Sunday, May 6, 2012

2012 Tour of the Unknown Coast

The big news this year is two local women broke 6:00 hours in the 100 mile tour! Congratulations to Alyssum Cohen (5:49:57) and Laura McNulty (5:53:00) for great times. Their achievements are even sweeter considering the windy conditions we experienced out on the beach this year. What blew me away was how smart and strong they road for the first 40 miles. We were flying through Bull Creek Flats Road and I looked up the road and saw them both still with us.

Below Alyssum makes the endless hill look easy and with a smile!
(Photo Courtesy of Jason Barnes Photography)

Brian Ecker came back and finished first for the men. He and three others riders basically finished together. How do you sprint for first place in the TUC? The ride really isn't set up for a sprint finish. Usually, the difficult course splits everyone up before Ferndale. We know this is not a race, but everyone wants to end up on the winner's plaque. This resulted in an awkward situation with the riders funneling into the finish line. Brian Ecker, Casey Ehrman, Courtney Wood, and Patrick Means all deserve recognition for a strong ride.

The ride started off fast but a little slower than last year.  We had a large peleton regroup in Scotia.  This resulted in a nervous group all the way to the bottom of Panther Gap.  I believe we were about 5 minutes slower than last year.  The climb really broke up the group.  Five riders, including Brian, Casey, Courtney, Patrick, and Matt cruised off the front.  It appeared like Matt and Courtney were setting the pace most of the way up.  Their pace was just a little to fast for a few of us.  I want to thank the 7 or so other riders in the second group.  We worked really well together and it was by far the easiest tour I have ever completed.  With 8 riders we were able to work as an efficient team on the beach.

Top Finishers
1. Brian Ecker, 5:11:41
2. Casey Ehrman, 5:11:42
3. Courntey Wood, 5:41:43
4. Patrick Means, 5:11:56
5. Matt Schiff, 5:20:11
6. Jim Robbins, 5:23:01
7. Rob VanKirk, 5:26:44
8.  Rusty Dodge, 5:29:04
9. CJ Johnson, 5:29:56
10.Orion Thompson, 5:30:22
11.Seth Knight, 5:35ish

1. Alyssum Cohen, 5:49:57
2. Laura McNulty, 5:53:00

Jason Barnes Photography has great photos on the endless hill.

Noble Sports has photos from the Wall.

XP2 Aerial: Tour of the Unknown Coast 2012 - Avenue of the Giants


skatzo said...

I think you might be off a week. Just 41 days left!

Jimbob said...

Oops, the countdown timer has been corrected. Thanks for the comment.

statcxr said...

Looks like last year might be my best ride in terms of finishing time at the TUC, at least until next year, anyway. I was off the bike from July until January due to an abscess near my tailbone and the surgery it required. And, I welcomed into the world in September the most important thing in my life now -- my son Darren. I've been training when I can, and have signed up for my favorite century though, so it'll be a good time nonetheless. I'm looking forward to it very much, and to doing it on my new bike, a Cervelo R3. What an amazing bike!

statcxr said...

So, I wonder if this year's start will follow the pattern I think I've observed over the last four or so years. That is, fast and furious starts have alternated with relatively mellow roll outs, sometimes all the way to the forest. If so, this year would be an "easy" pace for the first miles.

Jimbob said...

I'm not sure what to expect for the start this year. However, I do know there are the usual locals that want fast times and a slow start doesn't help their times. Also, we are all watching the weather. The expected high pressure on Saturday may unleash really strong winds on the beach. The earlier you get there the better.

Xenia said...

This ride has been on my bucket list but unfortunately I can't make it up there until Mid June. Are any of the routes slips posted anywhere so I can create a ride while I come up to visit my daughter.

Jimbob said...

Go to my other blog and click on tour of the unknown coast. I have route directions there.

statcxr said...

Yeah Jimbob, I remember times fishing from the beach along Six-Mile, in May no less, when the wind was so strong it was hard just to walk against it, and sand would be so high in the air I'd have to protect my eyes as I walked. Yep, the earlier the better!

Jimbob said...

You do not want to be alone on the beach this year. My biggest recommendation is to find a group of similar strength riders and stay together until the wall.

statcxr said...

As it turned out, I was alone from Petrolia to the top of the Wall; To wait would have really slowed me down, so I went at my own pace, slogging it out against the ferocious wind. I figured if I was caught, that would be great to have some help, but none ever arrived. Six-mile, was at times I'm sure, Six-mile(s) per hour! I finished behind all my other times the last 5 years, at 6:37, but gave it my all the whole way, and finished totally wrung out and proud of seeing a very difficult day through.

I talked to Brian Ecker after the ride and he gave me a recap of his ride. It was an interesting and inspiring story of a marked man hanging on to and then finishing off a group of locals who had been trying to put him away from Panther Gap climb on. It's also remarkable that the guy weighs 190 lbs. The beast from Bellingham! Congrats also to the other 3 guys who came in right behind him, and especially to the first two women to go sub-six on a day where the wind is as bad as it gets on this course.

statcxr said...

The Noble Sports Photography guy was there again, and told me he'd have the gallery up maybe by Tuesday. He really captures an iconic perspective of this ride/race so steeped in mystique and local lore: the rider ascending an impossibly steep looking grade with the Pacific Ocean and Sugarloaf Island as the backdrop.

statcxr said...

I saw Bob Beede during the post-ride BBQ meal. He had been training a lot this season and had also dropped a lot of weight. So, for this, his 25th consecutive TUC, he turned in a sub-six time of around 5:56. I think it was his first such time in several years.

Also of note is an old College of the Redwoods classmate, Sky McKinley. He turned in a sub-six time on a really hard day. His progress as a cyclist in just one year is nothing short of amazing.

And congratulations to you, Jimbob, for yet another excellent showing at California's Toughest Century! You look to be a perennial top-10 strongman of this awesome ride.

skatzo said...

Jim, Any recollection of your time to the bottom of the wall? We didn't move too quick along the beach, but before that we were just hammering it and got there in 3:52. That made for a rather unimpressive 1:19 for the winners and 1:28 for myself from the wall back to Ferndale.

Jimbob said...

We were at least 10 minutes behind you guys. We were there a little after 11:00. Rob might know the exact time. I was riding "naked" without my trusty GPS this year.

ES said...

Richard Horacek, Oregonian, listed first on tuc's official results. sorry.

Jimbob said...

Yah, that is wrong. He is also listed coming in at 34th place. I know who was in the lead group and he wasn't. The TUC 100 mile official results usually have a few mistakes.