2011 Cruella Challenge Ride

Cruella Challenge 2011

My triathlon season has been over for a few weeks and I’ve been in cycle only mode lately.  I was pretty sick two weeks ago and that slowed down my training, so I hammered my bike training the early part of the week.  I was excited to ride the Cruella Challenge 100miler with 9k of climbing.  That last number scared away most of my training buddies, as suddenly they’re all clydesdales 🙂  Regardless, I was excited to push myself and see how I could do.  In the past few years, I’ve added several century rides to my schedule and loved them all.  This includes the Diablo Century, Marin Century and Tahoe Century.  I’m always looking for new cycling events and was ecstatic to test this one out here in my backyard!  The most interesting thing about this ride was that you had to climb up Diablo twice.  I’ve lived here in San Ramon for 6+yrs, yet I’ve never ridden up the mountain I see everyday from my yard!  I’ve ridden most other local climbs including Mt Hamilton, but never stepped up to Diablo.

The Best Riding Here in the East Bay

The start was just a 5min drive from my house and I woke up early to get there before the 7am rolling start.  I was decked out in my rockin  Betty Designs signature kit and ready to tackle the first 10miles, which included 5.8mi & 1,400 ft of climbing to “warm up the legs”!  I felt great on the climb and passed a dozen or so peeps and wasn’t passed at all.  I avg 9.5mph for the climb and knew that I was feeling on for today’s ride.  On the Northside descent into Walnut Creek I quickly learned that I’m not a fast descender, as I was passed by a bunch of peeps going TWICE as fast as me!

Cruella Challenge Climbing Madness!

I then found a solid group of six guys and we cruised the next 10miles preparing ourselves for the Pig Farm and Three Bear climbs.  I’ve ridden these climbs in the past for the Three Bears Biathlon and really enjoyed the climbing.  Today was no different as I liked the “burn”!  This is also where I first linked up with the Wells Fargo C4 Cycling team train.  I’ve seen them out and about in training for the past few years and knew they were fast.  They had a train of about 10 peeps including a couple of strong cycling ladies.  I jumped on the end of the train through the climbs and just dropped off at the end.  Luckily there was a stop at the top here at mile 40 and I was able to take off with them.  I also saw that Freddie Rodriquez was hanging with them.  As we started the climb up Wildcat Canyon to Grizzly Peak(Berkeley) Freddie flew past me like I was standing still…dam he’s fast!

I hung with the Wells Fargo train for quite a while and knew my I was suffering.  They weren’t taking turns leading out, so I wasn’t worried about hanging off the back.  I stayed with them until the last peak there at Grizzly Peak where they pulled away.  The good news here at mile 56 was another rest stop and I was able to reconnect with them.

The great ladies & food at Skyline rest stop!

I have to say that that these ladies had the best rest stops I’ve ever experienced.  The minute you cruise up they were taking your bottles and refilling them for you!  I was fueling with my First Endurance EFS and liquidshots.  The ladies would fill up my bottles with water and I would just dump in my mix and off I went.  There were lots of peeps suffering from dehydration & cramps out there in the mid 80’s heat, but I had no problems thanks to First Endurance!

Ahh, I love rest stops!

A few of the Wells Fargo peeps!

I pulled out of the 56mi stop and quickly joined the Wells Train as we descended the next 11miles.  This took us down Redwood Road and I used to live right there and know these climbs very well.  Then we started our climb up over Pinehurst into Moraga and  I stayed with them until the final rise, where they all stood up in unison and hammered…I had no chance of staying at that moment!

After that I was just rollers and some narrow roads until we returned to the start parking lot for one last fill up stop before the final ascent up Diablo for the second time.  It was a little bit of a tease to have us already at the finish!  Regardless, off I went.  This climb was harder that the first due to my tired legs and heat catching up to me.  I finished the climb 6min slower than the initial, but I was DONE!  The ladies at the top rest stop were great, as usual and then I headed down.  I passed a ton of peeps that were still climbing and even more at the finish that still had to start the final climb.  I finished with a ride time of 6:31 and felt great knowing that I pushed hard.  I even had a couple of the Wells peeps say I did great out there!  I was excited to take advantage of a nice leg massage at the finish after some great Outback Steakhouse BBQ at the finish!

Once I got home, I saw my Strava suffer score, which was in Epic range!  Just showed how hard I pushed to hang with those Wells Peeps! The score is mainly mode up of how long you were in your HR zones and I spent 30% of the day(2hrs) in Z4 – Threshold and 43% (3hrs) in Z3-Tempo!  Here’s my Strava link for full details: http://app.strava.com/rides/2067185

Sufferfest!

I would highly recommend this ride to anyone who wants to experience the best that East Bay climbing has to offer!  They put on a great ride and their support was unparalleled!

My goals are now to continue to hammer the bike this fall and add running back into the mix.  I always run in a local Thanksgiving day 10k, so I need to get my running legs back.  My 2011 season recap video is almost done and I’ll post this week!

Cheers,

Michael

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