2007 Solo Shadow Tour

Jim's 2007 & 1903 Solo Shadow Tour Daily Blog

Replicating the Tour De France started with the 2004 Shadow Tour with business partner, Larry Gitman.  Next, I completed a successful solo replica of the 2006 Tour De France.  For 2007, I will try something even more challenging, by attempting to replicate both the 2007 Tour De France and, simultaneously, the outrageous six stages of the inaugeral 1903 Tour De France--the one that started it all!  All Shadow Tours are held in the world's greatest cycling venue: Southern California.  From the Mexican border, throughout San Diego county, north to San Bernardino County, east to Riverside County, and along the Pacific coast from San Diego County to Orange County.

The 1903 Tour De France (TDF) was contested over just six epic stages averaging over 400 Km per stage of brutal racing, loosely one day on, two days off, from July 1 -19.  The riders had heavy steel bicycles with only one single gear -- hard!  The roads were almost exclusively bumpy crushed gravel, at best.  Further, outside support was completely prohibited.

In the spirit of this grand endurance challenge, I will warm up by riding the first 610 miles in synch with the 2007 Tour De France, beginning Saturday, July 7 through July 12, 2007.  I will ride just over 100 miles per day for each of the first six days of the tour, to keep up with the 2007 TDF total mileage and elevation.  Then I will switch over to the 1903 Tour replica beginning July 15.  I will alternate 240+ mile days with rest days; culminating in a grand finale of a glorious 300 mile final stage on July 29th & 30th.

I'm starting from near fitness level "0", as circumstances have kept me off the bike the last 2 1/2 months.  I hope the first 6 days (616 miles) will help build a primitive base level of conditioning to get me through the real test: the next 1,510 miles in 15 days (4 rest days less than the 1903 Tour). 

The challenge is to replicate or exceed, the Total distance , total climbing elevation , and average speed of the original 1903 Tour De France.  I will post my ride distances, climbing elevations, average speeds, average heart rate, and weight along the way in my daily blog using data from a Garmin 305 bicycle computer.  Certain adjustments will probably be made during the event due to circumstances beyond my control, but the overall replication of distance, elevation, and speed (with less rest) is the true challenge.  

Best Wishes, Jim

2007 ST Mexico
Views across the Mexican Border, Jacumba, CA
                   (miles)                  (feet)     (bpm) (mph)     (lbs)
       Stage  Stage Dist.           Stage Elev.  Avg   Avg    Post-Ride                         
Date Tour    Tot. Dist.    Time    Tot. Elev.   H/R  Speed   Weight             Route/Notes___________________

Jul 7    1       103.73     7:39:36   6,471       145   13.5     200       RSF/Rincon/Temecula/Fallbrook/
        2007    103.73                  6,471                                      San Luis Rey/Escondido/RSF
                                                                                           Hot PM, mega pain fest!

Jul 8    2       100.24     6:53:53   4,110       120   14.6     200       RSF/Coast/RSF.
        2007    203.97                 10,581                                     Spin up the coast, cloud cover
                                                                                           most of the day.

Jul 9    3       100.22     6:30:53   6,261       131   15.4     200      RSF/Ramona/67/HLV/DD/RSF 
        2007    304.19                 16,842                                    Early start, nice weather, did
                                                                                          last 5 mi of Ramona Hill (RH) in 27:45
                                                                                          Muscle memory kicking in, whew!

Jul 10  4       101.71     6:46:54   5,699       121   15.0      200      RSF/L.Wohlford/Bandy Cyn/RSF
        2007    405.90                 22,541                                     Coast/Encinitas/RSF
                                                                                           Cooler temps, comfortable
                                                                                           riding conditions. 

