Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Canyon Classic Century

107 total miles,
5000 feet total elevation gain,
8 hours total
(7 hours on the bicycle)

Continuing my trend of riding centuries on new roads this year, I did the Canyon Classic Century this past weekend. Like my last century, I had limited time for training beforehand, but this course had only a moderate amount of climbing, so I did not need to be at my top fitness level.

The start was in city of Patterson, which I had never been to before. It was a one and a half hour drive to get there. I left home at 5:00am and reached at 6:30am. The route to drive there is on the worst traffic corridor (highway 580) in the Bay Area, but there were few other cars at this time of day.

Click on the image for the interactive map.
The start/finish is marked "E", and the route was clockwise. The remaining letters mark my rest stops.

I registered, got my bicycle set up, and got under way at 6:45am. There was light drizzle at the start, but not enough to make me put on the rain jacket I was carrying. The precipitation cleared after 10 minutes.

After a few flat miles, the climbing starts on Del Puerto Canyon Road. This was the part of the route I was most interested in. It was part of the route used by the Tour of California (one of the premier bicycle races in the U.S.) two years ago. I found it beautiful and not very steep.

When I arrived at the first rest area near the 25 mile mark at 8:15am, it started drizzling again. Still, it was not strong enough for me to consider putting on my jacket. I filled my water bottles and ate a few snacks. The rain stopped just a few minutes after I started riding again. The next few miles were the steepest part of the course, but nothing more than I am used to.

The next part of the route is on Mines Road, which I have ridden before on the Mt Hamilton Challenge. I decided to skip the next two rest stops to save time. I usually do not need to stop more than every 25 miles, and the cool wet weather meant my water needs were relatively low (one bottle of water every 25 miles).

The next stop was lunch near the end of Mines Road just before the town of Livermore, near the 50 mile point of the route. It was 11:00am, meaning I was making good time, so I rested a little longer here.

The next part of the route was the climb out of Livermore back to the Central Valley. This was only moderately steep uphill, but the section after the summit was a steep downhill. After reaching the bottom, the wind was at our back, so I could maintain a 20-25 mph pace with minimal effort.

I reached the next rest stop near the 75 mile point at 12:45pm, just as the route left the hills and entered the farmlands. After a brief stop, I started on the final flat 25 miles. This part of the route was the least interesting, since all flat farmland is basically the same.

I reached the finish at 2:45pm. I ate just a little before heading home since I knew I would get hungry on the 90 minute drive otherwise. By keeping a fast pace and skipping a couple rest stops, I managed to finish quickly and get back home with a good amount of the day still remaining.

I have made plans to do another century in October, but I need to see if I can find another interesting one before then.