The Tour de Big Bear was one of the toughest centuries I have done. Of course I have done a 7 day ride but that doesn’t compare. This ride was set out to be 100 miles and 7,400 feet in Big Bear Lake, CA under the nice sun. How the ride actually turned out was a lot different.
My family and I arrived to our cabin on Friday night as we had dinner I was checking the whether report because there were talks about a thunderstorm. When registering they advised me that if I did not make it to a certain aid station by a certain time I would be forced to take the 70 mile route. This is not something that I wanted to do so my goal was to try and beat the rain.
I woke up Saturday anxious to hit the road and tackle the climbing that Big Bear has to throw at me. My wife had a sleepless night so she was not able to see me off at the start line. I cycled from my cabin to the start line witch was a good 1 mile warm up. The nerves hit me when the national anthem was sung, they said go and I could hear all the clips locking onto everyones pedals. We made our way out of the Village and all I could think about was to make it as far as I can quickly before the thunderstorm at noon. I pedaled to the 36 mile rest stop to refill on water and text my wife on my overall progress.
At about 45 miles the century route hooks a left and you begin your climb up to Onyx Summit. The first climbing challenge is a 7 mile KOM segment that all the 70 and 100 miles riders have the pleasure of participating in. At the top of the KOM segment there is a rest stop where the 70 mile riders turn around. Here is when I could hear the thunder and can tell that the rain is almost here. Some riders debated on turning around and cutting their ride short, that was not an option for me.
I grabbed some extra Gu’s from the table and made my way further into the mountain trying to pedal as quickly as possible and beat the rain. It started with about a 5 mile decent and then it was all rolling hills from there. I arrived to the last rest stop at about the 80 mile mark. I called my wife to update her on the progress and she informed me that is was pouring rain back at the finish line so I knew I was in for quite the ride.
As I started heading back the rain came. Leaving Onyx Summit was brutal because of the pouring rain. I had to watch my speed even on the littlest down hills. My Garmin had the temperature at 56 degrees witch wasn’t so bad until you start flying on a down hill at 30+ mph wet. I was climbing a KOM segment freezing in the rain and it felt like it took forever. I made the mistake of leaving my wind vest back in my cabin, so I had nothing to protect me as I descended. The cold wind hit my wet body and caused my arms and legs to start shacking. It was getting so bad I was worried that I would loose control of the handlebars and fall. There were times that I really had to slow down to be safe.
This century was a struggle, it really tested my body and my heart. I climbed about 8,000 feet and the rain did not help make it easy. Ill be back next year.