Today I rode the Canyon Classic Century for the first time. This ride, put on by the Modesto North Notary, used to conflict with the SIerra Century. I'valways wanted to do this ride since it goes over one of my favorite climbs in the area - the Del Puerto Canyon, just west of I-5 in Patterson, California.
My alarm woke me up a little after 4 AM and I was out the door by 5. I arrived in Patterson, registered and hit the road a little after 6. The last couple of days had seen temps hit near 100 so I was bracing myself for a hot day. It was a warm morning but there was a little chill in the breeze. My hope is that it would still be there on the first climb which was coming pretty quick.
After a quick spin to get out of Patterson I got to Del Puerto Canyon, a slow starting climb with some awesome views.
I made pretty good time up to to Frank Raines Park. I've done this climb before and it helped knowing it well. I did not push hard up the first half of this climb because I knew that the worst was yet to come. The 15 mile climb took me up about 1,100 feet but the next 9 miles would take me up another 1,200 feet! After a quick water refill I turned right at the top, for the 17 mile trek up and down Mines road.
After a longer than normal lunch in Livermore I headed out for a short, but nasty, climb out Tesla and Corral Hallow Roads. I heard about a tandem couple that hit a deer flying down Mines road. It was starting to get hot but there was a tad bit of a tail wind which helped a little. I tried to stay in my center ring on the climbs but at this point I had to drop to my triple. My center was just a little too big... maybe I should consider a double.
Finally, the ascent ended and after some pretty fast descents the climbing ended and was heading back to Patterson, through Tracy, with a nice tail wind. After the mile 75 water stop I met up with Greg from Taft. We talked about all the normal things you talk about on a century and after I told him about my nearing my 10,000th mile in 5 years he told me that he crossed his 10,000th mile on this ride - and he also beat his goal, by two weeks, by doing it in less than two years! Wow, that's awesome!
Finally, after 7 hours on the bike, I made it back to Patterson and after a pretty good meal headed home.
What did I love about this ride? Well, it is a beautiful course, great climbs and awesome views. I also liked that, for the century route, there was no double-back, it was different roads the whole way... I love that! The volunteers were all very friendly and the rest stops were great. There was tons of fruit and food at each. They even had ice-chests with soda, vitamin water and energy drinks at most of the stops. At the mile 75 rest stop they even had awesome homemade cookies and red licorice. The food at the end of the ride, tri-tip, salad, bread and chili was great. They also had tons of cold drinks on ice, even my favorite, RC Cola! I don't drink a lot of soda but at the end of a ride like this I want one and RC rocks!
What did I not love? I do not like Cytomax. I just can't drink it. Next time I will remember to bring my own mix (Powerbar Endurance). Almost every century offers Gatorade and some people complain that they'd prefer Cytomax so I can understand why they went with it. Also, there were not a lot of other riders. They offer a few different courses but even in the beginning there are not a lot of people. I spent a lot of time out there without another rider in sight. I have no idea why this ride doesn't get more riders, it really is a great ride.
Overall, the Canyon Classic is definitely a ride I will do again. Great views, great climbs, great people and rest stops.
Stats 109.21 miles 7:17:07 on bike A lot of climbing 15.0 miles per hour
Oh, and the tandem couple? I heard the that captain broke his wrist and the stoker busted her lip, the bike will need some repair and deer just "bounced off" and ran away quickly.
Check out the pictures. I ended today with 9,945 total miles...stay tuned for the big 10,000... coming soon!