Sunday, November 7, 2010

Part 4 - Bring a Good Can Opener (or better yet, home-made adobo)

"What?" said one of they guys..... "What broke?"

"The can opener" someone replied. This was a stunning development.

This happened a FEW MONTHS EARLIER, at the Spring Death Valley Double Century. Right after that ride, we gathered at our hotel room at 12-midnight to eat. The restaurant was closed at that hour, but we knew that beforehand, so the day before, at Baker (100 miles from our hotel in Amargosa), Louie bought canned sardines and a can-opener at the liquor store. We also brought a rice cooker.

We had a pot of freshly made steamed rice, and we were going to have CANNED SARDINES at the hotel room. There were 7 of gathered us in the hotel room: Julius, Jesse (who both debuted their 200-milers), Pete, Francis, Victor, Ricky, Louie N, and myself (Mandy). (Jun Usi finished the ride too but was in another room with his wife and daughter Lina and Erika, who earlier in the day bought dinner for him before the restaurant closed.)

We each burned about 8,000 calories to complete 200 miles. (In comparison the average person burns 2,000 calories in a day.) AdventureCorps biking & marathon events are the best-stocked and supported rides: They have Subway sandwiches for lunch, pizza after the ride. All the rest-stops have just what you need to refuel during the ride: Water, bananas, powder drinks, electrolytes, energy bars, Hammer products, PBJs, dates, pretzels, hot cup-o-noodles, soda, etc.

But you cannot stuff yourself with 8,000 calories worth of food during the 12-17 hours that you're biking 200 miles, for many reasons. One is, during intense athletic activity, your stomach doesn't have the usual energy to digest it. Yes, the stomach, like any other organ, needs energy to do its specialized work of digesting food.

During a 200-mile bike ride, you're probably at your aerobic capacity for most of most of the ride. When sustaining such an effort over a span of 12-17 hours, the body will concentrate blood flow to the brain and limbs, leaving less energy for the stomach. That means you won't be craving food. (You're burning fat and muscle to make up the caloric deficit). And even if you manage to stuff yourself with food, your stomach would "protest", by giving you a bloated feeling: The food is just sitting there, not getting digested fast enough. No matter how much you eat in one seating, the stomach can only process and send 300 calories to the bloodstream. Bottom line: During the ride, although we each burn over 8,000 calories, but can only eat 5,000 calories.

After the ride, once you start relaxing, your stomach gets its mojo back, and the hunger pangs come.

But the restaurant was closed. So we had our rice and canned sardines readied to tide us over.

But after opening the FIRST can of sardines, the cheap, FLIMSY can opener CAME APART ! Yes, it came apart. We couldn't believe it.

Seven hungry guys, a pot of rice, and only ONE can of sardines. We couldn't open the other cans.

Fortunately someone made hard-boiled eggs. Still... dinner of rice and hard-boiled eggs and a smearing of sardines isn't quite satisfying.

It must have made an impression on Julius, because this time around, at this 2010 Fall Edition of the Death Valley Double, his wife prepared HOME MADE CHICKEN ADOBO for everyone the night before our trip, froze it in Glad containers. We defrosted and warmed it on a gas burner on the lawn outside our hotel room. It was DELICIOUS. George V. came by and had some too. Thanks Julius and wife !!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Part 3/Final Report: Oct 2010 Death Valley Ride

START: So we set out at 7AM, wet and cold. After a few miles of chaotic formation, we were warmed up, but the Adobos were already splintered because each individual had varying times required to warm up.

No problem: The weather dried up, so Francis stopped the front group to remove raincoats, and wait for the rest.

Stoppage to regroup

MORNING ADOBO PACELINE: After regrouping, we formed an Adobo paceline. The stronger riders took turns in front. I must mention them and thank them: Francis, Jesse, Louie F., Elpidio, Pete. It was SILENTLY UNDERSTOOD that the other riders were to CONSERVE and not put any work in front. The ADOBO TRAIN overtook countless riders and even other groups along the way. Some of them joined our paceline.

We were intact for the first 50 miles, and then splintered during the last 20-miles (featuring climbs) to Scotty's Castle. Arriving in the front group were "A" riders Francis, Pete, Jesse, Louie F., Elpidio, who carried other non-Adobo cyclists whom they picked up along the way. Behind were Dennis, Jun, Manny, Rosalie, Louie N. Then Julius and Shangrila. I myself got dropped to last place. I begin to doubt my training.

The century riders Ricky, Lester, and Victor were already at Scotty's waiting for us 2X riders. All the Adobos regrouped there. It was Mile # 50 for the century riders, and Mile # 70 for the 2X's. We had lunch. We saw Reggie of Sta Clarita Velo there, he joined our group.

