appreciate the fact that you guys stuck it out for me, that means a lot to me I had fun riding with you and I hope we can ride again soon...when the weather warms up a bit.
2007-01-16 1:24 PM
in reply to: #654530

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Subject: RE: Stagecoach Century
Great race report! I'm still in awe of you guys for doing that. I think it's awesome that you all came together and pulled each other through it. Makes it that much sweeter! Awesome job!
2007-01-16 4:58 PM
in reply to: #654530

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Littleton, Colorado
Subject: RE: Stagecoach Century
Fantastic report!  Way to tough it out through some brutal conditions and fight the mental war!  Great experience to have under your belt.
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