Saturday, December 31, 2016

The "I can't believe it's still raining" 200k and a flat



I was contacted by Susan Otcenas, RUSA board member, and her partner, Jeff, about riding one of my 200k permanents on December 30th. I was already planning to ride my Four Rivers 200k that day so I persuaded them to join me. Both Susan and I needed the ride for our R12 awards.

Of course, a weather system came in that day so we were treated to quite a bit of rain and cold. I'm from England and they're from Oregon so we were able to complete the ride without dying of hypothermia.

However they showed their superior bad-weather planning by riding with mudguards. I rode with a rooster tail and a big black stripe up my back. I think living for 30 years in California has affected me.

This is why you ride with mudguards in the rain
As we headed inland on the San Gabriel river trail we were treated to a fragment of washed-out rainbow. I don't recall ever cycling towards a rainbow before. It was rather nice.

The rain eased off and stopped completely as we got close to the Duarte turn-around. We ate at the Subway there, outside, and it was all very civilized.

Susan and Jeff enjoying a moment of sun shine at Subway
We then headed back to the beach on the Rio Hondo bike path into the usual headwind. The clouds and rain returned as we approached Long Beach so our semi-dry clothes got soaked again. We tried to eat at the Yard House but they had closed their patio due to the rain (wimps) so we went next door to Tequila Jacks which has a well covered patio that was still open. I hadn't noticed before, but they have an extensive "Tequila Menu". It turns out Jeff is fond of tequila so he enjoyed an aromatic shot. It rained very hard while we were there but eased off considerably before we left.

About fifteen miles from the end I got a flat. I'm not sure when my last flat was - about 4000 miles ago I think. Time for a new rear tire. Everything was wet so when I used the CO2 cartridge it literally froze to my fingers.

Keep away from tongue
When I tried to inflate the new tube with my pump about 1/4 cup of water squirted from the top as I pulled the handle up and there was so much grit in there the seal was no good. Jeff's pump didn't work either. Fortunately I had another CO2 cartridge.
Helmet light helps
We got to the end of the ride 11 hours and 25 minutes after we started. We were wet and cold and I was hungry. We went to Denny's where I had omelette, hash browns, toast, and hot chocolate. I don't think there's anywhere in England you could buy that at 8pm.

So it wasn't the most pleasant weather for a 200k but at least the beach path was clear and we were able to ride as fast as we wanted (which wasn't very fast). And the company made up for the weather.

That was the last ride of the year. My grand total mileage for 2016 is 11,163 miles. A personal best.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Got next year's 600k route

I've been spending some time trying to find a better route for the last loop of the Orange 600km brevet. I rode a 60 mile test loop today and I think I have a winner. I will play with it a little more and then send the new route in for approval.

I wore my RUSA long-sleeved wool jersey because I thought it was going to be cold (32F at my house) but when I got down to the beach it was a lovely 65F so I was a bit overdressed. I was surprised at how flexible this jersey is. I thought I would be uncomfortably warm but I wasn't. It's a great gift for the rando in you life (even if that rando is you).

I have been spending a little time writing up a detailed ride description for my Five Rivers 300k brevet using Sway. I am very pleased with the results. Take a look and see what you think.

https://sway.com/xOY5PkgvRpNrR0Hg

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Scratch one route - need another

I am in the process of finding a new third loop for my 200/400/600 km ride on April 1st. I looked at a potential route through Mission Viejo but the extra climbing was in heavy traffic with no scenery. If I have to climb I want to enjoy it and have something to look at to take my mind off my quads. In addition a bike path I wanted to use was in terrible condition so I scratched that route and rethought it. On the plus side I got 80 miles of riding in under lovely overcast skies.

I'm now thinking of staying closer to the old route but jumping over to the San Diego Creek bike path and following it almost back to the beach before jumping over to the Santa Ana and heading inland on that.

Something like this https://ridewithgps.com/routes/18060975

Friday, December 2, 2016

Worst bike lock ever

Imagine a small bomb strapped to your down tube with a wire stretching back to your rear wheel. Anyone trying to steal the bike by pushing it away would get their ankles blown off.

Seriously, that's what someone is trying to get funding for.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3596716/Is-best-deterrent-bike-thieves-Inventor-comes-BOMB-attaches-cycle-goes-tries-pinch-it.html

Someone with the unlikely sounding name of Yannick Read is trying to get funding for this highly sue-worthy bike "lock". I think the idea is completely daft. Obviously it needs to be a shaped charge so it doesn't damage the bike and needs shrapnel to do the job properly.


In addition it needs to be spring loaded so it also triggers if the thief cuts the wire. There should be a "deluxe" version that comes with armor plated cycling socks for the inevitable time you forget about your own bike lock and blow your ankles off. I also think the bomb would be more effective embedded into the saddle.

I think Yannick needs a real psychopath bike-enthusiast on his development team -- ME!

Judging from the photo below (yes, there really is a bulb-horn but no rear brakes on his fixie!), Yannick is more into explosives than bicycles.




Thursday, November 24, 2016

Lucky Greek

In preparation for eating too much this Thanksgiving Amber and I rode my Lucky Greek 100k permanent #1687. It was 50F when we started and calm. About half way on the outbound leg a strong Santa Ana wind picked up which got us to the turn around in good time but boded ill for the return trip.

The Lucky Greek was closed for Thanksgiving but the IHOP next door was open. Meh - the Lucky Greek is much better. The return trip was into the teeth of a 20+mph headwind. What a grind. Nevertheless the worst day spent riding is better than any other day.

Those of you who rode the Night Audax 200k this year or who ride the upper SART will be pleased to know that the three mile stretch of the SART between the two parks has been repaved and is open 24x7. It is lovely.

I came across an interesting article today in the British Guardian newspaper about making it impossible to text or use a cell phone while driving. Those of us who have lost friends to distracted drivers will find some hope in it.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/nov/23/us-regulators-reduce-road-deaths-smartphone-driving-mode-apple-samsung?CMP=share_btn_link

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

2017 Brevet schedule

While we wait for our betters to post information about the 2017 ride schedule on our website, I have decided to post information about my 300k ride here.


