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Hemet Double Century

Achievement unlocked: 👑👑👑-✔️

Real quick shout out to everyone who sent me a text while I was out there. I don’t think I have the words to describe how it made me feel. Love y’all.

What a day and what a ride. Don’t let the less than 6,800 feet of climbing deceive you. This ride was tough.

As usual, I didn’t sleep well the night before. My mind was racing when my head hit the pillow and when I woke up at midnight it was racing again. It was so bad that I actually considered just getting up and getting ready to hit the road. Despite this, I was finally able to fall back to sleep, but even then it was fitful. When the alarm eventually did go off, it was a struggle to get on my feet and get moving. I enjoyed my breakfast of overnight oats and canned Starbucks before finally slathering on the sunscreen, kitting up, and hitting the road.

After a quick short ride over to check-in, I was off and to the races. I honestly don’t have much to report from the front half of the ride. I did pull into the first rest area, grab a quick bite, and roll straight on out. It probably would have done me some good later on to have actually stopped for at least a few minutes, but you know what they say about hindsight. My first stop would be a quick 15 minute break at the second rest stop. From there I would continue on not stopping again until back in Hemet for lunch at Motel 6.

However, just before that I came upon the great couple of Terry and Alex. We started chit chatting when Terry asked, as I started going by him, if I’d done the Camino Real and Solvang doubles. From there we just kept talking and riding together for a few miles until we came to a narrower busier section of the road and it wasn’t the safest idea for us to continue riding side-by-side talking. During the short time we talked I learned that Terry was only a few weeks away from retirement! The couple’s next adventure is a coast-to-coast bike tour. I shared that I’d done my Pacific Coast tour and it was quite the fun conversation. It did continue later when the couple caught up to me at lunch.

After a nice 30 minute break off the bike for lunch it was time to roll out. I rolled out with Memo and a few other Adobo Velo guys, but it didn’t take long before I pulled around to continue on. It didn’t take long before we’d come to the only “big” climb on the entire route and it wasn’t a joke. The “Sage Climb” is a 4.5 mile climb along Sage Road with a 5% average grade, but it pitches up to 12.5% in spots. Add on some afternoon heat and it was just shy of awful. I did see at least one rider off their bike and walking at the steepest part of the climb. If you weren’t geared right I can totally see why you’d need to walk.

The great thing about a big climb is the descent afterwards, and this wasn’t an exception. After the summit I was greeted with a nice two mile long descent before having to make a right turn onto East Benton road. Funny enough it was at this point that I spotted a rider just ahead of me blow through the turn. I yelled “oy oy oy” as loud as I could and thankfully he turned around to see what the fuss was all about. I signaled a right turn and made it just as he was looking back. I continued to slow roll for a short while to make sure that he’d turned around and made the turn. He came up next to me and was grateful that I’d yelled at him to turn around. We talked just a little bit more before I continued on.

Somewhere before rest stop four I passed up an Adobo rolling with a full on Tailfin rear saddle pack. I pulled up next to him and complimented him on it. We talked briefly and I shared that I owned one as well. We both agreed that they are a great way to bring along extra gear when needed.

I nearly missed rest stop four and actually I had to stop in the middle of the road, turn around, and go back to the driveway to get into the parking lot where they were set up. The two folks hanging out were super excited to see me. I guess I was maybe the 3rd or 4th rider they’d seen. While I was enjoying my snack I spotted the Adobo with the Tailfin and I yelled out at him so he wouldn’t miss the rest stop too. He pulled in and we talked a bit before we decided it was time to roll on. As we were pulling out we saw that back up the road another rider was coming down the road. I could see that they were heads down motoring so I hollered out at them. They looked up, saw us, and we waved to make sure he realized where to turn in. He waved in return and the Tailfin rider and I rode out.

Along the way to the next rest stop I was feeling pretty good until just after Murrieta when I started the long ride out along Grand Ave. Reviewing the data this was the warmest part of the day. The Garmin recorded temperatures approaching 90; however, I’m sure those numbers are inflated because it sits out on the front of the bike in the direct sun. Checking a weather almanac it seems the recorded high in Murrieta was only 73 degrees. When you add that being in the sun makes you feel 10 degrees warmer, I’d say maybe it was about right. Either way, regardless of the recorded temperatures, it was at this point that my stomach started feeling a little iffy. There were a few times that I was worried that if I didn’t figure out was bothering my stomach at rest stop five I’d be in some trouble later on.

While riding along Grand Ave I had a rider coming the opposite direction yell over asking if I was riding the DC. Instead of trying to continue the conversation I stopped while he turned around to come chat. We talked and it seems that his Garmin had been yelling at him to turn around and he did. I asked if he’d made it to the next rest top yet and he shared that he hadn’t. I informed him that he hadn’t gone far enough for the u-turn because the u-turn was at the rest stop. He thanked me for the info and the two of us continued up the road. I think he stuck with me on and off for a while holding my wheel. We both arrived at the 5th rest stop pretty close to one another.

