2015 Solo Shadow Tour XI

Jim's 2015 Solo Shadow Tour XI (click here for background)

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                                NOTE:  Times & distances are projections until each Stage is complete
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Date

Stage
Stage Mi
Total Mi

   Time  
Stage El
Total El
Avg
Mph

Wgt

Route
Sat
Jul 4

Done
    1

200.5
200.5
+0.50

13:22:38

17,051
17,051
15.0
174
1st of 4 Kings: "King KOM" Palomar Mt 2X: LJ to K Ct, 11.4 on 3 Witches to CV Rd + (26.4 mi), DD, VRP, Harrah's, SGPM, PMO, SS, EGPM, CG, VCP, DD, RSF. Roll 3:00 A.M.
 
July MTS
Current Standing in
Strava July MTS
at completion of Stage 1:
 

  83 of 126,602

Stage 1     Strava Projected Route: Click here
    

               Strava Actual Route: Click here
              
               Stage 1 Blog & Photos:
  Click here

 

S/F:     2:52 A.M. / 5:50 P.M. (Start/Finish)
SGPM:  1:26:19  (South Grade Palomar Mt)
EGPM:  1:15:11  (East Grade Palomar Mt)
 
1st Century:  7:03, at 10:34 A.M. w/9,750 ft of climbing
2nd Century: 6:20, at 5:50 P.M. w/7,301 ft of climbing

4 Kings                      SGPM        EGPM        Cole       Hwy 79      Total         Total
Stages     Distance      Climb         Climb       Grade      Epie Rd      Time        Elevation
   
    1          200.5      1:26:19     1:15:11     21:26         N/A       13:22:38     17,051

  *********************************************************************************
Sun
Jul 5


 Rest 26.20
226.70
+6.70
1:53:14
1,424
18,475
13.8

179
Coast / LJ
  *********************************************************************************

Date

Stage
Stage Mi
Total Mi

 
   Time
Stage El
Total El
Avg
Mph


Wgt
 
Route
Mon
Jul 6

Done

    2
200.5
427.3
+7.3
13:32:57

16,421
34,896
15.8
174
2nd of 4 Kings "King Crab" Palomar Mt 2X: LJ start, to Kellam Ct, 5 + 5 on 3 Witches to CV Rd, 1.5 + 1.5, 2.75 + 2.75 (33.5 mi), DD, VRP, Harrah's, SGPM, PMO, SS, EGPM, CG, VCP, DD, RSF. Roll 2:30 A.M.

 
July MTS
Current Standing in
Strava July MTS
at completion of Stage 2:

  25 of 137,130

Stage 2     Strava Projected Route:  Click here
  
               Strava Actual Route:  Click here
   
               Stage 2 Blog & Photos:
 Click here

 

S/F:     2:26 A.M. / 5:18 P.M.
SGPM:  1:21:42
EGPM:  1:05:42
 
1st Century:   6:41, at 9:49 A.M. w/9,243 ft of climbing
2nd Century:  5:59, at 5:18 P.M. w/7,118 ft of climbing

4 Kings                      SGPM        EGPM        Cole       Hwy 79      Total         Total
Stages     Distance      Climb         Climb       Grade      Epie Rd      Time        Elevation
   
    1          200.5       1:26:19     1:15:11     21:26         N/A      13:22:38      17,051
    2          200.5       1:21:42     1:05:08     20:05         N/A      12:40:17      16,421

  *********************************************************************************
Tue
Jul 7


 Rest 25.90
453.10
+13.10
1:36:18
630
35,526
16.1
177
Fiesta Island / LJ
  *********************************************************************************

Date
 
Stage
Stage Mi
Total Mi


   Time
Stage El
Total El

Avg
Mph

Wgt

Route
Wed
Jul 8

Done

    3
200.4
653.5
+13.5
12:30:15 16,539
52,065
16.0
174
3rd of 4 Kings: "King 4 a Day" Palomar Mt 2X: LJ start, K Ct, 3 Witch (2.5+2.5), San Dieguito Rd (3.3+3.3),(26.4 mi), DD, VRP, Harrah's, SGPM, EGPM, Hwy 79 (2 + 2) to LH (10 + 10 on Hwy 76), LH (113 mi), EGPM, EGPM, Hwy 76, Hwy 79, Hwy 78, OJH, Ramona, HVR, DD, RSF. Roll 3:00 A.M. 
 
July MTS

Current Standing in
Strava July MTS
at completion of Stage 3:

15 of 127,202

Stage 3:     Strava Projected Route:  Click here
    
                 Strava Actual Route:  
Click here
    
                 Stage 3 Blog & Photos:
Click here

 

S/F:     2:51 A.M. / 5:12 P.M.
SGPM:  1:19:18
EGPM:  1:03:37

1st Century:  6:39, at 10:19 A.M. w/8,726 ft of climbing
2nd Century:  5:51, at 5:12 P.M. w/7,801 ft of climbing

4 Kings                      SGPM        EGPM        Cole       Hwy 79         Total            Total
Stages     Distance      Climb         Climb       Grade      Epie Rd         Time           Elevation
   
    1          200.5       1:26:19     1:15:11     21:26         N/A         13:22:38         17,051
    2          200.5       1:21:42     1:05:08     20:05         N/A         12:40:17         16,421
    3          200.4       1:19:18     1:03:37      N/A         16:25        12:30:15 PR    16,539

PR =  Shadow Tour Personal Record
  *********************************************************************************
Thu
Jul 9

 Rest 25.90
679.4
+19.4
1:38:59
709
52,774
15.7 175 Fiesta Island / LJ
  *********************************************************************************

Date

Stage
Stage Mi
Total Mi

   Time
Stage El
Total El
Avg
Mph

Wgt

Route
Fri
Jul 10

Done


    4
200.50
879.9
+19.9

 

12:17:44

 

16,450
69,224
16.3
173
4th of 4 Kings "King Tut" Palomar Mt 2X:  LJ start, to K Ct, 3 Witch (2.5+2.5), SDR (3.3+3.3), (26.4 mi), DD, VRP, Harrah's, SGPM, SGPM, Hwy 75, Hwy 79, S2 (2+2), LH (113 mi), EGPM, EGPM, Hwy 76, Hwy 79, Hwy 78, OJH, Ramona, HVR, VRP, DD, RSF.  Roll 3:00 A.M.
 
