Ride: 104.3 miles, 8:32 moving time (10:09 elapsed), 10,433 ft elevation, 44 Strava trophies.
Breathless Agony Century ride is in Redlands, CA. The weather has been rainy and sporadic all week. Traditionally, the ride’s final climb is to Onyx Summit, which is on the way to Big Bear Lake, CA. Since there was snow falling at the Summit on Friday (the day before the event), the Ride Director changed the route, and the final climb was re-routed.
I rode in Lynda’s Sprinter van with Bill, Bob, Luis, Gregg. We met Mike and Ryan out there. We checked in and started from Sylvan Park, which across the street from the University of Redlands. We took off at 6:30am. The real dilemma was figuring out what to wear for 100 miles in very iffy weather. I chose wisely. I had a turtleneck base layer, jersey, and Gore jacket (sleeves unzip). I wore long cycling pants, REI wool socks, and shoe tip covers. Fully fingered, GORE glove, I call these my snow ball gloves.
The ride winds its way out of Redlands through an old historic section of Redland, old old Victoria style homes. We rode past the orange orchards and up the FIRST CLIMB out to the desert flatlands of Moreno Valley.
Jack Rabbit Trail is a “paved trail” up the second climb. The ‘road’ is blown out and totally bumpy, and I use the term ‘road’ generously with Jack Rabbit Trail. Since it rained the last couple days, there were muddy and puddly sections. At check in, they distributed plastic bags and rubber bands for this section. The bags were to protect your cleats from getting mud and rendering your cleats inoperable. While avoiding all the crazy rutted out and pot-hole laden rode, you don’t even notice you’re climbing 5-6%. Near the end of the trail, there was a 20 ft long puddle. We got off our bikes and put on the bags over our feet and carried our bikes like cyclocross maniacs. My foot slipped and went down into the puddle’s deep abyss. I could feel the water seeping into my shoe. I quickly passed through and ripped off the bag. My sock was damp; it was wet but not soaking.
The next section was on the Freeway, for about 1.5 miles. Terrifying cuz the huge trucks were swooshing past us. Thankfully, there was a large shoulder area to ride in.
Rest Stop was great. Actually, all the SAG stops were terrific. They had candy, bananas, oranges, bacon (at Stop #3). Hammer Heed and Perpetuem (which I use all the time! score!). I loved the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and bananas. I ate my rice cakes too, but they weren’t as satisfying as in years past.
Our gang stayed together all day long, and regrouping throughout the day. It was great fun that way.
The next climb was a long and steady 11 mile climb up Oak Glen. I met the mascot Grim Reaper, by the Riley Apple Farms. It was a huge steep climb 8-10% for miles. It got misty near the top and we were concerned that it may start raining, but we lucked out.
The descent is crazy fast. Top speed is limited by the switchbacks and bumpy roads.
Rest Stop #2.
Next Climb is to Angelus Oaks, via Damnation Alley. This climb is crazy and unrelenting. Damnation Alley is a 10 miles fairly straight shot up the mountain through the valley. Then, it starts climbing along the side of the mountain with switchbacks and usually mountain road. At the top, it was misty and cold.
Rest Stop #3
Everyone was really cold. We refilled, and use the restroom and took off as soon as possible. It started to sprinkle and so we took off right away. The descent is 12 miles and terribly cold. I was shivering and shaking, my fingers went numb and icy cold. Braking got a little tricky with limited finger use. See the pictures! At the bottom, it was considerably warmer. But, my fingers were still numb and unusable. I made a new friend Ellen. She was an empathetic volunteer, she offered her armpits to warm up my fingers. It was weirdly awkward yet pragmatically helpful.
The last climb was up Oak Glen in the reverse direction. I was very tired at this point. I fell off the back and was crawling up the mountain. It was again 8-10% for 4 miles. The descent was great. but very bumpy.
Rest Stop #4
They handed out the dogtag medal here. and we all sat down and rested for a bit. One of the Ride Organizers interviewed us. Hopefully, I’ll get a copy or link I can add to this post later. It was really fun.
The last 15 miles back to Redlands was along a pretty good road and we had a great pace line going. Gregg was pulling the train most of the time, until he got a flat. Obviously, we had to help and wait with him, since he was going to pull us all the way back.
At each rest stop, the volunteers check you in and record your time.
We went out for a lovely Italian dinner nearby. Surprisingly good food!
Breathless Agony is the second leg of the King of the Mountain Series. Mulholland Challenge was the first leg. And, Heartbreak 100 is the third leg. I’m not signed up for Heartbreak 100. It’s hard to get all the stars to align for KOM events.