2008 Solo Shadow Tour

Jim's 2008 Solo Shadow Tour Daily Blog

For 2008, I'll be attempting a fourth unsupported replica of the entire Tour De France (TDF) bike race.  The TDF is an annual staged professional bicycle race held in France covering 2,175 miles in 21 stages over 23 days, with 2 rest days.  The 2008 TDF is from Jul 5 - 27; my Shadow Tour will be during the same dates.  With three previous successful replications in 2004, 2006, and 2007, one might think this is all routine--trust me, it's not, so here's the important disclaimer:   nobody should attempt this!   I have 21 years of riding and racing experience in all types of terrain and weather, especially in sizzling desert environments.  I'm a lifelong conditioned athlete and have full medical clearance.  I know every road, every crease in the asphalt, have studied traffic flows of every mile of the route, and know how and when to make modifications.  With that out of the way, here's the 2008 plan...

The traditional venue for the Shadow Tour is Southern California from the Mexican border, north through Imperial, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Orange Counties, then west along the Pacific coast on historic Highway 101.  The Shadow Tour will exceed all the distance and climbing elevation (by far) of the real deal.  This year blasts off with 600 miles in the first 3 days.  All 3 days will be in the inland coastal ranges of San Diego with multiple passes over two soaring mountain peaks: Palomar Mt. and Mt. Laguna, each over 1 mile high, then turns east down into the blazing middle desert regions of Imperial County for minimal vehicle traffic during night riding.

Time constraints limit impact on work days; so only 5 full work days will be sacrificed to complete the 2,175 mile journey covering 23 days.  This drives up single day mileage, necessitating 6 stages with over 200 miles each.  This is in sharp contrast with the longest stage of the actual 2008 TDF of 144 miles.  The historical precident for 6 monster stages was the original TDF in 1903, which had only 6 stages, each well over 200 miles.  To optimize safer night riding and to avoid--to the extent possible--riding with the main flow of traffic, 8 overnight hotel stays will be part of this year's Shadow Tour.  The Julian Lodge  in Julian and  The Robinhood Resort in Big Bear Lake offer clean and affordable accommodations.  Daily blogs and pics will be delayed during times when I'm out on the road, but I'll catch up once back in San Diego.  All ride data is downloaded from two Garmin 305's.  

Best Wishes, Jim

Date Stage   Stg Mi
  Tot Mi

    Time
   Elev
  Tot El
Avg
HR
Avg
MPH
Wgt
                                 Route
Sat, July 5     1

  241.7  
  241.7 

16:01:22

 

 17,847
 17,847
na 15.08 189  Start Julian/Ramona/Carmel Valley (CV)/Santa Luz (SL)/Julian/Santa Ysabel (SY)/East Grade Palomar Mt (EGPM)/Palomar Mt. Observatory (PMO)/South Grade Palomar Mt. (SGPM)/Lake Henshaw (LH)/San Filipe Grade (SFG)/Ranchita/SFG/Scissors Crossing (SC)/Box Cyn/SC/Banner Grade (BG)/Julian   