From Scotty's Castle the century riders u-turned, while the 2x riders headed to Nevada to Mile 100 checkpoint (we would come back to Scotty's later on the return trip.)

Francis and Elpidio waited at Scotty's for Reggie to finish lunch.

EARLY AFTERNOON ADOBO PACELINE: The rest of us went ahead. The start of the stage was a 5 mile climb. We had cold muscles, stiffened legs and full stomach, thus magnifying the difficulty of the slope. The group splintered. Pete and Dennis were strong and slowly pulled away. I got my 2nd wind and started to chase them. Dropped behind were Jun Usi, Rosalie, Manny, Shangrila and Louie N.

Later I saw Pete and Dennis stopped for photos. I plowed ahead, all the way to the Nevada Mile 100 checkpoint all alone. Pete and Elpidio overtook me along the way, and as they did I stuck with their wheel, but only for a minute (which was all the energy I could muster). Then I let go.

Way behind me, everyone else regrouped, and rode in a paceline all the way to Mile 100, pulled variously by Francis, Louie F. and Jesse. We all regrouped at Mile 100.

The narrative of the next 26 miles back to Scotty's was told in part 1.

At Scotty's Castle we regrouped. The more difficult stages were ahead, and we already had 126 miles in our legs. We still had to climb up to the crater , and Hell's Gate.

BUT WHY? Sometimes I'm asked by my non-cycling friends/relatives...Why? Why do a gruelling 200-mile bike ride? If it hurts, why do you do it again and again? The same question is asked of people who climb Mt Everest. The answer offered is, "Because it's There."

I stumbled upon a theory on this ride: While admiring the desert scenery far from civilation, I wondered about life before civilization.

Like Pre-Civilization

Before Man invented agriculture, he hunted for food far away from home base.

Prehistoric man's foraging strategies were no different from long distance biking (although his was a matter of survival, not recreation). But the point is, it must still be deep in our DNA thousands of years later.

Prehistoric man arose before dawn with his buddies, rain or shine, and set out to hunt. Check.

To seek out prey they walked (easy pace), ran (hard pace), and sprinted (full-out). Check that too.

Occasionally they stopped to rest, eat, or take a dump (sorry, there's no gentle way to say it). Yeah Check that. And IF they were a close-knit group, they must've told stories and jokes . Perhaps that's how speech got started. Other tribes that were less close-knit took longer to develop speech. Must've been boring in that tribe.

Team work was needed to corner and overcome prey. Check that too.

They hunted until the sun set. Then they u-turned and headed home with their catch. Anyone hurt during the hunt would be carried home. Finally they arrived late at night. Check, Check. Check, and Check.

Heck, even Neantherthal's crouched position was aerodynamic, just put a road bike under his legs.

Point is, it's in our DNA: We can keep going the whole day and into night.
Endurance and the need for camaraderie is in our DNA.

And we needed them in spades. From Scotty's Castle, we had to climb to the crater. It was 4:30pm. By now the century riders Ricky, Lester and Victor, in that order, had arrived at the Furnace Creek finish line. The 2x riders had 70 miles to go.

The crater is a stunning site, but getting there is a short but steep climb. When we got there, it was getting dark.

From the crater, it's a 40 mile trip to the bottom of Mud Canyon road. The stage featured a mix of rollers, some long descents. But there was a headwind.

Our target next stop was Mud Canyon where hot soup waiting.

THE HAPPIEST CLUB ON EARTH - At the start of the stage we were joined by a cyclist named FRANCESCA, who was riding alone until we came along. This was Francesca's 5th 2x of the year. She saw that our group was fun, so she joined in with us. I told her our group of Adobos were riding together and finishing together, and waiting for the weaker riders. As we rode, I told her the story of what happened to me last year (getting dropped big time), and how the group pulled me through. She observed that the group was relaxed and always joking among ourselves.

We were the happiest bike club on Earth.

After a few miles, Manny cramped up and dropped back with Julius and Shangrila. Francis and Louie F stayed with them to pull them.

In the front group were Pete, Jesse, Elpidio, and Dennis trading pulls, with Jun, Rosalie, Louie N, Reggie, Francesca, and myself drafting.

Later Pete, Jesse and Elpidio inched away. Jun and Louie N decided to chase and stick with them. I couldn't, plain and simple. So I dropped back to conserve for the climb later. So did Rosalie and Reggie and Francesca. We rode together. Reggie pulled most of the way.

Meanwhile, in the front group, Jesse and Pete spent many miles pulling, then eased up a bit. At that point, Louie was feeling great and didn't feel like slowing. It so happened to be on the downhill, so he sling-shot himself and dropped everyone!!.