July MTS
Current Standing in
Strava July MTS
at completion of Stage 4:

  15 of 150,552
Stage 4:     Strava Projected Route:  Click here
     
                 Strava Actual Route: 
 Click here
     
                 Stage 4 Blog & Photos:
  Click here
 

S/F:     2:50 A.M. / 5:19 P.M.
SGPM:  1:18:01
EGPM:  1:00:11

1st Century:  6:35, at 10:25 A.M. w/9,159 ft of climbing
2nd Century:  5:42, at 5:19 P.M. w/7,291 ft of climbing

4 Kings                      SGPM        EGPM        Cole       Hwy 79         Total            Total
Stages     Distance      Climb         Climb       Grade      Epie Rd         Time           Elevation
   
    1          200.5       1:26:19     1:15:11     21:26         N/A         13:22:38         17,051
    2          200.5       1:21:42     1:05:08     20:05         N/A         12:40:17         16,421
    3          200.4       1:19:18     1:03:37      N/A         16:25        12:30:15         16,539
    4          200.5       1:18:01     1:00:11 PR  N/A        13:55 PR   12:17:44 PR     16,450

PR =  Shadow Tour Personal Record
  *********************************************************************************
Sat
Jul 11
 Rest 25.9
905.8
+25.8
1:38:42
644
69,867
15.7
176
Fiesta Island / LJ
  *********************************************************************************

Date

Stage
Stage Mi
Total Mi

 
   Time
Stage El
Total El

Avg
Mph


Wgt
 
Route
Sun
Jul 12

Done


    5
200.1
1105.9
+25.9
12:17:54

 

13,494
83,361
16.3 171 Temecula Wine Country Tour:  RSF 26 / DD / VRP / Valley View Casino Loop / VRP / Lilac Rd / Couser Cyn / Rice Cyn / Rainbow / Pachenga Casino (3.5 + 3.5) / Rancho CA (plus 1.5 + 1.5) / Temecula loop / Pachenga Casino (3.5 + 3.5) / Rainbow / Fallbrook / Mission Rd / Bonsall (2.5 + 2.5) / West Lilacs (plus 1 + 1)/ Lawrence Welk / Valley Ctr Rd  / DD / CV

1st Century:  6:06 at 10:39 A.M, w/7,334 ft of climbing
2nd Century:  6:11 at 5:45 P.M. w/6,160 ft of climbing

S/F:  4:19 A.M. / 5:45 P.M.

 
July MTS

Current Standing in
Strava July MTS
at completion of Stage 5:

  15 of 156,544

Stage 5:     Strava Projected Route:  Click here
     
                Strava Actual Route:  Click here
     
                Daily Blog & Photos:
  Click here

  *********************************************************************************
Mon
Jul 13

Rest 26.5
1,132.4
+32.4
1:46:16
1,480
84,841
15.0
176 Coast / LJ
  *********************************************************************************
Tue
Jul 14

Done
    6
200.1
1362.83
+32.8
13:16:12
15,256
100,091
15.1
169 Super Julian:  LJ (1.2 + 1.8) / Fiesta Island (1x) / Downtown (DT) / Sweetwater Bike Path (SBP) / Bonita / Otay Lakes (OL) (3 + 3) / Honey Sprgs (HS) / Japatul Rd / Gutay / Pine Vly (PV) / Sunrise Hwy / Kitchen Ck / Gutay / Japatul / HS / OL / Bonita / SBP / DT / LJ

1st Century:  7:19 at 11:26 A.M. w/9,156 ft of climbing
2nd Century:  5:57 at 6:07 P.M. w/6,100 ft of climbing

S/F: 3:25 A.M. / 6:07 P.M.
 
July MTS

Current Standing in
Strava July MTS
at completion of Stage 6:

  16 of 160,788

Stage 6:      Strava Projected Route:  Click here
    
                 Strava Actual Route:  Click here

    
                 Daily Blog & Photos:
  Click here

  *********************************************************************************
Wed
Jul 15


 Rest 26.2
1358.7
+38.7
1:44:41
1,457
101,554
15.0
171
LJ / Coast
  *********************************************************************************
Thu
Jul 16

Done
    7
200.5
1559.2
+39.2
11:54:57
10,007
111,561
16.8
168

Big Coastie:  LJ / Coast + RSF (20) / Coast Hwy / Camp Pendleton (10 + 10) / Crown Valley Pkwy / Trabuco Cyn (to 120.5) / Crown Valley Pkwy / Coast Hwy / LJ (needed 3 mi)


1st Century:  6:01 at 9:57 A.M, w/5,750 ft of climbing
2nd Century:  5:52 at 4:58 P.M, w/4,257 t of climbing

S/F:  3:25 A.M. / 4:58 P.M.
 
July MTS

Current Standing in
Strava July MTS
at completion of Stage 7:

  15 of 164,443

Stage 7:     Strava Projected Route:  Click here
    
                 Strava Actual Route:  Click here
    
                 Daily Blog & Photos:  Click here

  *********************************************************************************
Fri
Jul 17


 Rest 25.9
1585.1
+45.1
1:40:30
758
112,319
15.4 170 Fiesta Island / LJ
  *********************************************************************************
Sat
Jul 18

Done
    8
200.2
1785.3
+45.3
11:58:10

12,955
125,274

16.7 167

Modified Super Julian:  Genesee / Scripps Poway Pkway / Santa Ysabel / Julian / S2 (multiple out-n-backs) / Julian / Hwy 79 (2.4 + 2.4) / Hwy 78 / Ramona / HVR / Esco / VRP / Del Dios / CV / LJ


1st Century:  6:26 at 11:40 A.M, w/8,008 ft of climbing
2nd Century:  5:53 at 6:18 P.M, w/4,847 ft of climbing

S/F:  3:44 A.M. / 6:18 P.M.


July MTS

Current Standing in
Strava July MTS
at completion of Stage 8:

  15 of 169,344

Stage 8     Strava Projected Route:  Click here

                Strava Actual Route:  Click here

                Daily Blog & Photos:
  Click here
  *********************************************************************************
Sun
Jul 19
 Rest 25.9
1811.2
+51.2
1:32:22 735
126,009
16.8
168

Fiesta Island / LJ

  *********************************************************************************
Mon
Jul 20

Done
    9
200.2
2011.4

+51.4

13:10:03

 

13,681
139,690
15.2
165

Modified Palomar Mt:  LJ / RSF (45.1) / DD / VRP / BVP / VCP / Rincon / SGPM / EGPM / LH / Hwy 76 / Hwy 79 (2 + 2) / LH / Hwy 76 / Rincon / Valley Center (5 + 5) / Esco / Various Out-n-backs / DD / LJ


1st Century:  6:59 w/8,974 ft of climbing
2nd Century:  6:11 w/4,707 ft of climbing

S/F: 3:19 A.M. / 6:37 P.M.


July MTS

Current Standing in
Strava July MTS
at completion of Stage 9:

  14 of 171,812

Stage 9      Strava Projected Route:  Click here
    
                Strava Actual Route:  Click here
    
                Daily Blog & Photos:
  Click here

  *********************************************************************************
Tue
Jul 21

 Rest 25.9
2,037.3
+57.3
1:44:18
646
140,336
14.9 168 Fiesta Island / LJ
  *********************************************************************************
Wed
Jul 22

Done
   10
200.2
2,237.5
+149.69
12:07:05

 

9,590
149,924
16.5 167 Coast & Elfin Forest Champagne Stage:  LJ / RSF 14 / DM / Coast Hwy / Camp Pendleton / Coast Hwy / Bike Trail (3 + 3) / CV / DD / Elfin Forest / / DD / CV

1st Century:  5:51 at 10:48 A.M, w/4,351 ft of climbing
2nd Century:  6:16 at 6:17 P.M. w/5,639 ft of climbing

S/F:  4:58 A.M. / 6:18 P.M.
 
July MTS

Current Standing in
Strava July MTS
at completion of Stage 10:

  11 of 174,793

Stage 10:     Strava Projected Route:  Click here
   
                  Strava Actual Route:  Click here
  
                  Daily Blog & Photos:
  Click here

 Go to top of page
             





 

Jim's 2015 Solo Shadow Tour Daily Blog

Stage 1:

Welcome to my 2015 Solo Shadow Tour blog.  This year, I'll try a more condensed blogging format, and avoid reporting too much play-by-play. The challenge is remembering interesting tid-bits from a 15-hour bike ride, and/or explaining their significance.  Since I also need to post to Strava & Facebook, time is very limited. Will give it my best shot.

