Monday, February 16, 2015


I just read with great pleasure that Lance Armstrong has lost a lawsuit to SCA for $10m. This was $7.5m that SCA did not want to pay him for winning his 5th Tour de France plus $2.5m damages awarded to him. SCA got the whole lot back. I'm sure this is not the only lawsuit Lance will lose in the coming years. Hopefully he'll be filing for bankruptcy soon. This should send a strong message to would-be cheaters currently in the sport.

Do you think professional cycling is clean? How clean is clean? I don't think it's clean enough. I'm not even sure what clean enough is. I just know I have no interest in watching professional cycling right now. I'd rather get out there and ride myself. Maybe that's for the best. Perhaps instead of cutting my Saturday ride short to watch the Tour it's better if I just ride a couple of extra hours.

I've been riding my Trek 520 touring bike a lot more lately for several reasons. First I've realized I should be replacing the Campy chain on my Serotta every three months. This is an expensive proposition but the Shimano chain on my Trek is less than half the price of the Campy so if I replace them both every six months, I'm saving some money.

Also I'm still trying to break in the Brooks B17 saddle on the Trek. I'm still a bit sore at 50 miles so I reckon I have another 500 miles to go before it's properly broken in. Lastly, the Trek is a lot more work to ride than the Serotta so I get a better workout when I ride it.

Trek 520 - Shiney!
The Trek came with a rack and I had an old Nashbar rack bag which works fine. But recently I had to stop to help someone fix a flat and they had no gear so I had to get my tire lever and flat repair kit out. This is not easy with a rack bag as you can see above. I'm seriously thinking about replacing it with a Topeak quick release rack and bag. It would certainly improve access to the saddle bag.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Inaugural Five Rivers 300k Brevet

On Saturday the 7th I hosted the first Five Rivers 300k brevet in Corona, CA. I had 48 riders register and all 48 of them started. Thanks to almost everyone doing their paperwork ahead of time, I got all the riders' paperwork done in 30 minutes and we started on time at 6am in freezing pre-dawn light. There was a big storm to the north of us but the weather people didn't think it would come south of the Ventura mountains so I didn't think it would impact the riders much.

I waited around for 40 minutes after they had left in case any non-registered riders showed up late (with our group that never happens) and then jumped onto my touring bike to put another 80 miles onto its Brooks saddle. I grabbed breakfast at the Lucky Greek and then continued down to Huntington Beach and up to the jack-in-the-box at Sunset beach before turning around. The beach was foggy so my new RUSA wool jersey felt great.

On the way back I came across a rider who had flatted and had no tools. Apparently it was a new bike so he hadn't bought a pump and flat repair kit yet. Who wheels a bike out of the store without that stuff already? My tube was too big for his tire so we had to fix the flat which was tricky as it was quite a large hole and the tube wouldn't hold any air. In the end I got him going again, but not before making him promise to get the stuff he needed.

By the time I got back to the motel at 2pm the sun was out and I had a touch of sun burn. Seriously, in February? I had a nice nap.

Amber arrived just after 5pm to help me handle finishers if a rider called me out to be picked up. She had just come off a 12 hour shift and only had 4 hours sleep so we went over to Goodfellas restaurant and had coffee and ate. Then we got more coffee at the Arco - we were in for a long night.

The first rider back was Willie in the yellow submarine. He had completed the 188 mile ride in a total of 11:29 with an overall speed of 16.3 mph - and that's with a damaged derailleur! Three more riders came in at under 12 hours including Shai on a fixie. That's a combination of strength and masochism rarely found outside medieval flagellants. That's four riders who completed an R60 (where you complete a brevet in 60% if the allocated time). It's not a race, so you don't get a prize or anything, but it is a major achievement.

Most of the riders started coming in an hour or two later so Amber ordered pizza and breadsticks which was apparently exactly what people wanted, even those arriving once it had got cold. As we started to run out we ordered two more.

I thought everyone would complete the ride by midnight, but a few people had trouble navigating parts of the route, especially when it's dark and they're tired. Craig got in about one o'clock looking very strong. Unfortunately Pete and Charlie didn't make the cut off time, but they did complete the route under their own steam and in good spirits.

Feedback was favorable and I got some valuable tips on improving the cue sheet next year. It was unfortunate that Long Beach had ripped up the beach path even more since the staff ride two weeks prior so the cue sheet had some bad directions. La Copa Empanadas was universally praised by all the riders who ate there. I can't wait to go back.

I'll be running this route again next year.

Stacey posted some photographs here.