Sunday, January 26, 2014

Bill Richards

I host a 600k brevet each year and towards the end of it the riders pass John Cuchessi's ghost bike near San Onofre. I am saddened to say there are now two ghost bike's on my 600k brevet.

On Dec 29th Jim Richards, a popular local cyclist and RWBTC club member was riding on Calimesa Boulevard in the morning when an oncoming vehicle crossed over the entire road and struck him head on. The driver fled the scene leaving Jim lying in the road, critically injured. He died of those injuries two weeks later. Some good police work has identified the suspect who will be charged with felony hit-and-run with vehicular manslaughter. If past experience is anything to go by he will only get 2-3 years, assuming he is convicted. I assume he was texting or on his cell phone.

Yesterday I rode on the Phil Richards memorial ride together with about three hundred other cyclists. We rode out to the site of the "accident" where we dedicated a ghost bike. Those of you riding either the 400k or 600k version of my brevet will be riding past it this April. it is just before the intersection with Singleton Road.

We then rode on to Beaumont and met with his family and other friends. It was quite a turnout. He was a popular guy.

After that ride I drove down to Anaheim to ride with Amber. She was supposed to have a new dynamo hub set up but she didn't have the light mounted yet so we'll have to wait a little longer to test it out. We just need to get a test ride in before the 300k in SLO next month.

This time I remembered my arm warmers and leg warmers. Backwoods BBQ in Seal Beach was even busier than usual so we ate at a Thai restaurant across the street. Amber had a wonderful chicken curry with a creamy curry sauce over chicken and vegetables. Really good. I had the wok stirred chicken which was pretty good, but not as good as Backwoods BBQ :-(

There was some kind of demolition rally event going on at the Anaheim Stadium and as Amber and I rode past we noticed some really interesting vehicles parked outside. There was the DeLorean from Back-to-the-Future (looking very shabby), a Scooby-Do van, and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles van too. We tried to take photo's but both our cameras were having problems because of the lights from the Angels sign.


Overall a 92 mile day - not bad.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Evening ride to Seal Beach

I haven't been riding much this week because of the half-marathon last weekend. It took two full days before I could walk normally. Yesterday was my father-in-law's birthday so I waited until the celebrations were over before heading over to Anaheim to meet Amber for a 50 miles ride to Seal Beach and back.

We started at 4pm and for some reason I was lulled into a false sense of security by the fact it was nearly 90F outside as I drove down. This is the middle of January for goodness sake. Anyhow I left my arm-warmers and leg-warmers in my car and as soon as the sun went down I began to regret it. Stupid mistake for an experienced Randonneur to make.

We got down to Seal Beach at a leisurely pace and decided to wait the 15-20 minutes estimated time to get into Beachwood BBQ. That place is always busy. I had a pulled pork sandwich and smoked asparagus, Amber had buffalo sloppy-joe and cornbread. Both meals were outstanding as usual.

Walking out of the restaurant we were both cold. It was down to about 55F but after a few miles we climbed a short hill and warmed up nicely. I was surprised at how comfortable I was in shorts and short sleeves. We saw fireworks over Disneyland and a blimp over the Anaheim stadium. Plenty to look at and lots of fun.

Helen's bikes is building Amber's new dynamo wheel which should be ready in time for next weekend. Can't wait to see how she likes having a dynamo light.

I read the latest edition of American Randonneur from last week. I see Willie got a shout-out in the article about Bill Russell's Velomobile. Apparently Willie was the first person to complete a Super Randonneur series on a velomobile. What's even more cool is that he completed it on my 600k brevet.

Also there was an interview with Oregon RBA Susan France. Amber and I have been thinking about riding her 600k this year but there's no information and she won't commit to providing information more than one month before the ride. I don't know how she expects people to plan their Rando year with such little notice. Amber needs to give more that a month's notice to get vacation time and we have no intention of committing to a 600k blind.

At this time, we're not sure what rides we'll be doing this year.

Sunday, January 12, 2014


No cycling this weekend. I ran the SoCal half marathon on Saturday - my first ever half marathon. At first I thought that paying $60+ for the privilege of running for a few hours was a bit steep, but in fact it was worth every penny.

Everything from parking to registration, to the race and the expo was perfectly organized. The only weak link in the whole experience was I will try to avoid those spammers in future. Now the event is over I can finally block their incessant emails. All I got from them was spam, not even a reminder that the event was close. There - I just flagged them as junk mail.

Being total paranoid and expecting a total zoo, I arrived at 6:30am for an 8:00 am start. Much to my surprise I snagged a parking spot right next to registration. I wandered over and registered instantly. Coincidentally my daughter's signature was right above mine on the waiver. She had got there a few minutes before me. The only queue of the morning was two minutes to use the bathroom.