Jul 11  5       102.92     7:00:43    7,688      125   14.7      200      RSF/Ramona/Julian/Ramona/RSF
        2007    508.82                  30,229                                    Climbed to Ramona el. 4,290
                                                                                           Temps in 80s, nice. Legs felt good.
                                                                                           RH:  25:47 

Jul 12  6       106.64     6:32:19   5,247       123   16.3      200     RSF/DD/Del Sur/RSF/Coast/RSF
        2007    615.46                 35,471                                    Increased pace in coastal areas
                                                                                          Knee pain in right knee all day
                                                                                          Two easy days before epic 1903 Stage 1

Jul 13 Rest     26.05     1:31:01   1,230        121  17.2      198      RSF/Del Sur/RSF
                   641.51                36,701                                     Easy spin day, rested knee, but still hurt
                                                                                          on spin.  Using ice to treat. 

Jul 14 Rest     29.08     1:44:54   1,544        115  16.6      199      RSF/Del Sur/RSF
                   670.59                38,245                                     Easy spin.  Knee still painful after about 20
                                                                                          min.  Will drive on.  Replica of 1903 TDF
                                                                                          starts at 5am tomorrow.  Will try to finish
                                                                                          in under 19 hours saddle time.

Jul 15  1      242.54    17:05:37  14,900       123   14.1     197      RSF/Rincon/Base of Palomar/L. Henshaw/
        1903   913.13                  53,148                                    Warner Sprs/Ramec/Hemet/Ramec/WS/S2/
                                                                                          Banner Grade/Julian/Ramona/HLV/RSF.
                                                                                          RH:  25:47  

Whoa--those 1903 Tour riders were tough dudes! Got an early start at 5:19am and headed east (and up) all day.  Skies were bright, cloudless and very hot.  Garmin 305 ran out of juice at about 8 1/2 hours and 122 miles.  It was showing 9,202 ft of climbing elevation to that point.  Had a cheeseburger that sat wrong and messed with my fluid absorbsion.  Struggled with Sage Road with it's 2,600 ft camel back profile in both directions.  Went up Banner Grade just as sun set around 8pm. Battled huge coastal winds on the 11 mile, 2,000+ ft vertical ascent to Julian coming from the desert side.  Once in Julian, on the windward side, elevation 4,200 ft, cold coastal winds chilled me to point of shivering.  Without a wind breaker, and at the urging of the staff of the Rongbranch Restaurant, decided to shut it down for the night at 10:30 pm.  Many thanks to Karen for helping me find accommodations.  Back on the bike at 6:25am for return trip to coast.  Overall, this stage reminded me just how narrow the margin for error is on extreme cycling.  An unexpected headwind, sour stomach, cumulative effects of exposure to high heat, followed by unseasonalbly cold coastal winds, all conspired against me on this day.  Will build in more options on Thursday.

        2007 ST Lake Henshaw             2007 ST Lake Henshaw 2
            View of Lake Henshaw from Henshaw Grill Restaurant                       Jim at Lake Henshaw

July 16  Rest

July 17  Rest (Moved to new home)

July 18  Rest

July 19   2      242.46   15:52:57    15,046     126    15.2    196     CV/OJH/Santa Ysabel/E. Grade Palomar Mt.
          1903  1,155.59                  68,196                                 WS/Sunrise Summit/WS/Scissors Xing
                                                                                          RH:  24:01, PEG:  1:22:03   
Felt stronger on the bike today.  Even with extra climbing elevation, I rode faster and with more authority on hills.  Adjusted the course to allow a daylight return to coast.  However, once back, from about 8 to 10 pm hundreds of cars were heading east making my night riding very difficult and dangerous.  Many cars turned on high beams to better see me, causing me to be blinded each time, repeatedly slowing me to a near stop.  So at 10:15 pm I shut it down and finished up the last 33 miles at 6:25am the next morning.  Night riding is something best done in areas with little to no traffic.  In So. Cal., that means the desert, or possibly coastal urban areas from about 2 to 5 am.  This continues to be a learning process, as night riding is not a routine activity for me.  Back to the ride, started out with a solid Ramona Hill climb in 24:01 fully loaded with 100oz camelback, two full water bottles, and all the other mechanical gear.  Then climbed the East Grade of Palomar Mt., 11.2 mi from elevation 2,650 to the summit at 5,288 ft in 1:22:03.  Then lunch and a nice spin out and back to the Sunshine Summit, bombed down San Felipe Rd, then cranked up a windy Banner Grade to Julian at 6pm.  My graditude to Delores, longtime favorite server at Rongbranch Restaurant in Julian, for getting me fed and rehydrated (full pitcher of ice tea++) in 19 minutes flat!  Next ride is Sunday, will probably end in Julian around midnight and spin back to the coast (about 57 mi) in the early am. 

