Ojai Valley Century

Yesterday I attempted my first ever century ride – the Ojai Valley Century. A few months ago, when I booked it, I made myself a training plan to log lots of long rides with lots of mile in between. It did not work the way I planned it. I have spent lots of time dealing with trip to and from Hemet to visit an ailing morther in law, and trips after her death to deal with her affairs. There have been trips to Riverside to visit with her daugther, who has always been in her mothers care until now… now she is in a mental hospital.

On top of that my ongoing health problems have cost me many an afternoon with massage and doctor appointments… the latest was a spot on my ankle that would not go away. Some medicine from the dermatologist seems to be working, but there went a few more afternoons…. so far…

All the above to say that I have not ridden enough miles to be truly ready. Yet, I my long rides had made their way up to 70 so I felt I would be able to finish….

Two more wrenches came along though to impede my progress. I did something to my shoulder / neck at the Clayve almost two weeks ago. It is slowly getting better but is still not 100 percent. The other obstacle was our decision to do mother in law’s estate sale the same weekend as the ride. It turns out that the neighborhood in which she resided was having a HUGE yard sale 130 different houses held sales the same day. They handled the advertising and permits. We went down to Hemet Thursday and started moving things to the garage to get them ready. We got up at 5 on Friday and started moving things into the yard. By 6 people were starting to come. There was a non stop onslaught of shoppers until the posted quit time of 1 pm… 20 minutes later, before we could clean up more people began to arrive. We finally closed around 3. During that time I was selling things and constantly moving things to the front yard. When we were finished we were all exhausted. I volunteered to skip the ride and stay at the sale for Saturday but Cheryl, Annie and a friend Brian agreed they could handle it…. Most of the big things were gone…

I went to bed early to prepare for a 3 am wake up, for the extra long ride from Hemet to Ojai. Some time in the evening I got a cramp in my right adductor. It toom 5 minutes or so to figure how the right stretch to make it stop..

All the above to say I arrived at the ride already tired and physically exhausted.

Clay and Adam (Clay’s partner at valley physical therapy) met me there. We took off pretty quickly. It was cool and slightly downhill. We were flying past people as I drafted Adam and Clay. I thought to myself –  that’s right… we’re fast….. There was a slight incline, not a hill, just a little incline. Adam and Clay stood for 2 or 3  cranks and flew over it. I stood and felt my right calf on the verge of a muscle cramp. I fell a little behind and caught up on the downside. On the next slightly longer incline the pulled away. From then on, they rode ahead and waited for me at the refreshment stations.

My legs held in pretty good over Casitas Pass with two pretty good inclines and then down to the station. They said I was 6 minutes behind them. We continued northwest and made a loop in the Santa Barbara / Mendocino area. There was once again another pretty good hill. At one point though they waited for me. I saw Adam ahead and flew by hoping that his GO PRO video cam was on for my one and only overtaking of the day. The pulled ahead but I found a group of 3 others and we rode together to the nest station.

I started this next segment having completed 40 miles. A little up and then a down brought us to the beach for a water front bike path. At 50 I was still thinking “I can do this!”  At 52, though things were feeling much worse. Heading into Ventura we went over a little train overpass. My right calve was cramping and the left adductor felt on the verge. I limped into the next station with almost 60 miles.

Ahead of me was 20 miles of fairly flat riding a 10 mile incline in 90 plus heat and a downhill finish. OR, if I left the Century route and took the Metric Centry route to the finish I would have a 16 mile gradual incline up the Ojai bike path back to Ojai. I made the wise choice (or wimped out, depending on your point of view) and headed straight back to Ojai. Clay and Adam continued on the 100.

The next 8 miles or so I was riding faster than 15 on the incline. Then, once again the fatigue got to me. I had to stop 2 or 3 times to relief calf cramps… I finally made it to the finish with just under 75 miles. Still – this becomes my 2nd longest ride ever. I had lunch and waited a while for Adam and Clay. Then I thought I would drive to them and encourage them. I drove all the way to Santa Paula and never saw them…But they both finished! Good Job Clay and Adam!

My final stats came in at 74.4 miles at an average of 14.5 mph.  I’m happy with it…. Thinking on getting a better bike….

3 thoughts on “Ojai Valley Century

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