With the Hells Gate Hundred fast approaching, Marcus and I planned to do a relatively flat century. He had a route that his club had laid out so we planned to ride it this past Saturday. We would start in North Hills and then ride south to Rancho Palos Verdes and back. Mostly flat, but we’d be climbing the Sepulveda Pass twice.
It was just below 50 degrees when we started, and I had forgotten my cold weather gear. As we headed through Woodley Park there was still a mist floating in the air. The sun couldn’t come up fast enough for me. I was freezing. Before long we were headed directly into the sun and I began to thaw out. Just in time for the climb up Sepulveda Pass.
Sepulveda Pass wasn’t too bad, but it quickly became clear that Marcus was much faster than me. This was our first time riding together, and he had told me that he wasn’t much of a climber. Not that it mattered, but I think we were both thinking that we’d be able to keep each other’s pace. Well, I was wrong. I was working hard to keep up. I was ok with raising my pace, but I also knew that we had a long ways to go, so I’d have to back off at some point. We regrouped at the top of the pass and headed down the hill. I couldn’t even keep up on the descents! Damn, this was going to be a fast day.
My Overall Average on the 300k ended up being 10.8 mph, so I was looking forward to riding faster today. I wasn’t sure how much faster I could do it, but I knew that if I just hung on to his wheel, it would pay off. Before long we were in Santa Monica and then Venice. We rode around the marina and made our way to the bike paths. The GPS was confused and gave me some directions that I’d never seen before. It told us to “Board Ferry”.
I think it was about 15 miles or so of bike paths down to Rancho Palos Verdes. It was pretty straightfoward except for one section. We missed a turn and ended up in the end of a campground. We had to portage the bikes across the sand back to path so we could continue on.
By the time we were to end of Redondo Beach we had separated yet again. There were 2 ways up to the road, and we each ended up taking a different one. So at some point I think I leapfrogged him on the road. I kept riding up to the turn around point and when I got there, he was nowhere to be found. After a quick phone call, we decided to regroup back at the beach. This ended up cutting our ride short a little. On my way back to the beach I chatted with some Triple Crown riders about the differences between double centuries and brevets. They sound like fun rides, and the plus side is that you only have to ride 200 miles per event. I know it sounds ridiculous, but compared to the longer brevets, only 200 miles is a walk in the park.
The ride back was pretty uneventful. The miles disappeared pretty fast. On the climb back up Sepulveda I chatted with 4 riders from Toronto. They had just ridden from San Francisco to Los Angeles. They were flying back the next day and were just out enjoying one more bike ride in LA. They’d heard about the Fargo Street Climb and were hoping to go and try climbing it for themselves. Pretty cool huh?
Here’s the route that we did. Click the title link to open it in another window. It’s just easier to see that way.
In the end I did set a new personal record. 12.8 Overall mph! 7 hours total time for 90 miles 6 hours of riding and 1 hour of stops. If I could maintain that average over 189 miles, then I would’ve saved 3 hours on the 300k. That’s a big difference. I still need to work on getting the stops shorter. It’s easy to waste a lot of time at every stop. Thanks to Marcus for letting me ride with him, and for pushing me. Next time I hope to be able to do it even faster!