Stagecoach2013-8LRCanyon Velo made a difference at the Stagecoach 100 Mile Time Trial on Saturday, January 12, 2013. The Canyon Velo 50+ team ("Pastor" Bob B, Paul L, Ryan M, & me - Ed K) won the 50+ age group 4-man Team Time Trial (TTT) in an age group course record time of 4:59:30.

The Canyon Velo 40+ team (Justin B, Justin C, Danny D, & George T) finished on the podium in the 40+ 4-man TTT with 3rd place in a competitive field with a fine time of 5:13:38.

CV member Dr. Bill L rode with three other riders from OC on a 60+ team that captured first place in the 60+ 4-man TTT division with a time of 6:05:34, and CV member Henry M took 5th place in the large field that raced the 45+ Individual Time Trial (ITT) with time of 5:41:00.

The 100 mile time trial is very different from the more usual 20K (12.5 mile) and 40k (25 mile) time trials. In the 40K, for example, you just go as fast as you can for one hour. It is brutal, but is over soon. The 100 mile time trial is an entirely different animal. When talking about this race, Paul L says, "It's a Long Way to Tipperary". One has to respect the distance. It is a five hour plus effort. Because of that, you have to pace yourself, and in the TTT, each member of the team needs to do his part, and most importantly, each member must communicate with the team.

For those who aren't familiar with the Stagecoach Time Trial, it is run on the same day and on the same course as the Stagecoach Century ride in the desert of Imperial and San Diego Counties. It is a simple out and back course starting at the tiny settlement of Ocotillo in Imperial County and riding north on local "highway" S2 for 50 miles to a place just over the ridge from Julian, CA, and then back to Ocotillo. Ocotillo is at 500 feet above sea level and the high point of the course is at about 2700 feet. There are two stop signs on the entire route, both are at essentially the same place, one heading north and one heading south. The total climbing for the TT is 4,685 ft, with about 3,100 ft in the first 50 miles, and 1,600 ft on the return trip. Most of the way out is a false flat climb of 1-2%, except for three very obvious desert pass climbs with 5-9% grades. The way back is down the false flats, with a few smaller short climbs and one long steep grade at about the 87 mile mark. The pavement is not bad for a road that is "off the beaten path."

To compare Stagecoach to other well known century type rides, if you consider the "Solvang Century" as average, then the "Tour of Palm Springs" would be easy, and "Breathless Agony" would be very difficult. When compared to this lineup, the Stagecoach route is considered moderately difficult.

What can make Stagecoach a particular challenge is the weather in January. In some years, like the last time we rode it, the weather can be very nice. This year, however, was like riding in Antarctica. The race result sheet states that it was around 30 degrees at the start and 55 degrees at the finish (which is later in the day as some riders take 8 hours to finish). For us it was about 40 degrees for most of the ride.

For the Canyon Velo 50+ team ("Pastor" Bob, Paul, Ryan, & me) the race was as difficult as it was successful. It was truly a team effort. All four of us worked together very well as a team. From the initial organization, to the travel arrangements, to riding the race, we worked in sync with one another. We stayed in our rotation the entire time, never coming out of it, and never having someone sit on. We did vary the length and power of the pulls to address needs as they came up, but we did so by design through effective communication with each other.

As I said, during the race we communicated exceptionally well with one another. There were some significant issues with the cold. We all had trouble eating enough because of the temps. I had a real hard time for the first 45 miles because of the cold. It took me a long time to get the circulation going in my legs. Consequently, I spent the first 45 miles in serious pain. My legs were aching as if they were in an ice bath, but my heart rate was super low because I wasn't able to put down full power. It was a very strange experience.  

Stagecoach2013-7LRIn order to help with my leg pain issues, even though we stayed in our rotation, Ryan took a number of long pulls early, which cost him later. At about the 45 mile mark, and after a long climb, my legs finally started warming up and feeling better and I was able to contribute at full strength, which helped Ryan, because he began to experience some lingering fatigue because of his work to help me earlier.

Pastor Bob was very consistent the entire ride, providing strong even pulls all day long, and Paul was super strong the entire day. Over the last 40 miles Paul was a beast, taking incredibly long and hard pulls.

When we got to the last climb, we were a bit spread out, but we decided to finish with all four, and it paid off, because we all took good hard pulls over the last 11 miles to the finish. I think it was this decision that allowed us to come in at under 5 hours.

After the race we met up with the guys from the Canyon Velo 40+ team (Justin & Justin , Danny, & George) and had some laughs and took photos. We saw Henry out on the course, but did not see him at the finish. We did not see Dr. Bill either.

All in all, it was a successful day for Canyon Velo. Mission accomplished!



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