July 20   Rest

July 21   Rest    20.30    1:11:33    1,038       113    17.0    198    CV/RSF/CV
                    1,175.89                69,234

July 22   3      244.08   16:31:57    16,810     118    14.7    189    CV/Ramona/OJH/Julian/L. Cuyamaca/Gutay/
          1903   1,419.97                 86,044                                Pine Valley/Cameron Corners/Jacumba/Pine
                                                                                         Valley/Mt. Laguna/Julian/Ramona/HLV/CV
                                                                                       RH:  23:02, JH:  38:12, Mt. Laguna:  1:03:27

By far, this was the hardest day of Shadow Tour III.  Relentless elevation gains all day and into the night.  Lost 9 lbs out there.  Temps in the 90s; had some relief when thin clouds moved in around noon, even a few scattered sprinkles of rain.  It all later burned off and made for a hot and humid afteroon.  Had to fight off the bonk way down in the pity zone while climbing the scorching 13 mile late afternoon grinder from Jacumba back up and over the Tecate Divide.  Moon is shining brighter about half full, making night riding a little safer, but still a dicey affair after a full day in the saddle.  Thanks to Kim and Eddie at the Julian Lodge for the fresh water and two muffins at the finish.  Lunch and Dinner at Major's Diner in Pine Valley helped keep the carb count up.  Thanks also to Dad, Dave, Larry, and Laura for encouraging emails!   Tomorrow's ride to Big Bear will start in Julian.  Trying to optimize light for the final 40 mile climb to Onxy Summit El. 8,443 ft about 12 miles from Big Bear Lake.  Will probably have to complete the ascent to Onxy Summit and the harrowing 2,200 ft descent to Big Bear Lake in the dark.  Have booked a room at the Robinhood Resort, so no turning back now.  Next blog update Thursday, Jul 26.

2007 ST Tecate 2007 ST Julian c3 2007 ST 2 Glad to crest this 13 mi climb!                      Mom's Pies in Julian            7:50 pm at Mt. Laguna Summit

July 23   Rest

July 24   4      242.05   17:41:06    20,746     119    13.6    185    Julian/WS/Aguanga/Anza/Idyllwild/Banning/
          1903   1,662.02               106,790                                 Yucaipa/Big Bear Lake/Lake Arrowhead/BBL
                                                                                          Big Bear Climb:  3:34:07

