4th Annual OCA OHPSI February Excellence Camp – Buellton, California
Gibraltar day – Today we were going to climb the famous Gibraltar. Gibraltar: the classic climb with many meters of ascent and many kilometers of climb. We were going to race up it. It was going to be really hard and it was going to be really long. After the climb there would be some ride options ranging from riding down and across some flats or an epic dirt road adventure. I was going to do the adventure.
Santa Barbara was where we would start our ride. After a few kilometers of winding hilly roads past some of the most gorgeous California property I’ve seen and we were at the base of the climb. Sean Kelly would release us at 30-second intervals. We could race or ride up, most of us chose to race, as it is better to get it over and done with.
Evan McNeely flew up the climb closely followed by some of our guest Ontarians, Robert Gutguzel, and Mitch Bailey. I was able to set a new personal best and knocked almost 3 minutes off my time from last year. When everyone had reached the top it was time to refuel and get on with the ride.
The whole team pushed great season opener numbers and we were set for stage 2 of the ride. For the adventurous group consisting of Mike G, Mitch B, M.A.N, Adam J, Evan M, and I, we would be climbing/riding a dirt road running along the ridge of the coastal mountains. It was going to be rad to say the least.
With as many bottles, tubes and food as we could carry the crew set off. We quickly descended only to climb again. The road then disappeared to dirt. This was rally/off-road worthy. My hands were really numb by the bottom of a dirt switch back. In some sections there would be cliffs to either side as we rode across the ridges of the mountain. The sights were unbelievable.
The group met up with the van just as the pavement began to return. Gathering the rest of the food and liquids we were on our own for the rest of the way. Next was the long descent. I mean long. The pavement for the first bit was great, nice and smooth as we traversed across the mountain. Then as we entered back into the trees and the ridges the road got rough. It was a test of mental and physical endurance on the way down. Dodging all of the holes in the road – some of them big enough to swallow a wheel – and trying to keep blood flowing to your aching hands. It was gnarly enough to break Mitch B’s bottle cage. My favourite part of the descent came when we had exhausted the easy terrain (all of the ridges and traversing). Now things got serious. A series of switchbacks and steep turns were my favourite. All of this taking place right beside a large cliff. It was so exciting.
After the descent we rode the 101 for a while. A few more climbs on the way home from the coast but nothing really beat the dirt section from before. There was smooth sailing all the way home. Most of us, at least Adam J and I, were cracking hard nearing the end. With almost 3000m of climbing in our legs it was reasonable. Great ride overall.
After arriving home it was time to eat and recover. Gym session and ride to the beach was on the schedule for Friday. It was going to be a good day, but the Gibraltar day was the best.
Peter Disera – Norco Factory Team