Pulling in I was greeted by some friendly Adobo faces. I parked Shadow and pulled up a cooler to use as a seat while I enjoyed a nice cold bottle of water. The guys manning the joint were nice enough to take my water bottles from me to get them filled, insisting they take care of it for me. While they did that I took what was left of one bottle and poured it over my sun sleeves and tossed some ice into my jersey. My stomach was still feeling woozy but I forced myself to eat something. I knew in the back of mind that if I didn’t eat, despite fearing I would be sick, I would regret it later. Ultimately I felt it was better to eat and let myself get sick if that is what was going to happen. No point in not eating because I was worried about being ill. Ultimately my stop lasted 20 minutes and when it was time to go I was feeling much better.

Riding back along Grand Ave it was great to see so many riders coming in the opposite direction. I made sure to hit them with a bunch of bell as they went by.

There was a minor climb just before an excellent descent down into the 6th and final rest stop. I had, again, been having minor stomach problems before making the descent. While descending, about halfway down it dawned on me, “What a kick in the teeth, I’m going to have to climb this back out!” I tried to push the thought from my mind and enjoy the descent while it lasted.

At the last rest stop I was again greeted with more friendly Adobo faces. Once again the guys were super friendly and insisted on topping up my water like the stop before. I was offered some Cup of Noodles and at first I declined. After a few minutes I, again, realized that I really needed to eat despite how my stomach was feeling. I grabbed a Cup of Noodles and dug in. As I walked over to sit down on the curb one of the Adobos insisted that I sit in his camp chair instead! What an absolute treat it was! I sat there in absolutely gorgeous weather conditions enjoying a perfectly cooked Cup of Noodles and ice cold Coke. It was glorious exactly what I needed to get me over the line. After enjoying nearly a half hour of cycling bliss I hit the restroom before heading out.

The ride out of the final rest stop wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d thought it would be going down. In total it was only about six miles and averaged 2%. It was really nothing compared to the Sage Road climb from earlier in the day. The climbing after that amazing rest must have really juiced up my legs because they felt amazing. The last 12 miles or so I ended up averaging about 19 MPH and 200 watts! Nice piping hot meal to the rescue! I rolled in to the finish, checked out, and headed back to the hotel room.

After a quick shower I jumped in the truck to go grab some dinner. I opted for a local joint and settled on some Mexican food at Los Vaquero’s Mexican Grill. The food was great despite not finishing it all. It certainly isn’t a knock on the food, it was more a result of my stomach still bothering me. I did munch down on a good amount of the chips and finished off the three chicken enchiladas, but couldn’t get myself to finish the rice and beans. The flan I took back to the room did get destroyed later that night and was amazing.

Fast forward to the next day and on the drive home I had an interesting encounter.

In the nearly 20 years that I’ve lived in Las Vegas and traveled back and forth to Southern California, I have never seen a cyclist along Interstate 15. So here I am starting the climb out of Baker southbound when I see not one, but TWO, bike packers making their way up the ascent to Halloran Summit. Giddy like a schoolgirl, I made it a point to give them a healthy, but friendly, amount of horn. As I went by, I looked back in my rear-view and spotted them giving me a friendly wave in return. Thinking the horn alone wasn’t nearly enough, I pulled off to the side of the road to give them a healthy dose of cowbell as they rode by.

As they approached, I fully expected them to roll on past after exchanging some smiles while I gave them words of encouragement. I was surprised when they rolled to a stop while I rang my bell. The two of them were absolutely drenched with sweat. I asked if they wanted some water and they gladly accepted. Thankfully, I had a half gallon of water remaining from a gallon bottle I’d purchased a few days prior. I emptied it, filling up both their bottles. While I topped them up, I shared that I knew their pain having made the same trek almost a year prior, and they shared how they have been cycling all over the world for the past few months. They are originally from Finland. They’ve made their way to Asia to spend four months and now they’re here in the US for the next four months before they make for Africa and South America before returning home.

The conversation ebbed briefly and Hennele, the girl, ended up asking if I could give them a ride up to the summit. At first I told them I had a load of crap in the cab and I didn’t think I could fit them. We continued talking, and I shared that they should have hit the road much much earlier in the morning to avoid the worst of the heat. They admitted that they had been getting a little spoiled the past few weeks and ended up sleeping in later than expected. As we continued talking, and seeing how wiped they looked I said, “What the hell, let’s see what we can do.”

