Sunday, November 5, 2017

Anaheim to Oceanside populaire - another perfect riding day

After dire threats of rain from all week, Saturday came with perfect weather for my Anaheim to Oceanside populaire. Rather than taking the obvious coastal route, the ride goes over Santiago Canyon which means we start with a good climb, descend on Alisal Creek bike trail, and avoid Laguna Beach.

There were four of us at the start: Myself, Kerin, Len (just getting back into randonneuring), and Marc (first organized ride). At 8am the skies were blue with puffy white clouds, there was no wind, and it was slightly cool. We left Anaheim Artic and stayed as a group until the start of Santiago Canyon. By the time we reached the top at mile 26 we were split asunder.

We skipped getting a receipt at Cook's Corner because they were quite busy and settled for a selfie.
Not my best selfie
We waited for Len for a while a Cook's Corner but after ten minutes Kerin took off. Marc and I had almost given up when Len showed up so the three of us took off down Alisal Creek trail which was fun as always. I'm glad we waited because Len and Marc were not familiar with the route and would have struggled to stay on course.

Marc and I got to Crown Valley Parkway at the same time and grabbed food and Gatorade at the 76 gas station, expecting Len to show up a couple of minutes later. After a while I phoned him and it turned out he had stopped a mile or so back and told us to continue without him, which we did.

Marc and I rode on to Kaylani and once again I courted brain-freeze with one of their wonderful iced coffees. Most of it went into my water bottle. We took the beach path which Marc thought was stressful, partly because of the pedestrians and partly because he was riding narrow tires.

Beach path through San Clemente.
Riding on we got to Camp Pendleton. Marc was not pre-authorized, but Kerin had mentioned they would let people though who were not pre-authorized. We decided to give it a go, I mean what are they going to do? Shoot us? Worse case is he's denied access.

They let him through without a murmur. Interesting.

We got to Oceanside in almost exactly six hours which is a very good time for me. Kerin beat us by fifteen minutes or so and managed to get an earlier train. Len texted me to say he had DNFed at the entrance to Camp Pendleton and his wife was picking him up.

All the trains were hosed up for some reason and running very late, so I ended up getting a train to Anaheim Canyon and riding the five miles back to Anaheim. It took me almost as long to get home as it had taken me to do the ride.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Four Rivers 200k on a perfect day

Greg and Stacey Kline, Martins, Amber, and I rode my Four Rivers 200k permanent yesterday. I decided to use the event to test my Electronic Proof of Passage as RUSA has now officially sanctioned this for permanents.

We started at 7:30am and rode into a cool, still morning. As we were using EPP we rode straight past the first control, my cell phone app detecting that we were there, and rode on to Seal Beach. Unfortunately The Crema is closed for refurbishing so we went to the Hangout which turned out to be slow but the food was wonderful. Martins had to turn around before Seal Beach so he missed out on a great breakfast.

The wind was gentle, even near the beach and there was some light overcast that burned off as we headed inland to El Monte. Pretty soon we were cruising on the San Gabriel bike path under clear skies with temps in the mid-70s. Absolutely fantastic.

We were still pretty stuffed from The Hangout so we grabbed some nuts and water and headed on back on the Rio Hondo trail. Unbelievably we had almost no headwind as we headed back to Long Beach. This is very unusual.

We rode through at least two wedding parties as we worked our way through Seaport Village and headed to Chronic Tacos at Belmont pier. Once again, because we passed through the control point on the way to Chronic Tacos, we got credit for the control but we ate where we wanted. Amber had never been to Chronic Tacos before and she liked it. I got the veggie burrito with added carnitas which was about the size of a small toddler. I couldn't finish it even though I had ridden sixty miles since my last real meal.

Heading back to Yorba Linda I was trying to finish before it got dark so I put my head down and pulled Amber at 20mph for the last six miles. Even so, We rode the last mile in the dark. No problem, my new Edelux II front light did a great job. Greg and Stacey rolled up eight minutes later.

I could not have asked for better weather and the food, route, and company were all icing on the cake.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Back bay with kayaking

Amber and I rode my Back Bay route on Sunday with an hour of kayaking at the Newport Aquatic Center. It was very windy with choppy water which made the kayaking even more interesting than usual. We ate at the Champagne Bakery in Irvine. They have a new baguette cutting machine that cuts them into 1/2" slices. Fresh sliced baguette, butter, jam, and a decadent desert. Fabulous.

To paraphrase a Norwegian cross-country skier: "I'd rather be cycling and thinking of God, than in church and thinking about cycling"

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Anaheim to Oceanside 125k permanent

Amber and I rode my Anaheim to Oceanside 125k permanent yesterday. It was a beautiful day and we had a great ride. Cook's Corner was quiet and we got in and out in only 30 minutes. The descent on Alisal Creek bike path was excellent as usual but we were surprised by a 10mph headwind which is unusual.

Kaylana coffee has stopped selling their Caramel sea-salt iced coffee so I got a large caramel infused iced-coffee. Bloody expensive but lovely. I was getting brain freeze and we were short on time so I poured most of it into my water bottle and topped it up with water. That worked very well.

