Saturday, October 27, 2012

Deer Creek Death Ride - the Personal Gran Fondo

photo from Deer Creek Death Ride website
On one of my first rides in the Thousand Oaks area a couple weeks ago, I was lucky to bump into local racer/coach Mr Bill (William Ralph). Bill informed me about the Deer Creek Death ride.

I had planned to make the long drive north to home already, though this ride was very luring.

A local rider and a few friends did a 100 mile ride annually at the end of the season. The ride now includes anyone that wants to take on all or part of the century ride. This guy kindly supplies water/food support driven by his friends in a convertible.

Entry fee - FREE! Though, donations willingly accepted for the feed with excess going to charity.

Not just any 100 miles... this one included alot of the cream of crop canyon climbs in the Santa Monica Mountains! Elevation gain would be 12,000 feet.

Cyclists gathering at a brisk 7 a.m. at Wins Wheel's Bike Shop in Agoura Hills
Despite the long ride ahead of us, the pace still went out hard up the first climb up Decker Road. Soon enough, we had the wicked long descent to the ocean on Encinal.

First catch up stop at the bottom of Encinal Canyon on Hwy 101 by the ocean
Actual Deer Creek Canyon climb is at a wicked 15% grade for many km - views outstanding!
The feed-zone convertible with a Halloween black spider on back
After a couple stops to regroup, a few of us decided to stick together and ride continuously. I ended up with Bill and his buddy Dusty Armstrong (ex-BMX pro). It was a blast to ride with them especially descending as I had confidence in their lines around the twisty canyon roads.

Dusty & Marg following Bill's lines down the famous Rock Store road. A photographer takes pics of the motorcyclists and squeeze a few in of the cyclists 
I've purchased a photograph from Rock Store Pics in the past when I was in the leathers.

Dusty, Bill and I heading up Mulholland with 40 miles left
Losing Dusty to a broken chain with 20 miles to go, Bill & I continue on passing by another roadside photographer.

Les started the ride as well. Missing out the last short loop, he made it to the finish just ahead of me. Perfect timing for our carpooling.

162 km, 6 hr 40 min, 12100 feet elevation gain
Wicked last ride of the season!

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