Elpidio, Dennis and Jun watched, not reacting right away. Unfortunately for Louie N, it made Jesse mad. So Jesse immediately gave chase and established contact. The other bad news for Louie was that he underestimated the hill . He ran out of steam before reaching the apex, and was overtaken, and then unceremoniously dropped. (We joked about it later at the hotel.)

Jesse plowed ahead with Pete and Elpidio. Dennis behind, then Louie N and Jun.

We all regrouped at Mud Canyon (the rest-stop before the most difficult stage, the 7-mile climb to Hell's Gate). The SAG volunteers Lina and Erika (Jun's wife and daughter respectively) and Imre set aside hot soup for us.

We had LOTS of time. The climb started. This climb is the race of truth. There is no drafting.

Soon the usual suspects pulled ahead: Pete, Jesse, reached the top first

They were followed by Elpidio, Dennis, Francesca

Followed by me. (Last year I stopped 20 times, this time it felt like an ordinary training lap on GMR.)

Later came Rosalie and Jun. Further behind them were Shangrila, Louie N, Julius, and Manny. With them were Francis and Louie F, two of our strongest riders, who purposely stayed behind to shepherd them.

We regrouped at the top of Hell's Gate.

Then we downhilled 9 miles.

The last 11 miles, we rode a tourist pace to the finish line, in the dark, as a united group, telling stories, laughing, joking, singing.

With less than a mile to go we saw the lights of the finish line. We started to whoop it up. If you were dead tired a while ago, not anymore. The camaraderie was real. There is a feeling, it's called "exuberance". No matter how empty your physical reserves, you feel invincible and on a "high". Perhaps it's a chemical reaction. Defintely an emotion. Whatever it is, it's one of the reasons I went along for this ride.

Most clubs arrive splintered according to individual ability. Nothing wrong with that. Competition is one of the primary reasons for doing this ride. But we arrived together, carrying the proud Adobo colors, along with some friends picked up along the way.

The elite competitors (NOT US) finished in impressive times of 10+ and 11+ hours, riding solo. Adobos came in at 15 hrs 42 mins. We had about 2.5 hours of cumulative stoppage time at rest stops, regrouping. If you're an elite rider with a chance of placing top 5 or 10, of course you should not wait, you should go all out and compete. But none of us were going to place. Might as well ride together and finish together. It was more fun, even for the strong Adobos who had to pull our pack most of the way.

The end (mandy g.)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Part 2: Post-Ride report 2010 Oct Death Valley Double (by Mandy G)

It was cold and sprinking at the start of the ride. Chris Kostman said hey, this is Death Valley, so expect all kinds of weather. Anyway, he said, "This being the desert, it's a DRY RAIN". Everyone laughed.

The basketball legend BILL WALTON was in the group, he was doing the century. He was so exhuberant he kept repeating Thank you Chris Kostman / We love you Chris Kostman. Clearly we was a fan of the outdoors. Later in the ride he would joke with the other Adobo century riders Lester and Ricky, and even literally give them a push with his long arms. A friendly guy, that Bill Walton.

We rolled at 7AM. Many of the Adobo riders were going achieve important milestones in this ride.

VP DENNIS was attempting his first double. He had already purchased a Death Valley jersey in the spring, but didn't feel he earned the right to wear it yet because he missed the Spring double century due to illness. He was hospitalized with a lung infection, and in the aftermath vowed to get in shape, stay healthy, and complete the double. He showed great fitness during Adobo's TDF Frazier Park Century in the summer.

LESTER was trying to complete his first century. He attempted the Cruisin-the-Conejo century in the spring, but got drunk with friends the night before, so he did only the metric. Then he SAG'd the TDF Frazier Park edition for additional motivation. But most importantly he trained by doing multiple laps on GMR (for readers who are not familiar, that's Glendora Mountain Road in So. Calif., a 10-mile climb with 2,500 feet climbing).

VICTOR was one of the first to register for the ride, signalling his serious intent to complete his first double. He has been trying for the double for a long time now, but has had the bad luck of getting a cold/flu as the race approaches. Again he had the cold, but he's a trooper, so today he was doing the century, along with Lester and Ricky.

RICKY just had cataract surgery only a couple of weeks ago, so his training lost some momentum. But before that he was putting in serious miles, and lost weight and gained fitness. He was going to do the century today.

El Prez JESSE, who only completed his FIRST double just this year in the February Death Valley Double, was now gunning for his 5th double of the year, to achieve the California 1000-Mile award. He was looking strong.

EMILIO "JUN" was targeting his SEVENTH double of the year ! Last year he completed the difficult KOM series. His wife LINA and daughter ERIKA are very supportive, always presemt at these events as personal SAG support. However personal SAGs are not allowed by Chris, the organizer of this event, so they became official volunteers, manning some of the rest stops.