   2008 LH 3
                          View of Lake Henshaw from East Grade Palomar Mt

Kicking off the 2008 Solo Shadow Tour with the hardest possible course on the first day sure has it's pluses and minuses.  It's good that every subsequent day is a bit easier than Stage 1.  The downside is there's no such thing as an "easy" ultra-style ride in San Diego's wild backcountry.  Whether mountains or desert, July cycling in these regions demands precision and careful management of everything from fluids and energy expenditures, to nutrition, light, store-hopping, and overall course management.  Nonetheless, I intentionally designed Stage 1 to be as difficult as possible for my level of conditioning, experience, and mental discipline.  While I didn't include 18% grades available on some side country roads,  I did position the tough 11 mile climb up Palomar Mt's East Grade at mile 150 of the ride.  That assured I'd be fairly beaten up, sunburned, and dehydrated  before I began the ascent, just in time for the hot afternoon westerly winds sliding down the mountain for me to battle the whole way up.  After 1 hour and 12 minutes I continued climbing past the traditional cyclist summit at the Country Store, riding another 4 miles up to the Palomar Observatory.  By the time I arrived at 5:30 P.M. the gate to the observatory was closed, so I took a photo of it instead (D'Oh!).  The first century of the day was mostly downhill from Julian to the coast and took 5 hrs 20 min; the second much harder century, was another 8 plus hours.  I finished as the last flicker of ambient light faded away around 9 P.M.  The night phase was under a sliver moon, which set early around 11 P.M.  Bombing down the 11 mile San Filipe descent at 24-30 MPH with just a cateye bike light will keep your attention!  I continued south past Scissors Crossing onto S2 to Stagecoach Trails RV park.  They have an outdoor soda vending machine.  A $1.75 cold Diet Pepsi was beyond refreshing after 215 miles.  All that remained was the daunting final 11 mile climb up Banner Grade in pitch blackness to Julian coming up from the desert.  My ipod was my constant companion, along with 3 flashing lights to help ward off any possible stalking mt lions catching the scent of me or my Clif Bars.  Overall, a well-paced day of cycling (relentless forward progress as Mike Berry puts it), tons of fluids and energy snacks, and a fairly good training base, made this epic ride just barely do-able .  I suffered mightily, touching, and probably crossing the threshhold of my own limits.  In comparison, this ride has more elevation than Lake Tahoe's Death Ride, twice the mileage, and much more extreme temperature gradients and terrain diversity.  It's over.  I'm honestly relieved and very satisfied, but would not want to repeat any time soon!
                  2008 ST PM
                               Entrance to Palomar Observatory Park/Picnic Area
 
Sun, July 6 2 116.83
358.52
8:04:28 5,964
23,811
na 14.40  186  Start Julian/Warner Sprs (WS)/Aguanga
/Remac/Sage Rd/WS/SFG/
Stagecoach Trails RV/BG/Julian

Ok, so the theory was Stage 2 should be a relative easy day of (only) 116 miles after the monster Stage 1 with 242 miles.  But the route included many pesky roller hills and soaring temps (105F) raged all day.  From Julian, in San Diego County, to Remac, in Riverside County, mostly along Hwy 79, was my path of persistence; though some might substitute torture for persistence.  Despite being the crowded 4th of July weekend,  I DID NOT SEE A SINGLE OTHER CYCLIST ALL DAY covering 9+ hours.  But I sure saw and got meet some real nice staff members at the Stagecoach Cafe in Riverside.  Part of the pain was of my own making, such as starting at 8:49 A.M.  But once I got into the store-hopping mode it was all fine.  I've now perfected the one gulp of hot gatorade from the frame bottle, followed by a swig of ice-cold water from the 70 oz camelbak maneuver.  Works like a charm.  Ready to complete the final leg of the 600 miles in 3 days Grande Entrance.

2008 SC Jim in Remac   2008 Bx Cyn
 Jim + Cheeseburger + Fries at the Stagecoach Cafe          Views South on S2 near Box Canyon
Mon, July 7 3 242.56
601.09
16:43:11 16,603
40,414
na  14.51  184  Start Julian/LM/Pine Valley (PV)/Old Hwy 80 Century/PV/LM/Julian/Santa Ysabel/LH/SFG/SC/Shelter Valley/Banner Grade/Julian 

             2008 ST Windmills
                                Windmills on the Tecate Divide, Elevation 4,000 Feet

Stage 3 was a tricky day.  Started at 5:19 A.M. with a summit ride over Mt. Laguna, elevation 6,000 Feet.  Then a fun 10 mile descent down to the friendly town of Pine Valley.  Ran into Mike Trant on his bicycle.  Mike has been a loyal rider and volunteer at Shadow Tour Century Rides since the beginning.  The next leg was to ride the now retired Old Highway 80 Century.  The course follows the Old Highway 80 historic route and proceeds south to the Mexican border (50 feet from the fence) then east to the Desert Tower.  One small town on the route, Campo, is known to have the most volatile weather in San Diego county, with 100F temperature swings in a single day.  The ride drops from an elevation of 3,300 feet to about 2,000 feet then climbs back up and over the Tecate Divide at 4,000 feet.  There are about 25 enormous windmills along the divide producing many megawatts of green energy.  Each fan blade is the length of the wing of a 727 aircraft.  Having ridden this course many times in the high heat, it's mostly luck of the draw--either barely tolerable, or complete pity pit material, nothing in between.  Today was a tolerable day, because the afternoon winds were from the desert toward the coast as I climbed the eastbound 13 mile grinder back over the Tecate Divide for the second time.  That's just luck.  Was still sweltering hot, but having a tailwind vs. headwind is priceless on the Old Hwy 80.  Made it to Pine Valley for 3 laps of the town to rope in some extra mileage, then an westbound summit climb over Mt. Laguna for the second time in the late afternoon.  Took only 1 hour and 2 minutes to spin up the 10 mile climb, so must have had some friendly winds pushing.  At the 6,000 ft summit I realized it was 6:00 P.M. and I was on a mountain summit knowing I'd spend the next 6 hours descending all the way back down to the 2,000 ft desert in total darkness, before mounting one final (and determined) charge up the Banner Grade to complete the 600 mile 3 day personal odyssey.  Sometimes it's best not to think too much, just take it one bite at a time.  With patience, those bites were all taken and the final leg is now a Mission Accomplished.  Not completely without cost, but worth it in my mind.  Looking forward, I'm eager to settle in for the rest of the Solo Shadow Tour.  Less emphasis on back-to-back extremes, more focus on enjoying world class cycling and experiencing the best of what Mother Nature and So. Cal. have to offer.  