February 4th Five Rivers 300k

The Five Rivers 300k uses some of the best bike paths in Orange County and Los Angeles County. It starts in Corona and heads along the Santa Ana River Trail (SART) to the first control at mile 30 in Huntington Beach. Remember to fill up here because it’s almost 50 miles to the next control at the end of the San Gabriel River bike path in Duarte at mile 80. There’s lots of parks with RR and H2O if you need them. In Duarte we turn around and retrace ten miles on the San Gabriel bike path until we jump over to the Rio Hondo and Los Angeles River bike paths to Shoreline Village in Long Beach for the third control at mile 120. Here you can class it up at the Yard House, grab a smoothie and danish from Twisters and Coffee, or anything in between. Then we head east along the ocean to the San Diego Creek bike path and head inland to Irvine for the fourth control at mile 150 in the Crossroads Shopping Center where you can enjoy a rice bowl, kebab, burrito, or pretty much anything you want. The last 40 miles have a mix of bike paths and bike lanes back to the SART and a straight shot back to the motel.
The heavy use of bike paths and the relatively few controls means a strong rider could complete this 300k in 12 hours or so. There are several stretches where the bike path runs alongside a perfectly good road and riders are welcome to use whichever they prefer. These stretches are noted in the cuesheet.
Ride Organizer: Terry Hutt (terryhutt1959@hotmail.com)

Monday, November 14, 2016

Friday, November 11, 2016

Good Google

Despite being sick for the past week I decided to ride my easy Four Rivers 200k permanent today. I wasn't looking for a fast time which is good because I was struggling out there even with favorable winds.

At the first control in Seal Beach something happened that has never happened to me before. Hard to believe considering how much I ride. When I pulled my front water bottle out to top it up, the whole cage came with it. The weld that attached the cage to the base plate had failed (good thing it didn't happen while I was riding). I pulled up Google maps and typed in "bicycle shop" and found one a mere 0.2 miles away.

I put the filled water bottle in my back pocket and cycled over to the Main Street bike shop and bought a new cage. The nice man working there installed it for me and said the total was $5 so I gave him $10 and told him to keep the change. Mechanicals don't get much less painful than that!

Heading out to El Monte I had a nice tailwind which I knew I would pay for on the way back. I had ice-cream at the control because I deserved it! Sure enough I had a head wind all the way back to the coast - it reminded me of Willie's Wrightwood brevet.

At the Long Beach marina I went to Twisters and Coffee and had a hand made garlic pretzel and a pina colada smoothie. Oh Yes!

Heading south on the nice new beach path I saw a cool electronic sign just before Belmont pier that told me I was the 1109th cyclist to pass it that day. I have always wondered how many cyclists use bike paths - I'd like to see more of those signs. It would be great to be able to justify the cost of bike paths by showing how many people use them each day.

Once I reached Huntington Beach I turned inland and picked up a very welcome tailwind all the way back to Yorba Linda. My time was a very average 10;05 but this was still an hour longer than I normally ride this route in.

I've been talking to Michele Brougher recently and her group up in Minnesota is planning a unique 1200k for 2018. It's a point to point but the start and the end are separated by a ferry ride. The route is fairly flat and the couple of bits I looked at in detail look lovely. Hmm - maybe I have one more 1200 in me. I'm thinking take Amtrak to Chicago, drive to the end of the ride, take the ferry to the start, do the ride, drive back to Chicago and Amtrak back to Los Angeles. The idea of a 43 hour Amtrak ride after a 1200k sounds pretty good to me.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Best Bike Lock Ever?

I saw a feature for this new bike lock idea that's being crowdfunded right now.
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-37732748

It looks like a regular U-lock but contains high-pressure skunk gas. Anyone trying to cut through the lock will release the foul smelling gas all over themselves and it will make them vomit and ruin their clothes. I love the idea.

The lock costs $100 and obviously has to be replaced once the gas has been released but I think it's exactly what I want on my touring bike.

The project is being crowdfunded by www.indiegogo.com/ and they have already reached their target of $20,000.



Their website is http://skunklock.com/

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Cracker Swamp 1200k

"Me and Billy Joe drove down the Circle-K 'tother day to get some boiled green peanuts and there wuz this fella layin' on the ground in front 'o the store moanin' in pain. He was wearing some greasy old clothes and fingerless gloves and he looked and smelled like he hadn't showered in a month. We asked him if he were alright but I couldn't understand what he said, he musta bin that drunk. He mumbled somethin' 'bout a bicycle and I sees he has a bike with all bits of stuff tied on it. Poor old fella was livin' offa his bicycle, he so poor he can't even afford a car to live outa. Then he rolls over on hims stomach and tries to stand up but it took two attempts and even then he staggers a bit and has to hold on to the wall. It's sad to see what some folk have come to. I blame Hillary."

On Oct 13th through 16th I rode the first Cracker Swamp 1200k randonnee around Tavares, FL. It was my first 1200k since my disastrous attempt at the Last Chance many years before. I DNFed at the Last Chance because of lack of research, so I researched the **** out of the Cracker Swamp.

I spent the months leading up to October testing equipment and nutrition and riding hot, flat 400k brevets and permanents.

The route was published only a couple of weeks before the ride which made that part of the research more difficult. I quickly copied the routes to my ridewithgps account and went through them carefully, fixing any errors I found. I also enhanced the default ridewithgps cue sheets and matched them back to the official cue sheet. My copies of the routes are at
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/17014986
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/17015206
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/17015232
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/17015241

My navigation system is my Galaxy Note 4 bungeed to my aerobars and powered by the USB converter on my Luxos U front light. I turn the screen off and simply listen to the cues read to me by the ridewithgps application. It works extremely well and I only went off course four times in the whole ride, and never by more than fifty yards. That's why I spent the time fixing up the ridewithgps cue sheets. The only concern I had was that it wouldn't get charged enough at night and on hills so I wrote an Android app that periodically speaks the battery level. During the ride it never got below 72%,

For nutrition I packed Perpetuem in two-scoop ziploc bags with some Endurolytes to stave off cramps. I had enough for one bottle per 30 miles ridden. The idea wasn't to replace solid food, but to have something for when I couldn't eat enough solid food.

I traveled out and back and roomed with Doug Church who lives about an hour from me. He already has three successful 1200k randonnees this year so he chose the 1000k option. I had hoped we would be able to ride together but our speeds are too different for that to work.

We arrived at Orlando airport late because all of our flights were delayed. I had purchased a Trico hard shell bicycle case which got inspected both ways but TSA did no damage and repacked the case correctly both times. So that was good.