To set the scene, the 2015 Shadow Tour opens with four 200 mile monster mountain "Stages".  Cyclists call 'em "Double Centuries".  Most public "Doubles" have fairly easy routes, since Event Organizers know that making them too difficult drives away prospective riders.  Knowing this, a few years back, I decided to include 200 mile Stages in my Shadow Tour.  But not just any route would do. I designed each stage to include the most difficult ride I know--Palomar Mountain.

Back story:  My Palomar Mountain Respect & Fear relationship started a month after I arrived in CA, in 1993. A friend, Dan Rock, showed me the South Grade Rd, an 11.6 mile fearsome climb, starting at 1,100 ft el, and finishing at about 5,300 ft el. It's a no-nonsense, continuous climb. No relief anywhere. The first 5 miles are on SR 76, with wide, lazy S-turns, and long straights, about 6-7% grade.  At "The Turn", mile 5, begins the brutal 6.6 mile ascent on South Grade Rd. It has slightly steeper inclines, 7-8%, with seemingly endless switchback turns. Again, no down sections at all.  It's so hard, there are San Diego riders--even good ones--who've never attempted it.  In ideal conditions (cool/no wind) it will make one question their faith. In July heat, it's Demonic.

All of the above is what appeals to me. There's nowhere to hide. Either you've got the juice, or you don't. South Grade Palomar Mountain (SGPM) is the equintessential "Earn it" of aggressive uphill cycling on a righteous mountain grade. I love it, because I fear it. Respect it, because it's incorruptible. And ride it often, because its a gut-check for my self-confidence & humility. I typically ride from my home on the coast (La Jolla) to the Harrah's Rincon Casino, about a mile from the base of the climb. That's a 50 mile ride due east (inland) and mostly uphill.  Then up the South Grade to the Summit, usually adding the extra 9 miles to the Palomar Mt Observatory, then back to the coast, with a 7-mile detour to bring in another gnarly climb named Cole Grade. All of that's about 116 miles.

I understand including the Palomar Mt beast in my Shadow Tour raises the difficulty bar. But just to make sure I wasn't holding back, I add an additional ascent to the top of Palomar Mt, via the slightly more gentle, East Grade.  Palomar Mt is actually a gigantic North-South wall, separating the mild Coastal environment from the much drier, and hotter, inland desert highlands.  The far East side of Palomar Mt, around 2,500 ft el, is dry, brown, and harsh.  It's sparsely populated, with few services, such as gas stations, or restaurants.  In the July heat, it's so hot even the locusts leave town.  Naturally, this area was my choice for adding the extra 80 miles to stretch out the distance to an honorable 200 mile Stage.

Stage 1 daily blog starts here: 

The 2015 Shadow Tour rolled at 2:52 A.M.  High humidity swept into So Cal last week, so net result is a full day of wildly changing weather.  Early A.M, in the dark, temps were in low 60's F, with about 70-80% humidity.  Light rain particles were suspended in the heavy air.  Not quite to the point of fog, but enough to soak kit.  No moon or stars because thick marine layer also hovered overhead at about 1,500 ft.  Still, early miles went by fast.  Rounded up 26 miles in Rancho Santa Fe before heading inland.  Made it to Escondido as daylight broke.  Lots of early motorists due to 4th of July.  Was nice to push east onto Valley Center Pkwy, up the big hill to Valley Center as parade organizers, volunteers, and Police were positioning items for the parade later in the day.  Got to Harrah's Casino 7-Eleven store just before 7:00 A.M.  Iced up, checked tires, and braced for arduous South Grade Climb.  Had a 1 hour 25 minute goal in mind.  Hit first check point at mile 3 at 20:35, a good start, even a bit fast.  Moderated tempo, notice I didn't say "slowed down", there's no slowing on a 1 hr 25 min S. Gde climb, just a very gentle change of cadence, few less jumps per tenth of mile.  Anyway, got to 5 mile split off Hwy 76 onto S. Gde at 31:24, right on pace.  Still had heavy cloud cover, and could see the cloud line overhead, maybe 500 ft.  Knew I'd be in that cloud/fog bank soon enough. Turned out to be about 10 minutes later.  Figured, and hoped, I would be inside the cloud for a few miles and hundreds of feet of elevation.  Even though it's heavy & uncomfortable air, the fog obstructs direct sun rays and kept the temps right at 60F.  Sadly, I broke through the top of the cloud at about 3,500 ft and the temps quickly rose staight thru the 70's and into low 80's as I passed through 4,000 ft.  Legs were okay, but carrying extra water is very heavy.  By extra, I mean 70 oz Camelbak, plus 2  24 oz bottles.  Needed the extra, because Mother's Restaurant would not be open when I hit the summit.  On a ride like this, 200 miles with 17,000 feet of climbing in July heat, carrying a couple extra lbs up S. Gde is a huge burden.  At about mile 9, I knew my pace was off and 1 hr 25 was not in the cards.  Still, pressed hard, and got past the summit Yield sign at 1:26:22.  A little disappointing, but did not even stop, rolled on to the Observatory.

By now, sun was out full force, temps were mid 80's F.  As I ground up the 2.5 miles to the Observatory, I knew I was rocked.  This has happened on every previous Stage 1, so I knew it was coming.  It's a heavy, demoralizing kind of exhaustion.  It does have a range from Awful to Light's out, so I was somewhere in the middle.  Each pedal stroke is difficult.  No amount of water or energy bar can overcome the extreme effort needed to ride 79 miles with 8,750 ft of climbing.  It's just extreme.  And to a large degree, knowing there's another 121 miles with many more thousands of feet of climbing only worsens the Pity Pit.  At last, make the Observatory Summit.  Got some pix & uploaded to Instagram/Strava.  Headed back to Mother's Restaurant.  There's that point in the saddle, where the 2 mile descent tilts back up, just across a cattle guard, that just sucks to no end.  If in the wrong gear, it's actually possible to come to a full stop and tip over.  It's happened to me before.  Well, not quite the tip over part, but almost.  So waves of nausea, dizzy, and overall exhaustion persist up the last 1.5 miles to Mother's Restaurant.  Again, nothing can be done about it.  It's just a wicked section of the ride that must be delt with as best one can.  At Mother's iced up, Chamois Butt'r, Clif Block, tire check and rolled down E. Gde.  That's when I noticed a zip-tie holding my spare Garmin 705 had broken.  No problem, I carry spare zip-ties.  But when I pulled over to fix it, I somehow messed up the zip-tie and it became a hopeless situation.  This is a perfect example of reduced cognitive focus.  I JUST KNEW that would come back to haunt me later.  I put the spare Garmin in pocket, which meant every time I stopped for water, the time on that unit would continue to tick.  But I figured, it's no problem because my primary Garmin 810 was working fine.  More on this later.

