The 100 mile Giro di Peninsula is in the books! The last fifty miles made for a tough day in the saddle, but the ride overall was fun. Jorge, Richard, and Stephen are absolute beasts on the bike; they are so fast and have so much endurance. They will have no problems conquering the five passes that make up the Death Ride next month. Her’e’s the KLIMB profile for the route. I made a mistake at the beginning, so there’s a little extra mileage on top of the 100-miles.
I started the day at 5:15 pm, getting my bike in order and my clothes for the ride. I put my iPhone in my Blackberry case. Since it has a camera, I’d ended up using the iPhone to take the photos in this gallery. Plus, it’s my phone! And it does email and the Internet? Yes, I’m such an Apple loyalist. I’ll be talking more about the iPhone in the coming days and weeks, but I have to say that this is an amazing device. It makes other phones look like toys or outdated technology relics.
I arrived at the starting line at Bay Meadows around 6:15 am. Soon, Jorge, Richard, and Stephen arrived. We signed in, got a few snacks, and were on our way before 7:00 am. For the next 8+ hours, we cycled from:
- San Mateo to Canada Road
- Canada Road to Woodside
- Up Woodside to Skyline
- Down Stage Road to Pescadero
- Up Tunitas Creek back to Skyline
- Down Kings Mountain to Woodside
- Woodside to Alpine Road
- Alpine to Arastradero
- Arastradero to Page Mill Road
- Page Mill to Altamont (thank the lords we didn’t have to climb all the way up Page Mill)
- Altamont to Foothill
- Foothill back to Alpine Road
- Alpine to Woodside
- Woodside to Canada Road
- Canada Road back to Bay Meadows in San Mateo
Phew! That’s quite the ride, with over 7,000 feet of vertical climbing! The first fifty miles took up to the top of Tunitas Creek, and was not as bad as the last fifty miles. The climb up Woodside was pretty good, especially in the morning where there weren’t many cars. I was able to keep up with Jorge, Stephen, and Richard, though my HR was in the 170’s — not a good sign if I wanted to go all the way today. The descent down to Pescadero was great, especially since my added mass (i.e. fat) allowed me to descend like a demon down 84. My extra weight, however, became an albatross as we began the climb up Tunitas. It was the first time where I told the gang to “Go on ahead. I’ll meet you at the top.”
Is My Bike Holding Me Back?
I learned right before the ride that my freewheel and hub on my rear wheel is busted. Normally, you can spin the rear wheel and it will spin for dozens of revolutions. With my bike, the wheel stops after only three turns! I think this has been happening for many years. The sknnny is that I’ve been riding with a rear wheel that’s constantly providing resistance with every turn! I guess this explains why I haven’t been feeling very strong on the hills like I have in the past. I have to get this fixed before the Death Ride.
The descent down Kings Mountain was technical, so I took my time going down the 1,600 foot climb. There were many excellent riders doing the 100-mile course, and some of them were descending Kings very quickly. I’m still a little too squirrelly downhill, and it’s a skill I need to develop.
At the start of Portola Valley going towards Alpine, there’s a short but steep climb. At the time, we were riding single file at a fast clip. Once we hit the hill, however, I hit the wall and cracked. Richard, Jorge, and Stephen rode away from me (and the group we were with) like I was standing still. After 60 miles, I had very little in the tank and decided to “pack it in” and ride conservatively over the next 40 miles. Fortunately, they waited for me at the rest stops.
There was a really bad accident between a car and a cyclist on Alpine. I saw lots of blood on the ground, which is not a good sign. I don’t know many details about the accident, but it was clear that the person was seriously injured. I’m always concerned when cars are passing by a pack of cyclists, especially on climbs. Fortunately for me (knock on wood), I have never been seriously injured on my rides, although I have been hit twice by cars. Richard was telling us later on that there were three major accidents on the ride, including someone going over the railing down Altamont. Stephen notes that Richard almost went down when a rider in front of him locked up her brakes coming down Kings Mountain. As a result, he locked his brakes and did a crazy spin right in front of Stephen, who would have been right in his path had he crashed. Good thing that didn’t happen as Kings is not like Stage 9 from the 2003 Tour, with a sudden drop replacing hay fields off the main road!
Suffering Over the Last 40 Miles
The climb up Page Mill again witnessed me saying to Jorge, Stephen, and Richard, “Go on ahead; I’ll see you at the top.” It was good that we only had to cycle up 2 miles, since I don’t think I could have climbed all of Page Mill today. The rolling hills that followed for the next 36 miles were not fun for my tired and cramping legs, but I stuck it out and made it to the finish.
Our reward? Yummy Italian food! I had two plates before heading back to Santa Clara.
Stephen’s computer states we rode for about 100 miles at 15mph average speed. Total rolling time (not counting stops at the rest stops) was 6:35. Not bad!
Enjoy the photos from the ride. Death Ride is only two weeks away! After this ride, I’m cautiously optimistic that my goal of three passes will be achieved.