Fall Cycling Madness

I have one last Half/70.3 race next week on Santa Cruz, CA at the Big Kahuna Half!  Hopefully the wind will die down a bit, as the course can be very fast and is relatively flat.  I’m hoping to break my Half/70.3 PR of 5:08 set up at REV3 Portland back in July.  Coach Jeff has me feeling strong and ready to push myself more than ever!  My Kestrel 4000 speed machine is busy at the spa, as she gets a comprehensive tune-up and wash down after a full season of hard work.  She’ll be ready to fly next week!!!

To distract myself, I’ve been researching fall events.  The past few years, I’ve followed an off-season plan that focuses mainly on cycling here in the fall. Last year I rode the Tahoe Century with my neighbor and it was a blast.  This year, I was looking for something closer to home and I found the Cruella Challenge here in my own backyard.  Below is more detail on my madness.  One of these years, I’ll be able to ride in Levi’s Gran Fondo, but it always falls on my family camping trip weekend…

2011 Cruella Challenge

As the sun rises on Saturday, October 22, I will roll out of Oak Hill Park in Danville, and head toward the south gate of Mt. Diablo. Myclimbing legs will warm up quickly on this first 10 mile section up to the Junction, the highest point of the ride. The hardest part is the climb of 5.8mi with 1,400ft of climbing to the top…

As my legs and lungs open up, I will make sure to take in the views of the valley and the hills I will soon be climbing off to the north and west.  I will  enjoy a fast decent down the north side of the mountain and a generous stretch of flat road before reaching my next challenge: Pig Farm and the Three Bears. This section of the ride is along beautiful backcountry roads with little traffic and plenty of short climbs.

Mile 40 is other peeps crossroad – they will either turn toward Moraga and continue on the Metric Century route or I will beg for more climbing and take the road less traveled – the Full Century route up Wildcat Canyon to Grizzly Peak and Skyline Roads.

If the climbing doesnt take my breath away, the expansive views of the San Francisco Bay Area sure will. I’ll be sure to glance off to the east and soak in that view of Mt. Diablo, keeping in mind that I will be climbing back up that mountain at the end of the day…gulp!   There is a brief reprieve as I descend Redwood Rd. into the cool canyon before climbing yet again up over Pinehurst into Moraga, where both routes re-join and head back to Danville.

My ultimate challenge is to tackle the Double Junction – a second trip up to the Junction of Mt. Diablo(that 5.8mi with 1,400ft of climbing again…ouch!). As I descend the south side of the mountain, I will bask in the glory of my insanity… Bring it on!

Cruella Challenge Reality!

The Best Riding Here in the East Bay

Catch ya next week!


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