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  1. #16
    Join Date
    May 2006
    San Jose, CA

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    Quote Originally Posted by maillotpois View Post
    um... you kind of left out the part where we turned up Pantoll and went up Tam a second time....

    Well done all - and thanks for the excellent SAG support Lee and jobob!!!
    Yeah, I was going to say, didn't we climb Mt. Tam 3 or 4 times? OK it was only twice. Geeze.

    Very nice write up, Jobob. I have to say that the heat was the hard part - it makes my feet hurt intensely, and that's not very inspiring. This is to say that the training has been - phenomenal. I'm amazed and completely impressed by the training I've gotten from MP & TNT. You're right, I didn't notice White's Hill, and the Marshall Wall was quite doable. And after the heat let up and I wasn't cursing my feet, I actually felt pretty fresh. This was at 95 miles.

    So I guess I can do this Death Ride, and I have an awesome group of coaches to thank for that. Coaches, support folks, and a great group of people to ride with.

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    San Jose, CA

    It was a crazy fun ride!

    Wow, what a ride! I decided to use the ride as an "audition" for a different bike with a custom crankset. This was my last chance to try the different bike (Merlin) on a big ride; if it didn't work, I would use my Trek (which I'd been using for training) on the Death Ride. You may think it's crazy to try a different bike on a ride like this, and you'd be right. But, it was a calculated craziness -- the non-custom crankset on my other bike was KILLING my lower back on the steep sustained climbs, and I wanted to see how my back would do with the custom crankset. Besides, TnT rides are well supported, so if I couldn't finish the ride, I knew I could take the SAG back to the start/finish point.

    I knew it was going to be hot, and I knew I did horribly in the heat on our Mt. Hamilton/Sierra Rd. climbfest last month. Think Agony of Defeat -- that's how horribly I did. Since that debacle, I'd learned to pace myself on the hills and keep my heart rate in Zone 3. It'd worked really well for me on the "Terrible One" ride, and it also worked at Altitude Camp. This was my first opportunity to try the strategy in the heat.

    Unfortunately, as I was riding up Tam, I found that I could not keep my heart rate out of Zone 4. I went slower and slower, lagging way behind the group, and my heart rate was still up there. Good grief. Sometimes I have a hard time warming up, and then everything magically clicks together after 5 or so miles. But no, the magic 5 mile mark came and went, and I still couldn't keep my heart rate down in an acceptable Zone. I caught up to my group at the first SAG stop, explained my issue to the coach and told him that I was just going to take it easy and see what happened.

    Dachshund hung back with me, and we summited Mt. Tam together -- what a spectacular view!! You could see the SF Bay and the Pacific Ocean, the various bridges, the skyline of San Francisco -- it was breath-taking.

    We turned around at the summit -- it was probably 9 or 9:30 in the morning and already approaching the 90's in temp. My heart rate was still up there, and I had visions of passing out when I got to the Bob's SAG stop at the top of the Marshall Wall.

    Fortunately, we got a brief respite from the heat. We descended down to Hwy 1, and you could feel the marine layer and its merciful drop in temperature. I got ahead of some of my team on the descent, but figured they'd catch me (and pass me) on the next climb, so I kept rolling. One thing about that Merlin -- it's solid as a rock on descents and very confidence inspiring. I enjoyed watching my heart rate drop, as I coasted downhill and let the cool air wash over my body.

    All good things must come to an end, though. We had to climb back to the ridgeline of Mt. Tam. Up went the heart rate. What a surprise. Another TnT coach passed me with his group, and I explained my obsession with my heart rate. After asking a couple of questions, he gave me the best advice at the time: "Mel, sometimes you just have to ignore it!"

    Well all right! If the heart rate wanted to be in Zone 4, so be it. If I blew up further down the ride, so be it -- I'd get a ride back in, or find a short cut back to the start/finish. From that point on, I just kept a steady pace that I thought I could maintain.

    My group wasn't catching up to me on the climbs, so I decided to wait for them at the SAG stop at Olema. What a SAG stop it was -- the Doors & Jimi Hendrix were blasting from his car stereo, and Gerry (the guy running the SAG stopped) walked around offering various snacks to the riders. They had chocolate covered Rice Krispy treats, stuffed olives, PB&J, and I forget what else. Coca Cola in the coolers, V8, pretty much anything you could think of, and served with a magnificent smile.

    After regrouping, we headed up Hwy 1 to the Marshall Wall, where we stopped to talk about what various ailments we had. Dachshund's feet were very unhappy, and the rest of us were suffering from ... uh ... saddle issues. Up the Marshall Wall we went. I rode by maillotpois, who teased me about my Dinner Plate rear cassette. Oh yeah, a 34 is a lovely thing to have when you're climbing a ton of hills!

    Are very own Jobob and Leebob were at the top of the Marshall Wall, dispensing refreshments. Among other things, they had Sport Beans(!) and Chamois Butter. They had a lot of great refreshments, but what I really remember is chatting with the Bob's at the top of the hill and talking about the possibility of grabbing a beer after the ride. I found a private place to put on the Chamois Butter and found out that it kind of burns when you put it on raw skin.

    Well, we still had plenty of ride left to do, so the Bob's told us (nicely) to scram, and we headed out to Wilson Hill. This is where I started noticing the heat again and started counting down the miles left in the ride. I got to the top of Wilson, didn't bother to stop at the SAG at the top, and descended. Fun descent -- I think I exceeded 40 mph on this stretch! However, we had to ascend the fun descent, which wasn't as fun in the heat. Got back to the top, refilled my water at the SAG, and put some sunscreen on my bright red arms.

    At this point, it was just Will and I -- the rest of our group had headed back before we ascended the other side of Wilson. The ride was pretty much done -- I think we had 20 miles left to go, and a couple of little climbs -- Nicasion and Whites Hill.

    Will and I had the best time on the way back. We were both pretty tired and punchy; I start talking to myself when I get to the state, and Will's not the kind of guy who will let that go. We laughed about it and discussed various end of ride strategies. His is to pick an inspiring song and sing it to himself when he gets to the point of being wiped out.

    We chatted about lots of subjects, and the next thing you know, we were over Nicasio and Whites Hill, and meandering thru the lovely streets of San Anselmo back to our start/finish point in Kentfield.

    All told, it was 117.5 miles with 10,442 feet of climbing (according to Sport Tracks.) As others have mentioned, there's no way I could have gotten ready for a ride of this caliber without the help of maillotpois and her marvelous team of coaches and support personnel. I'm amazed that they've been able to get a group with such a wide variety of cycling abilities ready for the Death Ride.
    I'll get back on the bike soon, I promise!



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