We normally take the bike route south from San Clemente but I noticed the beach path at the San Clemente Amtrak station is open to bicycles so we decided to give that a try. There's a lot of sand on it so it was hard work but our 28 and 32 mm tires handled it well. It's just over three miles long and very picturesque. It brought us out to an unfamiliar road which we climbed up and we found ourselves back at the end of the usual bike route. It isn't any faster or any easier that the bike route, but it's more fun and safer.

The climb from Calafia state beach to San Clemente Inn at the south end has less climbing than either PCH or the bike route but it's concentrated into a short distance. If any of my routes go through this section, I will allow riders to use this "shortcut".

Taking the beach path from San Clemente Amtrak station to San Clemente Inn
Beach path has lots of sand but it's fine for 28mm tires
We got to Oceanside with 40 minutes to spare before the train so we ate quickly at Angelo's and got to the station five minutes before the trail did. We actually got seats this time, first time in the last three trips.

A couple of weeks ago I rode my Four Rivers 200k permanent with Greg and Stacy Kline and I was admiring their saddle bags. Greg told me they are Acorn bags which are made locally. The manufacturer (a husband and wife team) cannot keep them in stock. I subscribed to their email list and received a notification that they would be restocking in early September.

I managed to order a medium saddle bag, then realized it would make a great gift for Amber's 30th birthday. I tried to order another one for me the next day, but they had already sold out. I will have to wait for the November release to get mine.

I gave her the bag before this ride and she installed it on her bike. It's a really nice bag, and their website is awesomely professional.

Acorn bag

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Stupid bike products

I've seen some stupid bicycle accessories in my time. How about a pair of mirrors mounted in front of and below the handle bars. It reflects the road to you can "see ahead" while looking down on the aerobars. That's dangerously stupid.

I just came across a product on Amazon that's just stupid.

From West Biking we have "Heart Shaped Bike Tail Light, West Biking Bike Rear Light Waterproof Warning Taillight Bicycle LED Night Light (Red)"

That isn't a heart. That looks like something that was hung from the back of redneck trucks a few years ago. I wouldn't put this on my bike if it was the only tail light I had. (Actually I might, but I'd never admit it here).

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Four Rivers with the Klines

Yesterday Greg and Stacy Kline and I rode my four rivers 200k permanent. We met at the Costco parking lot in Yorba Linda at 7:30am and headed out in mild, calm conditions. The Santa Ana bike path was very busy, which is not a bad thing. If the state builds a bike path we should show our appreciation by using it.

We rode by the usual control and headed to The Crema in Seal Beach. Stacy used the app to book our table 30 minutes before we got there and we strode in with no wait. Brilliant!

We then turned inland towards El Monte where the sun was shining and we made a quick turnaround back to the beach. We had the normal headwind which slowed us down to about 12mph but it least it wasn't like Willie's Wrightwood ride when the wind slowed us down to 6mph.

We rode through Long Beach marina to Belmont and ate at the Chronic Tacos there. I've never eaten there before and it was pretty awesome. From there we had a light tailwind back to Yorba Linda and finished around 7pm just as it was starting to get dark.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

2017 Night Audax 200k

Credit Bobby Chang
September 9th saw the 2017 running of the Night Audax 200k brevet. We had 19 people signed up, but the Klines got sick and we had two no-shows so 15 people headed out at 7pm from Huntington Beach. Each rider had a free packet of GoCubes which is my preferred way to carry caffeine these days.

All the photographs were take on my GoPro Session mounted on my aerobars.

Leaving the start of the ride

Charlie and Mel were riding a tandem together for the first time so I gave them a wide berth for a while. Just after the sun set we were treated to a display of lightning over Mount Baldy. 

We had our first drama with a split tire in the middle of the homeless encampment at mile 12. They didn't give us any trouble, but it was reassuring to be part of a large group. 

Fix a flat in homelessland

We settled down to about a 16 mph pace which seemed to suit most people. Brent did a great job controlling our rambunctious group. Our usual tailwind was weaker than usual, which helped a bit.

We got to the 76 gas station at mile 30 together and it was difficult to get everyone out within 15 minutes. We moved through Norco quickly and onto the upper SART. The section though Hidden Valley was sublime.

We all arrived at the In-n-Out burger as a group so I bought dinner for 15 cyclists. Less than $100 which is pretty amazing. No police breaking up car shows this year. We ate outside because the weather was perfect.


We had no headwind at all on the way back so we held pretty much the same speed going back. For some reason the lead riders kept making wrong turns which was pretty funny. I can see all the riders going the wrong way and I'm yelling from the back, but they don't hear me.


As we got near the end of the ride the tandem went crazy and started pulling at 20+ mph. We regrouped as we went through the homeless encampment again and then Bobbie and the tandem just went all out for the last five miles. Even so, there was only a couple of minutes between the first and last rider back. Our official time was 10:01.

The water fountain at Anza Narrows was like an old man with prostate problems
Congratulations to everyone. As usual, it was a fun ride and an unusually cohesive group this year.