IMRE, the funny and always reliable and indefatigable adopted Pinoy (of Hungarian descent) was someone who could be counted on to be there rain or shine, either as rider or support. He was planning on doing the century, but decided to SAG due to lack of training. He SAG'd along with LINA and ERIKA

IMRE on right, with basketball legend BILL WALTON and fellow giant LESTER

PETE was a veteran of double centuries, this was going to be peanuts for him. But he wanted to come because he knew it was going to be great fun in a big group. Being one of the stronger riders, he would be relied upon for work in front.

LUISITO "LOUIE" F. also only completed his first double just this year at the Grand Tour, posting fantastic times for a rookie, and was one of the strongest Adobos on this ride. We were going to count on him to do some pulling.

MANNY has been very busy with work , so he was not in peak form. Yet he felt he had just enough juice to finish a double. He signed up for this ride to motivate himself to get back on training.

The always smiling JULIUS completed his first double at the Spring DV, and his second at the Grand Tour. He was on a roll, and was looking strong and his morale was high. This would be his THIRD 2x for the year, earning him the Calif. Triple Crown. (His wife made HOME-MADE ADOBO enough for everyone after the ride. She made it before the trip, froze it, and we heated it in the lawn outside our hotel room after the ride. Thanks Julius and wife)

SHANGRILA is a tri-athlete who completed her first double at the Grand Tour and quickly followed it with a Solvang double. She met the Adobos at the Grand Tour, and joined us for this ride. This would be her THIRD 2x for the year, earning her the Calif. Triple Crown.

ELPIDIO rides 400+ milies a week in the San Gabriel River bike trail, frrequently riding alone. He wanted to have some fun and camaraderie with the boys. He had done the Spring version of the Death Valley double many years ago, but not the Fall edition. He was looking forward to riding with his fellow Adobos.

FRANCIS, the one who started the double-century trend among Adobos, had just completed the 508-miile Furnace Creek race also in Death Valley just 4 weeks ago. That puts him in a class by himself. On this ride, he was going to help the other Adobos, taking the majority of responsibilities of pulling in front.

If the immortal Francis started the trend, it was ROSALIE who proved that even mere mortals could do it, blazing the trail by being the first Adobo (besides Francis) to complete the California 1000-mile achievement, and being a model for the rest of her fellow average mortals.

In any competition, there are always many "mini-races" going on. In this 2xCentury perhaps only the top 5 elite riders had a shot at winning. But it's not the only race going on, and not the most important. No, Really, it's not the most important.

The rest of the riders are in their own mini-races which rank more important to them.. Some of them have a RACE AGAINST ONESELF, attempting to outdo their previous personal best. Then there are the MINI-COMPETITIONS during the long ride, because usually you will chance upon anothe rider with similar abilities, and you race them during the whole ride or portions of it, until one gets dropped.

Yet others have a long-standing friendly mini-competition going on with a friend who has similar abilities. The running gag in this group was the "featured" mini-race was between LOUIE N and myself (MANDY). When we go up GMR or Crystal Lake, we watch each other. Often we do "mock attacks" on one another. But we have to be careful to do it, because usually we're evenly matched. If you attack, better make it stick. But Louie is definitely the stronger one.
Score: Louie: 2, Mandy: 2

Most of the time Louie has the upper hand. Both of us completed our first double at the Oct 2009 Death Valley double a year ago. But a few months later, at the 2010 Spring DV, he bonked early and completed only the century. Mandy 2, Louie 1. We joked about it on the drive home. At the Grand Tour I could not make it due to the flu. Louie completed it. Louie and Mandy tied 2 all.

It was a tight group. On Friday on our way to Furnace Creek we all had lunch at the Mad Greek in Baker.

Then like tourists we stopped along the road in Death Valley and posed for photos.

Then in the late afternoon we relaxed at the hotel and joked and told stories.

We had a communal dinner on the eve of the ride.

So it was only natural that we would all decide to ride together and finish together.

On the long stretches we pacelined, with the "A" riders taking rotations in front, and "B" riders drafting. On long climbs drafting does not help, so the B's would inevitably get dropped. We would then regroup at all the rest-stops. Anyway the gaps were only a few minutes. It was fun. And it strengthened group cohesion and fostered camaraderie. That's what a club is all about.

To be further continued. (Mandy G.)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Part1-Death Valley Oct 30 Century & Double Century Post-Ride Report (by Mandy G)

The Adobos were excited. On the eve of the ride, they pose here for photos. The following day they would ride ADVENTURECORPS' 2010 Fall Death Valley Double Century (some will do the century), one of a series of tough ride organized by ex-RAAM finisher and cycling evangelist Chris Kostman. The course features 10,000 feet of climbing, including the crater and Hell's Gate. For this ride, Chris Kostman hires an ambulance (which is very expensive in the middle of nowhere).