Pushed down the East Grade, did not stop at Lake Henshaw Grill.  Was at mile 97 and wanted to get that 1st Century in under 7 hours, but just missed it at 7:03.  Heading around the horn to Sunshine Summit involves about 21 miles in the high desert back country of San Diego.  Palomar Mt blocks the moisture, so it's a barren, hot, wind-swept patchwork of micro-climates.  One of these devilish micro-climate zones, lives on Hwy 79 from the Hwy 76 intersection for about 8 miles to Warner Springs.  It's got a couple roller hills, but the temps fry brains & quads without mercy.  Even with a tailwind, I could not push past 14 miles per hour. I watched as my Garmin showed 98, 99, 100, 101, 102F all in the space of maybe 2 miles of riding.  It's brutal and there is no relief.  Even knowing I only had less than 15 miles to the Sunshine Summit turn-around point, at mile 117 did nothing to diminish the intensity of the situation.  I used to call it the Pity Pit, but "being Rocked" is a better description.  As I passed Warner Springs, the road turned west.  Almost immediately temps started dropping. In the next 4-5 miles temps went from high 90's to mid-80's. At the windy Sunshine Summit, on this day, cooler, moist, coastal air was blowing in and it was 83F at the store.  After a 15 min refuel, I was rolling back to Lake Henshaw.

As I rolled off, I realized I forgot to power down my Garmin during the rest stop.  That meant 15 min of unnecessary battery drain.  Still, figured it was not a problem.  I surfed some huge tailwinds almost all the way back to Warner Springs.  When I hit the danger zone it was completely different.  This time, the winds were from the West, and temps still warm, but below 95F.  I made it through with no problem.  A quick refuel at Lake Henshaw, mile 138, and I was back on the bike heading up the E. Grade of Palomar Mt.  The E. Grade is now nearly as hard as S. Grade.  There are "flat" spots embedded in miles 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9.  I pushed at about 80%, knowing the coolest air would be above 4,500 ft (tree line).  It was still a long hot & sweaty climb, but finally made it to Mother's Restaurant, mile 150 on the button.  Iced-up and rolled out at 3:00 P.M.

It was here that I noticed my primary Garmin 810 had only 20% battery left.  Even in my foggy brain, I knew that I still had 50 miles to go, including the ferocious Cole Grade, and a trip through Escondido with 4th of July afternoon traffic slowing everything down.  Bottom line:  I would need to ride near my best-ever time to make it back before the Garmin died.  The spare Garmin still had plenty of life, but since I had put it in my pocket (instead of saddle bag) it had all the rest stop walk-around wasted time included in the ride.  Knew I should have put it into my saddle bag instead, D'oh!  Nonetheless, I got it into my mind that I could outrun the battery countdown.  In a strange way, it was exciting to make up time on the descents, then lose time on the climbs all the way back to the coast.  Kept my mind active.  Unbelievably, I made almost ever single light all the way from Valley Center, through Escondido, to Del Dios.  It was a blast to smash through intersections at full speed, racing my Garmin battery as it went down through 6%, 5%, 4%, and even 3% with 5 miles to go.  But those last 5 miles were on San Dieguito Rd, which is flat and my traditional "Golden Miles" section, the final fun miles of all my big rides.  I hit 99 miles with 2% battery left and knew I had it made.  In review, I was on the top of Palomar Mt at 3:00 P.M. with 150 miles, and at Leucadia Pizzeria on San Dieguito Rd at 5:50 P.M. (2 hrs and 20 min later) with 200 miles, on Saturday, July 4th, 2015.  What a great way to top off Stage 1.  There likely will be a price to pay, but for now, I'm Stoked!

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2015 ST 1
                               Sunshine Summit, Mile 117, Windy, Dry, Hot, Remote!
2015 ST 2
 It's 2:30 A.M, warpaint & finger tape, ready to Roll!
2015 ST 4
 Thick fog at Harrah's Casino at base of Palomar Mt.
2015 ST 3
 Nostril selfie at Palomar Mt Summit, feeling rocked!
2015 ST 5
 Palomar Mt Observatory, Mi 79 w/8,700 ft climbed
Stage 2:
Just reviewed Stage 1 blog.  Oy, too much info!  When writing these contemporaneous blogs, I must slip into the same grinder mind frame as when I'm out on the road.  That's not what I want.  Will try a new format to organize thoughts around key elements of the ride, or at least, ride elements I found interesting.

Nature:  Biggest change on Stage 2 was cooler inland temps. Nice cloud cover for start of South Grade climb.  Eventually rode above it, but temps stayed in low 80's F, even in direct sunlight last 4 miles.  Allowed me to set and hold a strong pace most of the way.  Last 1.5 miles is ALWAYS a total suck, even perfect weather will never change that!  Got through 5 mile split in 29:46.  Paced from mile marker 43 to 47 using 8:00/mile goal.  Worked great!  At mile 47, all bets are off.  Buried myself on each of the .2 mile markers, 47.2, 47.4, 47.6, and 47.8.  The run-up to the final mile marker at the summit, 47.8 mi, is always a fantastic relief.  Tried to charge it, but was happy to keep pedals moving.  Hit the line at 1:21:46, and made my whole ride.  Why is that, you may ask?  The South Grade of Palomar Mt (SGPM) is a genuine unequivocally fearsome climb.  It's 11.6 miles with 4,200 ft of elevation.  Uncorruptible in it's difficulty. No way to bargain for relief.  No way to buy a faster time.  It's continuous and unrelenting. On SGPM it's only HARD, or HARDER.  There is no easy.  Period.  There are 200 mile rides that are much easier than a determined assault up 11.6 miles on SGPM.  I know, 'cuz I've done both many times.  What made it extra special on this day, is the fact I had battled the same grade, FRESH, 2 days earlier and posted a 1:26:12. That meant I went 4 minutes and 28 seconds, faster on Stage 2, on tired legs.  Definitely cause for celebration.  Right after crossing the line, went another .4 miles up to my favorite little perch, to take photos of the last few switchbacks and of the cloud line below.  I love this tiny space on planet earth.

Pacing:  I rolled extra early, at 2:26 A.M.  That's the earliest I've ever started.  Reason was because I removed the Palomar Mt Observatory section, which I rode on Stage 1.  That meant I needed to replace those 9.5 miles, and I decided to front-load them (prior to SGPM) in the morning.  Because every single minute matters in a ride like this, I needed to roll about 30 minutes earlier.  Also, by removing a very hard section, and replacing it with flat coastal miles (although in the dark), it allows me to increase the pace without fear of blowing up later.  I suppose blowing up later is still possible, it's just that I don't "fear" it.  And that's a huge point.  It's more about mental readiness, than pure physical.  Obviously, as each stage goes by, the body becomes more beat up.  However, making seemingly small adjustments to the route difficulty, allows one to actually ride faster, and still handle the torture in stride.  For example, on Stage 2, I arrived at the base of Palomar Mt, over 15 minutes faster than on Stage 1, and still felt strong.  Will try that again on Stages 3 and 4 as well.

Nutrition:  On Stage 1, stuck with Clif Bars and Clif Shot Bloks.  They work well enough, but a bit on the bland side.  On Stage 2, I shut it down at Lake Henshaw for 15 minutes, and had a wonderful microwaved Cheeseburger and a diet Pepsi in the shade on the porch.  Was lovely.  Immediately charged back up the East Grade of Palomar Mt from there and went 10 MINUTES faster than on Stage 1.  All good, right?