2008 ST MT L   2008 ST DT
                 Mt. Laguna Summit                                  Diet Coke at Ben's Desert Tower
Tue, July 8 Rest 20.24
621.3
1:15:28 830
41,244
na 16.00

185

Rest spin CV/RSF/CV
Wed, July 9 Rest   40.33
661.66
2:19:51 2,428
43,672
 na 17.30 185 Rest spin CV/RSF/Del Dios Hwy/RSF/CV
Thu, July 10  4 200.01
861.67
11:56:15 10,993
54,665
na 16.75 183 CV/SL/Temecula & Fallbrook Century Loop/SL/CV/Hwy 101 Coast (Del Mar/
Cardiff/Encinitas/Carlsbad)/CV   

Excellent day for a double century in So Cal.  Front loaded most of the climbing in the morning century which followed a route along the intermediate coastal range communities of Temecula (famous for wines) and Fallbrook (avocado heaven).  Temps were delightful as a thin haze provided cover almost all day.  After racking up 8,000+ feet of climbing the first 130 miles, was a relief to head back down for a 48 mile spin up and down the coast on Hwy 101 in the late afternoon.  Completed the first century in 6 hrs 5 min, then negative split the second century in 5 hrs 51 min, total double century time:  11 hrs 56 min.  Even got home at 6:39 PM.  Clearly, a double century is never a piece of cake to ride, but in comparison to the first 3 days of Shadow Tour IV, this sure felt much more manageable.  I snapped the photo below near the end of the ride.  It's the beach in Cardiff a few miles from my home.  Wanna know why I live in San Diego?  Look closely at the left of the photo, see those two white lane lines?  That's the BIKE LANE ...maybe 18 feet from the surf.  It's a natural stress reducer listening to the waves crash and feeling the cool mist on your cheeks, while the sun sets into the Pacific Ocean to the west.  Most San Diego cyclists ride along Hwy 101 year-round.  San Diego's motto is "Sunny and 70F".  No doubt about it, Cardiff Beach is sunny and 70F at least 300 days a year.  Can't think of a better place to spin down off a long day in the saddle.  Special note to Mom and Dad: thanks for your concern, support, and encouragement this first week!  

2008 ST Cardiff Beach
             Highway 101 along Cardiff Beach.  Note bike lane to left side of photo.

Fri, July 11 Rest 20.27
881.94
1:14:39 938
55,603
na 16.30 184 Rest spin CV/RSF/CV
Sat, July 12 5 170.00
1,051.94

11:43:00

15,960
71,563
na 14.52 176 Julian/SY/WS/Aguanga/381/Idyllwild/
Hwy 243/Banning/Beaumont/Yucaipa/
Big Bear Lake

2008 ST Big Bear Lake
                                                     Big Bear Lake

The ride from Julian to Big Bear Lake is one of the finest routes available anywhere to experience nature's extreme diversity -- from high desert to high mountain.  Its also one of the hardest climbing days possible inside of a single 14 +/- hour period.  The ride is tricky and advanced on so many levels.  Being prepared mentally and physically are only the start.  I got an early 5:18 A.M. start in Julian.  The weather was cool, in the 70s, with high scattered clouds barely visable in the predawn skies.  The fast 7 mile descent from Julian is where it all started.  To help wake me up, had the delightful opportunity to dodge a scared rabbit at 30+ MPH that lept out of the darkness into my path only about 1 mile into the ride.  This is actually routine.  Being one of the first humans on the road in the very early morning frequently flushes out the coyotes, foxes, rabbits, even birds.  Nonetheless, got the adrenelin flowing in a hurry.  Once down on Hwy 79 it was serene viewing the sunrise.  I noticed the miles were slipping away effortlessly as I passed Warner Springs at mile 22 and continued up and over Sunshine Summit, el. 3,200 ft. and descended deep into Riverside County, to Aguanga at mile 42.

