Wednesday, November 25, 2015

SART 200k with friends

Several weeks ago I received an email from Julie Hua Ni, a rando from SFR, asking to ride my 200k SART permanent on Tuesday. As I still needed to ride my November 200k I decided to take the day off and ride with her (like I need an excuse to take a day off!). I posted an open invitation on the PCHRandos website and Mike Bratkowski took me up on it.

Tuesday came around with a slightly ominous weather forecast that indicated rain in the evening but hopefully we would be able to arrive at the end of the ride before the storm did. We started slightly after 8am as Mike moved his car to a spot less likely to earn him a ticket.

L-R Mike, Terry, Julie at the start
I was trying out a new navigation setup. I have been struggling to find a way to use the ridewithgps app on my smart phone in a way that protects the phone while letting me read the display. I had not been successful. Even moderately bumpy roads had the phone jolting violently and me wondering about the quality of the single bolt that stood between my $600 smartphone and a brutal death on the pavement. I've been looking at a $100 bluetooth Wahoo RFLKT that sits on the handebars and shows upcoming turns, but the reviews haven't been that great and I was still worried about readability in direct sunlight (of which we have a lot here in SoCal).

So I have some bluetooth earpieces from Best Buy that I use at work to listen to music for which I paid $40. The RideWithGPS app has voice cues (it just reads from the cue sheet at the appropriate distances). So for this ride I kept the phone in the case and put it in my Carradice bag, running the RideWithGPS app but with the screen turned off. The earpieces are supposed to have a seven hour run time but they were still going at the end of a nine hour ride. I spent 15 minutes on RideWithGPS editing the cue sheet, mainly removing unnecessary cues.

As I rode I heard vocal cues as clear as a bell and it even warned me when I deliberately went off course and directed me back on. For longer brevets power will be an issue but I can power the phone from my dynamo hub and I have an external battery that would probably work with the earpieces. As it was we rode a 9 hour 200k and both the phone and the earpieces lasted the entire trip. This setup solves all the readability, battery life, and phone safety issues I've been having. I never even have to take my eyes off the road to navigate. Of course I will still have a cuesheet for backup because the battery never dies!

The three of us rode well together and we made good time until we hit a headwind about 25 miles from the beach - much earlier than usual.

Nice day for a ride
The headwind slowed us down a little but it was for less that a couple of hours and I was looking forward to a commensurate tailwind on the way back. There's a new deli at the Newport Corner Market and it was taco Tuesday so Mike and Julie grabbed the taco deal but I fancied a steak burrito. All good.

Awww so cute and so friendly
Heading back we immediately picked up a tailwind that just got stronger as we headed through the Corona gap and was still blowing strongly when we got to the Lucky Greek in Corona for our last stop. Fries and Coke (Mike had a shake which looked delicious) - Julie snacked on grapes and nuts. I don't know how she rides so strong while eating so little.

The tailwind stayed with us for a while longer only petering out in the last ten mile stretch. It finally got dark enough for my Luxos to turn on about fifteen minutes from the end of the ride and we finished at 5:18pm for a 9:08 ride time. According to my RideWithGPS we had a 7:27 ride time for a moving average of about 17 mph and an overall average of 14 mph.

Happy at the end
Unfortunately Julie's husband was stuck in traffic somewhere on the 60 near Rosemead so we all went to a nearby Jack-in-the-Box to wait for him. Finally he got to San Bernardino around seven and we were able to deliver Julie safely to him.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

... and then a miracle occurred

Amber and I rode The Crema today. We needed a short ride because Amber needed to study for some exams and there was a storm coming in. In a previous post I mentioned that I had been inspired by a video that was attached to a brevet application. For The Crema I mounted my GoPro on my light bar and set it to take one frame every five seconds.

We had normal headwinds on the way to the beach but an unusual tailwind on the way up the coast to Seal Beach. We put the favorable winds down to the approaching storm and resigned ourselves to a headwind on the return. The speed limit along the beach path is 10mph but that was hard to do with a 20mph tailwind so we "compromised" by riding at 18mph.

The wait at The Crema was thirty minutes so we rode over the the pier to watch the surfers enjoying the high surf. The food at The Crema was fabulous as usual and eventually we climbed back onto our bikes to face the headwind. And then a miracle occurred - the wind had turned at least 90 degrees and we had an even stronger tailwind on the way back south! It was literally blowing up a storm. At one point I stood on the pedals and the wind blew me along at 12mph for a while.

We turned back inland on the SART and had a strong cross wind with a slight tail component that was a little tricky to ride with but we completed the 50 mile ride with about a 2:45 ride time.

When I got the GoPro home I looked at the timelapse video and didn't like it so I chose some key frames and annotated them. Then I created a slide show and added some Vivaldi. Take a look at

Lots of snow outside right now and thunder and lightning. So cool!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Good weekend and a cool video

I got a request to validate a new permanent in San Diego and it came with a link to a video. Check it out at Who wouldn't want to do this ride after seeing the video? I want to make one for my rides too. It looks like a lot of work.

I rode my Lucky Greek 100k Friday after work. I was cruising along at 22mph thinking I was getting really strong. Then I noticed the trees were being blow inside out by the tailwind. This is gonna hurt on the way back, I thought. I was right. Even on the aerobars I was was struggling to hold 12mph on the flat. I burned through the large fries and coke that I ate at the turnaround and finished the ride hungry and thirsty but with a decent total time of 4:21. I tried one of those cheddar, onion burgers on a buttery bun at Jack-in-the-Box. It was pretty good.

On Sunday I rode my Seal Beach to Duarte 125k permanent with Amber. This is actually the first time we have ridden it as a permanent. I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would - it was kind of boring. I got a flat right at the start (first one in about a year). The tip of a thorn had worked its way through the tire and caused a tiny puncture. I put a new tube in and flatted again after about 20 miles. This time the new tube had failed at the base of the stem.

One of the problems with getting very few flats is that my spare tubes tend to hang around for a long time and they have a limited shelf life. The other problem is I tend to buy my tubes during those half-price Tuesday deals and I swear the bike shop is just trying to get ride of old tubes.

We still rode too fast to get pizza in Duarte so Amber and I ate too much 7-11 cuisine and Amber had really bad stomach problems on the way back. We had to deal with a couple of assholes flying down the Los Angeles River Trail on midget motorbikes at 30mph. I gave one the finger, he gave me a finger back - it's important to communicate!

Ate at the Schooner or Later restaurant at the end of the ride. The food is better than the name.