Now we had over an hour to kill before the start of the run. Amber went back to her truck to nap - I was too nervous so I paced around trying to stay warm. Start time approached so we wandered over and joined the crowd. 5k runners on the left, half marathon on the right. Total runners was about 6000. They had target times marked with the slower runners to the back. I found the 2h30 marker and struck up a conversation with someone wearing a Surf City half marathon shirt. Amber moved forward to the 2h mark.

I think one reason running events have so much participation is that local schools' running programs encourage their students to enter them. Possibly half the runners were kids wearing one of two tee-shirts. "In for the long run" was the one I remember seeing most of. I noticed the vast majority of volunteers seemed to be about high-school age too. In a country with rampant obesity, surely this is a good thing.

We moved up towards the start line at 7:59 and started at precisely 8:00am. I started my stopwatch as I crossed the start line and ran forward trying not to step on heels. There were clocks at every mile and I was pleased to see I completed my first mile in 10m20 which is pretty good for me. I had committed myself to running the first 5 miles and then walking long enough to get some calories in me. I smashed my personal best 5 mile time with 54m20. I ate some electrolyte beans and started running again.

I had committed to running continuously for the next 5 miles but started running out of energy around mile 8 so I ate half an Odwalla bar and the ate the second half at the 10 mile mark which I reached in slightly under two hours. I can't eat while I'm running so I had to walk for a minute or so while eating.

I started flagging again around mile 12 but this time eating didn't help. I was bone tired, plus my calf was starting to twinge with warnings of cramps. I haven't cramped in years and I had no expectation of cramping in such cool weather (70F, dry and calm - perfect). I didn't have any electrolytes on me and the beans were long gone. There was a chap by the road handing out Chex mix so I grabbed a handful and they seemed to help a bit. The last two miles were very hard.

I finished with a 2h45 time which was slower than I had hoped for but I was happy just to finish. My feet were sore, my back sore, and my quads were screaming. Amber finished with a 1h58 time (amazing). We went for a walk to stretch out the muscles, then ate lightly and went for another walk.

I'm still in serious pain. It reminds me of a 26 mile hike we did once up to the top of San Gorgonio and back. It's crawling up the stairs pain. If you want to know what it feels like to be 70 just run a half marathon when you're 50.

Here's a quick shout-out for Kaiser Permanente who underwrote a large part of the event. The more I hear about them, the more I respect that company.

Start of the 2014 Southern California Half Marathon

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Some people just don't pay attention

I found an old pair of profile aerobars that I bought many years ago for my wife, but she didn't like them. They're extendable so I pulled them out to 33cm (same as my old Scott bars) and put them on my Serotta. I had to move the computer to the nose of the aerobars and retape them but I like the result.

Amber and I rode our latest Santiago Canyon ride today which was the first ride with the new aerobars. It was also the first ride using my new GoPro with an external battery pack. I installed a 32Gb flash drive an it looks like it has room for about 4h15m of video at the highest resolution. That's pretty sweet.

We added five miles of bike path and nice roads to the beginning of the ride and took the killer (literally) fifteen mile section through Encinitas and Leucadia off the end so we ended the ride at Oceanside. It's a keeper.

We climbed Santiago Canyon (a category 2 climb) and ate at Cooks Corner again. Just before we got to Cooks Corner I broke a spoke in my rear wheel by slamming my heel into it at 30mph. Fortunately the wheel wasn't too far out of true so I used my spoke wrench to pull it out and we continued.

Amber had the grilled cheese and I had the BLT - both excellent. Then we bombed down Alisal Creek trail which is lot's of fun with a full belly. On the way down we encountered a dumbass on a skateboard, on the wrong side of the trail, with his head down, and earphone in. Amber called once but he didn't respond so I yelled at him at short range, just before I creamed him. I have to say he had an excellent response time. Take a look at the video.

After that close encounter we kept on to the coast and followed the usual route towards San Diego.

In San Clemente we came across a cyclist with his bike upside-down trying to fix his chain. We stopped to help and realized his rear-derailler appeared to be jammed in his rear-wheel. After checking it thoroughly I realized that it was only being held there by the cable. I loosened the cable and the derailler sprang back where it should have been and I could see his rear hanger was bent which was putting tension on the cable, which was forcing the derailler into the wheel. Fortunately he had a steel Serotta. All he had to do was find a competent mechanic who could carefully bend the hanger back. It's so nice to be able to help people.

We got to Oceanside with an hour to spare before the train was due so we stopped at our favorite, Angelo's. I had a carb-heavy breakfast and Amber had fried zucchini. It was tasty but a little heavy on the breading.

We got to the Amtrak station 25 minutes before the train and tried to guess where the baggage car would be. As usual we got it wrong. After running the length of the train with our bikes the conductor gave us a tip. On that train, the baggage car is always at the North end. Whether the train is going North or South, the baggage car is at the North end. We'll remember that.

The temperature was 70-75F and there was an intermittent, light head-wind. What a perfect day.

Amber's new dynamo hub and light just showed up so she should be able to get that built into a wheel pretty soon.