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Breathless Agony

An Annual Southern California 114 mi/12,000ft climbing Bicycle Ride


New Course Map

I will be returning to participate in the 2008 ride this year with my friend Kurt and his son Kevin will be joining us for the first time as well. Although I will not be making another time lapse movie this year (I've decided to do a High Def 1920x1080p BluRay version in 2009) I have created an updated course map for use in Google Maps and Google Earth:

Google Maps Google Earth
Clicking on the image above will have your web browser open the map in Google Maps for you Clicking on the image above will have your web browser ask you to save the file or open in with Google Earth (if you have it installed)

The map is full of all kinds of detailed information on the ride you can access and choose to hide/show via the navigation tab at the left side of either Google Earth or Maps. There you will find the Rest Stops with their distances and altitudes, mile markers, points of interest etc.

During the ride I will give an updated link to follow my progress in the event live via an auto updating version of the Google Maps map above that will work with a GPS tracker and my cell phone. I will have the details here before the ride starts May 3rd, 2008.


IntroductionThe MovieRide Details | Making Of


I'm an old USCF Cat 2 rider who had not raced or for that matter ridden for more than two hours at a time in the past 15 years.  When my good friend Kurt suggested two years ago that we start training to attempt the Breathless Agony ride in Redlands California I was skeptical we could finish but we did and it was the time of my life. We enjoyed every minute of the ride and I'm looking forward to returning in 2008. This web page contains a time lapse video of our ride taken from a high definition camera mounted to my handle bars.  This is the very same physical camera I used to make a time lapse movie of a one month sailing voyage from Boston to Gibraltar with another good friend of mine, Shane Haas.

Finally I want to take the opportunity to thank Chuck Bramwell, Robert Kahler, Jill Kahler and their entire support team for doing such a wonderful job hosting this event.  Their hospitality and organization were among the best I have ever seen and I've been to hundreds of races back in the day.  And most of all I would like to thank Kurt's Son, Kevin, without his help we would not have been able to finish or provide this video.

The Movie

I broke the ride up into three parts and posted them on You Tube.  Their system really compressed them but I don't have the bandwidth to provide downloads of the high definition originals so these will have to do.

Here is a link to the You Tube playlist of all three:

2007 Breathless Agony You Tube Play List

On a technical note if you are at all familiar with the ride you will notice video from RS3 (Angelus Oaks) to RS4 (Onyx Peak) is missing. Yes, I really did the whole ride :), the ftp server on my bike, yes I really did have one (see below) failed just short of RS3.  I didn't discover the failure until a battery needed replacement just outside RS3 on the way back down. It's a shame as I lost what would have been some of the best scenes. I will have this fixed for 2008! :)

Ride Details

Full details of the Breathless Agony event cant be found on Santiago Cycling's official web site. In summary it is a 114 Mile ride with 12,000 feet of total vertical climbing billed as the "Toughest Century in Southern California". I can attest that it was by far the most challenging ride I have ever been on.  The ride's high point, literally, is the summit at Onyx Peak at 8440 ft.  Below are some maps produced from my Garmin Edge 305 GPS data.

Ride Elevation Profile

Ride Map
See updated 2008 Google Maps/Earth map above for a better map)

Total Vertical Climbing vs Ride Profile

The Making of the Video

Take one IQEye 501 High Definition Camera501_main.jpg
one Linksys NSLU2 USB Storage Server:  

one 8GB USB Memory Key:  

one Handlebar Mount:GRBSH.jpg

two 60WH external laptop batteries: thumb_NB-LAP03.JPG

put it all on a Specialized Roubaix Expert Triple Gerolsteiner from Don's Bike Shop

add in a lot of wiring, voltage converters, debugging, hair pulling and one bike ride later and a lot of post processing you have a time lapse movie.  On the software post processing side I used all of the following:

Visual Basic .NET - Garmin GPS xml parsing
Microsoft Excel - More post processing
Photoshop - Self explanatory
Video Mach - Still pictures to movies
Matlab - Graphing
Sony Vegas - Video Editing
TMPGEnc 4.0 Xpress - Video transcoding
Divx - Mpeg encoding

Some pictures of the installation. Click on them to enlarge.

A final note about the video. The more astude might notice that the time between frames is not consistant throughout the videoes. I had setup the camera to take a picture once a second every second.   It was working as expected early after the start and after the RS3 Descent reset, that is why those sections look smoother. However the linksys ftp server slowely started having issues throughout the ride that caused it to take up to 20+ seconds between some pictures.

Finally Kurt and I enjoying our accomplishment at Sylvan Park in Redlands at the finish.  
We didn't set any records but we did finish the entire ride in  10hours 22min with 1 Hour and 15min at rest stops along the way.


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