Mulholland Challenge Race Report

Mulholland Challenge
Agoura Hills , California
United States
Planet Ultra
50F / 10C
Total Time = 7h 37m 5s
Overall Rank = 47/369
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Woke up around 5am to make sure I was wide awake by race time. Got my standard breakfast…had a normal morning and felt great before the race. I was a bit nervous just because I’ve never ridden over 80 miles before, so this was uncharted territory. I had a good idea what needed to be done however. My main goal for this race was to pace myself and stay on top of my nutrition. I never eat enough and I wanted to make sure I had enough calories to stay strong till the end.

This race had a weird start in that the faster people started later but it was completely up to you when you actually started. Anytime between 6am and 830am…based on when you thought you would finish. I was figuring between 8-9 hours so my start time was between 7-8am. I decided to start right at 7am and see if some more people had the same idea and I would be able to hook up with some packs and sit in.

I headed over to the start at about 6:45am and it was pretty uneventful. There weren’t many people around and I was just kind of sitting there waiting to go. At about 6:50, the whole Fortius Racing crew showed up so I decided to start with them. I thought they would have left earlier but in hindsight, I should have left later and they started appropriately. Simple ride under the timing bridge, and we were off.

Event warmup:

Nothing, just rode over to the start.


Descent down Mulholland towards Las Virgenes

We started off and the temp was 32 degrees…man was it cold. I dressed with a standard kit with leg and arm warmers with a thin jacket and thin gloves. I was comfortable all day with the temp never getting over 60 degrees. Some folks were just in standard kits and I thought they were crazy. I would have been FREEZING on the descents. As I mentioned I started with the Fortius Racing team but within a mile I realized this pace was going to be too slow. I really wanted to try and hook up with a group and sit in for as long as I could, but this was going to prove difficult.

The route starts off with a pretty tame ride down to the beach and then along PCH for a little while. I was riding a tempo pace down to the beach and a couple guys hooked on. We were going down hill so I wasn’t too worried about being in the front. But when we got down to PCH we hit a light and linked up with a pretty good pack. So I just sat in and got pulled down to Topanga Cyn, where the course starts back up into the mountains. The group broke apart but there were still a couple guys to sit behind on the way up Topanga. The course then turned up Old Topanga and the climb got a little steeper. Now it was down to just me and another guy but I continued to sit behind him. He pulled me up the hill for a little while but then pulled off and said, ok go. I thought he meant it was my turn to pull, but when I got ahead of him, I dropped him pretty quick. So that was it….I was on my own for the rest of the ride.

Descended down Old Topanga and back to Mulholland. Got my first sticker at the first checkpoint and was on my way up Mulholland and towards Rock Store which was the first big climb on the course. Before Rock Store there was an aid station I stopped at because I thought I needed a sticker, but I didn’t so I just kept on trucking. I was making sure to take sips on my Gatorade but it was tough because it was cold and I wasn’t really thirsty.

Rock Store Climb

Rock Store wasn’t bad at all and I continued up Mulholland. My plan was to get to Westlake Blvd and stop to pee and eat a Stinger Waffle. Everything went fine with that.

The next sticker stop and checkpoint was at Little Sycamore. I refilled one of my bottles with water and headed on. Pretty good climb up Little Sycamore which turns into Yerba Buena. This is a really shitty road and almost feels like cobble stones. I just pretended I was in some Euro race and rode strong up it. The descent was really tough because the turns are tight, rough and a little gravelly. It seemed to take forever to get down Yerba Buena and back to PCH.

Finally made it to PCH and took a breather, got some food and rode a nice tempo pace down to Decker Cyn and headed back into the mountains. I knew ahead of time that this climb was going to be rough. It is the steepest climb on the course and comes at about mile 50 after you’ve already been climbing for 4 hours. It lived up to all my expectations. It is so steep coming off the beach, I almost thought I might have to walk up it. But I ground it out and made it up. It was a LONG climb and I was toast at the top. There was an aid station and sticker stop at the top, but I didn’t need anything at this point. I brought all my own nutrition and my bottles were good until the next aid station. I almost fell over though when I went to get going again…lol. Such a dumbass.

Headed out and now the next obstacle was Encinal Cyn. This was a short descent and then a long steady climb back up to Mulholland. At this point, I was starting to get tired. I thought, ok, time to stop again at the top of this climb and eat another waffle and get some calories down. Right at the time I’m thinking this, I start to feel something weird in my back tire. Look down and she’s going flat…ah shit. It wasn’t completely flat though and I thought I could make it to the top. Within 1 minute of that plan, it started to really lose air and I didn’t want to mess up the tire so I had to stop and change it. Everything went fine changing the tire and I lost exactly 10 minutes due to this. Right before I got going, I ate another waffle.

Descending Rock Store for Last Time

Now I had some nice downhills that were very welcome. I descended Rock Store and back to Peter Strauss Ranch, got my sticker and topped off my bottles. At this time, they let me know that I was the first through. Which really didn’t mean anything because all the good riders left after me. Took off and started to head my way down Mulholland again to Stunt Road for the last long climb of the day. At the intersection of Mulholland and Las Virgines, I was finally caught by the good guys. It was two guys from the Amgen Elite Masters team and one of them had World Championship strips on his jersey…ummm ok…lol. They took off. They were going so fast. Made it to Stunt Rd and prepared for the last climb of the day. Stunt, on any other day isn’t that bad, but on this day, it was death. About halfway up, the wheels started to come off. I was really struggling to muster the energy to get up it. My face was going numb…lol. On the way up, I was passed by four people. Made it to the top, barely, and got a granola bar from the aid station, my last sticker and started back down. There was one more climb up Piuma to the summit and then a nice long descent back down to Cold Cyn. By this time, I really wanted to be done. There was one last REALLY steep kicker on Cold Cyn to over come and then it was mostly down hill back to the hotel and finish.

Made it to the finish and I was greeted by a couple kids and that’s about it…lol. I just took off from there and met Ashley at home for some Jack in The Box!

What would you do differently?:

Maybe try and take in more slow metabolising food later in the ride. I think if I would have had a PB&J at the second to last aid station, I might have felt better up the last climb.

Post race
Warm down:


What limited your ability to perform faster:

This was my longest ride to date and I think it went really really well. I’ve never participated in anything this long as well. I’m really happy how good I feel today and I’m actually heading to the pool for a long workout and then an easy spin to shake the soreness out of the legs and get ready to start it all over tomorrow. Special thanks to my coach Brian Stover at Accelerate 3. He told me I would be ready for this and he was right! On to Wildflower!

07:37:05 | 112 miles | 14.70 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 47/369
Performance: Good
Wind: Some with gusts
Course: The course was shortened due to one of the canyons being deemed unsafe. So instead of 116 miles with 13K+ of climbing, it was 112 miles with 12K+ of elevation gain. The course wound its way through the Santa Monica Mountains.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 74
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Too hard
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Bad
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

About Dusty Nabor

I'm an Age Group triathlete out of Southern California...
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