Mulholland Challenge Century

Mulholland Challenge
Agoura Hills , California
United States
Planet Ultra
60F / 16C

Cycle – Century
Total Time = 8h 09m 10s
Overall Rank = 47/~600

Pre-race routine:

I’ve been reminded over and over again that this is not a race…it’s a timed event. Well, to me, I treat that like a race…lol. I want to finish in the best possible time I can. So, while there may not be any trophies on the line or upgrade points, my approach to this “event” is pretty much exactly the same as a race. Try and go as hard as I can for the duration of the event. Roughly 117 miles and about 13K+ of climbing.

I did this Century last year with a finishing time of 7:37 and 47th spot. I had a flat tire last year and that cost me about 10 minutes. This year, the course was lengthened slightly with some pretty substantial climbing added in with the addition. I would say they added roughly 5 miles and maybe just under a thousand feet of climbing. So a time goal was a little tough to estimate given the course was not the same as last year. I figured with the addition, I would be happy to finish in the same time as last year. That would represent a fairly substantial gain in fitness.

Last year I also made a very bad move tactically and that was to leave too early. This year, I left at the last possible moment with some faster riders in hopes that I would be able to share the load with some other people. Last year, I was basically alone the entire ride…bad idea. I headed down to the start, which is only about 10 minutes from my house, after a great breakfast and a good night’s sleep at about 7:30 for a 8am departure. I had all my nutrition planned out and it was just going to be a long tough day…no two ways about it.

Event warmup:

No real warm up for this monster. I met my friend Bodie in the parking lot before the start and we decided to try and hang together as long as possible to help each other out. Right before the start we had another friend, Matt, show up and he was going to do the same. We clipped in just before 8am and off we went with the main pack.



The ride starts off with quit a bit of descent for the first 20 or so miles. Right off the bat, the main pack got away from us. I mean right out of the parking lot. I tried like crazy to bridge the gap and did a damn fine job of it until we were cut off right before we got connected by a line of cars at an unfortunate left hand turn. It was disappointing but we were still ok with four of us remaining together. Once down to PCH, we got hooked up with another couple of riders that were pretty content to pull us down PCH. By the time they figured out that we were just using them down PCH, they finally decided to rotate off the front. By that time, we were only a mile from Topanga and they served their purpose well.

We started the climb up Topanga at a fairly nice pace. Nothing too hard or too easy. Although, I will say that the start, trying to bridge that gap, was a little harder than what I wanted. We made it to the first real climb at Old Topanga and started up still with a group of 4. We would yoyo with this one guy as he was not setting the most even of paces. His buddy was dropping him and he would try and surge to regain contact…not a great idea in the first hour of a 117 mile ride.

At some point between the top of Old Topanga and the first check, we lost Matt. But, we did pick up the other rider that was dropping his buddy. This proved to be good later on. After riding down Mulholland, it was now, Bodie, random surging guy #1, his buddy, and one other guy named Zach that seemed to know who we were from Triathlon. Once again, bad luck on a traffic light broke us up. Now it was just Bodie and I and random surging guy #1. On the way to Rock Store climb we dropped random surgy guy #1 and also began passing the Fortius crew who had over 15 riders out there…great to see you guys.

Once passed Cornell and on our way to Rock Store, I told Bodie the plan was to just sit in and save as much energy as possible and then hit Rock Store fairly hard. Nothing crazy as we had a long ass way to go. We got to Rock Store and by the top, I had lost Bodie…I was bummed but I think the start surge might have shelled him more than he could take to maintain that pace for the duration. So…I was on my own…or so I thought. Right after crossing Kanan, I picked up the dude that dropped his buddy (you know, surgy guy #1) and we hooked up all the way to the top of Yerba.

He was a stronger rider than me, no doubt. But I had two things going for me. #1, He had no problem just pulling me along. I have no idea why he didn’t want to share the work, but he just sat out there in the wind and pulled me to my heart’s content. #2, I was a better descender than him. So I could make up small gaps that he would put on me on some of the steeper stuff. I was really really happy to be hooked up with this guy…he was the perfect ally. Until the shit hit the fan…..

