Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Adrenaline Bikes

Rode a warm 50 miles to The Crema with Amber today. I had the Croque Monsieur which was very good, but not as good as the fried egg sandwich.

Afterwards we met up at Adrenaline bikes in Tustin. I have never seen so many bikes in such a small area. They have everything there. The staff are very friendly and knowledgeable. Amber thinks she will probably get her bike there. She's looking at the Lynskey Cooper CMT Ti touring bike with a Shimano Ultegra groupo, wide-clearance carbon fork, and disk brakes. It'll be about $4,500 after tax and the build fee.

That's a lot of money for a bicycle, but then it's a really nice bike which will last as long as she wants it too. She will probably have to replace the forks and the groupo every ten years or so, but the frame should last forever. It will also take a rack, panniers, fenders, and wide tires. The Ti/Carbon combination will be very comfortable on long and rough rides.

You know what I really liked about Adrenaline Bikes? Not pushy. If there's one thing guaranteed to get me running it's the phrase "What will it take for you to buy this today?". I hate that.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Anaheim to Oceanside 80 miles

Amber and I haven't had much luck lately riding the Anaheim to Oceanside ride lately. Last time there had been massive wildfires in Camp Pendleton so they had closed it. We felt it was time to try again.

We started early (for us) at 8:00am but it was already 80F in Anaheim when we started. The climb up Santiago Canyon was harder than usual because of the heat but we got to Cook's Corner a little after 10am where it was 85F. Amber had the French toast and I had a breakfast burrito. When we got cycling again it was 90F and climbed as high as 95 before we got to the coast.

By the time we saw the ocean it was back down to 80F and we picked up a nice tailwind. At San Clemente we stopped at a coffee shop and I had a caramel sea-salt iced coffee. It was fantastic and cooled me down wonderfully. After a leisurely 20 minute break we got going again and the climb up through San Clemente was no problem at all.

The leg through Camp Pendleton took us a mile or so from the ocean and I swear the temp went up 5 degrees until we returned to the coast at Oceanside. We had almost two hours to kill before the train so we enjoyed a slow dinner at Angelo's. I had a cheese quesadilla plate and Amber had a turkey burger. The refried beans were unusual - we think they had garlic in them - but the taste was awesome.

The train turned up on time for once but was so crowded there was standing room only. No problem- I told the conductor - we've been sitting all day.

It's not a tough ride by any means but the heat really drained me. I slept well that night.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

2014 Night Audax 200k

Last night (Aug 9th) was the second edition of the CIBC Night Audax 200k brevet. This year we had ten riders, slightly fewer than last year, which may actually have improved the ride because the group was far more coherent this year. On the other hand more than half the group had experience in Audax riding which may have helped. (Audax is a style of riding where the group rides together, the stronger riders doing more pulling).

We met up at LeBard park in Huntington Beach and I got everyone's paperwork done and handed out a 5-hour energy to each rider. Just as we were about to leave at 7pm Greg, our fearless leader, showed up. He got caught out by the heavy Saturday evening traffic and begged us to wait. Of course we would, he's our RBA. Ten minutes later we got started.

We had a strong tailwind headed inland (by design) and flew the first eight miles to Edna Park at around 20-22 mph where we took a much anticipated nature break.

Much anticipated Nature Break

Ten minutes later we were flying again. It was a challenge at times to hang on but I gritted my teeth and we stayed a compact group all the way to Green River hill. That hill always splits the men from the boys - with the boys up front and the men dragging behind.

We regrouped at the top of the hill and rode the final five miles to the Chevron in Corona where we stopped to refuel. One good thing about this course is there's only one control. The Chevron wasn't a control but everyone got receipts anyway - we're training the staff to give all cyclists receipts! I accidentally got a turkey with pepper jack cheese sandwich. Yuck but I forced it down anyway.

Thirty minutes later we were back on the bikes enjoying the last shreds of the tailwind climbing through Norco and up to the Hidden Valley Nature Reserve. We held about 18 mph still with a slight tailwind and stopped at Anza Narrows park to get water and make our own restrooms as the formal restrooms were locked. Why do they lock restrooms? Don't they know we're going to pee anyway? Ten minutes later we were riding the last 15 miles to the In-n-Out burger in San Bernardino which is the turnaround control. We reached it at 11:25pm - 4:15 elapsed and about 3:25 ride time.

After 100km of hard riding an In-n-Out burger is like a slice of heaven in grease-proof paper. I payed for everyone and was once again amazed that I could feed ten hungry cyclists for only $55. Five minutes later they brought out trays loaded with burgers and fries, sodas and milk shakes. We hung out for about an hour and then hit the road headed back to Huntington Beach slightly slower than we came in.
Chris, Todd, Charlie, David, Amber, and Mel after the burger-fest.
Now the idea of this ride is that we enjoy a tailwind in the first half that miraculously disappears while we are at the turnaround control. This year the plan worked pretty well. We did have a gentle headwind on the way back but it was nothing like as strong as the tailwind had been. Our two international riders, from South Africa and Sweden, did a lot of the pulling on the way back and we maintained a double paceline much of the way. When you're riding at 1am you can use the entire bike path safely.

I lead the group through the twists and turns of Norco and we got to the Arco in Corona at mile 96 without anyone getting lost. I was craving a cheese danish and redbull. Yummy. I also broke out some Perpetuum to avoid bonking the last ten miles like I did last year. Thirty minutes later we took off for the last section of the ride and a couple of miles later David pointed out there were only nine of us. Somehow we had left Chris back at the Arco. We waited and a minute later we saw his lights approaching. Oops - my bad.

Just like last year some of the weaker riders were starting to struggle with the pace and it became more difficult to keep the group together although I feel we did a better job this year. It wasn't long before we were within a couple of miles of the end and we all managed to join up and ride in together at 4:33. Our overall time was 9:23 minutes and our ride time was about seven hours. You may not get to the end of the ride sooner in a group, but you feel stronger when you get there.

Finally I was able to say what I had been thinking for a while. This was as close to a perfect 200k as I remember riding. No flats, no accidents, no mechanicals, no sickness, excellent weather (~65F), cooperative wind, great food, great group, and a full moon all the way. I've had four hours sleep since the ride and I'm already looking forward to next year. I hope everyone else got home safely too.

Thanks to everyone who rode. A ride like this is only as good as the riders. It was a great ride.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Unexpected storm

Most of my riding lately has been survival riding - either at home on the trainer or at night - to try to avoid the very worst of the heat.

Amber and I rode Sunday evening but instead of going to The Crema we decided to ride the other way and eat at the Lucky Greek in Corona. This has the advantage of having a tail wind, not riding through Santa Ana at night, and adding some hills for variety.

We made good time to the Lucky Greek and I was pleased that I rode up Green River hill stronger than usual. As we were eating I noticed heavy, black clouds to the south of us that were clearly dropping rain like giant jellyfish tentacles draped over the land. That was the direction we had to ride.

Sure enough we saw a flash of lightning just as we left the restaurant and ten seconds later we heard thunder. That put the lightning strike about two miles away. A few miles later we stared feeling raindrops which we tried to ignore but pretty soon it was raining so hard it was bouncing up six feet and coming down a second time. IT WAS AWESOME!

I don't mind the rain if it isn't cold and this was like a warm shower. The thunderstorm stayed close for a while, then drifted away. I wasn't worried about being hit by lightning because the roads had buildings or trees on either side which were much taller than us.

Fantastic ride.