Francis set the tone before the ride: "We ride as a group, and finish as a group." Just like the drama last year.
So first let me narrate the drama of last year. In 2009, at this same ride, one of the riders missed a crucial turn going to the crater, which is one of the required checkpoints. If you don't get checked in, you don't get ride credit. All that riding for no credit would kinda' suck, wouldn't it? So if you miss a turn, you have to ride back and make sure you check in. That rider was me, Mandy.

Oct. 2009 Death Valley Double Century
Rosalie, Victor*, Louie N., Mandy, Ricky*, Pete, Francis, Manny (*century)

I (along with Louie N) were debuting our first double century then, in Oct 2009. In my excitement, on the downhill after Scotty's Castle (Mile # 126), I broke away from the group. I was a quarter mile in front, going fast downhill, and missed the turn leading to the crater. After 2 miles, I realized I missed the turn because no one was behind me. Later I learned that Francis tried to chase me, and was shouting until it hurt. But I was so far ahead. So Francis let me be. When I realized my mistake, I u-turned to look for the road leading to the crater, and made ANOTHER WRONG TURN into Mesquite Camp, a 3-mile downhill that reached a dead-end. I had to CLIMB back to the main road, and ride the opposite way (away from homd finish line) to find the correct turn. I was kicking my self. I thought my chances of now completing the ride on time were toast, because I'm not really a strong rider.

Adobos during the morning portion of the ride

Finally I found the road to the crater, but lost a lot of time and energy. I saw the other Adobos coming down from the crater, heading home. I still had to climb to the crater to get checked in. Francis turned to join me. If he hadn't, I would've turned around, because I was at the edge of my capabilities, and I had no familiarity with what was ahead. I was going 3 MPH on the climb to the crater. At one point I even veered onto the gravel shoulder and fell to the ground. I was already wasted and close to quitting. But Francis said we still had enough time. So I carried on. At the top, the volunteer recognized Francis, but took one look at my ghostly expression, and asked Francis if I was in any shape to finish. Francis replied yes, he knew my capacity, and said we were going to finish.

Meanwhile, the other Adobos WITHOUT HESITATION waited for me at the corner of the main road for almost an hour! They chatted and told jokes as they waited, with the sun setting into dark. They were oblivious to the fact that they were risking their very own chances of making the cut-off time at 12 midnight. If they missed the cut off time, they would be DNF'd (Did Not Finish).

Adobos bored waiting 45 mins. at bottom of Ube-Hebe Crater Road for one of their riders

It was past 7pm by the time I rejoined them. There was still 70 miles to go and a whole lot of climbing to do. I would never forget them: FRANCIS, PETE, MANNY, LOUIE, ROSALIE. That was in 2009. They waited for me. When I rejoined them, I felt the pressure to finish, because they put themselves on the line. I had to haul ass now.

Francis said we had to be at Mud Canyon (the start of the 7-mile climb) no later than 9PM. That meant covering over 35 miles in 2 hours. Francis rode with me, while the others went ahead. Thanks to a long downhill, I made it to the Mud Canyon rest-stop at EXACTLY 9PM. The other Adobos already got there way way earlier, and were enjoying hot Cup O Noodle soup.

I was hungry, but Francis told me not to stop, we had no time. He said I had to reach the top of hell's Gate at 11pm. Once you reach the top, then you have exactly 1 hours to cover 20 miles (9 miles downhill, 11 miles rollers). But I wanted soup. BUT NO SOUP FOR ME.

Like a domestique, Francis took my bottles and re-filled them. The others, when they saw that I wasn't stopping for soup, gulped their soup and jumped on their bikes.

On the climb up Hell's Gate, I stopped over 20 times from exhaustion. It took me 2 hours to get to the top, I arrived at exactly 11 PM. There was no time. We took off almost immediately after that.

Finish Line 12 Midnight: Manny, Mandy, Rosalie, Louie N., Pete, Francis

With no time to spare, there was no rest for me. We downhilled 9 miles. Then there was 11 miles of flats and gentle rollers to the finish line. At first I took off, only to bonk after only less than a mile on the flats.

Everyone was now in jeopardy of missing the cut-off if they were to wait for me. I kept thinking, if they were to miss the cut-off, they would be DNF'd. Finally Francis said, go-go-go! Every-man-for-himself. I'm glad they did so. I would feel so guilty if they all DNF'd.

The white van of ADVENTURECORPS was cruising back and forth along that stretch, radioing status in to the finish line. "Hey there's still a bunch of Adobos here".

Every time the white van passed me, they asked if I was OK. I must have been going really slow for their taste. Maybe they thought they should radio the ambulance. I would nod my head to signal I'm OK. I wasn't going to ride in the van after having gone this far. The truth is I know my limit, and I was feeling good, relaxed, but just slow.