If there's a stairway to heaven, feels like I just climbed it!  With 20,000+ feet of climbing, it surpassed the Death Ride's elevation total.  To have at least a chance of a daylight Onxy Summit, I left from Julian.  The cross compartment climb up 371 through Anza continues to be hazardous and not recommended at any time of day or night.  Arrived at Idyllwild around noon and had a cheeseburger at the Greek Place.  Fyi, mustard is not available for some unknown reason.  Then back up and over 6,000+ ft. and down to Banning, through Yucaipa (Beaumont/Wildwood Cyn/Bryant) to the base of Big Bear Mountain.  From the intersection of Bryant and SR38, it's a 30 mile climb from about 2,700 ft. to Onxy Summit at 8,443 ft .  I began the brutal ascent at 3:50pm, at mile 125 of the ride, with about 8,300 ft of climbing to that point.  Was just in time for the hottest rays of the day to sweat it out along those first long straight miles of the climb.  Clawed my way up the first 11 miles to Angelus Oaks, around 4,800 ft. for a 25 minute dinner, then pushed hard the next 19 miles to make Onxy Summit at 8,443 ft., just before sunset at 7:55 pm.  Above 7,000 ft, the combination of altitude and sunset yielded nicer riding temps.  The overall ride was made more difficult by adding about 12 lbs for a cargo rack and bag containing extra gear and water needed for this kind of extreme riding.  Correct management of fluids, potassium, magnesium, and sodium were critical.  E-caps helped.  Following the summit, a white-knuckled 8 mile plunge down  to Big Bear Lake, el. 6,700 ft, at speeds above 40 MPH as the last rays of light disappeared quickly behind the mountainous terrain.  I used winter arm warmers and a full rain parka to deal with the chill and was glad I carried the extra weight.  Tom and Camille at the Robinhood Resort were excellent hosts and had hot coffee ready for me when I arrived just after 9pm in the dark.  At first light, rode another 72 miles to Lake Arrowhead and Blue Jay then back to Big Bear for a few more miles.  Seemingly, there is only one direction in San Bernardino County - UP ! 

2007 ST 1   2007 ST 3
  Keen Camp Summit el. 4,917 on SR74 near Idyllwild         6,000 ft. el. past Idyllwild on 243 toward Banning

        2007 ST 4         2007 ST 5
     On 30 mile climb up SR38 nearing Onxy Summit        A cold climber at Onxy Summit, 7:55pm el. 8,443 ft.

    2007 ST 6       2007 ST 7
 7,000 ft. el. returning from Lake Arrowhead to Big Bear  View from room at Robinhood Resort to Big Bear Lake

July 25   Rest day in Big Bear

July 26   5      242.04   16:54:28    14,476     109    14.3    187    BBL/Yucaipa/Banning/Idyllwild/Hemet/Sage/
          1903   1,904.06               121,266                                 WS/Scissors Crossing/Banner Grade/Julian/
                                                                                          Lake Hodges/Coast
The return ride was sizzlin' hot to the coast from Big Bear.  To lighten the load, I let Fedex carry the luggage rack back!  Not unexpectedly, the 30 mile descent from Big Bear was a rush.  By the time I made it to Bryant road in Yucaipa, all my joints felt locked up.  Discovered Wildwood Cyn is a rudely steep, 4 mile climb up about 900 ft in Yucaipa, which trashed me into a major suffer.  From that 3,700 ft. peak, I could see the Idyllwild mountain in the distance and began to dread what was ahead.  The 22 mile climb from Banning, el. 2,200 ft. to 6,155 ft. was about the hardest I've ever done.  It's baking hot down in Banning along the Interstate 10 corridor.  Then there's absolutely nothing for 22 miles, just you and that mean climb with almost no shoulder right of the white line.  Also had to conserve water, making the ascent even more severe, and let's not forget the lingering effects of a 20,000+ ft climbing day, just two days earlier and all those RV's and pickups pushing their way through too.  This mystery mountain ascent up 243 is virtually unknown to San Diego riders.  If it was, it would rank as one of the most difficult climbs available.  I bet the San Bernardino and Riverside cyclists know it and respect it.  At the summit, it's a few hundred feet descent and about 4 miles into Idyllwild.  This time, the Red Kettle served up a 'highly recommended' Chicken Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich Special.  Which sure tasted good at the time.  Those peppers and onions came back to haunt a couple hours later (still worth it -- ha!).  Next, took 74 to Hemet.  Had never been on this stretch of road before.  It's a fast and steamy descent of 19 miles  into Hemet.  I would not classify it as a safe road for2007 ST 8 beginners or anyone.  Once in Hemet, the frying pan was sizzlin' for the 23 mile cross compartment ride on Sage Road.  As with my earlier experience, Sage is not for the faint of heart in the middle of a tough ride.  It's got lots of speeding pickups, sharp bends, a steep camel back climb in the middle that will easily bring you down to 4 MPH with no remorse.  In Ramec, the country store ladies helped me with ice, kind words, and cold drinks.  Then 24 miles, over Sunshine Summit, past Warner Springs, and over San Felipe Rd as the sun set.  Made the Banner Grade climb with surprising ease under a full moon.  The next morning, rode out to Lake Hodges, then to the coast.  Fred at Leucadia Bicycles repaired a snapped front derailleur cable, then to B & L Bikes for time trial stories and TDF drama-rama updates from Dan Rock.                 
                                                                          San Felipe Road (S2) at sunset, 13 mile descent follows