Wildlife Encounters.  That same rabbit decided to make his morning crossing in front of me, again, on the descent down E. Grade.  I'm sure he had vital interests on the other side, so I won't hold it against him, this time...  Down by Lake Henshaw, a bird flew above my head for about 30 seconds.  Clearly, I had intruded on his turf, so he wanted to run me off.  And it worked, so Kudos this him!  A puppy made an appearance near the cattle guard at the bottom of Rincon hill, on my side of the road.  I was going like a bat-out-of-hell, so would have been a swift end for him if he entered the roadway.  I would have been a 200 yard long pizza, which wouldn't have been much fun.  I instinctively moved left (without looking).  Then I glanced at my rear-view mirror and saw 2 vehicles directly behind me had also moved way across the center line to avoid the same puppy.  We all safely passed by.  Still, my instincts to avoid impact could easily have had dire consequences had the drivers not been attentive.  On this day, hat's off to attentive motorists, yeah!

ST 10
        View of Palomar Mt from East Side. The Observatory is on the skyline, just left of center
ST 6
 Harrah's Rincon 7-Eleven just prior to S. Gde Climb
ST 7
   Favorite perch above S. Gde Summit, El 5,300 ft
ST 8
 Hwy 76 Cole Gde sign, mile 166 w/14k ft of climbing
ST 9
  Cole Grade climb starts at the bottom of this road
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Stage 3:
Stage 3 is always a littl eintimidating.  Independence long weekend is over, which means less vehicles, but also means I am likely the ONLY bicyclist on the road.  Just me vs. a very long day on the mountain.  Plus, gotta chase down all those times established on Stages 1 & 2, including the overall time.  That means pressing the pace from the moment I roll, until the finish.

Weather:  Cooler temps were in play today.  Still, lots of humidity, especially climbing Palomar Mt.  But temps stayed in high 70s and low 80's F all day.  Winds were virtually non existent on first climb on S. Gde.  All afternoon, winds picked up from the West, making the E. Gde climb, and entire return trip to the coast more difficult.

Got a strong start to Harrah's, at 16.0 mph.  Solid run up S. Gde, motivated by some new Ipod tunes, set a solid tone for the ride.  Hitting S. Gde summit in 1 hour 19 minutes, was both a relief and confidence builder.  Legs were okay, not too thrashed.  I could tell I had this one even before hitting 100 mile.  Every single time I set a mini-goal, I was able to pull it in.  Most of these goals are done on my Virtual Partner, which is a function in the Garmin bicycle computer.  It's possible to set a speed goal, such as 16.0 mph.  On the top of the screen appears a small virtual cyclist going exactly that pace.  Underneath, is another cyclist (me) with my actual pace.  It gives the delta as both miles and time ahead (or behind), and positions me either ahead, or behind the virtual rider.  It's a fun diversion and keeps me on pace too.  With a heavily front-loaded climbing course, such as these first 4 stages, it's normal to be miles and miles behind.  In fact, at the top of the 2nd Palomar climb, I was at mile 125 and was over 35 minutes behind the 16.0 goal pace.  That's over 8 miles behind.  BUT, I'm on top of a mountain, and most of the remaining 75 miles are downhill to the coast.  By no means is it a free ride, there a dozens of climbs, but nothing like what had already been climbed.  In fact, I cut the 35 minutes in half bombing back down the 12.5 miles from the top of Palomar to Lake Henshaw.  From that point all the way home, it's all about reeling in that top rider.  And that's exactly what I did.  Caught up with about 2 miles to go.  Felt rewarding to achieve that success totally solo.

 ST 15
 Cheeseburger lunch b4 2nd Palomar climb mile 113
ST 14
               Don's Market stop at mile 148
ST 13
     At Don't Market stop, felt surprisingly good
ST 16
    Finish at Leucadia Pizzeria in Rancho Santa Fe

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Stage 4:
Stage 4 was all about two things:  1. Completing a sweep of lowering all times, and 2. A freakish cold cloud hovering over Palomar Mt all day, from about 4,000 ft to the summit, at about 5,300 ft.

Pacing:  Got a strong start to this ride with the TGI Friday motivation coupled with knowing this would be the final day on Palomar Mt.  Worked hard to make it to Harrah's with a 16.1 mph avg, and that's exactly where it was.  I had to work a little harder because I hit a stationary mini squall right out of the gates in

Del Mar, miles 6 to 11.  And, because I had to double back to rack up some extra miles, got to hit it again for a couple more miles around 22 to 24.  All this was at night, so not entirely sure if it was real rain, or just condensing humidity in the pre-dawn hours.  But I know this for sure.  I was soaked and water was flying up from the front wheel and all up my back from the rear wheel.  Having set successively faster times in Stages 1, 2, and 3, meant every second counted.  There was never a time to ease off.  Even on downhills, because I was going for time, meant I had to hold onto the bike tighter, and endure much more bone rattling as the bike bounced on uneven asphalt, especially on the heavily pot holed E. Grade.  All that  consumes energy.  I avoided pulling up the Virtual Partner display on my Garmin until near the 100 mile mark. Knew I would be behind pace due to the 11.6 mile climb up S. Grade.

I should mention I that S. Grade climb in 18:01 was my 2nd best effort of all previous Shadow Tours, 2nd only to a 1:17:26 which involved much more heat, but aided by a friendly tailwind.  The "Evil Cloud" on this day was the reverse, it kept temps way down and existed BECAUSE there was no wind.  In fact, I started in the mid 60's F and watched temps DROP incrementally as I went up in altitude, completely opposite of normal.  At about 4,000 ft, it was around 52 F.  That's bizarre & crazy for July.  At 5,000 ft, it was 49 F, and at the summit, 5,300 ft, I read 48F in disbelief.  At that point, I didn't feel the chill.  My body heat from the fearsome climb was masking it.  However, in just the time to click a couple images and pull on my arm coolers, I began to chill down.  I was COMPLETELY soaked and exhausted.

Being INSIDE the cloud meant 100% humidity.  Not raining, but extremely moist air.  Rolling back down the S. Grade was a truly treacherous affair.  Hands were numb from cold and tight grip, brakes barely worked due to moist air, and core body temp was dropping like a rock.  Knew I needed to get down at least to 3,000 ft for some relief.  I can easily see how Mt Everest climbers succumb inside the "Death Zone".  The Mountain is uncompromisingly harsh.  Seconds and feet really do matter.  In this set of circumstances, the inverse of a normal July climb was in play.  The climb up was still physically a menagerie of pain, but without the added burden of sizzling heat.  And the normally fun descent into dryer & warmer air, was instead more like a plunge into a cold lake.  Each switchback was difficult, and there are at least 20.  Had to shake off cold long enough to slow and stay on the right side of the double yellow.  Brakes were about 30% of normal braking power.  And with numb fingers, it was more like 10%.  This gave new meaning to a "white knuckled" descent.  Was able to glance down a few times at the Garmin, and saw temps were improving as I blew through 4,000 ft, and eventually 3,000 ft.  At the turn onto Hwy 76, 6.6 miles of shivering descent had taken a serious toll.  I could hardly pedal and felt confused.  Toes & fingers were completely numb.  Knew if I stopped for any reason it's likely hypothermia would take over.  Every inch was a grind.  I focused entirely on the temp reading.  It HAD to climb.  It was now after 9:00 A.M. at 2,700 ft heading Eastbound, which is toward the hot desert.

