Saturday, March 26, 2011

Epic Ride Saturdays - Peralta Hills

Welcome to Villa Park
Since the weather has been crappy for the last few Saturdays, I hadn't taken a ride with OC Velo in awhile that I was able to deem "epic" until today.  And this ride was a long time overdue.

We rode the Villa Park loop.  The route is actually more of a lollipop than a loop, in that we head inland, do a loop around the city of Villa Park, and then head back home the way we came in.

It's hard to call Villa Park a city.  It only has about 6000 residents, and is virtually all residential.  Unlike most of Orange County, the streets are not laid out in a grid pattern, so it feels a bit older and a lot more rural than the rest of the area.

It's also hilly, with a minor range of the Santa Ana Mountains called the Peralta Hills running right through the middle.  For us, that meant there where two significant climbs waiting.

But first we had to get there.  As usual, I met TRI714 and we rode over to Worthy Park.  The group left the park at 7:30 AM, headed south down 17th Street to PCH, and took a left.  Over the next few miles, we picked up a bunch more of the club riders that live on the south side of town.  Before we turned north on to the Santa Ana River trail, there where about 25 of us.

The Ride
Access to Villa Park is via the same route we take to get to Santiago Canyon or any other inland point:  The Santa Ana River Trail with a jog east on surface streets until we hit Red Hill Avenue, which goes straight into the foothills.

About 30 miles into the ride, we hit the first climb.  Meats Avenue runs in a northeasterly direction and for about 1.25 miles the climb is at a steady 6% grade with a few short sections where the grade hits 11 or 12%.  No one is shocked more than I am about this, but I absolutely nailed this one.  I was passing a few of the guys that I'm always behind.  I had no problems whatsoever, and when we crested I found myself leading a charge of about 5-6 other riders down the other side.

Imperial Ave - Looks innocent from space
From there, the route makes a lazy u-turn that put us on Imperial Avenue and back at the base of the hills.  Crossing back over from the north side was an absolute bitch.  Any of the grace and finesse I had managed on the first climb was gone.  Everyone was suffering pretty hard, but at two points during the climb my heart rate was so high that I had to pull over for a few seconds to recover.  You see, I had forgotten to take my beta blocker this morning and my heart was enjoying a freedom that my brain is not quite used to.  So naturally I freaked out a bit.  That said, I need to talk to the doctor again and see if I can finally lose the medication (he said no six months ago).  It will be a whole new world of oxygenated blood if I can.  I also need to consider getting a compact crankset so I can find a lower gear for climbs like this one.

Once we got to the top, I asked Fernando, who's bike cockpit resembles the cockpit of an Airbus A330 (not really, but he's definitely the resident gadget guy in the club), what the grade of the climb was.  I wasn't surprised to hear that it had an average grade of 10% with a half mile stretch of 12% in the middle.  That was definitely one of the toughest climbs I've done in awhile, maybe even ever.

Underneath the HB Pier
From the top of the climb, it's essentially downhill or flat all the way home.  Some of the highlights included hitting 45 MPH on Jamboree Road and still not being able to bridge the gap to a small breakaway, incredibly bad road conditions that made it feel like we where riding on cobblestones which made me have to resist the urge to yell "hole" warnings in Flemish, being one of 12 beneficiaries of an epic pull by one of the club members that allowed us to maintain 24 MPH on the Santa Ana River Trail into a headwind and the non-fat mocha & wheat bagel I had when we rolled up to the Huntington Beach pier at the end of the ride.

Length:  66.7 Miles

Moving Time:  3:40

Climbing:  2095 Feet

Average Speed:  18.2 MPH

16 comments:

Kovas said...

Truly does sound epic! Can't imagine hitting 45 mph on a bike, scary.

Jennifer said...

Nice Patrick! Fast hard and long! Exactly what was needed!

Cheers!

...and try and eat something a bit more exuberant than a wheat bagel as you rest up!

Michael said...

Wow that sounds like an awesome and challenging ride. That hill sounds crazy and 45 mph on a bike....I freak out if I'm over 30 mph.

Christi said...

I love hitting the speedy numbers on my bike! 45 miles would do it.

Julie said...

NICE!! The fastest I've ever allowed myself to go before freaking out was 42mph. At that point I felt out of control enough to make much better friends with my brakes.

Sounds like a great ride!

Johann said...

Super ride! You can really rock it at times! That is scary fast as well!

Stacey (aka Ultraprincess) said...

That is crazy fast.... "you the man"!!!!

Jeff - DangleTheCarrot said...

Nice ride man! Were you in the roadie or the TT? Your Specialized should of came with a compact right? 165?

The Green Girl said...

Can I just tell you that I smelled rotten piss when I saw that picture you took under the pier? Ha!

The Green Girl said...

We reached the pier right around 9:30 we were a few hours off!

TRI714 said...

was a sick ride. Great job on the climbs. It was the strongest Ive seen you yet on hills.I sure know i was cracking to the point of loud yelling conversations in my head. Again great job. FYI- Fast downhills equal less is more, in otherwords, hold on loosely.

QL+ said...

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Kate said...

Sounds like a great ride. Very cool.

Luke said...

sounds like a fun day!

Rad Runner said...

A guy at work was tellin me about the bikers version of Marathon Maniacs, I thought of you, and knew you would totally conquer.the end

Barbie said...

That ride sounds amazing. I love conquering those kind of hills/mountains.

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