Newsletter - 2001 Archive

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SoCal 200 km Ride and Snowshoe Event Slideshow

Chris Kostman and Debbie Caplan


Chris' Part:

What a weekend and what a ride we had for the SoCal Brevet Series 200 km Event! We had the only clear, dry weekend in quite a while, plus an even bigger turnout than for which we had hoped. As it turned out, the intended to route to Mt. Baldy Village was snowed over and closed just six miles before the Village, but we had a quick pow-wow on the spot and created a slight variant of the route so that everyone could get in their intended miles. (People did a few laps around the perimeter of the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on their way back to the start/finish to make up the missing miles, I mean kilometers.)

I might mention, though, that four of us did complete the intended route to Mt. Baldy Village. We (myself, Debbie Caplan, Carmela Bader, and Barclay Brown in his HPV) pushed our bikes through the snow for six miles to get there. This took over four hours, as the snow was ultimately knee-deep and darn cold. And, we resorted to eating a lot of (white) snow since we all ran out of food and water after about two hours of pushing. Most of the snowy route had not seen any human travelers before us, however we did follow a lot of animal tracks, including coyote, deer, and bear (and I'm not kidding about the bear tracks; they were huge!) It turned out to be quite an adventure, not only because of the "snow-shoeing" but because none of us had brought lights. So, we stopped at two different Radio Shacks on the way back to get "properly" set up. But hey, that's all part of the spirit of randonneuring!

Here is a link to a slideshow of the whole ride: slideshow. [broken link]

Debbie's Part:

Hi everyone! The 200k Brevet turned into an EPIC adventure! The intended route was a scenic tour of the foothill communities of the San Gabriel Valley - beginning at the Hansen Dam Recreation Area in Pacoima, over La Tuna Canyon, through Pasadena, Altadena, San Marino, and Glendora - then up and over Glendora Mountain Road to Mt. Baldy Village, and back. Only four (of forty-two) of us actually completed the published route...

About 17 miles into the climb to Mt. Baldy, the road was completely snowed over. Chris Kostman (who was also riding the brevet), gave everyone the option of turning around, retracing the route- and making up the miles by doing laps around the Rose Bowl (yawn). All but four of us turned around.

Chris, myself, my friend Carmela and fellow 508 racer Barclay Brown, decided to hike our bikes through the snow... figuring that the road would be plowed a mile or so on the other side. Onward, into shin deep (sometimes knee deep) snow. The scenery was incredible! Nothing but pristine white in front of us and behind us -- and breathtaking views of the snow capped mountains.

Pushing our bikes, a mile turned into two... turned into three... four... five... Between us we rationed two Power Gels, two Clif bars, a Balance bar and half a bottle of Sustained Energy. Then we ate snow.

Finally, after six miles, the road was plowed a few hundred yards before the turn at Mt. Baldy Village. We'd hiked for over four hours. With soaked socks and frozen, stinging feet and toes, we still had 62 miles to go!!!

The ride back was kind of crazy. The descent from Mt. Baldy was FAST and fun -- and we were hammering - knowing we were quickly running out of daylight. Of course, none of us had brought lights. It never crossed our minds that we wouldn't be able to finish 124 miles before dark. Fortunately we found a Radio Shack along the way - and Chris spent a ridiculous amount of money on red strobes and clip-on flashlights/headlights which didn't work too great, but helped us ride the rest of the way in total darkness. We're talking pitch black in some places, including the last four or five mile downhill on La Tuna where there are no street lights at all. I humbly admit, the darkness freaked me out a bit -- and there were brief periods was I was not having the slightest bit of fun... Of course, in the longer events, I'll have my TurboCat lights with me and will be able to finish faster and with less freak-out!

Needless to say, we were jubilant, and exhausted, when we arrived at the finish!!! Not just a 200 km, but a mini-IditaSport!

This is what ultra cycling is all about. AWESOME!

[Provided by Harold Bridge]