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The Second Torrey Pines Century, Sunday, September 21st.

by Jim Cushing-Murray

Eight intrepid riders gathered at the foot of Torrey Pines at 7:00AM ready to start the second Torrey Pines Century on a overcast but windless day. Torrey Pines is a famous venue for doing hill repeats in the San Diego area. The Torrey Pines Century organized by Jim Cushing-murray of Celo Pacific was advertised as an opportunity to do 30 repeats with close to 13,000 feet of climbing up the outside of Torrey Pines (3.2 miles and 420 feet of climbing per lap). The purpose was to seek a Zen-like state of mind through repetition where pain ceases to exist. Even though this century would be excellent training for the upcoming Worlds at Hamilton, Ontario, as one might expect for this “opportunity”, there were plenty of imaginative excuses why he/she wouldn’t be participating. 

Each rider was given 30 jellybeans at the start of the ride as a counting aid, every bean having been individually fortified with massive quantities of vitamins. The last Torrey Pines century was held in September, 1999 and it was advertised as 33 repeats. After 30 repeats, it was discovered that 30 repeats were very close to 100 miles. But once again, we couldn’t quite get it right and it soon appeared that 30 laps would be short by three to four miles. Two riders, Pete Penseyres and Kirk Spindleman, unwilling to forgo a century, did 31 laps. The other two finishers, Jim Cushing-murray and Bob Mueller, did the advertised number of laps. This year’s century had 33% more finishers than 1999.

Many well wishers stopped by for some pleasant distraction during the ride's course. In the beginning, other riders encouraged the participants to “pick it up” but towards the end all settled into a steady pace and ignored other riders no matter what they looked like. It was amazing to see just how many cyclists ride up Torrey Pines on any Sunday.

Pete Penseyres, still the holder of many RAM records including the highest average speed, gave an excellent lesson in endurance riding and positive splits. He started very slowly and it looked like he might even loose a lap. But after 10 laps, his pace picked up and he was soon lapping all riders. As the century went on, he began to lap riders more quickly. While some riders were turning 15-minute laps at the end, Penseyres last lap was accomplished in 11 minutes.

The results (total time from start to finish):

Pete Penseyres 6:27 for 30 laps and 6:38 for 31 laps
Kirk Spindleman 7:10 for 30 laps and 7:24 for 31 laps
Jim Cushing-murray 7:24 for 30 laps
Bob Mueller 8:21 for 30 laps
Sal Salmi 12 laps
Claudia Fiedler  10 laps 
Craig Fenstermaker  10 laps
Michael Tabler  Disappeared