Mulholland Challenge 2015. Ride Report.

122.2 miles, 10:04 moving time / 11:54 elapsed time, 13,353 ft elevation, 272 suffer score, 119 trophies, 141 W, 4,444 kJ, 548 training load.

This was an epic day on the road. This was my second time completing the full Mulholland Challenge. We had a a great day. Cool, then sunny and warm. There’s one video clip at the bottom of the post, I’m especially proud of, Deer Creek Descent. It was The Most Spectacular Descent Ever. Don’t miss it.

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Pre-race. Lynda and I drove up Friday afternoon to the host hotel Sheraton Agoura Hills. We shopped a little at the bike shop and running shop. I splurged and got two primo running shorts. One is a North Face with compression shorts inside and nifty pockets slots for goos. We had dinner at an groovy Italian spot. Guiardino’s. Obscure location in the middle of a office park, but the filet mignon melted in my mouth. Yum! The server was this young Italian guy with super thick Italian accent, possibly completely fake. The Yelp had about 20 pictures of the chocolate melting cake. Had to get it. Yum again. Then, we picked up breakfast and race essentials at Sprouts. Huge oranges. The we unpacked and prepped our bikes and checked in at packet pickup.

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Ride Day (not really a race, although timed).

We saw a bunch of our PTC friends at the start:

Paul, Lynda, GT, Steve, Luis, and I. Not pictured: Peter, Dino, Rich, Gregg, Philip, Ryan.


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Along the wilderness section on Cornell, Steve saw bobcats and coyotes, who watches silently as a huge pack of bikers rolled through their neighborhood. First climb was through Malibu Canyon and down to Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). This was the most traffic, so 7am was the best time to do. The tunnel was actually very well lit, due to some construction. Sometimes that tunnel is a scary black hole. Rolling along PCH is amazing. The mansions and restaurants along the coast are beautiful. The water was sparkling in the morning sun.

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We turned up Topanga Canyon and back to Mulholland. Topanga had lots of car traffic. Honk Honk. Steep 10% and narrow. I freaked out here a couple years ago. Now, I’m okay. I just leave enough space between the guy in front of me and ignore the honking. We turn left on the old bridge and through Old Topanga Canyon, quiet and quaint bungalows line the canyon road. I thought we lost Philip, but he was fine. We met up with him at the sticker stop. You collect stickers along the check points to keep everyone honest.

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First big rest stop was at Peter Strauss Ranch. PB&J, bananas, cookies, pretzels. Hammer Perpetuem, Heed, Endurance (endurance power). Six up Water dispenser and super clean real potties.

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Gregg started later than us, and caught up to us here. After Ryan fixed his flat, he felt invincible. My rice cakes and nutrition planned worked well all day long. No tummy aches nor GI adversities. I ate bananas at each rest stop and filled my bottles with water and Perpetuem (hammer power).

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Rock Store is a famous local biker bar and start of an infamous climb, Rock Store Climb. It’s steep but not too long. Later in the day we descended Rock Store. Fantastic descent. It’s like bombing down through Fred Flintstone’s neighborhood. Last year I met Jay Leno.

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At the top of Rock Store, I waited for Ryan and Philip and watched the horses and camel.

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We rolled along the top of Mulholland and descended back down to PCH again. Yerba Buena Climb. OMG. This was tough. The canyon was hot too. I was dripping sweat off my brow. 9-14% for 3 miles.  Sticker stop and food. Up Cotherin. OMFG. 10-15% climb. This was really tough. From here on out, five of us rode together from mile 75 to 121: Lynda, Gregg, GT, Steve and me.

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This is the end of the Deer Creek Descent. See video at the bottom of post. Most Spectacular. We rode along PCH back to Decker Canyon.

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Neptune Net is a restaurant on PCH and Yerba Buena, we turned up there earlier in the day and passed it along PCH. A great day for a beach trip. Surfers were out all along the coast.

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Decker Canyon is a crazy 10-15%. Super hard 3 mile climb. It was hot in this section too. I was in a dark place. Tried to put on a smile at the rest stop, but I didn’t fool anybody. My allergy meds had long worn off and the heavy climbing led to coughing fits. I took several mini breaks to calm my breathing down and then continue. Glad I made it through.

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Huge Roller section through Encinal Canyon. Saw a small snake trying to wiggle across the road. Video clip at bottom.

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Stunt canyon is the final 30 mile loop. It a tough 4 mile climb. 8%. A couple coughing fits from allergies slowed me down. The top has awesome views of the valley and the ocean. I just wanted to finish at this point.


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Piuma is a steep descent AND climb AND descent section. The second descent is an awesome descent, one of my favorites, it’s just a total pain to get there.

Cold Canyon is a 12% kicker to get home. The new route home is a series of rollers back along Mulholland and Cornell, from 8-10%. Ass kickers when you’re trying to make it back before cutoff. We finished with 3 minutes to spare on the cut off time of 6:30pm. Long hard, fun great day.

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Post Ride: We showered and dressed for dinner. We hobbled across the street to an Italian place and talked about all the good time.

Video Clips.

Deer Creek Descent. Coolest bike section I’ve ever ridden.

Malibu Canyon toward PCH

Pacific Coast Highway

Start of Mulholland Challenge 2015. trash talking and take off.


UPDATE. 4/24/15. In hindsight, my allergies and breathing difficulties made me sit upright and also moderate my efforts on the uphill climbs. This moderation may have kept me from blowing up my legs. My legs were only slightly sore the night of and the day after the event. This was a little unexpected because this is by far, the hardest ride of the year for me. The second note is that I was moderating my effort levels by watching the power meter. I kept it at 200W on the uphills and pushing on the flats. This also contributed to the low levels of soreness. And, maybe I’m just bad ass now!

2 thoughts on “Mulholland Challenge 2015. Ride Report.

  1. Nice reporting and pictures. Just as I remembered it. I only got a couple of photos. I like you shot of Palos Verdes where I live. I didn’t stop to take that shot because I was trying to make the cut-off which I missed by 15 minutes due to a late start.

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