Sunday, December 13, 2015

Channel Islands 200k brevet

Yesterday I rode the Channel Island 200k brevet hosted by PCHRandos in Ventura. I stayed the night before at the Motel6 on Harbor Dr which was a mistake. There is no sound insulation in the rooms so I heard everything that happened in the parking lot. I can state with certainty that someone arrived at 12 midnight, at 1:15am, and at 2:30am. Also someone left at 4:30am and at 5am. Didn't get much sleep! Need to add this motel to the "Do not stay" list.

The ride started at the Bott house at the civilized time of 6:30. It was much colder than I expected, being 47F according to my car's thermometer but a couple of cups of coffee from Larry warmed me up and offset much of the damage done to my sleep patterns by Motel6. There were nine of us and we took off as a group excepting David Hartson who was still unloading his bike as we left.

Shai got a flat after a few miles and told us to continue. It turned out the be the flat from hell, requiring three attempts to fix it. David caught up and stopped to help him - nice guy. Shai rides a fixie - in fact he has the only bicycle I've ever seen with a belt drive - but he is one of the strongest riders in the group.

Jonathon was riding his orange velomobile and struggled to stay with us for the first ten miles. When I say he struggled I mean he struggled to ride slowly enough for us to stay with him. After the third info control he gave up and shot off the front. I chased but he was holding 20mph into a headwind and I couldn't bridge. There would have been no point anyway because there's no draft off a velomobile.

The first receipt control at mile 40 in Somis was a long time coming because a) I was bonking and b) The burritos there are magnificent. I struggled the last five miles and was thankful to stay with the pack. I polished off my 1lb egg and potato burrito in less than five minutes and headed out slowly ahead of the others to let my stomach digest at leisure. David and Shai caught up with us at the control.

I was testing my new navigation system which is the ridewithgps app. I run a usb cable from my hub generator to my Carradice bag which contains my smart phone - where it is protected and has the screen turned off. I have bluetooth ear buds and use the verbal directions from the app. Problem is the app had gone into auto-pause mode and wouldn't come out. It turns out the trick is to manually pause, then unpause. Once I figured that out at the Somis control everything worked fine. I need to find a way to disable the auto-pause feature or have ridewithgps fix it.

The pack caught up soon enough and we completed the loop back to the Bott house for water and anything else we needed. Then down to the beach to head up the coast to Santa Barbara. The wind was crazy all day - strong and coming from all directions. At one point it was a strong tailwind - strong enough to turn the leaves over on trees so they showed us their pale undersides. Then literally two miles later it was doing the same thing in the opposite direction and yet we hadn't changed direction.

We got to Santa Barbara marina and ate at the turnaround at Sushi-gogo (love that name). That one burrito from Somis had powered me over fifty miles. The special at Sushi-gogo is a great deal and the marina is a fun place to hang out. While we were there we heard that Craig had DNFed back at the Bott house. But we still had 33 miles to go so we climbed on our bikes one last time. Jonathon, David, and Shai were all ahead of the rest of us (Greg, Linda, Kerin, Foster, and me) so we were the lantern rouge of the ride.

We got lucky with the wind and had a 20mph or so tailwind for most of the return. We had a couple of close calls within a mile of each other in Carpenteria. First as we were approaching the left turn onto Carpenteria Ave a woman in a white Hyundai drove within inches of our left elbows. I actually reached out and put my hand on her roof as she drove by. Second we were riding to the right of a line of stationary traffic when someone coming the opposite way tried to make the left turn in front of us. I slammed on the brakes and fortunately Linda - who was behind me - was paying attention and avoided me. Scary stuff!

Foster and the ladies brutalized Greg and me on the few climbs and soon rode away from us. Greg and I finished together at 4:26 for a 9:56 ride time. Boy was I spent!

Thank you to Linda and Larry Bott for hosting the ride and to everyone who showed up to ride.