I have to apologize in advance for the lack of pictures. I wrote this quickly to capture some memories. If you want pictures check out www.allisonmann.net. I know, I suck. :)
I don't like using the term Century for riding 100 miles. I guess technically I only wound up riding 98 miles or something like that (not really sure, my Garmin was having issues) so even saying "100 miler" is a misnomer.
Due to training OCD Allison rarely disembarks from her regularly scheduled diet of 3-4 hour rides on the weekends. At the same time she likes to do silly things like pedal a bike for 100 miles in a day. These notions are at odds with each other and when given some freedom to operate "off plan" our adventures wind up leaning to the extreme. Thus a plan was hatched to do a big ride with a few friends on the wonderful California coast. Allison posted up on Facebook and the rough idea was to start at Jeffe's house in Laguna Niguel and ride to Panikins in Leucadia and back. Steph and Dan jumped in on the idea, Jeffe planned to join for part of the ride, and a Sho-Air racer Jose piled on.
We all rolled out and had a very civil pace. Around the halfway point Jeffe announced that he was going to have Renee meet him at Panikins which meant he was going for 50, Steph and Dan then jumped on that plan to shuttle back and save some energy for their Sunday activities. As we rolled through some traffic on Camp Pendelton a woman in a car frantically waved and was yelling "Thats Allison Mann!!!". It turned out to be Heidi who we had met the previous weekend at Rim Nordic, but it was great to joke with Jose that my wife is a cycling celebrity and this sort of thing happens all the time. Panikins was amazing as usual. I probably ate too much food and we definitely spent more time hanging out than was ideal but it was really very enjoyable!
When the reduced group started to roll north I joked with Jose that he was going to have to tow Allison and I back up the coast. I am not sure if something was lost in translation there, but he then proceeded to repeatedly and brutally drop both of us. I kept making excuses for myself, "Oh I will just wait for Allison." In reality I didn't feel all that bad but Jose (a CAT2 MTB racer) was really handing me my ass. I will admit that it stung. I made a pact with myself, from this point forward I will never internalize any comments about me being a sandbagger. I will also never again entertain the idea of moving to the Elite ranks. Next year with the new competition moving up from 30-34 AG, I will not likely see the top step of a podium so I doubt I will have to field any sort of criticism, but if I do it will be met with laughter. I will do my best but racing is just a distraction, the real reason I ride is to not be a fatty!!!
Anyway we eventually neared our destination in Laguna Niguel and Allison announced that she was going to ride more to ensure she had 100 miles. I dismissed this notion as lunacy and rode straight to Jeffe's dropping off Jose near his car on the way. It was a good long ride with great weather and riding partners. Can't beat coastal riding in the summer! After the ride we ate too much, drank too much, and generally did all the stuff we are forbidden from doing during racing season. Silly bike racers!
Sunday I felt like total crap. Three of us struggled to ride to Kean and then proceeded to eat too much again. On the trip back home Allison and I decided that we needed to burn some more calories. A plan was hatched to go trail running at Santa Rosa Plateau. I have to admit that I am really enjoying the trail running! Maybe it will help me close that 4+ minute gap to the truly fast CAT1 racers that I will line up with next year...
Our week went okay. Training got sort of side tracked with picking up the new CruX race bikes. As with the 100 miler, our excitement over the new bikes and lack of restraint led to me suggesting a ridiculous route for Saturday. The thought process went something like this: Allison wants to ride the Palomar Double (up South Grade, down East Grade, 180 turn, up East Grade, down South Grade), we had new CX bikes that seemed to be begging for some adventure, Google Maps showed some inviting looking truck trails all over Palomar that we had never ridden before, "Lets do a Palomar Dirt Double!" Yes there is definitely something wrong with this picture.
The ride went great though. It was big, it was hard, and afterwards I was tired and sore all over! It would likely not have been a very big deal to ride that route on the mountain bikes, but on a CX bike with tall gearing it was a challenge. Descending the 4500 feet back to the car after 6 hours in the saddle with cantilever brakes was interesting. It was a good thing I had gone into total silly mode. I was BRAAAPing and screaming out my own version of the "Double Rainbow" video of Youtube fame. Allison wasn't having any fun at all, but I didn't let it get to me. I would feel bad if she had some sort of injury from a dumb idea of mine, I guess I overestimate her toughness sometimes. I get a little over zealous, but it was going to be our last weekend of freedom.
Next weekend we go back into race mode and stay there pretty much until this time next year when mountain bike season ends. We get far too few weekends a year free from "the plan" and next year we might not even get that WHEN Allison makes the selection for Worlds. I am not complaining, it is a fabulous ride to be on!
See you at the Rim Nordic finals this weekend. I should be claiming my second series title of the year. Gotta enjoy it while I can, Marco and Ty will be taking all the big victories next year! :)