Friday, July 3, 2020

SART no longer locked

I drove down to Yorba Linda last night to ride up and down the SART from Yorba Linda park to Katella. The free parking area was overflowing with softball teams so I started from the pay area. Three dollars seems quite reasonable.

I had a new flexible mount Cygolite hotspot taillight attached to see how it fared. It has the best flexible mount I've seen. I attached it to a seat stay and adjusted the angle until the beam was roughly horizontal.

I started at 7pm as the sun was getting low. There was a fairly strong headwind.

As I turned on Katella I made a stupid mistake and allowed my knee to come out wide as I pushed down on the pedal. I pulled something in my hip and was in severe pain for a few minutes. I decided to turn around and ride back with a tailwind in case the damage was serious. Fortunately, after 15 minutes the pain mostly went away and I was able to complete the ride.

After 19 miles I was back at the car, grabbed some water and set out for a second loop. Even after the sun had been down for 30 minutes and it was starting to get darker, my GoPro still takes good pictures although you can see the exposure time has increased causing some blurring at speed.

It still amazes me how stupidly some people behave around cyclists. I literally had two people look straight at me and then step out right in front of me. Perhaps they don't understand that I'm travelling at 20mph. I don't know.In the video below I had two front lights on and the runner still thought I would magically teleport through him at the last moment.

I finished the second loop around 9:20pm, grabbed water and ate some food, and headed out for the last loop. I reached Katella at 10pm and the gate was still open. I finished the third loop at about 10:30 with 56 miles and an overall average of 16mph and a moving average of about 18mph.

I drove over to the ARTIC at Katella and walked to the gates across the SART. Even at 11pm they are all open and unlocked. I don't think they're locking the gates anymore. This means we will be able to start the October 400k at 5am which means most riders will finish around 1am and not have to take the road detour on the way back.

Let's hope they don't change their minds.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Four River 200k

Amber and I decided to ride the Four Rivers 200k but starting at Yorba Linda park making a total of 121 miles. It was our first time at this distance for some months. The weather was overcast, cool, and windy with the promise of rain. I hadn't brought a jacket :-(

My kind of weather
We had a headwind to the beach and a sidewind at the beach. We ate at The Crema (of course) and then headed to El Monte with a strong tailwind. It's hard to enjoy a tailwind when you know you have to turn around and battle it later.

To our surprise, the overcast persisted all the way to El Monte which was very nice. After a quick stop, we turned into the headwind and rode to Long Beach. As we got close the sun came out and so did all the trail users. All of a sudden the trail was packed with people acting as though they had never see a bicycle before. Small groups spread all across the trail, people crossing it without looking, the usual stuff.

We ate at Chronic Tacos and the quesadillas hit the spot after fighting the headwind for 25 miles. We took Atlanta back to the SART to avoid the continuing bad behavior on the beach trail. We had a powerful tailwind all the way back to the cars. Total elapsed time was 9:36 which we were very pleased with especially as we had taken our time at The Crema and Chronic Tacos. If we had been more disciplined through the controls we could have had a nine hour ride. But where's the fun in that?

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

October 400k

RUSA is restarting rides up to 225km on July 1st while following local ordinances concerning COVID-19. Unfortunately it's too hot right now in SoCal to consider long brevets so I have offered to host the first and last loops of my Triple Loop 600k as a 400k in October. The tentative date is 10/10/20 which has a nice ring to it. In addition our RBA, Kerin, is hoping to offer some 200k brevets before then.

These two loops stay within 25 miles of the coast so the temperatures should remain nice for the entire ride. The first loop is the classic Four Rivers 200k which is flat and fast. The second loop is a variant of the triple loop third loop (that we haven't been able to ride yet). It is a little hillier but still has less than 4000' of climbing. Total climbing is about 5,500' so it's very accessible.

They both start and end at the Extended Stay America in Yorba Linda.

For anyone that is interested - here is the text of the draft plan that Kerin is submitting to RUSA for reopening.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Everything on my bicycle is important

Almost everything on my bicycle is important. If it wasn't, I wouldn't waste energy pedaling it all over the place. So when something breaks, it's a problem.

I can fix flats, chains, spokes, and a few other things with the tools I carry, but yesterday one of the bolts on my saddle mount broke. The head popped clean off.

There's supposed to be a head on this bolt
I ride the kind of seat post that has two bolts for easy alignment and the front one failed. The back one stopped the seat from flying off and taking me with it, but one moment the saddle was horizontal and the next it was vertical. Fortunately I was able to bring the bike to a controlled stop.

Once we ascertained what happened, Amber decided to ride back the four miles to her truck and come get me. Thank goodness we weren't at the far end of a 200k out-and-back. I would have had to walk to the nearest hardware store.