July 27   Rest

July 28   Rest    18.71    1:08:54      530        94    16.3    189    CV/RSF/CV
                    1,922.77               121,796

July 29   6      300.01   18:46:10    13,183    114    16.0   186    CV/Coast/SJC/Coast/CV/Ramona/OJH/Julian
          1903   2,222.78               134,979                               Santa Ysabel/WS/SS/WS/San Felipe Rd/
                                                                                        Scissors Xing/S2/Box Cyn/Scissors/Banner Gd
                                                                                        JH:  25:35, JH: 36:10
                                                                                        Century #1:  5 hrs 45 min
                                                                                        Century #2:  6 hrs 31 min
                                                                                        Century #3:  6 hrs 30 min

The finale 300 mile ride was a grand and fitting keystone ride for Shadow Tour III.  Started off with a spirited century up and down the coast, then a difficult second century into San Diego's high desert back country, and a third century at night in the high deserts, returning to the coast at first light.  Afternoon temperatures cooled dramatically with some sprinkles of rain.  The clouds obscured the full moon's rays for a couple hours, muting a planned fast descent down the 13 mile San Felipe Rd.  Later, the moon rose high in the night sky, shined brightly, and like a good friend, stayed over my shoulder until I finished in Julian just before midnight.  An overnight desert crossing was not possible due to water constraints -- will have to save that for next time.  In the morning, rode the final 59 miles to the coast.  Worked very hard to move the average speed from 15.5 MPH to 16.0 MPH.  Wanted to equal or surpass the 15.8 MPH speed of the 1903 TDF, which is not an easy task when there are already 240+ miles in the computer, but pressed on tired legs and got the job done.

As many of you know, the real 2007 Tour De France had plenty of controversy and scandal relating to performance enhancing drugs and blood doping.  It's especially a shame that the clean and honest lieutenants sweating it out back in the Peloton have been embarrassed by so-called "heads of state" riders willing to secure victory at any price.  Conversely, the Shadow Tour has nothing to do with the murky side of competitive cycling, or even with the intense competition.  It's simply about a regular person, a cycling enthusiast, framing an unequivocal highly personal challenge, then reeling in the finish line one pedal stroke at a time.  At Ranger School they used to say "You're never too tired to take one more step."  I've always liked that way of thinking.  Because so much of any challenge is mental, not physical.  For instance, why do favored world class athletes so frequently fail in their contests and underdogs rise to greatness?  It could be that one relies heavily on physical conditioning, while the other focuses on the mind (and heart) to break through physical limitations.  

For 2007, Shadow Tour III is in the books.  All the distance, lots of extra elevation, and even some of the speed was the goal and I'm proud to report, accomplished.  It was an intensely personal thrill to replicate the historical efforts of those pioneering cyclists bumping along the dusty roads of France back in July 1903.  They were gutsy, independent, and way ahead of their time.  Later, cycling legend Eddy Merckx would come to best exemplify all that is good about sport and honest competition.  It's in their fine tradition and spirit that I look forward to a swift return to the roots of honest cycling for the real Tour De France.  

Finally, many thanks to the thousands of motorists who willingly shared the road with this old dude out there day and night.  Also my gratitude to those I encountered who took interest in the Shadow Tour and had a kind word.  And thanks for the many emails and phone messages of encouragement. 