After an eternity, got a couple miles under my wheels on Hwy 76 toward Lake Henshaw (10 miles away).  The thought of a hot cup of coffee and bagel popped into my mind. That proved to be my salvation.  It gave me not only a mini reward goal, but a focus other than extreme discomfort.  Temps ticked up about 1 degree per mile, through 55F, 56F, and 57F.  Near Lake Henshaw, I was getting all my muscle control back and was thinking much more clearly.  At the Lake Henshaw Grill, those 2 cups of hot Joe and cold toast (no bagels) were a mini miracle of relief.  I was inside for a total of just 12 minutes. When I came out and started rolling, temp was already 60 F and rising.  That's how fast weather can change in the San Diego highlands.  It's right to embrace some fear, but only in the sense of extreme respect.  At my lowest point, I still knew I had the emergency space blanket in my Camelbak.  There were vehicles going by, and I had my cellphone.  I was never all the way over the line.  But on that nasty descent, I once again danced on the Red Line, and that's something to avoid in a solo scenario.

I did a much kinder 20 miles, 10 out and 10 back.  Got the ship righted.  Felt amazing, even push the average back up to 15.6 mph.  Goal was 15.7, but having survived a near-hypothermia event, was thrilled to see that 15.6 mph as I rolled back into the Lake Henshaw Grill parking lot.  The Evil Cloud was still there, but by now, it was in about 72 F and I was fairly sure that it would be fine heading up the E. Grade to the summit one more time.  I also needed to break 1 hour 3 minutes to keep "The Sweep" dream alive.  Plan was to rip it up from mile 0 to the top.  Good plan, huh?  Well, that's exactly how it unfolded.  Got some early tails on the lower steep miles, so actually got ahead of the 5 min 30 sec per mile pace.  I did notice temps start to drop again, but this time only into the 60's F.  The cloud just would not dissipate.  Hit it again full force around 4,500 ft.  Almost like a thin fog.  Wet, uncomfortable, but not cold, especially on the ascent.  Threw everything in from mile 8 to 10, and one more hard dig all the way to 10.9.  Thought I got under 1 hour, but turned out to be 1:00:11.  Still, a Shadow Tour Personal Record.  At the summit I was at 125 miles with a solid 15.0 mph average and about 13,000 ft climbed.  Topped off fluids at Mother's Restaurant and rolled right back down the E. Grade.  Was 63F at 1:00 P.M.  Cool, not cold.  Eerie to see fog that late in the day, but again, it was a cloud, clinging to the summit. As I descended full speed, glanced at the Virtual Partner, which said I was 35 minutes behind pace, that's over 8 miles behind.  Funny, I wasn't in the least concerned.  I say that in a confident way, not in a resigned way.  I just KNEW I could pull back all of that time in the remaining 75 miles.

At the 3rd and final timed segment of the day, an ornery 2 mile + grinder climb on Hwy 79 to Epie Rd, I needed 16:24 or faster.  Even with a headwind, I attacked that hill to a 13:55 and yet another Shadow Tour PR.  Over that summit, with authority, and bombed down to Santa Ysabel, mile 148.  A quick top off, and hit it again, and again, and again, all the way down to Ramona, around mile 165.  By that point, I was only 2 minutes behind my Virtual Partner.  Had to deal with some difficult windy flat sections for a few miles, then the early hard miles on Highland Valley Rd, but got through all that and was still only about 4:30 behind with a mega-sized 8 mile drop to Escondido.  Somewhere in that stretch, I was holding on too tight to look down, but I passed the Virtual Partner and was a minute AHEAD, with about 20 miles to go.  Lost time on the always mean Via Rancho Pkwy climb, but made it all back on the first few downs on Del Dios heading straight for the coast.

Hit the "Golden Miles" on San Dieguito Rd a couple minutes ahead of paced.  Jammed the last 5 miles at 20+ and stretched lead even further.  Stopped the clock at 12:17:44, over 12 minutes faster than Stage 3, which itself had been a Shadow Tour Record.  Completed the FULL SWEEP of all 4 Palomar Mt Stage, going faster on each climb, each successive day, AND going faster overall each successive day.

This one was for my incredible parents.  I know they don't understand it--and most definitely don't WANT "it", but besides my Love & Respect, it's all I can offer.  Thought about you guys the whole way.  Thanks for EVERYTHING!

ST 21
         Wide angle photo of East side of Palomar Mt, showing cloud cover over summit, center of image
ST 17
  Summit of morning S. Gde climb, 8:49 A.M, 48 F
ST 18
          Mile 75 of 200, cold & 100% humidity
ST 19
    Evil cold cloud clinging to top of Palomar Mt
ST 20
 Cloud over Palomar Mt from East, about 11:15 A.M.
ST 22
Mother's on summit of Palomar Mt.  Many, many ice refill happen here. Note bikers cover bikes with plastic.

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Stage 5:

The story of Stage 5 was one of very gradual temperature rise all day, with a seemingly endless series of roller hills.  The early hours, from rolling at 4:19 A.M. through the first century at about 10:39 A.M. felt strong and held a solid 16.4 mph average.  From that point on, temps moved above mid 80s F and into low 90's F.  After Friday's cold day, the contrast took a heavy toll, amplifying the intensity.  Another irritating nuisance developed through the morning, the inner front chainring was skipping on every extra strong pedal stroke.  In a stage with lots and lots of small hills, this was a huge momentum stealer.  A couple skips even caused injury to my lower left shin.  As with most Shadow Tour mechanical issues, I was able to adjust around it and keep rolling.  But losing that ability to accelerate over the tops of hills and away from stop signs & stop lights stole tons of time.

By about mile 125, the heat & humidity and difficult short climbs gradually added up and put a serious hurt on.  Had to throttle it back for about 15 miles and get me legs working again.  Wanted to attend an outdoor concert with Atomic Groove that ran from 4:00 - 7:00 P.M. so that was on my mind too.  By mile 160 though, it became clear that the best I could get home would be 5:30 - 5:45 P.M, so the concert was not gonna happen.  As it ended up, rolled in exactly at 5:45 P.M. 

Even with about 2,000 ft of climbing LESS than the Palomar Mt Stages, this one really hurt.  I was able to post a 12 hour 17 minute Double Century, which is respectable by almost any standard.  Still, this one proved quite difficult.  I looked back to last year and it was almost exactly the same situation.  This year I went faster, but would have liked to be under 12 hours.  That will have to wait a little longer.  
 
51
                                  On Butterfield Stage Rd in Temecula, mile 116
52
                      On Rancho California, in Temecula Wine Country, Thornton Winery, mile 106
53
                                     Summit of Couser Canyon climb (steep side), mile 84

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Stage 6:
Today's stage was all about Mt Laguna.  To get there, I went through downtown San Diego, with a quick 4-mile loop on Fiesta Island before making a mad dash through downtown.  This section is always nerve-wrecking.  The roads are cut up, lots of homeless people under bridges, the smells of cigarettes, urine, and stale alcohol are everywhere.  Add darkness and lots of stoplights and it's not a fun deal.  And worse, I knew I would be coming back through, on the same roads, in the 5:00 P.M. drive time hour on the return.  But daylight makes it much easier, even with many, many more vehicles.  Plus, the only smells at that that point would be the Finish Line!

