Saturday, June 26, 2010

Grand Tour of LA- Double Metric Century

The 52nd annual Los Angeles Wheelmen Grand Tour was a great event. I completed the shortest route, the Double Metric Challenge. It is 125 miles with 7,900 feet of climbing. It was the longest and hilliest ride I have ever done. Incredibly, some riders covered 200, 300, and even 400 miles today.

Riders can count on three full service aid stations, SAG support (volunteers roaming the course in cars that can give you a ride or help fix minor mechanical problems), a route sheet with directions to follow, and a post-ride barbeque. With all these benefits, the entry fee is a real bargain and probably does not even cover the costs involved. Many thanks to the LA Wheelmen volunteers! I'm sure many of them would rather be out riding, but volunteer to support the event instead.

I am dedicating this entire year to preparing for the 2011 Ironman St. George. I treated this ride as a long training day to test my endurance and climbing ability. I was more concerned about the hills than the distance. I felt good all day and climbed more steadily than I expected.

I was rescued from a potentially ride ending problem by two LA Tri Clubbers who noticed I had pulled over towards the top of Latigo Canyon, the biggest climb of the day. Leading up to a big event, athletes of any sport are told to “not try anything new” and “rely on their training.” Yesterday, I decided to adjust my seat angle and it today it came loose ¾ of the way up the toughest climb. When Alison and Tom passed I told them I was fine, but they waited anyways. It's a good thing they did because I had not realized yet that the tool I was carrying didn't have the right size allen key on it. They lent me the correct tool and I was on my way again.

I lost track of them on a downhill section and ended up missing a turn on Mulholland. I rode downhill on Kanan Dume Road for several miles past three tunnels before a guy that followed me realized that we had gone the wrong way. I didn't mind the extra mileage, but it was all uphill.

This was my first organized ride and it was completely unmarked. I had to ride without a bike computer because a pin fell out of my GPS so it could not be mounted onto the bike. I contacted the manufacturer (Garmin) and they offered to send a replacement pin free of charge, but not in time for today's ride. I made one other wrong turn on Highway 23 and rode another extra 10 miles of rolling terrain. I must have ridden 150 miles with over 9,000 feet of climbing today. I stopped at the intersection of Santa Rosa and Moorpark Road worried I was offtrack for the third time when a SAG vehicle pulled over and informed me I was just around the corner from the full service lunch stop. By the time I reached the second aid station at Peach Hill Park in Moorpark, I was feeling defeated at my inability to follow the route, but still had plenty of energy to continue riding. Luckily, I found the two LA TriClubbers who had helped me earlier. This time, I decided to stay with them since they were more familiar with the route. They also had both completed the inaugural Ironman St. George at which I volunteered and will be competing in next year.

My main diabetes related concern was that I went back on an insulin pump earlier this week and was not sure what to expect on such a long ride. Even though there were three aid stations, I carried plenty of food (gels, cereal bars, and two refillable bottles). I am looking forward to getting my Dexcom CGM soon. Continuous glucose monitoring (cgm) is an amazing technology that allows diabetics to get nearly real-time blood glucose readings without stopping to prick your finger and draw blood. For everyday diabetes management and especially during endurance training, the most valuable data it generates are trend graphs that alert you sharp drops or spikes that you can treat by ingesting carbohydrates or administering an insulin bolus. Today, I checked my sugar manually several times and it was right on target, between 90 and 120. I consumed about 15 gels, 5 cereal bars, 3 bananas, 1 basket of strawberries, 4 turkey and cheese sandwiches, 2 non-diet sodas, a few bunches of grapes, 5 oatmeal raisin cookies, half a roll of salted crackers, 6 bottles of electrolyte drinks (various types), 2 salt tablets, and possibly more.


  1. Woa Christian! The food intake is incredible! :) This ride sounds awesome, but HARD! Sounds like you're going to be just fine for the Ironman. You are far ahead of me. Keep up the great work! :)

  2. Thanks. After the first big climb, I took it easy. I spent over 2 hours combined at the three aid stations!

    Stay consistent and you'll be fine, too.


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