Redlands Strada Rossa V

Last weekend a few PAA folk made the trip over to Redlands for Strada Rossa V, a dirt road focused ride which offered three distances at around 30, 66 and 90miles with most PAA riders electing for the 66mile option with it still being early in the season. This turned out to be a good decision as lots of rain over night and the previous week left good but muddy terrain, especially early on. Also with 7,000ft of climbing and lots of dirt roads and singletrack even 66miles was going to be a challenge. Most had elected to ride cross/gravel bikes but there were a few riders on mountain bikes.

As is usual for such events the pace was quick straight from the start with the peloton stretched out into a single line on the first long section of pavement, and as soon as we hit a rough long section of dirt road the group splintered into numerous small groups. Arriving at the first feed after about 20miles, I was with Rob and a small group of about 6 other riders. We quickly refueled with Science in Sport energy bar and a gel (#FueledByScience , @scienceinsport) and set off again, climbing up some super steep dirt ascents and hitting some great singletrack, all the while surrounded by snow capped mountains, it was cold and damp but spectacular at the same time. The group mostly stayed together and at about half distance we came to a fast running stream crossing which looked pretty deep and scary, and you couldn’t see the bottom. One of the group announced they had been this way earlier in the week and it was smooth bottomed so he said it was ridable. Skeptically we all looked on as he took a run up and then cleared it! Setting the precedent, everyone now had to follow, so I backed up and did it. OMG that water was cold on my feet but at least I didn’t end up lying in it!

As the miles increased, the group size decreased, maybe because of freezing feet from that water crossing, more likely from the relentless up and down dirt the ride conjured up. After a dirt singletrack, fire road downhill that seemed to go on forever with views for miles, the smile factor was off the scale, despite the wet feet. More riding and our group swelled as a small group rejoined us having missed a sector of dirt and taken a short cut. On we rode, eventually coming to one of the only sections of sustained pavement, but we were right near the end, finishing the ride at the organizers house for beer and burritos, a perfect recovery meal!

If you have a gravel or cross bike this one is highly recommended!

Nick

#FueledByScience , @scienceinsport