A right turn onto Hwy 371, el. 2,000 ft., began the first challenging phase, a 20 mile ascent on a narrow two-way road used by motorists as a back way to Palm Springs.  Needless to say, the pickups were in high gear and semi's roared by for much of the two hour tough climb.  In the past, temps have almost always been in the low 100's F in this area, even in the morning, but today it stayed mild, maybe only in the 80's as I crested the 4,800 ft. summit around 10:00 A.M.  Then a left onto Hwy 74 and a nice 10 mile spin to the turnoff to Idyllwild on Hwy 243.  The 5 mile climb up to Idyllwild, el. 5,500 ft. was no problem and I was glad to shut it down for a 20 min lunch at the Red Kettle Restaurant at mile 80 of the ride.  After lunch, Hwy 243 continues up about 3 miles to el. 6,200+ ft.  Then about 10 miles of rollers before a dramatic 12 mile descent into the Interstate 10 corridor connecting Los Angeles and Palm Springs.

I crossed over I-10 into Banning, then pushed through Beaumont and Yucaipa.  In Yucaipa, Bryant Rd. interects Hwy 38 and is the traditional start for the 30 mile climb up Big Bear Mt.  Starting at el. 2,600 ft., I was at mile 134 on the day, with over 8,000 ft. of climbing as I started the monster climb up to Onxy Summit.  In the first half mile I felt a few whispy rain drops.  Within 10 minutes, it was a light rain, nothing to worry about, and was more of a relief, because the sun was no longer blazing.  Near the 10 mile point of the climb, the rain stopped, but the skies remained threatening.  At 12 miles, el. 5,775 ft. I stopped in Angelus Oaks for a quick Diet Coke and refill of ice and water in my camelbak.  As I crested 6,000 ft., the skies became very dark and low rumbling sounds could be heard.  At around 6,500 ft. the rain returned, still in the category of manageable.  But by 7,000 ft. the rain started coming down in bucket loads.

At that high elevation, weird things happen.  For example, thunder was all around me, at the same level as me, not up in the sky--because I was already up in the sky!  It's also much cooler at those altitudes and the rain makes it quite cold, especially if you stop pedalling.  Then the first flash of lightening hit near me, maybe 500 yards away, when I was at about 7,500 ft.  That's definitely the Dead Zone on the climb.  There is no cover, no gas stations, or stores, no anything, just trees, pavement, and rain.  With about 6 miles to the summit, it would take just as long for me to return 13 miles down to Angelus Oaks as it would to go for the summit.  I knew this was a dangerous situation, but figured if I could make the summit, the leeward side of the mountain should have better weather.  The most immediate and real risk was the lightening.  I knew it was taking about 8 min. for each mile averaging around 300 ft of elevation gain per mile.  I calculated it was going to be at least 45 more minutes of dodging lightening and grinding away through the torrential downpour.  No doubt, this was a desperate situation.  I had planned ahead by carrying a full rain parka, long finger gloves, and winter arm-warmers.  During the climb, even when it was cold and raining, the tremendous energy needed to crank over the pedals, creates unbelievable body heat and exactly balanced out the cold, so if I had put on all that winter gear, I would have over-heated in no time.  Conversely, stopping for any length of time, even with the winter gear, would have thrust me into hypothermia.

I decided to push for the summit.  There, I'd stop, gear up, and make the 2,000 ft., 14 mile plunge to Big Bear Lake--hopefully with no rain.  Well, no luck on the rain part.  After an eternity pushing for the summit, I finally saw the 8,000 ft marker and knew I had just 1/2 mile to Onxy Summit.  From that point, I also saw the crest and could see the weather was the same over the top.  Damn, what a mega-bummer!   When I finally made Onxy Summit, I stopped at the sign, shot the photo below (you can see the totally washed out road surface to the far right of the photo below).  I got on all my winter gear and descended, with almost no braking power, in the driving rainstorm, which poured non-stop all the way to the hotel.  I estimate I rode 3 full hours in that awful rain from mile 138 to 170.

