Monday, June 17, 2013

A little ride while away from home

Hello everyone, Puli here. I know it's been a while since our last entry. Like we said on our IronMan report, we were going to try to take it easy at least during the month of June. We know we have a race scheduled for July and a few after that, but they are shorter and our bodies simply been asking for the rest. So we've been listening.

On one end, I've been traveling for work a bit, so it is making putting a significant amount of training a bit harder than before, the beauty of working on deadlines, but I'm glad that IM training is over and I've been able to focus on work, afterall, we don't get paid to train or compete and we need to work to pay for our expensive hobby.

Working hasn't been all I've done, I've been able to put a few runs here and there, somehow the legs are not there yet, they feel sore still sometimes, which is weird because when running or riding I don't really feel much pain. Haven't been swiming much because we recently got our IM Tats.. yes we did it!..

his and hers... matching IM tats... wanted to make it something meaningful for both of us

Courtesy of Paul's Cycling Racing Team, they took a pic of a pic

Anyways, besides that we've been kind of training separately, I've been doing my usual rides in Oregon, and Res has been riding with the team back home.

Yesterday I had a chance to do a ride here in Oregon which believe it or not is pretty famous out here. It is called the McKenzie Pass, even though the "official" ride starts at Sisters, OR I figured since I was comming from Corvallis/Eugene area was easier to start from the west end and head over east. The beauty of the ride, besides the landscape and hard climbs, is that the actual pass is closed to car traffic every winter and they open it back up mid June to cars. Yesterday was the last day it was closed to cars therefore making it the last day that you could ride it carless. I learned about the ride from some friends from work who were doing it on Friday but since I had those infamous deadlines I worked.

Group I eneded up riding with (a few missing)

I got my usual bike at Peaks which was pretty awesome to me this time, gave me a complimentary bike rental, I guess I got now a frequent rider pass :). So for that thanks Peaks!. I headed back to the hotel pretty early on Friday as the drive to McKenzie Bridge, OR is about 1:45 from Corvallis, it's a nice drive and not that complicated to get there. I headed out there like at 7:00 am after grabbing cinnamon rolls and fruit at the hotel, which were good source of energy. I grabbed a few bananas for the road and headed out. As I passed Eugene and took 126 East to head to McKenzie Bridge I noticed a few cars that had bikes in them or on them, so I figured I was heading in the right direction. A few miles east of the town, I saw that everyone was turning right to the Ranger Station, which from what I read was the starting point. As I was getting my bike out of the car, I saw a few folks and I asked them if I could ride with them. They said that they had done it in the past so it would be nice go with some people rather than climbing alone. We headed out as as we entered the road 242 that leads to the pass we caught up with a group of 11 or 12 riders from Salem that were keeping a nice pace, I ended up sticking to them. My original plan was to summit and head back down, but while we were climibing and talking to everyone they convince me to head to Sisters for lunch and head back. That meant that I would have a few things... 1) double the ride distance, 2) would be in for climbing the summit twice, granted the second climb is about 2/3 the first climb but still a climb right after lunch. So considering that I haven't done a long ride since IMTX, by long I mean longer than 25-27 miles, I was getting into something I wasn't sure I was ready for. I knew it was 40 miles of climbing at least. But after talking with them for 20 miles... they conviced me to go up down and back up again... so I stayed with them. Got to the summit, hang out there for a while and then headed down to Sisters for lunch. Nice town, small, a tons for shops, and we also found a cycling shop so we bought some mixes for our drinks, which was good, because I hadn't plan on 4 bottles, I had only planned on 2. 

Mt. Washington from Windy Point :) and sea of lava and of course... the "mistress"

Anyways, heading back from Sisters, it is interesting, because when you get to Sisters, you don't go down to the 1400 ft that you start on the other end, you go down to about 2500 ft or so, yet you have to go back up to 5200 ft which is the summit. It is a 15 mile climb, which I honestly thought was a bit tougher than the 25 mile 3100 ft climb, legs burned almost the whole way, and heart rate was just through the roof and of course I was starting to get tired about 3/4 of the way up. I pulled over at about 4900 ft to take a quick break and enjoy the view, I knew we had some people from the team behind so I wasn't last.

View of Three Sisters from Sisters, OR
So after that short break, I continued by climb to the top, we waited for the rest, took a gel and headed on the 25 mile ride "downhill" stretch. It was actually a bit more interesting than I anticipated, luckly I was wearing my windbreaker because we had a headwind going down, granted we were still pushing 27-30 mph going down, but the wind and false flats of that stretch made it somewhat tough. Got to the snow gates met the rest of them, and we continued down, we split up because those guys were just flying going down, I guess need to practice more my downhill skills, those switchbacks at 30 mph are kind of hard, and I surely didn't want to end up in the ditch, it was fun though :). (max speed on the downhill 36.6 as recorded on the Garmin)

The "Mistress" overlooking the Three Sisters
Total ride time was about 5:40 for 80 miles (78 and change as the Garmin said). Total climb +6000 feet, best ride ever, in terms of challenging climbs, views, people, roads, all of it, was great. Totally recommended if you ever have a chance to come this way. Definitely plan for a whole day trip, come prepared for different weather, we started at 55-deg and at the top was clear and maybe 60-deg, the wind going down and with the sweat makes it for a cold ride. Riders that had done it, said that there are sometimes that they get to the top and its snowing and raining, while at the bottom might be just cloudy.

Hard not to smile with that view!!!
If you want to see more pics from the ride, you can click HERE

 For now, looking forward to go home for a couple of weeks and putting some training hours there. Perhaps starting to get back into the training discipline and get ready for the Olympic in July.