We jumped into a rented SUV at SixT rentals and drove to the Inn on the Green in Tavares, FL, arriving late on Tuesday. That gave us a whole day to fix any problems caused by the flight, buy anything we had forgotten, re-assemble the bikes, get through the bike check, and get a full night of sleep for the 04:00 start.

On Wednesday, Doug and I assembled our bikes and took them for a spin to make sure everything was OK. We rode the first ten miles of the course, then headed back to Lake Dora for lunch at Las Palmas Cuban restaurant. I ate my first Cuban food there, and I love it. Then we rode back. No problems with the bikes.

When we got back to the hotel check-in was in progress so we got all the paperwork done, got an unexpected hoodie with the Cracker Swamp logo on it, and also a satellite tracker attached to our bikes. I emailed my wife and daughter with the link for my tracker. They really appreciated being able to track me. That was a great idea. Then back to our mosquito infested room and an early night at 21:00.


Tracking units

Day 1 - 270 miles around Orlando.





At 03:00 the alarms went off and we shambled downstairs to a generous breakfast and before I knew it we were off at 04:00. I somehow found myself able to stay with the lead group and we headed East at a fast pace. I stayed with them for the first forty miles but had to stop to refuel so they left me behind. The first official control is at a gas station at mile 62 very close to the Atlantic coast and then we headed South with a tailwind alongside Mosquito Lagoon. I don't remember any mosquitoes here - turns out they were all in my motel room.

The next forty-five miles were along the coast which had recently been hit by Hurricane Matthew. All the palaces and mansions were piling mounds of refuse from the storm along the road, to be picked up by people who lived in much smaller houses but drove much bigger trucks.



After a manned control at Nance Park (I still don't know what to do if caught in a rip-tide) we headed inland with a cross/tail wind. I rode on route 192 with Mitsuaki from Japan but this section was very long and tedious. Eventually he decided to take a nap so I kept on going. I passed through Kissimmee during the rush-hour and the narrow county roads that looked so nice and quiet on Google Street level were jammed by impatient, angry motorists. This was one of the more dangerous parts of the route.

Livin' offa my bike


Off of Dean Still Drive we took a delightful bike path for fourteen miles. It was starting to get dark and the sounds from the swamp on either side were fascinating. I couldn't help but notice how well maintained that path is. I was riding with Michele Brougher and a couple of others whose names I forget. This was the best part of the day. We kept an eye open for alligators but didn't see any :-(

Not Michele's best angle

It got a bit climby towards the end of the ride with hills I was to become all too familiar with before the end of the ride. I thought Florida was supposed to be flat but for some reason we traversed the one hilly region four separate times. As expected, the last fifty miles dragged but I got back to the hotel at 23:30 - more than two hours ahead of schedule.

Day 2 - 180 miles to Cracker Swamp and back


After eight hours of solid sleep and another great breakfast I headed out at 8:30 into the prevailing wind. Vince wanted to ride with me but he took off before me. Most of the route is through the Ocala National Forest on narrow, relatively quiet roads. It was pretty. I caught up with Vince for a while and then pulled ahead. I met Charlie doing SAG in Palatka and he told me Vince was having a rough time. It got hot on the Cracker Swamp loop so I took it easy. My plan was to reduce the effect of the heat between noon and 16:00 by taking longer breaks and maybe napping in the shade. That loop was hot but fun. I later heard that Vince's wallet and lights had been stolen at a control.

Vince has had better rides but he is a trooper

On two separate stretches, of several miles each, FDOT had ripped up the shoulder as if in preparation to repave them, but there was no sign of any paving equipment so it looks to me as though FDOT had simply committed acts of wanton vandalism in order to endanger the lives of cyclists. In fact I saw a lot of evidence that FDOT simply does not consider the needs of cyclists in any way.

On the return trip of the loop there was a long section under construction that was extremely dangerous to ride along. It didn't have to be that way - it's just that FDOT didn't give a damn about cyclists when planning the construction.

Thirty miles from the end of the loop I ran out of water - the last control being sixty miles from the end and I failing to take advantage of a store twenty miles later. So I kept an eye open for a church and - Hallelujah - I found a church five miles later. Now I've never seen a church without a drinking fountain or at least a faucet outside and this one was no different. I filled my bottles, including one of perpetuem, and completed the days route.

I completed this loop around 23:45 - close to my target - showered and went to bed.

Day 3 - 185 miles to the South West and back.


I started this loop at 7am after getting about six hours sleep. This was advertised as the hilliest day of the ride and I failed to predict how much it would impact me. The first thing I remember is a gratuitous climb up Sugarloaf mountain road which was a 150' climb at 11% to an unnecessary info control. I guess some people just love climbing.

One of the highlights of the day was Lake Lindsay Deli at mile 65. It's the most run-down hole-in-the-wall place yet I had a great Cuban sandwich there. It was hot so I took an hour long nap behind the deli and woke up wonderfully refreshed.

Lake Lindsay Deli


The route then heads South to a Public House which serves beer and good pub food. I wanted a beer but I have a zero drink/drive policy so had to stick with pub fries. Two outstanding controls in a row! I really must re-evaluate the controls on some of my rides.

At mile 107 we entered yet another lovely bike path at Trilby, only leaving it thirteen miles later at Nobleton. Again, it was well maintained and scenic, unlike so many of the bike paths in Southern California.

Too brain-dead to find the stickers at the control so I took a photo


Then we headed back to Tavares, through the dreaded Howey-in-the-hills area for the third time. I managed to repeat the same mistake as I had the previous day and ran out of water. Again I found libation at a church. The hills and the heat slowed me down and I got back around 02:00 - about two hours behind schedule. It had been a hard day and I had trouble standing upright when I got to the end.

Day 4 - 130 miles to the North West and back (this bit gets kinda gross).


However, I had some buffer built into my schedule so I was able to start the last loop at 9:00 after six hours of sleep and had to hold an average of ten miles an hour to complete the ride in time. This loop heads out through the Howey-in-the-hills area a fourth time (yay hills!). It's quite a complex route so I was glad my navigation was working so well.

Now this is easily the nicest loop of them all (not just because it's the shortest) and I almost felt sorry for the 1000k riders who didn't chose to ride it until I remembered they were probably all in bed sleeping.