Context and experience are everything in these situations.  On the plus side, I knew exactly where I was at all times and knew precisely how long each bite-sized step would take.  Context-wise, I was exhausted, stressed, and cold.  But I've been much more exhausted, much more stressed, and far colder in my life.  My 63 days at winter Ranger School immediately leap to mind.  But I was still very lucky up there on that lonely mountain summit.  Any of those lightening bolts would have toasted me, for sure.  Any mechanical break down would have set me up for hypothermia, even with the winter gear on, due to the cummulative effects of all that hard riding that day and the week prior.  The smart call would have been to flag down an RV or pickup and get sagged out of there.  In the moment, however, the summit is a powerful draw.  Now that I've successfully made Onxy Summit five times, in blazing summer heat, near freezing springtime weather, and now, in a torrential thunder & lightening storm, no need to further push my luck!
  
2008 ST Onyx Summit
     Onxy Summit about 5:45 P.M. the washed out section to the right is the Hwy 38 surface
Sun, July 13 Rest 33.79
1,085.73
2:30:46 2,806
74,369

na

13.40 178 Spin to Arrowhead/Big Bear Lake

2008 ST Near Arrowhead
                                Views off Hwy 38 on rest day ride to Arrowhead
Mon, July 14 6 202.87
1,288.60
12:59:07 15,257
89,626
na 15.54 176 Big Bear Lake/Yucaipa/Beaumont/
Banning/Idyllwild/243/74/Hemet/Sage Rd/Remac/Aguanga/Warner Sprs/
SFG/SC/Banner Gd

2008 ST San Filepe Grade
       Views from San Felipe Grade on S2 toward Julian in the high country in the distance

The return ride from Big Bear Lake to Julian follows a longer route to avoid descending on the dangerous Hwy 371.  So instead of 170 miles, it's 202 miles.  You might think it's mostly downhill, but it's almost exactly the same amount of overall vertical climbing elevation.  Got a very early start at 5:14 A.M. and made the 14 mile climb from Big Bear Lake, el. 6,800 ft. to Onyx Summit, el. 8,443 ft just after 8:00 A.M.  Then a fast 30 mile descent to Bryant Rd in Yucuipa.  Was fun to have an 18.8 MPH average speed for the first 46 miles!  Then through Beaumont to Banning and the daunting Hwy 243 challenge was staring me in the face. 

Hwy 243 is a 22 mile climb up to Idyllwild, featuring switchbacks, speeding RVs, blazing heat, absolutely no stores, or gas stations, and let's not forget about some tricky headwinds for just for added fun!  This stretch rises from el. 2,200 ft. to el. 6,200 ft, with the first 12 miles being steady uphill, then the last 10 miles being in the form of 200 feet up, 100 feet down, something that just gnaws away when one is attemting to make determined UPHILL progress and the road keeps making one pay for the same block of elevation over-and-over--Grrrrr.  Yet, it was more of a climber battle, not a weather battle, so those kinds of battles I know I can usually prevail, and did.  Made it to Idyllwild by Noon, with right at 8,000 ft of climbing and even averaged a respectable 15.0 MPH average speed.  The Red Kettle Restaurant carbed me up and I was back on the road in no time.

This time, a right onto Hwy 74 and 14 miles to Hemet.  The main cross-compartment road is R3, "Sage Rd".  I've ridden this 20-something mile stretch numerous times.  In the right conditions, it's just a section of rollers, nothing more.  But I always seem to end up on this stretch after an unreal number of miles and feet of climbing and ALWAYS hit it in the hottest part of the afternoon heat.  Today was no exception.  This is the only section of the entire tour where I am reduced to out-of-the-saddle grinds up ridiculously steep sections at about 4 MPH.  Its the Devil's Den on that wicked road, I'm convinced!  The Pity Pit was calling my name for about an hour, but I never answered...just stayed focused, knowing a nice hotel room was waiting for me in Julian on the other side of all this nonsense.