Hit the Sweetwater Bike Path at about 18 miles, and that's a relief, because it's a 2.8 mile protected bike route heading inland.  It leads straight to two of my favorite communities:  Bonita & Chula Vista.  Beautiful peppertree lined parkways make this section scenic & fun.  Did a 3 + 3 mile along Otay Lakes to reel in some miles.  Climbing began at Mile 54 on Honey Springs Road.  Just steep enough to need to be in low gears with high spin, but lots of sections to accelerate, so it's a busy and overall hard climb for a bout 7 miles.  Then 14 more miles of gradual climbs on Japatul Rd and under Interstate 8 Freeway.  From there, it's about 10 miles to Pine Valley, mile 82, and a full stop for ice & fluids as temps neared 90 F.

Climbing the west side of Mt Laguna, on Sunrise Hwy, is interesting.  Westerly winds push, the grade isn't very steep, maybe 4-5%, and theres plenty of room for cyclists.  Fairly easy to hold 10's, 11's, even up to low teens in places on the 10 mile ascent.  At the top, mile 97, I looked for the 6,000 Ft Elevation sign, but it was gone, apparently stolen, which is a bummer, because I love including it in my photos.  From there, bombed back down Sunrise and around on Old Hwy 80 to Kitchen Creek Rd, which is a southern ascent on Mt Laguna.  At the start, temp was 106F, and it felt it!  Luckily for me, winds had shifted from Westerlies to from the South, so had a 8-9 mph tailwind.  The first 4 miles are steep, then moderate for a couple miles until hitting the gate.  From there to the top gate, about 5 miles, the road is a single lane, beat up, with tons of pot holes, sand, and bumps.  It's completely closed to vehicles, for good reason.  On the sandy sections, it's necessary to keep the front wheel dead straight to avoid crashing.  At times, that means hitting various creases and pot holes that are also dangerous.  At this point, I was well over 9,000 ft of climbing, with over 118 miles ridden, so the every extra effort is draining.  At last, I could see the Sunrise Hwy ahead.  Felt wonderful to get back on a smooth surface.  I even went almost a mile back up toward the summit.  Thought I needed the miles (turned out I didn't and it was wasted effort).

At mile 125 headed back down the 10 miles on Sunrise to Pine Valley, starting my return to La Jolla.  Temps were in high 90s F and winds were once again from West, meaning headwinds.  But with a mostly downhill profile, except for that awful Gutay hill, I was able to begin building back my avg mph from 13.7 to my goal of at least 15.  I mentally repeatedly told myself that I felf fine and that it wasn't THAT hot.  Power of suggestion & positive thinking in action.  It definitely works.

Eventually got all the way to Honey Springs Rd, for a butt-kicking mile long hill with about 300 ft, before 6 mile fast descent.  Got down safely, worked hard on Otay Lakes Rd vs. headwinds, then through Chu-Chu and Bonita.  Got a lucky run north on Harbor Dr, down my the Navy building yards.  Hit the lights just right, didn't inhale too much cigarette smoke, then into the Convention Center, and it was remarkably empty.  Normal dicey traffic all through downtown and along the airport, but stayed calm and got it done.  Somewhere in there, realized I was at least 4 miles over on distance, so only had to make it a little past the Rose Canyon 7/10 mile section and had my double.  Off the clock at 6:07 P.M, and just did a light spin up Gilman Dr and home.  Got the average speed to 15.1 mph and was very satisfied with a tough 15k of climbing.

ST 61
                               Kitchen Creek Road below the gate (open to traffic)
ST 62
                                Kitchen Creek Road, just past lower gate, about 3,700 ft el.
ST 63
                At Mt Laguna General Store
ST 64
                       Store parking lot
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Stage 7:
Coastal Double was a real nerve wrecker.  This route will be retired after this year.  Way to many Risks & Ragers out there.                                                                                            
ST 71
                                  Under shade canopy on Trabuco Canyon Rd, near turnaround at mile 120
ST 72
                                           Intersection of Antonio & Banderas, only in the OC, right?
ST 73
            Just like the sign says, Trabuco Canyon
ST 74
   View of Pacific Ocean from Crown Valley Pkwy, mile 140

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Stage 8: 

When my Lake Big Bear Wingman's plans changed, so did mine.  Not willing to take that kind of solo risk any longer.  Instead, rode from my home with not one, but two Wingmen.  Little did I know what lie ahead as we plowed through the predawn miles.  At about mile 22, while descending at 42 miles an hour, lead man, Metal (Andrew Danly) hit a large piece of road debris.  Only his years of experience prevented him from going down, and in the process, taking down Stephane Roch, and myself, following close behind.  When we got stopped, it was clear Metal had sustained a double flat.  We pooled our resources, but in the end, the situation could not be salvaged, and Metal Uber'ed outta there.  Stephane took up the lead, and pulled me to a new PR up Scripps Poway Pkwy as light broke.  It was then that we saw the gathering dark clouds and started hearing low rumbles of thunder.  A few miles over the top, Stephane had to peel off to be at his job at the Trek Superstore by 10:00 A.M.  Almost immediately after that, flashes of lightening and crashes of thunder could be seen & heard in the direction of the coast. 

More to come...
ST 81
ST 80
ST 82
ST 83 
ST 84
ST 86 ST 85

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Stage 9:

Stage 9 had everything to do with the aftermath of the storms on Sat and Sun.  Storm wash covered every road in San Diego.  But the misery index spiked with 90-100% humidity and blazing 90F heat.

More to come...
ST 90
ST 91
ST 92 ST 93 


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Stage 10:

The Champagne Stage for the 11th Annual 2015 Shadow Tour rolled off a couple hours late (4:58 A.M.) due to a Smart Phone alarm glitch--most likely operator error.

More to come...
ST 10
ST 11 ST 12
ST jk1
ST jk2

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2015 Solo Shadow Tour Recap

2015 Jim's Solo Shadow Tour











Total Average Climbing Elev.

Date Day Stage Miles To Date Time Speed Elevation To Date Start Finish











4-Jul Sat 1 200.50 200.50 13:22:38 14.99 17,051 17,051 2:52 5:50
5-Jul Sun
26.20 226.70 1:53:14 13.88 1,424 18,475

6-Jul Mon 2 200.50 427.20 12:40:17 15.82 16,421 34,896 2:26 5:17
7-Jul Tue
25.90 453.10 1:36:18 16.14 630 35,526

8-Jul Wed 3 200.40 653.50 12:30:15 16.03 16,539 52,065 2:51 5:12
9-Jul Thu
25.90 679.40 1:38:52 15.72 709 52,774

10-Jul Fri 4 200.50 879.90 12:17:44 16.31 16,450 69,224 2:50 5:19
11-Jul Sat
25.90 905.80 1:38:42 15.74 643 69,867

12-Jul Sun 5 200.10 1,105.90 12:17:54 16.27 13,494 83,361 4:19 5:45
13-Jul Mon
26.50 1,132.40 1:46:18 14.96 1,480 84,841

14-Jul Tue 6 200.10 1,332.50 13:16:27 15.07 15,256 100,097 3:25 6:07
15-Jul Wed
26.20 1,358.70 1:44:41 15.02 1,457 101,554