I stopped in at Lowes on the drive home to replace both bolts (if one fails, the other may not be far behind). I needed expert help to figure out which one of their several hundred types of bolts to buy. If you're interested it's an M6 35mm. The one that didn't break is now in my top tube bag as a spare.

So if we all carried spares of the parts that had broken over the years, some of us would have to pull a trailer behind us to carry them all. You can imagine the conversations at the start of brevets.

"What's that?"
"Pawl spring - had one break in San Mateo in '04. And there's the tool I need to replace it."
"How much does all that weigh?"
"I carry 28lbs of spare parts with me on all my brevets."

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Almost a Century

Amber and I rode almost a century on Sunday - our longest ride since the Covid-19 lockdown. We planned carefully to be as responsible as possible. I got hold of a proper mask, and we decided to eat at The Crema, a gas station, and a 7-11. The Crema was a bit naughty, but everyone there has always been so conscientious.

I think the mayor of Huntington Beach must read my blog (yeah, right) because she did exactly what I suggested and closed the beach parking lots but opened the beach path up. The beaches were almost completely empty except for the dog beach. What's up with that?

I finally had a good version of the custom mount for Amber's new tail light so I mounted it and roughly wired it up. It works great. I'm so happy she has that. I made her ride with it turned on during the day and it's not really daylight visible but it's fantastic when she goes through tunnels.

Bike traffic on the SART was back to normal with large groups, probably not socially distancing when they stop, but they're little to no threat to other riders. In fact, road traffic everywhere was back to normal, before, during, and after the ride. I think people are fed up with the restrictions. Hopefully we took enough advantage of the pause the lockdown created. Somehow, I don't think we did.

The weather was lovely with overcast for the start of the ride and clear skies around 80F for the high in El Monte.

Overcast :-)
For the past few weeks classic car owners have been driving around Seal Beach. We've seen some beauties. Here's one that particularly caught my eye.

We finished with 96.5 miles in about 7.5 hours with about 6 hours of ride time. I'm planning an unsupported 400k when it starts to cool down as a training ride for the Crackerswamp.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Closing of California open spaces causes more problems than it solves

When Los Angeles County closed all its beaches, bike paths, and open spaces people simply went to Orange County and neighboring counties increasing the usage of their spaces. So when Gavin Newsom saw the crowds at Orange County beaches last week he ordered them closed as well. Does he really think that will help? Many other cities around the world, such as Oakland and Milan, are converting roads into pedestrian and cycling only areas. The Los Angeles area seems to moving in exactly the opposite direction.

Amber and I took our weekly bike ride today. The largest group we saw was six people and most people were being very responsible. When we got to the beach we were appalled to see that Huntington Beach has closed the beach path. Now, if you want to keep people off the beach, all you have to do is close the beach parking lots. That's what they did two weeks ago and it worked pretty well. I don't support those protesting the lock-down, but I think some of the measures are too heavy handed.

Stupid Stupid Stupid
By closing the beach path, thousands of cyclists (and pedestrians) are forced to use PCH - a busy road. This is not the safer option. There were perhaps a hundred CHP and Sheriff deployed to stop people using the beach path. What a waste of resources.

Not content with forcing all of us to ride on PCH, Huntington Beach placed all their informational signs in the bike lane. THANKS!

Thank you for forcing us to ride on PCH and then repeatedly blocking our bike lane
Unfortunately this wasn't the most stupid thing we had to deal with. When we were almost back we had a runner pull a u-turn in front of us, so she knew we were coming, and then run down the middle of the trail, drifting to the left as we tried to pass her, and completely unable to hear me shout because she was blasting music on her air-pods. What a moron.

Deaf, blind, and stupid

The bulges in Amber's panniers are a brioche and pastries from The Crema ๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ˜‹

Friday, April 17, 2020

Test ride with new tail light

I decided I wanted to try my new Busch & Mรผller Toplight Line Brake Plus tail light and the custom mount I designed in the dark so I drove down the SART at 7pm. (No I didn't design it in the dark!) I started at La Cadena and rode up to the closure at Mt Vernon. It's not passable.

Not passable
There were a lot of families walking along the trail, as well as a number of dirt bikes and 4x4 driving on the trail too. 

Lot's of families like this - difficult to socially distance
I decided to relocate to Ryan Bonaminio park which is closed but has plenty of parking outside. It's right on the bike path so I continued riding from there. For the rest of the ride I only saw three walkers and no vehicles.

There's some flooding on the trail and also some very rough sections of dried mud that probably aren't going to get cleaned up any time soon. I'm glad my lights are good enough to let me see what's ahead.

I found out on the ride that my new tail light doesn't flash as you slow down - it gets brighter like a real brake light. This makes sense as I believe flashing tail lights are illegal in Germany where these are made. I like it a lot. I did a night ride with Amber and she likes it too so she'll be getting one for her birthday.