At last, made the left turn in Remec onto Hwy 79.  Stopped at the Stagecoach Cafe for gallons of cold water, Diet Coke, Gatorade, and full bag of ice.  What a relief!  Back onto Hwy 79 and a fast, 26 mile gallop to Warner Springs with some welcomed tailwinds.  Then a left turn onto S2 and over the San Filepe Grade for a swift 13 mile descent to Scissors Xing.  Stopped to shoot the photo above while on  San Filepe Grade.  Note the road surface to the left of the photo.  That stretch of road has great sight lines, low traffic, and extra wide bike lanes.  That's where I did almost all the night riding phases during this (and all) Solo Shadow Tours.  Once at Scissors Crossing, did an out-and-back to the Stagecoach Trails RV for a cold Diet Sprite.  Then back to Scissors and a left turn to climb up Banner Grade to Julian.  It's so much more fun to climb Banner in daylight.  And I just made it to the summit at 7:45 P.M. in time to catch the last of the sunset.  A quick dinner at Rongbranch and lights out.  I enjoyed this double century, despite the nastyness of Sage Road.  Even negative split the two centuries:  6:24 and 6:19.  A tough day in the saddle with over 15,000 feet of climbing.  Doing a double on a hard course, makes for a Double Century Earned --and I wouldn't have it any other way!
Tue, July 15 Rest 20.26
1,308.86
1:07:24 943
90,569
na 18.00 179 Rest spin CV/RSF/CV
Wed, July 16 Rest 42.66
1,351.52
2:19:58 2,686
93,155
na 18.30 179 Rest spin CV/RSF/Del Dios/RSF/CV
Thu, July 17 7 200.03
1,551.55
12:46:35 14,752
107,907

na

15.65 176 CV/LH/EGPM/PMO/SGPM/Hwy 76/
Temecula/Fallbrook/Escondido/Del Dios/CV/RSF/CV

2008 ST Palomar Observatory
                    Palomar Mountain Observatory...gate was open this time!

Today's Double Century ride was the last double for this year's Solo Shadow Tour.  Originally, I had planned on this ride being half inland and half on the coast.  But since it was the last double, decided to make it harder and thus even more memorable--famous last words!

Got an early start at 5:14 A.M. and rode past Lake Wohlford out to the base of Palomar Mt.  As the sun rose, there was not a single cloud as far as the eye could see.  Knew it was going to be a hot day for the next 14 hours.  Took the base climb from the General Store to the South Grade turn moderately in 33:56.  Continued on Hwy 76 to Lake Henshaw, and shut down for a Chef Salad. 
2008 ST PMO
Rider Jim on Palomar Mountain

After lunch, decided to press the East Grade climb.  Made the 11.2 mile climb) from el. 2,658 ft. to 5,298 ft.) in 1:06:46.  That's a very respectable 10+ MPH average, considering I had already ridden 71 miles and racked up 6,000+ ft. of elevation gain before I started the climb.  At the top, I continued past the summit finish at the store another 4 miles to the Palomar Observatory for some unfinished business--namely a picture--since the gate was closed last time.

Nearing the last steep section up to the Palomar Observatory, realized I'd ridden 90 miles with over 9,300 feet of climbing and I still needed to go another 110 miles in the hotter part of the day.  The legs were definitely feeling heavy and tired.  Did my best to carb up and drank everything from Gatorade, to Diet Coke, to ice water.  But it was just a typical hot summer 90F day in the coastal ranges of San Diego and I was riding 200 miles after having already done rides of 241, 242, 200, and 202 miles.

From that point on, it was one bite at a time and worked in extra stops to keep ice in my camelbak. I bombed down the 23 S-turns on the South Grade and pushed 9 miles on Hwy 76 to the Temecula turn, then up that cranky 5 mi. climb, and eventually to Fallbrook.  From there, some suffering on Lawrence Welk Rd before the hottest part of the day passed around 5:00 P.M. 