16-Jul Thu 7 200.50 1,559.20 11:54:57 16.83 10,007 111,561 3:25 4:58
17-Jul Fri
25.90 1,585.10 1:40:30 15.46 758 112,319

18-Jul Sat 8 200.20 1,785.30 11:58:10 16.73 12,955 125,274 3:44 6:18
19-Jul Sun
25.90 1,811.20 1:32:22 16.82 735 126,009

20-Jul Mon 9 200.20 2,011.40 13:10:03 15.20 13,681 139,690 3:19 6:37
21-Jul Tue
25.90 2,037.30 1:44:18 14.90 646 140,336

22-Jul Wed 10 200.20 2,237.50 12:07:08 16.52 9,590 149,926 4:54 6:17














2,237.50
140:50:48 15.89 149,926 1.2691%

                                                           
Bold Red indicates Shadow Tour Record                                                           

Shadow Tour Recaps & Records







 











 
Year: 2004 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 











 
Age: 43 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54
Miles: 2,111 2,274 2,222 2,189 2,140 2,267 2,132 2,167 2,221 2,283 2,237
Time: 142:06:00 
143:31:33 
149:51:55 
137:21:16 
129:28:28 
135:22:09 
130:46:55 
138:47:01 
149:11:19 
144:24:02 
140:50:48 
Avg mph: 14.85 15.84 14.83 15.94 16.53 16.75 16.31 15.62 14.89 15.81 15.89
Ft Climbed: 
107,460 126,772 134,970 142,891 150,022 155,485 149,887 162,464 159,239 171,450 149,924
Gradient: 0.8900% 1.0558% 1.1501% 1.2705% 1.3274% 1.2989% 1.3312% 1.4197% 1.3576% 1.4221% 1.2691%
Start Wt: 190 192 200 188 182 180 178 178 174 170 174
Finish Wt: 172 179 186 175 170 167 165 167 166 163 167
Wt Lost: 18 lbs 13 lbs 14 lbs 13 lbs 12 lbs 12 lbs 13 lbs 11 lbs 8 lbs 7 lbs 7 lbs
Doubles 0 1 6 5 1 2 3 5 7 10 10
Flat Tires: 1 1 1 1 2 3 0 1 1 4 1
Days: 23 23 23 22 22 21 19 19 19 19 19
Field: JK & LG Solo Solo Solo Solo Solo Solo Solo Solo Solo Solo
                       
Bold Red indicates Shadow Tour Record
 

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Jim's 2015 Solo Shadow Tour Background

Biggest change for 2015, is I've decided to replica all three European Grand Tours.  In Apr/May, I completed my first ever Shadow Giro, in which I completed the entire distance + Elevation of the Giro D'Italia.  The "Shadow Giro" tour was completed in 19 days vs 23 for the actual race.  Riding in Spring conditions, even in Southern California, was wet, cold, and miserable for most of the stages, especially in the early morning hours.  However, got the Finish, and am ready to move on to my 11th unsupported solo replica of the entire Tour De France (TDF) bicycle race.  In Aug/Sep, I plan to replicate the Vuelta Espana.  But for now, this "Shadow Tour" of the Tour de France, will repeat last year's 10 Double Century Stages format in just 19 days.  The TDF is an annual professional bicycle race held in France, crossing into Italy, Spain, Belgium, and England.  The race covers 2,200+ miles in 21 stages, with 2 travel/rest days. The 2015 TDF dates are Jul 4 - July 25. My personal Shadow Tour starts on Jul 4th, covers the same distance, has substantially more elevation, finishes 4 days earlier, and is held entirely in So Cal.  The plan is to ride 10 massive 200-mile Stages, alternating with single 20 mi "rest days".  The 10 x 200 mi Stages represent my spin on the "CA Triple Crown,"  a series of 3 Double Century rides completed in a 12-month period.  The Shadow Tour's first 4 stages, aka 4 Kings, each include 2 ascents of the ferocious Palomar Mt (South Grade + East Grade).  Average speed is a lower priority with this much climbing, heat, and mileage, but I'd like to keep it above 16 mph. All 10 previous solo replicas were successful (2004, 2006 - 2014). If you conclude this is all routine--trust me, it's not. This is extreme ultra-distance, ultra-climbing, in July's blazing heat, in So Cal's inland desert & mountain regions, with many, many dangerous elements; so an important disclaimer: Do Not attempt this!

At my end, I have 28 years of cycling and racing experience in all types of terrain and weather, especially in sizzling desert environments and advanced mountain cycling. I'm a lifelong conditioned athlete. I know every stage by heart, with no need for a map. I've mentally mapped nearly every crease in the asphalt, studied traffic flows of every mile of the route, and know how, and when, to make adjustments, as necessary.

My traditional venue for the Solo Shadow Tour is So Cal, from along the Mexican border to the south, north through San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Orange Counties, east through Imperial County, and west along the Pacific coastline on Historic Highway 101. The 2015 Shadow Tour will match all the total riding distance and far exceed the total climbing elevation of the actual TDF.

In 2004, Shadow Tour Co-Founder Larry Gitman, and I embarked on an adventure to replicate the entire Shadow Tour as a rigid mirror image of the real 2004 TDF. I discovered that precisely replicating the modern-era TDF format was not challenging enough. For example, in France, pro cyclists start about noon each day, following a huge breakfast/lunch, morning spin, and massage. The pelaton rides at a relatively fast tempo, but well within the capabilities of trained professional cyclists. They average about 180 km/day (about 4-5 hrs). There are 2 rest days. Most stages are about 100 miles in length.

The real TDF has exciting early stage sprint finishes, which cannot be re-created. The middle and late stages separate the leaders from the pelaton on just a few difficult high alp mountain passes. Further separations occur in Team & Individual Time Trials. Unfortunately, the last several years, with 3-4 stages remaining, the final podium rankings were relatively "fixed". Doping has, sadly, continued to plague the event. Both issues I find utterly detestible. In 2009, TDF organizers finally intervened by situating the brutal Mt Ventoux high mountain stage one day prior to the traditional "Champagne Spin" to Paris, along with other measures, to make the race more of a true competition. In my opinion,it needs many more reforms, starting with ethics training and a much more selective process for inclusion of well-qualified riders and teams in the event.

In stark contrast, the original 1903 Tour De France--the one that started it all--had just 5 monster stages of 400 Km each, plus a final gruesome 480 km finishing stage to Paris. The race was spread out over 19 days. They rode on unimproved crushed gravel roads, on heavy steel bicycles, with just two gears: a large ring on one side of the rear wheel and a small ring on the other. To change gears, a rider stopped and turned the wheel around. Outside support was not permitted. They rode day and night in all weather conditions. There were no team tactics, every rider rode to win on every stage. In the late 1960's and early 1970's the legendary Eddy Merckx "The Cannibal" rode with a ravenous Will-to-Win. In his first TDF in 1969, and again in 1970, he scorched the field. He won the Sprinter's Jersey, the King of the Mountains Jersey, and the overall winner's Yellow Jersey. He won the Tour de France five times, the Giro d'Italia five times, and the Vuelta a Espana once, tallying 11 Grand Tour victories. Eddy Merckx remains the greatest cyclist of all time, well beyond the accomplishments of all other multiple tour champions including recent multiple TDF winners.

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