So next time I saw their headlights behind me, I just gave them a thumbs up. Then they would pass me.

In the end, EVERYONE made the the cut-off with only minutes to spare. That is, everyone except me. I missed it by 3 minutes! But Chris Kostman took consideration of the fact that I got lost. So he credited me the ride anyway. No DNF for me.

I shook every stranger's hand at the finish line from sheer joy. I vowed to do better the next time around.

Now for the 2010 edition.
Rosalie was dressed in Holloween costume as Snow White.
The Red-White-Blue-Yellow colors of her dress coordinated perfectly with the Adobo kit.

In any race, the half-way mark is always a good place to take stock of the situation. So I'll start in the middle of the story.

For us week-end cyclists, a century ride would be a very good day's work. So when we arrived at the Mile-100 rest stop in Nevada, somewhere in the middle of the Mojave Desert, the unspoken lament among us riders must have been "Dang it, this is a good day's work, I don't need to keep riding anymore." But it was not to be, because another 100 miles was left to be pedalled.

Although we were tired and cold (temps were in high 60's's, skies overcast), we had a lot of "internal eneregy" because we were riding as a group. Just like last year. The camaraderie was very tight. We were all looking out for each other. Morale was very high.

Even if we got splintered on hills, we always re-grouped at all rest-stops, and that made a huge difference to everyone's morale. The slower riders felt assured because they could tuck in behind the draft. The stronger riders took pride in riding in front to shepherd the weak riders. We were carrying the Adobo colors with pride.

Adobos have too much fun / They wait at all the stops for their dropped riders / Here they're pretending to raise the flag (ala Iwo Jima) at Stovepipe Wells (Mile # 25)

From the Mile-100 rest-stop, the next stop was Scotty's Castle, and it was going to require a GROUP EFFORT because of headwinds.

A double-paceline was formed. There was a slight incline, and strong headwind. The pace was 15 MPH, and it was tough for the tired ones who were trying to hang on in the back. Occasionally the back riders would fade, and the middle riders would yell to the front to slow down, and back riders would regain contact.
Not yet a paceline (jockeying for photo)

After yoyoing like this many times, the back-riders JULIUS and SHANGRILA (a new member they met at the Grand Tour in September) faded back for good. Soon we could not see them when we looked back. So LOUIE F, a strong rider, sacrificed himself and dropped back to them, and he pulled them the rest of the way to Scotty's Castle.

Meanwhile, in the front group, FRANCIS was pulling a wicked pace in the headwind. Behind him were ELPIDIO, PETE, JESSE, DENNIS, and REGGIE (our very good friend from Sta Clarita Velo club). And right on their wheel behind them were 4 other riders barely struggling to hang on: LOUIE N, MANNY, ROSALIE, and myself (Mandy).

After several miles Francis decided to kick it up a notch. In that instant, 3 riders (Manny, Rosalie and me) got separated from the main pack by a few bike lengths. That was enough to feel the brunt of the headwind. The gap quickly grew within seconds.

As any veteran paceline cyclist knows, if you get separated from the pack, you have to strike quickly and summon some kind of "turbo" (if you have any left) to regain contact with the paceline, because every second of that you face the wind alone without a draft takes precious energy. Drafting is worth an extra 3-5 miles per hour for the same amount of effort. So if you get even half-a-bike-length of separation, you must react quickly to close the gap.

So Manny stood up, turned on his turbo, and bridged the gap. I was watching all of this. I was right behind Rosalie, and I saw the gap grow even larger. I was worried about losing the paceline for good, so I stood up, summoned some energy, and rode up next to Rosalie, and signalled her to stick to my wheel. I intended to bridge the gap, and bring her with me in the process. I kept looking back to make sure my speed was within Rosalie's grasp. But I saw the main pack pulling further away. At that point, I decided to accelerate with or without Rosalie. She dropped back. I managed to bridge the gap back to the paceline.

But that effort would cost me a lot. My legs and lungs burned. Obviously I didn't belong in this paceline. I paid for it only a few minutes later, when I said to Louie N. that I was wasted, and that I wanted to drop back. I was checking to see how he felt. He told me to hang in there. So I did. We still had 15 miles to go. But a few minutes later, Francis saw a group of 4 cyclists up ahead, and kicked the pace even higher to overtake them. I tried to keep up, to the point that I felt like throwing up. I had no choice but to drop back. The paceline pull ahead. I could only watch. Bye-bye main pack. Bye-bye DRAFT.

They overtook that group of 4. Francis pulled the main Adobo pack all the way to Scotty's Castle.

Although I separated from Francis' group, I also overtook that group of 4, but only briefly. Later I faded, and that group of 4 caught up with me. The leader invited me to join them and share pulls. We became a merry group of 5, and took turns pulling in front.

