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Monday, April 20, 2015

Mulholland Challenge 120 miler

One of the toughest local rides.  121 miles, 13000+ feet of climbing.  I did it last year, proud to complete it, wanted to do it again.

This was not an easy ride.  But that's why I do it, to prove I can.  And I faced some challenges, may have thought about cutting the ride short, but I did finish.

Climbing "Rock Store", mile 50ish

 I have to admit, I wasn't the best prepared.  My longest ride was a bit over 5 hours, I had missed a couple of mid-week rides over the course of a few months, and spent the week before the event on vacation in Costa Rica.

I felt good until the Decker Road climb, around mile 75.  Then exhaustion set in.

Descending "Rock Store", mile 85ish


The last major climb was Stunt Road.  Stunt is 4 miles long.  It's not very steep. I've done it before.  In fact, I've done REPEATS on Stunt, where I've spent a couple hours just riding up and down the hill.  But at about mile 97 on the course, it's bruital.

And, it's at about this time that a killer cramp set into my left foot.  Every pedal stroke killed.  And yet I had more than 20 miles to go...  There were a couple of guys who I could tell were hurting too.  I got behind a couple of them to draft so they could pull me up the hill.
Mile 100.  Feeling worn down, in pain.

With one mile to go from the top of Stunt, the pain became unbearable, and I had to get off my bike, shortly after this picture was taken.  I took my left shoe off.  I stretched my toes, wiggled them around.  The pain got better, surprisingly, and I put my shoe back on, and started walking my bike a bit.

The SAG vehicle pulled up and asked if I was ok, if I needed water, bars, anything.  Ice, I asked?  Nope, they had no ice.  But I knew there was an aid station in a mile that had ice.  Clumsily, I got back on the bike and slowly, and with less pain, rode to the top of the hill.

I tried to troubleshoot the situation --  why did I cramp up in my foot?  Not enough electrolytes?  After all, I was drinking only water on the ride and not an electrolyte solution because it wasn't too hot outside.  Maybe I needed caffeine?  How about icing the foot, a suggestion from a friend I texted when I had gotten off the bike a mile earlier.

So... I drank some Perpetuum with electrolytes, took a salt tab, iced my foot on a can of Coke Zero and ate three peanut butter and jelly half sandwiches.  Was the PBJ therapeutic to the situation?  Probably not but it made me happy.  And then I drank the Coke Zero, telling myself that maybe a little caffeine would help.

After about 10 minutes at the aid station I was back on the bike.  20 miles to the finish.  I felt more energized.  A couple shorter climbs, and I was done!


Pleased to be done.  I will use the experience from this ride for the L'Etape ride up Mount Baldy next month, which might be even tougher.