Though I never completely recovered, got it going enough to negative split the easier 2nd Century(6:57 and 5:49) and was home by 7:26 P.M.  Glad to have the last 200 miler in the books.  Looking forward to catching more of the real Tour De France coverage on Versus next week.  Was disappointed to hear of several more incidents of doping.  Success at that price is detestible and unacceptable.  The clean riders in the Tour and the millions of cycling fans worldwide deserve much better.  But none of that has anything to do with us average cycling enthusiasts getting out there on the roads for a nice spin and receiving all the benefits of stress reduction and fitness that come included (at no extra charge!).
Fri,
July 18
Rest 36.53
1,588.08
2:15:31 2,034
109,941
na 16.20 179 Rest spin CV/RSF/Santa Luz/Solana Beach/
Del Mar/CV
Sat,
July 19

8

134.81
1,722.89
7:49:52 7,656
117,597
na 17.21 176 CV/Del Dios Hwy/Ramona/Old Julian Hwy/Ramona/Highland Valley Rd/Del Dios Hwy/CV/Hwy 101/DM/Carlsbad/DM/CV

2008 ST Highland Valley Road
                                Views to the west from Highland Valley Road

Nice transitional day from the high mountain elevations to the lower coastal areas.  Rode the first century into the high country around Ramona up to el. 2,500 ft.  Did a mini time trial up the 5 mile Ramona Hill on Hwy 78 in 20:51 (not too far off my all time best of 19:48 posted shortly before starting this year's Solo Shadow Tour).  Then continued up the Old Julian Hwy to the intersection with Hwy 78.  Returned to Ramona and completed an out-and-back on Hwy 67 to grab 10 extra miles before returning to the coast via the corkscrew Highland Valley Road.  Finished the first century in 5:51, then added a 34 mile spin up and down the coast on Hwy 101.  Felt good the whole way.  Averaged 17.2 MPH for the full 134 miles.  Many thanks to Fred at Leucadia Cycles and Dano at B&L Sports for keeping my riding machine operational.
Sun,
July 20
9 101.68
1,824.47
5:34:26 3,424
121,021
na 18.22 176 CV/Hwy 101/Del Mar/Oceanside/San Clemente/Juan Capistrano/Oceanside/Del Mar/CV

                2008 ST Carlsbad Beach
                                                  Dog Beach in Del Mar

Today's ride was fast spin up and down the coast on Hwy 101 from Del Mar to San Clemente and back.  Morning clouds broke around noon and made for a typical beautiful day along California's southern coastline.  Rode the century in 5:28, average speed of 18.3 MPH, with 3,197 feet of climbing.  Enjoyed a famous Turkado sandwich at Del Mar's Board & Brew at mile 97.  My thanks go out to ONIT for introducing me to this great post ride carb station.  This week will be 40 and 50 mile rides with one more century scheduled for Saturday and a Sunday spin to complete the tour.

2008 ST Jim in Carlsbad   2008 ST Carsbad Beach
        Jim's self pic on Hwy 101 in Carlsbad                          Carlsbad beach and surf
Mon,
July 21
Rest 52.41
1,876.88
3:02:01 3,090
124,111
na 17.30 177 Rest spin CV/RSF/SL/RSF/Manchester Ave/Hwy 101/DM/CV
Tue,
July 22
Rest 57.61
1,934.49
3:20:37 3,262
127,373
na 17.20 176 Rest spin CV/Del Dios/Via Rancho Pkwy/Hwy 78/Bandy Cyn/Via Rancho Pkwy/DD/CV
Wed,
July 23
Rest 51.04
1,985.53
2:49:58 3,013
130,386
na 18.00 177 Rest spin CV/Del Dios/VRP/Elphin Forest/Hwy 101/DM/CV

2008 SC Torrey Pines
        Views from Hwy 101 toward Torrey Pines, in foreground. and La Jolla in the distance
Thu,
July 24
Rest 51.40
2,037.02
2:52:29 3,039
133,425
na 17.90 176 Rest spin CV/RSF/Santa Luz/Manchester Av/Hwy 101/Del Mar/CV
Fri,
July 25
Rest 52.45
2,089.47
2:54:00 3,145
136,570
na 18.10 177 Rest spin CV/RSF/Santa Luz/RSF/Del Dios Hwy/Manchester Av/Hwy 101/Del Mar/CV
Sat,
July 26
10 100.00
2,189.47
5:40:42 6,321
142,891
na 17.60 175 CV/Del Dios Hwy/VRP/Ramona/OJH/Santa Ysabel/OJH/Ramona/HLV/Del Dios Hwy/CV

2008 ST Santa Ysbel
                             Remnants of the historic Santa Ysabel Mission

Today's century stage wraps up Shadow Tour IV.  With extra miles racked up along the way, it was nice to finish the tour one full day ahead of time.  The ride to Santa Ysabel sure isn't the easiest ride I could have done, but as you can see in the photos, San Diego's inland high country is magnificent and has always been inspirational to me, thus worth several thousand extra feet of climbing on the last day.  Just for fun, I started things out with a petal-stomping five mile time trial straight up my arch nemisis, Ramona Hill, in 20:05; soundly eclipsing the speedy 20:51 from last Saturday's ride.  After the fast ascent, I cruised the remaining 65 miles and thoroughly enjoyed the ride.