Later we saw Manny riding solo. He had also gotten separated from Francis' group. So our merry group of 5 became 6 after swallowing Manny. By the time Manny's turn came to pull, it was the downhill to Scotty's Castle. Lucky bastard.

The Adobos all regrouped at Scotty's Castle rest stop, Mile # 126. Thanks to Louie F's effort, the last group of Adobos did not lose too much time. We were 1 hour ahead of last year's pace. It was 4 PM.

NINE HOURS EARLIER: At 7AM, the start of the ride,we had GRIM WEATHER. It was raining. The road was slick and muddy. It was somewhat chilly.

To be continued. (Mandy G.)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Post-ride report of 2010 Giro D'Barkada by Louie Rivera

Nice day to ride where the temperature @ 0800 was to be in low 60's and highs of about 82 degrees at Mile Road Park in STOCKTON. Among the participating teams/group that I recall seeing were TRACY, LUZVIMIN, TROPA, F.A.C.T., SIKLISTA, SIKADS and us “D 5 ADOBOS “: EL, DEO, AL, RONEL and MYSELF. (Not in age order). Here's :ouie mixing up with our Norhtern counteparts.

We rolled out shortly past 0900 after a brief introduction to the teams, Astigs and silent prayer. For the first 20 miles, everybody was pretty much together and not surprising to see the road to be so smooth, flat and it almost looked like it was swept the night before just for the event. In spite of it, I heard of one incident of possible B.C.B. that must have occurred on the second 20 miles. The group was divided after the first 20 miles with the first group being able to withstand average of 25 miles/hour as it was announced. Of course all the ADOBO Velos were there but I had to carefully hide from the wind, not knowing the course and unexpected surges that may arise. By this time arm warmers, knee warmers and wind breakers are off. I started to feel the heat too… the heat from the speed!!!!! Here's a pic from the park with the ADOBO Velos.

I recalled reading the cyclometer of 47 miles after the second stop thinking that there is only over 15 miles to go but I underestimated it because at the end it was a total of 68+ miles. At the end we are proud of Deo to take the sprint showing how to get a top speed of 40 miles an hour. Don't ask him the chain ring/cassette combination cause he won't tell you. It’s proprietary.

Back at the park roughly 1330 and by now recovery nutrition is ready and I could feel my blood sugar is low and getting lower by the minute. Frank Gatula, wife Salome, and the whole organization of Luzvimin and everybody who helped make this event possible. A BIG THANK YOU! We had raffles too and I even scored a cycling cap with a VELLUM water bottle. El donated a nice watch, only for someone to pick El's own raffle number. He ended giving the number to Ronel who received the item from "Sir Maui" and I believe the item ended in the fast hands of George (son of Maui). That’s the end, I heard. Six hours of trip back home thereafter, well worth it.

Louie R.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Tracy Rider's Windmill Ride

August 22, 2010. The festivities started on Friday evening as out of town cycling groups had dinner at Island Gourmet Restaurants, Pres. Allen Escobar's ( Tracy Riders) restaurant. The food was delicious. You know it's good when it's as good as your mom's cooking. Louis Rivera and I, however, arrived late at 6:30 pm and
just missed on meeting our fellow Pinoy cyclists. Allen and Raymond (fellow Tracy Rider) were kind enough to keep the doors open to give us a warm meal. What a great host! There we spoke of the upcoming event and found out there would indeed be 100 riders for the next day's main event.

Louis and I checked in to Hampton Inn, one of the sponsor. Sure enough, our room was comp'ed. Kuya El gave us his room since he and his group, including Deo, and Francis, would arrive super early for the ride, at 2:30 am, Saturday. Hehehe. Roy "Tisoy" came to town at 1:00 am.

After getting settled, went for a few beers and hoisted our glasses with Fort Gascon (Pres.) , Angelo both from FACT Siclista, Fresno. Also joining us were Legendary Maui Reynante and his son George from Luzvimin. (Forgot Maui's blond GF's name, sorry)
The mass start was from Thoming Park and sure enough, there were 100 riders. All the Pinoy cycling groups from Northern Cal were present: MyTropa, FACT (Siclista), Luzvimin, local cyclists and of course, the host club, Tracy Riders. For a first inaugural fun ride, they really pull it off by having so many participants. The weather was predicted to have a high of 86 and low of 52. Everyone was expecting a scorching hot ride as we gained elevation. However, the clouds held all morning making for a pleasant ride.