I jumped in the truck and shoved all my crap over to be behind the driver’s seat. I was able to make enough room to fold down the passenger side jump seat for Hennele to sit. While I’d been working on that the couple had been pulling bags off their bikes. With Hennele’s bike stripped down I hefted it up onto the Thule bike rack to hang out with Shadow. I hope they shared some great stories. I stacked their bags all along the passenger side of the bed, climbed in, and then the Markus handed me his steed. I gently laid it down and we both made sure it wouldn’t go anywhere before we set off.

With everyone and everything secured, I cranked up the AC to the max and made sure it was focused on the two of them. It reminded me of the time that Brian rescued me from the heat while I was ascending Potosi from the west side, except this time I was the rescuer not the rescuee. While I drove we had a great conversation about their travels, their favorite spots so far, their future plans, etc.

During the conversation I said that I would take them up to Halloran Summit, pull over, let them see their next climb, and allow them to decide what we’d do next. It came as no surprise when I came to a stop that while Hannele had improved from 10/10 done to 6/10 she was more than happy for me to take them over to Mountain Pass.

Soon enough we stopped at the brake check area in Mountain Pass. We got the bikes unloaded and I’d recalled they had had a flat earlier in the day. While they’d used a hand pump to inflate their tire, I offered my floor pump which they greatly accepted. We got Markus’ front tire up to pressure and I offered to hold his bike while he added all the bags. I remembered from my time touring how cumbersome it can be to load up a bike when there is nothing to support it while doing so. With the couple all put back together and ready to roll we grabbed a couple pictures before parting ways.

If you’re interested in following this young couple’s adventures, Hannele is on Strava and manages their Instagram. Hannele can be found on Strava under, I assume, her full name of ‘Hannele Eronen‘. On Instagram they’re using the handle ‘Hiddengemcycling‘.

This weekend was absolutely amazing, and was exactly what I needed. I shared with Kant the night before that I was kinda happy to be doing this DC solo. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it alone, and I’m happy to now know I can. I’ll admit that it was certainly less entertaining not sharing the road with my fellow Vegas Adobos. Would I do another DC solo, absolutely; however, it wouldn’t be my preference.

I’m coming into the end of my second semester of my pursuit of my dual-Masters degree and I’ve had a ton to do. The week leading up to this ride has been particularly stressful, and the stress has been wearing me down mentally. In particular I’ve been feeling disconnected and kinda lonely. Now, after the Sage climb, descent, and turn onto Benton road my Garmin beeped at me. I looked down and spotted a text message from my birthday brother Mark Hyken which read, “Keep pedaling, brother you got this!” That simple message on the screen of my Garmin really hit me in the feels.

I’ve had conversations with some of the runners of Adobo Velo, and they know about and have experienced the so-called “Runner’s high”. For those of you who don’t know, I’ve found a runner’s high described as a brief, deeply relaxing state of euphoria or sense of extreme joy or delight.

Now, during these same conversations the topic of a “Cyclist’s high” has come up and if anyone has experienced one. Honestly, I feel kinda sad when I hear that most cyclists have never experienced a cyclist’s high. As a matter of fact, I can’t recall a time that a fellow cyclist has said they have experienced a cyclist’s high, and I’ve also heard a few cyclists say they don’t think it exists.

I can say with certainty that I have experienced a cyclist’s high a few times. I’ve experienced one while riding east in Valley of Fire just beyond the entrance booth during an early morning group ride with the morning sun really bringing out the reds of the rocks. I had several during my Pacific Coast tour: successfully crossing the previously ill-fated railroad tracks, the Oregon/California border, and the California/Nevada border. Now again, in this moment of solitary riding when a single text message flashing across my Garmin brought it on. In that moment I was flooded with emotion and damn near crying. Moments before I was feeling alone, and now here was this message showing me that I couldn’t be more wrong. It was beautiful and something I won’t soon forget.

New bike fund: $58.80 (+$1.36)
🎷🐛 185.83 new miles — From
2013 vehicles @ 9.5 per mile, 2.7 per minute, Speeds: 42.8 mph (avg), 99.6 mph (max) — by
Cloudy-Mostly sunny, 51°F-73°F, Feels like 53°F-72°F, Humidity 95%-53%, Wind SSW 2mph-W 5mph — by Report —
Weather Impact: 0.3%
Headwind: 41% @ 0.2-16.1mph
Longest Headwind: 01h 26m 23s
Air Speed: 17.7mph
Temp: 53-74.6°F
Precip: 0% @ 0 Inch/hr
— END —

Total distance: 211.18 mi
Max elevation: 2608 ft
Min elevation: 604 ft
Total climbing: 7646 ft
Total descent: -7573 ft
Total time: 14:07:35
Published inCyclingDouble CenturyEvents

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