In summation, this year's tour contained all the hardest elements from all three previous tours, plus some extra zingers tossed in from time-to-time.  In almost every way I can think of, this ulimate Solo Shadow Tour tested my absolute physical and mental boundaries.  In terms of pure endurance and mental focus, it represents the pinnacle of my ultra-cycling career. I wanted the challenge to be unequivocal , for myself (or any cyclist) and I believe it measured up.  It was a fitting capstone endurance test for this 47 year-old endurance athlete.  My future Shadow Tours will continue in various forms, but in an age-adjusted fashion, which is a fancy way of saying I'll stay safely inside the boundaries from now on.

I extend my sincere gratitude to Jimmy Ray Jones, my parents, and numerous friends and supporters who followed my progress along the way and offered kind words of support and encouragement.  I'm looking forward to the approaching Shadow Tour season of Century rides in Oct, Jan, and Apr.  Hope to see many of you out there and on the roads of San Diego County.

Ride On!
Jim       

2008 ST Santa Ysbel 2
                                                  Santa Ysabel Valley

2008 Solo Shadow Tour Summary
Total   Avg Climb   Elev
Date Day Stage Miles To Date Time Speed Elev To Date
5-Jul Sat 1 241.70 241.70 16:01:22 15.08 17,847 17,847
6-Jul Sun 2 116.83 358.53 8:04:28 14.40 5,964 23,811
7-Jul Mon 3 242.56 601.09 16:43:11 14.51 16,603 40,414
8-Jul Tue Rest 20.24 621.33 1:15:28 16.00 830 41,244
9-Jul Wed Rest 40.33 661.66 2:19:51 17.30 2,428 43,672
10-Jul Thu 4 200.01 861.67 11:56:15 16.75 10,993 54,665
11-Jul Fri Rest 20.27 881.94 1:14:39 16.30 938 55,603
12-Jul Sat 5 170.00 1,051.94 11:43:00 14.52 15,960 71,563
13-Jul Sun Rest 33.79 1,085.73 2:30:46 13.40 2,806 74,369
14-Jul Mon 6 202.87 1,288.60 12:59:07 15.54 15,257 89,626
15-Jul Tue Rest 20.26 1,308.86 1:07:00 18.00 943 90,569
16-Jul Wed Rest 42.66 1,351.52 2:19:58 18.30 2,586 93,155
17-Jul Thu 7 200.03 1,551.55 12:46:35 15.65 14,752 107,907
18-Jul Fri Rest 36.53 1,588.08 2:15:31 16.20 2,034 109,941
19-Jul Sat 8 134.81 1,722.89 7:49:52 17.21 7,656 117,597
20-Jul Sun 9 101.58 1,824.47 5:34:26 18.22 3,424 121,021
21-Jul Mon Rest 52.41 1,876.88 3:02:01 17.30 3,090 124,111
22-Jul Tue Rest 57.61 1,934.49 3:20:37 17.20 3,262 127,373
23-Jul Wed Rest 51.04 1,985.53 2:49:58 18.00 3,013 130,386
24-Jul Thu Rest 51.49 2,037.02 2:52:29 17.90 3,039 133,425
25-Jul Fri Rest 52.45 2,089.47 2:54:00 18.10 3,145 136,570
26-Jul Sat 10 100.01 2,189.48 5:40:42 17.60 6,321 142,891
2,189.48
137:21:16 15.94 142,891
Shadow Tour Recaps
Year of tour: 2004 2006 2007 2008 2009
Miles Ridden: 2,111 2,274 2,222 2,189
Time: 142:06:00 1:43:31:33 149:51:55 137:21:16
Average Speed Mph: 14.85 15.84 14.83 15.94
Feet Climbed: 107,460 126,772 134,970 142,891
Weight lost: 18 lbs 13 lbs 14 lbs 13 lbs
Flat tires: 1 1 1 1
Solo Solo Solo