Now for reasons I don't understand I hadn't had a bowel movement in six days even though I'd been eating like crazy. Around mile seventy that came to an end with some urgency. I clearly wasn't going to make it to the next control seven miles up the road but I was lucky to find a Columbian restaurant called "Rice and Beans" at mile seventy two and ordered some oxtail soup before bolting to the restroom. When I came out there was the most wonderful bowl of oxtail soup on my table with boiled potatoes, cilantro, onion, rice and avocado. The address there is 1660 County Rd 475, Summerfield, FL 34491. It would be a great place to stop on a bike ride.


Oxtail soup - best food of the ride

Heading back to Tavares was lovely although the headwind put me down on the aerobars a lot. The roads are mainly quiet and pretty with the exception of Leesburg. Leaving Leesburg on route 25A the mosquitoes were thicker than I'd seen them anywhere else on the ride. It was just like I was riding in my hotel room.

The last control was at the BP gas station in Okahumpka (I kid you not) where I saw they had boiled green peanuts for sale. Boiled green what? I passed, but remembered it for later. The last twenty miles after the control was on smooth shoulder with a tailwind and almost no climbing. What a great way to finish a ride.

I got to the end of the ride with one hour to spare and people were clapping and there was valet parking for my bike. I went inside and got my medal and a logoed beer glass full of delicious home brew. They were grilling steak so I had some and a baked potato and sat down with Vickie Backman and Doug Church and Geoff (spelled correctly) and drank my beer and felt pretty pleased with myself. I got to bed around 23:00.


The day after - Packing up and alligator hunting

The next day we set out to find those boiled green peanuts. We tried one place, nope, we tried a second place, nope. We stopped at a German deli for a lovely, though slow, lunch. Finally we drove all the way back to the BP gas station where I had seen the boiled green peanuts. There was a cauldron of warm water with some peanuts floating in it. We tried one each - they were disgusting - just like chewing on wet cardboard. Oh what a let down. At least we hadn't bought cans first. The store owner told us they were "very good" but I didn't see him offering to eat one.


Breakfast the following day (yes, both of them)

One of the things I really wanted to do was to see an alligator. I hadn't seen one on the ride, sadly, so on the day we flew back, Doug and I went back to Lake Dora to look for alligators and eat one last time at Las Palmas. We went walking along the shore of Lake Dora and sure enough we saw two alligators, a little three footer and a bigger eight to ten footer. Then we ate at Las Palmas, each of us buying two Cuban sandwiches to go - one for the plane and one for our wives. I don't think our wives will ever understand how difficult it was for us to bring them a sandwich all the way back from Florida without eating it on the way.


Alligator

I think there were several reasons why I found this ride to be so much easier than I expected. First and foremost is the design of the route. The four loop format meant I was back at my hotel room each night. I didn't have to carry more than I needed for the day, I didn't have to worry about sag bags, and I didn't have to share a gym floor with a hundred snoring riders. Every multi-day brevet should have this format.

Second, despite my whining, there really wasn't much climbing on the route. Paul claimed it was 14,000', my rwgps app counted 24,000', and I suspect the truth was close to Paul's estimate. In general the road quality was good although there were some spectacularly bad sections. Floridian drivers, despite having a bad reputation, were uniformly polite and considerate.

Somehow each day was more enjoyable than the previous one. I don't know if I had some kind of mental thing going on, or if each day's route truly was better. Taking time to rest between each loop helped a lot too. I never got tired, or depressed, or too sore. I had an enjoyable ride - four, separate, enjoyable rides.

This was my first 1200k so I have nothing to compare it to. I can only say that I felt this was exceptionally good value and the support was faultless. I want to give a special shout-out to Charlie Fournier who had a knack for showing up with water and stuff just as I was thinking "I wish the SAG wagon was here".


Flashing that swag

Of course Paul Rozelle organized the whole thing and managed to pull it together despite Hurricane Matthew pounding part of the route just a few days before the ride. What a great ride and what wonderful memories.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Helmet safety

I just found this article about bicycle helmet safety on the Guardian newspaper website.

It basically says that using a bicycle helmet reduces the chance of a serious head injury by 70%. If you wondered why RUSA makes us wear helmets, now you know.

Those idiots riding with helmets dangling from their handlebars make me so mad! I just want to push them off their bikes and shout "Now you see why you should wear your helmet!". Probably shouldn't do that though.

Fact is, by the time your brain has degraded to the point where you think "I don't need to wear a helmet", there isn't much left for the helmet to save.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

2016 Night Audax

Yesterday I hosted the PCH Randos Night Audax 200k brevet from Huntington Beach to San Bernardino and back. As always it was a very interesting ride.

At the start of the ride

We started as a group of 18 riders (the largest group yet) but Willie rode off the front in his Velomobile and the rest of us held 18-20 mph with a strong tailwind to an impromptu bio-break at mile eight.

North bound on the SART

Darkness fell as we continued inland with a lessening tailwind. The SART was quieter than usual so we formed a double paceline all the way to Green River Road and climbed up and over the 91 freeway to a new regroup point at the sparkling new 76 gas station (thanks Stacey).

New 76 gas station

Fifteen minutes later we were rolling again through Norco and to the upper SART, regrouping as we pushed our bikes under the gate. It was chilly as we headed towards San Bernardino with the temperature dropping below 60F. We stopped again at Martha McLean park for RR and H2O. Why do they lock the restrooms, don't they know we're going to go anyway? The trail was open for the weekend but very rough for the next three miles.

The ride was timed for the full moon which rose magnificently over the low hills ahead of us as we cruised the last ten miles to San Bernardino and the only control at the In-n-Out burger.







As promised I paid for the food for everyone who got there with the main group, which was everyone except Willie. I fed 17 hungry cyclists for $130 - what an amazing deal. There was a lot of activity at the In-n-Out burger because there were a lot of students celebrating homecoming and they looked amazing. There was also an impromptu car show in the parking lot next door which got broken up by the police while we were eating. All very entertaining.

We left the In-n-Out about 12:15am and headed back out the way we came with no headwind this year.



All the energy from the food seemed to hit our muscles because we were cruising between 16-18 mph on the way back. We owned the bike path and streets all the way to the Arco in Corona which seemed like a good place to drink a Red Bull even though I wasn't at all sleepy.

