Monday, October 19, 2020

1Up bike rack and super fast 200k

 Last weekend I was driving to the start of a ride when I got rear-ended on the freeway. My 1Up bike rack took all the damage and ended up with a slightly bent hitch bar which can be replaced for $65. My beloved bicycle was undamaged. Those 1Up bike racks are built like tanks! I can't recommend them highly enough.

This weekend I decided to try a new strategy for brevet riding. I rode the Four Rivers brevet using Perpetuem and Endurolytes and stopping as infrequently as possible. Using this technique I was able to reduce the first and third stops to five minutes to grab water and mix in powder. I kept the second stop as short as possible and finished with a total time of 8:47 for a flat 200k. Although I never lacked for power and I didn't have cramping problems despite it reaching 88F, this is not the most enjoyable way to ride a 200k. I was also completely spent at the end and could not have ridden another 100k.

I think if Amber and I were riding together using this technique, we could have finished in 9 hours feeling strong. It's worth thinking about this for next year's 600k.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Finally, a 200k

The temperature has finally dropped below 90F so Amber and I rode the Four Rivers 200k route starting at Yorba Linda park. The free parking area was completely full so we drove to the pay area and coughed up $5 which is pretty reasonable considering how great the park is. We started about 8:15 under overcast skies and light winds. Why is it "overcast skies" when there's only one sky. Do some people have more than one sky?

The SART was very busy so we kept getting stuck behind slow riders while waiting for a gap in the oncoming traffic. This may have been a blessing in disguise by forcing us to keep riding at a more conservative pace. It's still frustrating, though, and I could see a lot of other trail riders were thinking "Why are there so many other people on the trail today?"

It was still overcast at the beach and the beach trail was very busy too. For some reason I had assumed that the lack of sun would keep people away. I was wrong. We got to The Crema and decided to get food to go. They were out of baguettes so I got a spinach and cheese croissant and a danish which hit the spot.

Even the San Gabriel bike trail was busy for a few miles but it quickly cleared out and we enjoyed a tail wind almost all the way to El Monte. At the gas station Amber and I compared sandwiches. I was surprised that my tuna salad had almost 400 calories but Amber's egg salad had less that 300. Not that it really matters when you're riding a 200k.

After that uninspiring meal we headed back to the coast with a headwind that reached about 20mph once we got within five miles of Long Beach. Amber pulled a lot of that stretch. The Los Angeles bike path has a lot of new tents popping up. It's clear that one of the downsides of a booming economy is that a lot of people get forced out of the housing market. California's homeless problem has not improved under Newsom and Trump compared to Brown and Obama.

I was craving a Jack-in-the-Box teriyaki bowl so we stopped in Long Beach for a carb fix. While I was waiting for our food a drugged out customer spent five minutes trying to figure out what he wanted before ordering all six specials and realizing he only had enough money for one. Not having to deal with people like that is why I never pursued a career in the fast food business. That, and the fact I'd weigh 400lbs by now. Plus, I'm pretty sure all fast-food executives automatically go to Hell.

As we left the beach at Horny Corner (seriously, that's the name) in Long Beach there was a live band playing in someone's front yard with an audience in the street (it's closed so that's cool). They were really good but we were on a timed ride so we couldn't stop. Plus, it looked like a super-spreader event.



The beach trail was still crowded so we headed inland on Golden and Atlanta and turned towards Yorba Linda with a (surprise) headwind. It wasn't too bad though, so we still held 17mph. We got back to the cars with a 9:28 elapsed time which I was very pleased with. That ride takes me over 10,000 miles for the year - the earliest I've ever reached that mark.

The next training ride will be the southern loop of next year's Triple Loop 600k. We've never ridden this entire loop in one ride, so we'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

How we used to ride

 I've been cycling since my early teens - let's call that the mid 1970's. I was thinking about the heavy five speed steel bikes with 36 spoke wheels, down-tube shifters, quill stems, seat post clamps, cotter-pins, and all that good stuff. But I especially thought about the lights we used to use. I found a picture of my first set of lights on the wonderful Sheldon Brown website.


The front light took a weird three volt battery that looks like two D-cells glued together. The rear light just took two D-cells.


For a poor English boy, Ever Ready was the only option available. My local Halfords didn't carry any fancy hardware. Those batteries only ran that weak light for five or six hours and they didn't recharge so they were good for two evening rides and they weren't cheap. Fortunately, in the deep English countryside it is so dark only one rider needs their lights on so David, Kevin, and I would save money by taking turns running our lights.

When I compare them to the Schmidt dynamo, Edelux front light, and Busch & Muller brake tail light that I currently use, supplemented by Cygolite front and rear rechargeable lights, it's amazing how far the technology has come. My lighting set in 1975 cost about $7 whereas my current lights cost a total of about $500 which would have bought quite a nice used car back then. Mind you, I save a lot on batteries now.

This web page says it all so much better than I can.