The ride was supposed to be a fun 51.51 ride with total ascent of 3063 ft. Three SAG vehicles were in tow with a motorcycle guide to keep everyone in check. As we approached the base of the dreaded Patterson Pass with 8 miles of ascent and 2100 of elevation gain, it was abruptly announced that there will be a KOM based on Category levels! Well, no one wanted to reveal their Category so it was then decided to make it an open category for an overall winner. Thankfully the climb was cool, weather and scenery wise. You could hear the blades of the windmills go whoosh, whoosh up on the hills. As we got exposed in the open areas, there was cross wind, head wind 15- 20 mph. You're struggling to climb and wind tries to knock you down. On one of the rollers, you can only go 18mph max on a steep 12% downhill. The last 300 meters to Patterson summit was greeted by a 20% grade. This is where Deo and a local rider (puti) battled like Contador and Schleck for KOM honors. Valiantly, Deo lost by a wheel - his nemesis was better geared and knew the local mountain. A battle well fought.

The entire peloton regrouped at the first feeding station at mile 23, looped around Flynn Road, descended down County Road 5822, then returned to the same feeding station, now mile 32. The Adobovelo peloton decided not stop at the feeding station. There you could here the rest of the cyclists at the rest stop
saying, "Eto na sila" (They are here!) Everyone scrammble on their bikes and started to give chase. It's just pure cycling delight for all the hard work from grinding the gears going uphill was all over. Ahead was pure 18 miles of smooth as silk, freshly laid asphalt down hill from then on. 20>28 > 35> 40 > 48 mph. Francis, Roy, Deo, El, Louis would bomb down the hill. ( I decided to drop, thinking erroneously that we were doing another uphill loop. By the time I realized, I was all alone, waaahhh) Down Altamont Pass we all went. Groups of ten riders would zoom down the pass at break neck speeds. Your compact crank would be hyper-spinning by now. Wish you had a standard instead of a compact. Why is everyone riding so fast? They must be hungry for food!

A party with all Pinoy fixings awaited us at the finish line at Thoming Park. There was lechon, kilawin, kaldereta, dinuguan, pinakbet, pancit, pichi-pichi, puto, bibingka, sa-malamig ( Melon juice), rice and so much more food that I forgot to mention! Food was catered by Pres. Al Escobar's restaurant, Island
Gourmet. There was music with a DJ.
Kuya El and Deo met and reminisced with their old cycling buddies, Maui Reynante, Rommie, Steve, and Rozel Tupaz. At the end, visiting clubs were recognized with a plaque of appreciation. We said our goodbye's and thanked our host and headed back home.
Adobos you must go to this ride next year, don't miss it!
On behalf of Adobovelo, we would like to thank our gracious host for, President

Allen Escobar and the rest of the Tracy Riders for having a successful, most memorable, not to be missed, must do it again, most definitely fun ride.
Dennis L. Gorospe

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Post-Ride Report by Vice-President Dennis Gorospe

It was a perfect riding day with 14 ADOBO Velos at the start line. Jonas and company brought another 8 friends with him including Marie Rose, an ultra long distance rider and triathelete too. Actual ride started at 7:45 am with temperature at 49 F which gradually warmed up to 80 F as the day progressed. Our group stayed together for most of the ride while catching faster groups along the way. Long trains of riders would pass zooming up to 48mph could not drop us (on the downhills). Banning and Eric from Banning's Bike also stayed with our group for most of the time.

After a slow grind on the first 15 miles, most of the ride is just rollers specially after the 25 mile marker. From there, Adobos really showed their stuff. Al "Cavendish", El "DiesEL", De"Olympian" were leading the attacks. After the 50 mile marker, another large peloton of over 50 cyclist cruised at 28 mph on the flat with headwind. We hung on to the peloton until we reached our own Adobevelo SAG stop at mile 68 with Banning & Eric and Company enjoying our Adobo hospitality. Thanks to my wife Frances and kids for providing Superfood drinks, water, fruits and snacks.

Total ride time with the whole group finished at 5 hours and 45 minutes. Actual end time was at 2:45 pm. Great job everyone! But check it out, Jun Usi had to go solo because of family commitments and started and 7:00 am and ended at 12:45, with SAG! You are a true ASTIG! We missed Jun at the post-ride BBQ.

Great ride overall with perfect weather, great friends and everyone finished with no injuries.

Day ended with BBQ at the Gorospe house in La Quinta with of Chicken Adobo as the main course, of course.

A warm welcome goes to new Adobovelo member Jesse from San Fernando Valley and congratulations on his first century ride. Congratulations to Louis Fernandez on his first "Official" Century ride. Riders who were present were: Victor C, El, Deo, Al V, Gil, Frank N, Jesse (SFV), Dennis G, Ryan, June Grape, Louie , Louis F, Julius, Jonas, Russell, Jun U. Sorry, no pictures of Jun Usi because he went solo.

Till next our next century ride...

Link to photos of TdPS below:

Dennis G.