As we approached the climb back over the 91 freeway we had our only mechanical - Joseph had a broken rear derailleur cable. David Nakai went back to help the rider and I waited for them both. The rest of the group went on but when they realized we weren't with them they spontaneously stopped and waited for us. We actually picked up a strengthening tailwind around here which kicked up our speed even further.

About three miles from the end of the ride we saw a cyclist ahead of us riding flat out and wobbling from side to side of the trail with the effort. It took us a good mile to catch him and when we did we saw he was wearing a hockey mask. I'm pretty sure he was up to no good.

Fourteen of us got to the end at 4:40 with the last three arriving five minutes later (David and Mel stayed back with Joseph), Willie had left his paperwork under my wipers. We had a 7:55 hour ride time so we spent about 1:45 off the bike.

So a tight group, great weather, helpful winds, no flats, unexpected entertainment, and a psycho on a bike. Always interesting.

Thanks to Wei and Bobby for the photographs. If anyone else has any they would like to share with me, please email them.

Checkout Brent's photo collection from the ride here.


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

New bike case

Amber and I rode the Anaheim - Oceanside 125k permanent on Sunday. Lovely weather. I rode my Trek 520 touring bike with rack, panniers, mudguards, etc. It weighs a lot more than the Serotta and it was really hard work getting it over Santiago Canyon.

Cook's Corner was extra busy when we got there because of the holiday weekend. We decided to skip the 30 minute wait for food and just grabbed some sodas so we could get the receipts. Because we are experienced randonneurs we both had food reserves with us. We split a gas-station danish, a Kind bar, and a large fig newton bar which was plenty to get us to the next control which is 30, mostly downhill, miles later.

Great ride as usual.

I ordered a Trico hard shell case from Amazon for my Crackerswamp randonnee in October and decided I should practice getting my bike in and out. It's quite a bit more involved that I expected.

I took the pedals off and also the wheels. I took the skewers out of the wheels and put them with the pedals in a large ziploc bag. The box comes with dropout protectors which are basically long threaded rods with butterfly nuts on them.

The next problem was the handlebars. I have a fairly large frame so I couldn't just drop the handlebars. They have to come off but they don't go very far because of the brake cables. The aerobars have to come off the handlebars and they can't go very far either because of the computer and light cables. I also have to remove the seat post and saddle after marking it with electrical tape. I can now just about get this all in the case without taking the rear derailleur off.

Now I can lay the middle foam pad on the frame, lay the wheels on that, and put the final foam pad and the top of the case over everything. Now I realize I have the case upside down. Eventually I manage to get the buckles snapped shut without having to turn the case over.

Great - now I have to re-assemble the bicycle. That takes almost as long. I can't imagine what will happen if TSA tries to inspect the case and then put it back together.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Long time no post

Anyone following my on my ridewithgps.com account will have seen some posts of me riding in the ocean off of Alaska.

Cycling in the ocean

No I haven't taken up ocean kayaking (maybe next year). I was on a cruise but I could get a GPS signal in the gym so I rode the exercise bike while recording the ship's movement on rwgps. Once the ship had covered the distance I planned on riding I closed the rwgps session and then completed the workout. As the ship was travelling slightly faster than I normally ride this worked out pretty well. The workout in Glacier Bay was spectacular.

Glacier Bay from the ship's gym

I finally got to ride my real bike on Saturday evening with Amber and we did our old standard ride from Anaheim Amtrak station to Beachwood BBQ and back. As usual we had a strong headwind all the way out and a mild tailwind on the way back.

My all-night 200k audax ride is coming up in three weeks and I have nine people signed up already. If the last two years are anything to go by we will have an amazing ride. I'm really looking forward to it.

I have booked my plane ticket for the Crackerswamp and purchased my hard case. It's starting to feel very real.

So Much Fun!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Solo 400k

Yesterday I rode my Four Rivers 200k permanent twice back-to-back. The intent was to see how I did riding a flat, hot 400k because that's like the first day of the Cracker Swamp 1200k in Florida coming up in October. My target was to complete the ride in 20 hours.

I started at 5:30 am. My first problem is that there is nothing open at that time except the McDonalds drive through so I had to get my receipt by driving through and then find somewhere to park. The first half of the ride went well although it got hotter than expected when I got back to the start and it was over 90F. I ate at the Chick-fil-a - Meh.

I was drinking one bottle of Perpetuem with Endurolytes between each control. Seems it fills me up quite well. Didn't have any bonking or cramping issues.

The second 200k was very different. A strong wind set in from the north and I had a headwind for fifty of the first sixty miles of the loop. What was soul-crushing is the knowledge that the wind would die down before I could turn around and make it a tail wind. My time out to the around control at mile 58 was about five hours and I was exhausted holding even that pace.

I turned around and within an hour the wind died down from about 20mph to about 10mph. Still - at least it wasn't a headwind any more. Riding on the Rio Hondo and Los Angeles bike paths at night is a scary process. There were lots of people furtively standing by the bike path and groups of young men walking up it that looked very suspicious to me. One guy shouted angrily at me in Spanish. I have no idea what he said but just kept riding. I would not recommend doing this to anyone.

I finished the ride in 19:54. Very tired but not sore.

I wonder how long it will be before someone is killed while playing Pokemon Go? Perhaps it has already happened. I had a couple of incidents on the beach path with people running across the bike path in front of me while holding their cell phones up in front of them. It's just a matter of time.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Oceanside ride

Amber and I rode my Anaheim to Oceanside 125km permanent again on Sunday. We started at 8am to try to beat the heat but it was pretty warm as we climbed Santiago Canyon. I was treating this ride as a stress buster because work has been pretty bad lately. Just before we started I had noticed a big bald spot on my rear tire that had me worried so I had to keep my speed down on the descents. The last thing anyone needs is a blow-out at 30mph.

I was trying to remember what might have damaged my tire, then Amber reminded me that last time we did this route I did a long skid because a car showed up at intersection at an awkward moment. That was a long time ago!

Anyhow we got to Cooks Corner and had our usual food. They were even slower than usual and we had trouble holding a conversation while we waited because someone was playing the jukebox and you just can't get away from the speakers. I have a brilliant idea - why not add a "Silence" spot on the jukebox. You put your money in and you get three minutes of silence. I would slap $5 into that no problem. Just think - no royalties, no wear and tear - it's three minutes of pure profit. How come no-one has thought of this before?