I had no computer, but I did save up and buy one of these mileage counters. You mounted it on the front dropout and a peg attached to a spoke would move the device one fifth of a turn every time the wheel rotated. The device assumed I had a 27" wheel and it had gearing to display the total distance travelled. I don't think it had a reset feature so I would have to memorize the distance at the start of the ride and subtract it. I stopped using it eventually because it was so hard to read while riding and I kept forgetting the starting distance anyway.



I don't remember ever wearing a helmet, either.

Monday, September 21, 2020

More beach riding - maybe a 200k in the near future

 I drove down to Yorba Linda park last Friday evening and rode from there to the beach and back starting at 6pm. It was 88F when I started which was pretty uncomfortable for me, but it cooled down quickly. For some reason, 80F at dusk is less oppressive than 80F in the middle of the day.

Ten miles from the beach I met up with a couple of strong young riders and we rode together at a pretty good pace down to the beach and back to Anaheim. We were riding a bit faster than I would normally ride solo and I knew I would pay for it the next day, but it was so worth it. At the end they asked me how old I am and when I told them they seemed pretty impressed. Made my day!

I rode 45 miles in 2:46 but it seemed much faster :-)


The next day Amber and I rode from Anaheim to Seal Beach and back. We were planning on riding Back Bay but the day turned out hotter than predicted, plus my legs were aching from last night. I haven't been to The Crema since the heat wave made it unpleasant to ride during the day, so that was nice. Although I love riding at night, there is one thing I miss about riding during the day.


It was 86F when we finished in Anaheim and I melted the last five miles. Nevertheless, it was a good weekend of riding.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

I love night rides

 To commemorate 9-11 I drove down to Yorba Linda park and, starting at 6pm, rode to Seal Beach and back. When you've got good lights (and a pair of clear glasses) there's nothing like night riding to replenish your soul. Well, OK, there's probably lots of things, but I like night riding.

This heat wave seems to be tailing off and we're back to normal September temperatures, which is still hot but not deadly. The wind was predominantly from the North so I had to take it easy as  I rode into it on the beach path which was as crowded as you would expect on a nice Friday evening. Riding through an oblivious crowd of people is a great way to improve bike handling skills. As usual, there were cyclists with no lights and e-bikes going way to fast making us considerate cyclists look bad.

I had the chicken sandwich at Bistro St .Germain. You know how people like to take photographs of their food to send to their friends? I couldn't wait so I ate the food first, then took the photograph.


On the way back someone was letting off fireworks in the parking lot by the beach. Again, rather there than in tinder dry forest. I wish that chap in El Dorado park had had his gender reveal party at the beach.


I finished just before 11pm with 68 miles and feeling very happy.

Monday, August 31, 2020

Finally cool enough to enjoy

Those of us that live in SoCal have been living through a heat wave for the past two weeks so when I saw the high in Anaheim would only be 86F on Sunday I decided to do a night ride at the beach.

It was only 78F at 7pm in Yorba Linda so I jumped onto my bicycle and gleefully rode towards the beach into a gentle onshore flow. The sun set thirty minutes later and the temperature dropped to about 70 pretty quickly. Lovely.

Because it was so cool (64F at the beach), I decided to ride along the beach path to the end and eat at Jack-in-the-Box. The beach trail was quieter that normal, possibly because it was Sunday, and possibly because it was cool. Someone was letting off fireworks at the beach. Better there than in the tinder dry forest.


I ate meat at Jack-in-the-Box because there aren't veggie options and I needed more than just fries. Turning back South on the beach trail I had a tailwind and the trail had cleared out so I was riding along at 18-20 mph with a full belly, very happy. Even when I turned inland I still had a 5mph tailwind so I finished 61 miles in 4:22 elapsed. Not bad considering for eight miles of that I was constrained to 10mph.

Next weekend looks horrific. Why does the weather always get more extreme on the weekends?


Monday, August 10, 2020

Killer ride

 Normally "killer ride" would be a good thing but yesterday was painful. Amber and I decided to do the Sam Woo loop which involves riding from Anaheim to Dana Point, then Irvine, Huntington Beach, and back to Anaheim. As it never goes more than 15 miles inland it's normally a good route for a warm day but yesterday was extremely hot. It was still 85 when we finished the ride at 5pm. It must have been close to 90 in the mid-afternoon in Irvine - well outside my comfort zone. A brutal ride, not made any better by the fact I was still getting over a cold.

Oh well - I survived and I'm stronger now.

Unrelated to cycling, I've been reading about a huge controversy in Scotland about end-of-year exam grades. All exams were cancelled because of COVID-19 so the exam board tried to guess the exam results from teacher evaluations and in-course test results. Many students received grades that were lower than their teachers had recommended so there has been understandable outrage. Some people are asserting that the results were affected by the location of the school, with the grades of students in poorer locations being downgraded more often. 

So here's an image of a protester's sign I pulled from the BBC website. Can you see the irony?

Obviously, if you are claiming your exam results should be better, you shouldn't use the noun form "effect" where you should have used the verb form "affect". I have to wonder if this is why the BBC chose to use this image. The Brits can get fussy about grammar.

So, new app, "GrammarCheckMySign"?