At the top of Yerba, on the shittiest road ever, I got a flat. Ok, no biggie…let’s stay focused and change this bitch quick and try and regain contact on the long descent. I changed the flat fast. I ran my fingers around the tire to see of there was any debris or cuts…couldn’t find anything. So I put the tube in and inflated it…POW…blew that tube as well…ummmm…ok. I inspected further to find a HUGE gash in the side of the tire that I didn’t see when the tire wasn’t under pressure. Well, it was bad enough that I knew nothing was going to hold this together to my satisfaction to descend Deer Creek with any confidence. I just wasn’t going to risk it…plus, I didn’t have anything to fix it. I had to wait for SAG…so I waited, and waited, and waited, and had no signal, and waited…for 40 minutes almost exactly before SAG found me and got me going with a new tire.

Now, I’m freezing cold, have been riding at this point for 3 1/2 hours and am as stiff as a board. I made the descent down Yerba to Corithan and starting climbing. I would say it took me a solid hour before I regained any kind of form and warmed up again. The descent down Deer Creek was super sketchy. It is very steep and very exposed. The wind was HOWLING. No time to be made up here. Just be safe and get down. I made my way down PCH and to Decker. The hardest climb of the day at mile 73.

I started to climb and one thing was very apparent, I had no top end. I could not stand and climb…my quads were shot. I could sit and climb ok but on the super steep sections when I had to stand, I had nothing. Decker was a struggle until I got about half when and it starts to mellow out. I made it to the top and refueled at the aid station knowing that the next section’s nutrition was vital. I had to keep energy levels up for the last few climbs. Down and over Encinal was rather uneventful. I just had to get to the top of Encinal for some relief. I made it and began the descent all the way to Peter Strauss ranch. Topped off my bottles and began the final march over to Stunt. Day was getting long at this point.

Descending Rock Store

Stunts climb was good. Last year, this is where I fell apart. I didn’t this year. I had a good climb, seated the whole way just bouncing around just under threshold watts. I’ve found that I can pretty much climb all day long about 10-20 watts right below my FTP. Towards the very very top of Stunt I started to slow a bit and was wondering if my legs were going to keep going. There were several points in the last couple hours where I seriously thought I was going to have to stop or my legs were simply going to give out. I decided to just let them give out. What’s the worst than can happen? I fall over…oh well.

The legs hung in there and I actually had a good climb up and over Piuma. The problems started on the descent. I started seeing stars and getting light headed on the descent as I was really pushing hard trying to make up time. I decided to sit up and take it easy and see if I could get some blood worked. I knew at the bottom that I just had to get over that one cruel joke of a kicker on Cold Canyon and the rest of the ride was pretty tame…it was tough, but I made it.

The next ten or so miles saw a stupid headwind that would not go away. All the way back to the hotel was this annoying head wind. I made it back, had nothing more to give and was happy to just be off my bike. In the last few miles my legs were hinting that they had enough. I seriously thought they were going to cramp up…I had really put them through the ringer.

What would you do differently?:

Nothing. I performed as well as I could on this day. The flat and downtime was a bummer but nothing I could do about it.

Post race

Warm down:

Went home…lol

What limited your ability to perform faster:


Event comments:

There’s something about this ride and it being on the roads I ride everyday and every weekend that makes me love it. There’s really no telling what my finishing time would have been. The downtime was just too big of a variable to say how it affected the ride. I had a great time and once again found something inside that I didn’t know was there. The desire to keep fighting. You never know how you’ll deal with adversity like I experienced in this ride until it happens and I’m very proud of how I dealt with it here. My cycling has never been better and I’m still looking forward to more races over the next few weeks.

News on the running front. Ankle and tibia are feeling great. I have a doctors appointment on April 30th to assess for running. Given how it feels now, I would be very surprised if he doesn’t allow me to start running again. Now, how the ankle and bone hold up after I start back again is anyone’s guess. Time will tell on that one. Boise 70.3 is still a major goal at this point.

Sponsors…proud as always to be rocking the W for Wattie Ink. 101 Pipe & Casing, Kurt Orban Partners, and Win’s Wheels need a shout out as well. My coach Brian Stover at Accelerate3 doing an excellent job as always. Next up is De Vlees Huis Ronde Road Race in Bakersfield this coming weekend.

About Dusty Nabor

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