The rest of the route was pretty normal - headwind to the coast then a tailwind to Oceanside. We picked up a chap who followed us because he was not familiar with the Alisal Creek bike trail. When we got to Laguna Niguel he turned back north on PCH. I hope he remembered the trail because it's a lot of fun.

Next weekend I'm going to do some training for the Crackerswamp ride. I'm going to ride my Four Rivers 200k twice starting at 4am.

I need therapy!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Inaugural Four Rivers 200k permanent

I rode my new Four Rivers 200k permanent today. It will be the first loop of my new 200/400/600 Triple Loop brevet next year. It is a fast route that makes very heavy use of bike paths and is very flat. It's an ideal summer permanent because it never gets that far away from the coast.

Today was hot and windy and I rode it solo but I still got my best time on a 200k since two years ago. If I had made better time through the controls and had a couple of riding buddies we could easily have shaved 30 minutes off my 8:46 time.

I can see this becoming very popular.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Why can't we have nice stuff?

I just finished a cycling vacation in Colorado with Amber and Sherry. While we were riding along the bike path between Glenwood Springs and Carbondale Amber turned to me and said "This is how the SART would look if there was water in the Santa Ana River."


I thought about that for a few moments before replying "And no graffiti, no broken bottles, no trash, and no homeless encampments."

Why the difference? Why do Southern Californians trash bike paths and use them to house to homeless?

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Mount San Jacinto

There are three peaks in Southern California, San Gorgonio; San Antonio (Mt Baldy); and San Jacinto, that are sometimes climbed all in one day. This is called the Three Saints Challenge. Each peak is individually challenging so completing all three in a single day is pretty impressive.

I had no intention of completing all three peaks in one day or even one year. But I have climbed San Gorgonio twice and I climbed San Antonio earlier this year so Amber and I decided to climb San Jacinto last Sunday to get the hat-trick.

On paper it looks like an easy climb. It's a little over five miles from the top of the Palm Springs Tramway to the peak with about 3000' of climbing. Then five miles back. However, the entire hike is above 8000' elevation so that might make it a little more difficult.

The trail is not too difficult for the first 2.5 miles up to a saddle which has wonderful views both north and south.

View from the saddle

Immediately after the saddle the trail gets much steeper and very technical. In many places you are simply scrambling over boulders trying to pick up the trail on the far side. Several times I would have had trouble finding the trail again if there had not been hikers on it.

I was struggling when we got to the top so it was nice to get into some shade in the emergency cabin up there. Amber and I signed the log book.

Signing the log book in the emergency cabin.

I rested and ate while Amber explored the area. I was surprised with the popularity of this hike. There were literally hundreds of hikers out that day.

Popular hike.
On the way down we noticed clouds coming in from the north which gave us occasional overcast. Much appreciated.

Headed down with clouds from the north

I'm so glad to have completed this peak. I would definitely do it again.

Monday, May 30, 2016

400 km weekend

I rode a quick 35 miles on my exercise bike on Friday night, then rode my Anaheim to Oceanside 120 km permanent on Saturday with Amber.

It was overcast as we climbed Santiago Canyon. Something happened to me that has not happened in a long while. I passed someone on a climb - in fact I passed six people. Wow that felt good. We got to Cook's corner in only two hours which is quite a bit faster than normal. The sun came out as we descended the Alisal Creek bike trail but it got overcast again once we got near the beach. Kaylani coffee was as good as usual except I put the dregs of my iced coffee into my empty water bottle and topped it up with cold water. It was good.

While climbing up the bike route out of San Clemente we were riding on the shoulder and a cyclist passed us in the lane which is marked with sharrows. As he went past a motorist started yelling at him because he was in the lane. The cyclist chased him down yelling at him. I doubt it did any good, but it's scary how many drivers don't know what sharrows are. That's why I think they're not worth the paint.

The cyclist joined us a few minute later and he was headed our way so we chatted for a while. He was riding a wooden bicycle. Very pretty.

Novaro
He turned around at Las Pulgas but before he did he warned us that the Camp Pendleton police were aggressively harassing cyclists lately. Sure enough, a few miles into the base Amber was cycling about ten feet behind me and a police car came by and had the gall to say "Single file" on his PA. What an ass! If you don't know what single file means just keep your mouth shut. We noticed about six police cars pass and re-pass us as we rode through the base. I seriously think they are looking for excuses to ban cyclists completely.

We finished the ride at 3:30 but still had to wait for the 5pm Amtrak. There really isn't much point to riding this route quickly. To kill some time we checked out a triathlon store called Endurance House. Lot's of fun things there for cyclists.

On Sunday I rode my SART 200 km permanent with Stacey. Greg is sidelined right now with an arm injury but Stacey wanted her 67th consecutive R12 and I was curious to see how I would feel after the 120k.

We headed down the SART from San Bernardino and started passing a very large group of people running/walking with backpacks. They were completing the backpack challenge which requires you cover 10km while carrying a 35lb backpack.

I was feeling great but Stacey likes to ride slow and talk. No problem, she had many great stories to tell. I got caught up with Greg's epic single-handed yacht trip back from Hawaii (and I mean single-handed). Also their PBP and 100 Cols ride and their LEL and Land's End to John O Groats plans.

We stopped at the Starbucks at the top of Green River hill Stacey pointed out a new 76 gas station that we will be using as the regrouping point about a mile after the top of Green River hill. We took amount five hours to get to Newport Burgers. I had their Mahi burger for the first time in about five years - it was good. We had a nice tailwind on the way back and stopped at the Lucky Greek. We finished in about 11 hours. My only real problem was a sore backside.

Today I went hiking with the wife. Ouch. I'm taking tomorrow off.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Clean your water bottle

I got violently sick on Tuesday night starting about 11pm. I used the three hour rule to figure out what I ate three hours before. I was working out, drinking from the water bottle I have in the workout room. I hadn't cleaned this water bottle for at least six months.

When my wife checked she saw the cap was full of mold. What the mold was eating, I do not know.

I'm so careful to clean my cycling water bottles after every use and replace them every year. I find it hard to believe I forgot to do the same thing for the water bottle in my workout room.

Clean ALL your water bottles regularly. Replace them every year.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Wrightwood 200k

I rode Willie Hunt's 200 km Wrightwood to Lake Forest brevet yesterday. It starts in Wrightwood at 6000' and climbs a total of 3000' to Dawson Saddle at 7901'. I was very pleased with my new climbing legs and was able to stay in touch with Doug and Hector. If I can lose another 10 lbs I might be able to ride with them! It was cold and bright - perfect climbing weather.

