Thursday, August 12, 2010

This Weekend's Peak Ride

I get up every morning determined to both change the world and to have one hell of a good time. Sometimes, this makes planning the day difficult. — E. B. White
I am staring at the final peak bike ride before Cool Breeze. It will be a 95-mile or 6hr trip out in Malibu on Saturday morning. Though I’ve done many workouts in the 5+ hour range, I’ll admit this one is definitely one of the longer ones. And writing about it here helps me commits to and focus on getting it done. Not sleeping in. Not forgoing the magic in those miles.

So how do I go about preparing for the 6-hour, Saturday sacrifice? Well, first, I stop thinking of it as a sacrifice. It’s a celebration. My legs work, my lungs work, my bike is in good shape, and I’ve got a chance again to ride one of the most beautiful stretches of pavement in the country. That trumps a 4am alarm clock buzzer and Westside traffic any day. I’ve got as much time as I need to tour the Pacific Course Highway and people-watch.

I’ve decided to start at Pepperdine, head north to Latigo canyon and climb that first. It’s a winding 10-mile 2,000ft ascent through some amazing vineyards and valleys. There’s a 3-mile descent down Kanan Road that I don’t love as much as the climb, but it’s always cool to hit about 40mph on the bike. Just got to watch out for rocks.

After Latigo, I will continue north past the Three Bitches – which are much harder to come back on – and past Zuma Beach (below). Won’t be too many people there on my way out. Many more beach goers and triathletes will populate the parking lot on the way back.

Past Zuma, I go north along a quieter stretch near Sycamore Canyon, the giant sand dune, Pt. Mugu and Thornhill Beach. Past the Big Rock (below) that sticks out over the ocean. I love this part – it’s always so calm and quiet, and the bike lines are generously wide.

Past the rock a couple miles is the La Posas exit. I’ve never gotten off the highway and continued further into Ventura County, so that will be a part of my adventure this weekend. I’m not sure where the road leads but it looks like mostly flats and farmland (below). I’ve seen cyclists coming back on it, so it’s probably pretty ride-able.

When I turn around, I’ll head back to Zuma after this, do one more loop to the Las Posas exit, and make the 25-mile trek back to Pepperdine. Well, that’s the plan at least.

I’m prepared for a little bit of mental resistance – the same I had last weekend. But I know to just keep pedaling. No matter how slow, how frustrating, just keep moving forward. The early climb up the canyon will help counteract the part of my brain that says, “Stop now.” I love climbing mountains.

I sometimes regard this marathon-length training sessions as my own little crusades against complacency. The goal is always to finish, and the aim is to finish feeling a little bit stronger than yesterday. I like knowing that I’ve put the effort in, and that the strength I will gain from these campaigns is earned. I’ve been training , semi-focused on Cool Breeze, for months now. Sometimes tedious. Sometimes thrilling. And all very real. A slice of life on two wheels.

Here’s hoping for no flat tires or spirits.

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