2007 ST 10       2007 ST 11
Near Santa Ysabel on 78 East at top of 3 mile climb      High desert near Warner Springs/Hot Springs Mt.

          2007 ST 14   
                                               Sunshine Summit at 7:15 pm, el. 3,277 ft. 

Jim's Final 2007 Solo Shadow Tour III Recap:

Miles Ridden:         2,222.78
Feet Climbed:        134,970
Time:                   149 hrs 51 min 55 sec
Resting Heartrate:  51 bpm
Average Speed:     14.8 mph
Weight lost:          14 lbs
Flat Tires:             1

2007 Solo Shadow Tour Summary

Proj. Proj.   Actual Actual        Total      Avg      Avg Climbing Elev.
Date Day Stage Miles Total    Miles To Date        Time   Speed      H/R Elev. To Date

7-Jul Sat 1 100 100 103.73 103.73 7:39:36 13.50 145.00 6,471 6,471
8-Jul Sun 2 100 200 100.24 203.97 6:52:53 14.60 120.00 4,110 10,581
9-Jul Mon 3 100 300 100.22 304.19 6:30:53 15.40 131.00 6,261 16,842
10-Jul Tue 4 100 400 101.71 405.90 6:46:54 15.00 121.00 5,699 22,541
11-Jul Wed 5 100 500 102.92 508.82 7:00:43 14.70 125.00 7,688 30,229
12-Jul Thu 6 116 616 106.64 615.46 6:32:19 16.30 123.00 5,242 35,471
13-Jul Fri Rest 24 640 26.05 641.51 1:31:01 17.20 121.00 1,233 36,704
14-Jul Sat Rest 30 670 29.08 670.59 1:44:54 16.60 115.00 1,544 38,248
15-Jul Sun 1 242 912 242.54 913.13 17:05:37 14.10 123.00 14,902 53,150
16-Jul Mon Rest 0 912 0.00 913.13

17-Jul Tue Move 0 912 0.00 913.13

18-Jul Wed Rest 0 912 0.00 913.13

19-Jul Thu 2 242 1154 242.46 1,155.59 15:52:57 15.20 126.00 15,046 68,196
20-Jul Fri Rest 0 1154 0.00 1,155.59

21-Jul Sat Rest 20 1174 20.30 1,175.89 1:11:33 17.00 113.00 1,038 69,234
22-Jul Sun 3 242 1416 244.08 1,419.97 16:31:57 14.70 118.00 16,810 86,044
23-Jul Mon Rest 0 1416 0.00 1,419.97

24-Jul Tue 4 242 1658 242.05 1,662.02 17:41:06 13.60 119.00 20,746 106,790
25-Jul Wed Rest 0 1658 0.00 1,662.02

26-Jul Thu 5 242 1900 242.04 1,904.06 16:54:28 14.30 109.00 14,476 121,266
27-Jul Fri Rest 0 1900 0.00 1,904.06

28-Jul Sat Rest 20 1920 18.71 1,922.77 1:08:54 16.30 94.00 530 121,796
29-Jul Sun 6 300 2220 300.01 2,222.78 18:46:10 16.00 114.00 13,183 134,979

149:51:55      14.8

Ride safely and cya out there soon !!!


((( Le Fini )))  


RSF:  Rancho Santa Fe
DD:  Del Dios Hwy
HLV:  Highland Valley
RH:  Ramona Hill (on 78, last 5 miles from "turnout" sign to tree just over summit
OJH:  Old Julian Highway
CB:  Carlsbad
JH:  Julian Hill (on 78, from sign in Santa Ysbel 7 miles to Rongbranch Restaurant
OS Trail:  Bike trial along 76 in Oceanside
WS:  Warner Springs
BOP:  Base of Palomar Mt. from Trading Post 5 miles to South Grade turn-off.
PEG:  Palomar East Grade
BBL:  Big Bear Lake
CV:  Carmel Valley
SY:  Santa Ysabel
SJC:  San Juan Capistrano