Hector wisely putting on leg warmers before the descent.
The problem with perfect climbing weather is that it makes for very cold descending weather. From Dawson Saddle we descended until the turn onto highway 39 which is closed to traffic (including us!). Caltrans abandoned this road some time ago and it has slowly degraded so some care is needed on the descent. It's not as technical as Ridge Route or Drum Canyon though and I found myself comfortably exceeding 30 mph on several sections. By the time we turned on the 39 we had dropped into the clouds and the temperature was around 40 F. That gives me a wind-chill factor of 28 F at 30 mph. I was wearing a cycling jersey, arm warmers, leg warmers, a Capilene base layer, a wind-breaker, and silk under-gloves. Even with all that I was cold.

Top of highway 39.
Down, down, down, we descended 6500' in 25 miles. After about five miles of unmaintained road there was another gate and we entered maintained road. I decided to stop and wait for Hector and Doug because I had somehow run ahead of them. Unknown to me Hector had clipped a rock on the descent and split his tire. Doug waited while he booted it. After ten or fifteen minutes I was starting to get cold again so I decided to keep going. In retrospect that made no sense as I was still descending so 'going' made me even colder.

This was the view as I was waiting for Hector and Doug.
Looking up the unmaintained 39. Still no sign of Doug or Hector
The first control is in Duarte at the same 7-11 as my 300 km control. Ominously, I had had a strong headwind for the last ten miles which is very unusual here. I goofed around at the control hoping Doug and Hector would show up but instead two new randonneurs Adam and Hadi arrived. They told me that Hector had damaged his tire but both he and Doug were OK.

As Adam and Hadi left I decided to join them. We struggled into the ever increasing headwind with Adam taking heroic pulls. Hadi tried to pull but it was obvious he was at his limit. I got the impression he was bonking and fifteen minutes after his pull he dropped off the pace (an epic 13 mph on my aerobars). I would say the wind was a solid 20 mph gusting to 25. Normally this stretch is 18-20 mph without too much effort and we only get a headwind for the last five miles or so.

The miles slowly went down to 20, then 10, 5, and finally we got to the info control at the River's End restaurant in Seal Beach.

There must be a word for taking a picture of someone while they are taking a selfie
By the way - don't ask the waitress the answer to the info control. She got it wrong!

Hadi joined Adam and me at the restaurant after five minutes. Doug and Hector joined us after five more. We had worked so hard to get from Duarte to Seal Beach we decided we needed food so I ate my last Odwalla bar and Adam ate some of the food he had taped all over his bike (I wish I had taken a photo!). Then the five of us set out to cover the 17 miles to the Chevron which was the next control.

We decided to take the beach path which was pretty empty so with a slight tailwind we cruised along at a recuperative 15 mph. Only the pier section was crowded and there was only one total retard in the crowd so that was good. Plus there was a young lady wearing a thong that would have been illegal in any of the bible-belt states so that was good too.

We jumped on PCH at Newport Beach and had a pretty uneventful ride to the Chevron where we chowed down like the homeless people we looked and smelled like. A foot-long subway veggie sandwich really hit the spot.

After we turned inland Hector went crazy and started pulling us along at 21-22 mph. I know we had a tailwind but I seriously wonder where he got the energy from. I knew we had some climbing ahead to get to Willie's house so I asked him to slow down a tad which he graciously did. Even so, when we started climbing my knee started bugging me so I had to drop off a bit.

Eventually we got back to Willie's house and our time was 10:02. I thought this was going to be a speed fest but with the waiting around and the headwind I ended up with an average time. Adam and Hadi had been dropped by Hector's need for speed and they showed up 20 minutes later. Hadi looked pretty wiped out but I'm sure he'll be back for more. Congratulations to both of them.

This is a great route and Willie did a fine job of dealing with the logistics. You definitely want good cold weather gear and fatter than average tires for highway 39. Bring plenty of your own food because the distance between receipt controls averages 50 miles.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Carpe Diem

I rode my Lucky Greek permanent on Friday night. The weather all day was bad, with cold winds and rain all afternoon. While rain is not necessarily a reason not to ride, it was threatening to snow at home and I was only driving the Prius so for a while I thought I wasn't going to ride.

Finally, about 4pm the weather eased up. The rain almost stopped and the temperature started to rise. I decided to take a chance and started my ride at 5pm.

I was testing my new IXON IQ Premium LED Headlight. It has the optics of a high-end dynamo light but it takes batteries. Although I like my Cygolight front lights, they have a perfectly round beam pattern that smoothly brightens to the center. After using old halogen Cateye lights for years which have weird, spotty beam patterns I thought the round, smooth Cygolights were much better.

But the problem is that you really want to top edge of the bright center on the horizon to get the best illumination. When you do that you illuminate the tops of trees and dazzle low-flying pilots. If you tilt the beam down to waste less light the bright spot is too near and washes out the rest of the road.

The beam pattern of a good bicycle front light pushes most of the light to the top of the beam and has a distinct horizontal cutoff. You should read this article from Peter White - it has great comparative photographs.

I was impressed by the light - it makes a perfect partner with my Luxos U dynamo light. I was hoping to take some photographs and write a review but the pavement was wet so you couldn't get a good feel for how good the light is. That review will have to wait.

Back to the ride - I had to be a little careful because the pavement was wet from the storm and I got rained on a few times but it was no big deal. The temperature was a perfect 60F and the wind was lighter than usual. I've been eating a little heavier at the turn around point lately and it has certainly improved my strength on the return trip. I had my usual four hour ride time plus 20 minutes eating.

I was absolutely thrilled to be able to ride after thinking I would be rained/snowed out. In some way it made the ride better to know that I almost didn't ride.


IXON IQ Premium LED Headlights

I have noticed recently that my Niterider headlight is not lasting as long as it used to. I checked my old blog postings and realized the light is about four years old. This means the lithium ion battery is at about 60% of its original capacity or worse. Time for a new light.

About a year ago I bought a Luxos U dynamo light and I absolutely love it. One of the many features that make this light worth over $200 is the beam pattern. This is one of the things that normally differentiates battery lights from dynamo lights.

