- Richard L. Duquette
2010 Shadow Tour Stagecoach Century
Following a GREAT DAY of riding, is my summary of the 2010 Shadow Tour STAGECOACH CENTURY in Ocotillo, California.
The weather cooperated, as I crawled out of my VW van early. It was temperate and there was not much wind. There were over 690 registered riders. TTTs and riders of all ages and styles. The course was 50 miles out and back, but it didn't feel like it because of the vast changing desert scenery and climbing. My mind wandered.
According to a friend’s Garmin the overall elevation gain was 4,562 feet, although the highest course point was around 2,500 feet. Essentially it was a long, slow, steady climb to mile marker 50, with a few tough hills, then a few fast drops. This wonderful event takes place in the Anza Borrego desert on the back side of Mount Laguna along the old Stagecoach Wagon trail, which was nicely pointed out by the race director, Jim Knight. I heard the fastest rider did it in 4:45 or so, the Dude was flying on the way back.
There were a few strategically placed aide stations and of course the lunch stop at about mile 45. That can of leaded coke a cola never tasted so good.
I spotted many TCSD (Triathlon Club of San Diego) racers, there was even a brief sighting of the Commander *smile* on the course, almost like the green flash at sunset.
Shortly thereafter, we stopped at mile 45 and asked about the lunch menu, as we had 55 glorious miles to go. To my delight, there was hot chicken soup, subway type sandwiches, cokes, Fritos, aide station goodies galore (and more) passed out by the friendly desert locals. (There was no Julian apple pie with a dollop of whipped cream for dessert, but the rest was tasty!)
On the way back, I saw the SDBC’s (San Diego Bicycle Club’s) Elite team of about 25 riders – pushing hard in a pack…I know they had a training camp going on. They looked polished, lean & fast!
Luckily, at about mile 65 I was able to jump on to a different medium paced team pack of 25 riders (also training) and thankfully got sucked along for some time in the draft. What a difference! We then all descended on a curved and winding road together at about 40 miles per hour in one spot. It felt a little dicey, as there are cliffs. Then it was back to reality (riding w/o the pack) when we hit a steep switch back climb later on. The pack sure was fun while it lasted!
In all, the ride reminded me of a typical day touring the Baja 1000, which I did twice ie… not many cars, pretty scenery, but challenging. I estimate I burned 6,400 calories, so food and water intake were monitored. This would be an ideal training ride for Ironman competition or early season base building. I heartily recommend this ride. The race organizer Jim Knight and all the volunteers were so organized and just super!
The best thing of all was seeing and talking to friends (and strangers) out there, camping in the desert, with the wonderful smells, stars, peace and quiet.
I’m tired today, but in a good way. Next weekend, the Carlsbad half!
And the beat goes on......