The high-end battery lights from Niterider, Cygolite, etc have perfectly round, smooth beam patterns. These are far superior to the lower quality battery lights I used to use which had jagged weird shaped beams with black holes in them that made it very difficult to see rocks and pot holes.

The problem with the round pattern is that it puts too much light on the road near the rider which then washes out the road further away. The road further away needs a lot more light on it to look evenly illuminated to the rider. If you put the bright center of the beam on the road far ahead you end up with a third of the light above the horizon where it is useless. Peter White explains it perfectly.

My Luxos U (and most other dynamo lights) have beam patterns that put most of the light further up the road and have a hard vertical cut off so that you don't waste light illuminating the tops of trees or dazzling low-flying pilots. Although at first they don't look as bright, you realize they are evenly illuminating the road much further ahead, giving you more time to respond to hazards. On dark, country roads and bike paths they are far superior. On brightly illuminated streets there isn't much difference.

When I started looking for a new light to replace my Niterider I found the IXON IQ Premium LED Headlights on PeterWhiteCycles.com. They are more expensive than the Niterider or Cygolite but they boast the same optics as high-end dynamo lights. They use a custom charger instead of a usb cable which is a bit of a pain. For people who are OK with a smaller, less bright (and less expensive) light with excellent optics there is also the IXON Core. Both these lights are listed on Peter White's website. You should also look at his beam comparison page.

Here is a brief summary of the IXON IQ Premium vs Cygolite Expillion 850, both at the brightest setting..

The IXON is larger and heavier than the Cygolite.
The IXON is more expensive.
The IXON has a custom charger instead of a USB charger.
The Cygolite puts out more light in total.
The Cygolite illuminates the fog line 100' ahead of the rider (about 3 seconds at 18mph)
The IXON illuminates the fog line 200' ahead of the rider (about 6 seconds at 18mph)
The IXON has a wider beam, making turns safer and improving side visibility.
The Cygolite has a replaceable proprietary battery
The IXON batteries can be replaced with standard batteries (4 x AA) mid-ride.
The IXON runs for 5 hours. The Cygolite runs for 2 hours (up to 4.5 hours in low mode)
The Cygolite has four steady modes plus a flash mode. The IXON has two steady modes and no flash mode.
The IXON uses NiMh batteries which last much longer than the Cygolite's Lion batteries.

The two things that sell me on the IXON is the improved visibility on dark roads and the ability to replace the NiMh batteries with regular batteries during a long ride. As most of my night riding is on dark roads on very long rides - these features are valuable to me. But as you can see, there are many rides for which the Cygolite makes more sense - especially if your night riding is mainly city commuting.

About the same time as I bought the new bicycle light the flashlight we keep by my back door died. We use it to watch raccoons and when the power dies. My old Niterider has replaced it. Even though a two hour run time isn't enough to get on my handlebars, it's perfectly OK for a flashlight.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Tripping the Light Fantastic

Actually this is about tripping ordinary lights.

Those of us with non-ferrous bikes ie carbon, aluminum, or titanium know how frustrating it is to sit at a stop light that doesn't know we are there. It lowers our average speed and raises our ire. It's especially frustrating on timed rides, or when the weather is bad.

I saw a program on Netflix that claimed that a rare earth magnet could trip stop lights by interacting with the magnetic fields produced by the sensors. I bought some on Amazon paying $20 for a set of four. They weigh one ounce each. Never allow them to come into contact with each other. They are almost impossible to separate.

I took one and attached it to the inside of my left crank arm on the opposite side from the pedal. The crank arm is aluminum but the bolt that attaches the pedal is ferrous. I put some gorilla tape over it too so it wouldn't shake off. Don't put the magnet on the right crank arm because it will grab the chain every pedal stroke.

I rode my Lucky Greek 100k permanent on Friday night and I found myself alone at a red stop light five times. I put myself over a sensor and stood with my left crank arm down. I never had to wait more than 45 seconds for the light to change.

This isn't exactly a scientific test and I realize it might have just been coincidence that the light changed for me, but I'm pretty sure the magnet is working.

Update: I did some research and the magnet doesn't have any effect. It turns out that the sensors work by running alternating current through the sensor loops and detecting the change in impedance when a large amount of ferrous material is near the loop.

For those who are interested, the changing magnetic field in the loop induces eddy currents in your car that impede the creation and collapse of the magnetic field which occurs 60 times a second and incidentally warms up your car slightly. This effectively increases the resistance of the sensor and reduces the current flowing through it. It is this current reduction that tells the sensor that there is a car parked over the sensor.

Placing a magnet over the sensor changes the magnetic field, either increasing or decreasing it but as the sensor is looking at how the magnetic field changes over a timespan of a few milliseconds, the magnet is not detected. Even the effect caused by moving the magnet over the sensor is too slow to be detected.

So the effect was purely placebo. Bummer.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Listen to your body

When you have been doing endurance sports for a while you learn something very important - listen to your body. When it tells you something you had better listen. For example, my wife and I did a 14 mile hike today. It's 7 miles with 2000' of climbing, lunch at the Angeles Oaks restaurant, then seven miles back. When my wife got to the restaurant she mentioned she was craving chocolate milk but she didn't order any so I ordered it for her. There must have been something in chocolate milk that her body needed. I don't know what it was and that doesn't matter. When the body speaks you must listen.

Of course, normally the body doesn't speak - it just whines. It's like when the wife is all mopey and you say "What's the matter?" and she says "Oh nothing". Then you spend the next two hours figuring out that she got a haircut or new shoes and you didn't notice. So when she actually asks "Do you like my new shoes?" you'd better reply "Oh they make your butt look tiny!". The same response works for haircuts.

That's what my body does a lot. I get an upset stomach and I have to figure out if I have drunk too much water or sugary drinks or caffeine etc. So when my body actually says "I want pizza!" you can bet I start looking for pizza. If I'm riding, that is. If I just spent the day sitting in front of the computer my stomach can crave what it wants - it isn't getting any.

So on an endurance ride it makes sense to listen to your body. Not only is it likely to be telling you what it needs, its also telling you what it wants. It's really hard to shovel in enough calories to match what you are expending so eating what your body wants is a good idea.

If I ride conservatively I can cover 100 miles in eight hours. That means I am expending 500 calories an hour but I've read you can only absorb about half of that while exercising. I suspect you ride and eat more efficiently with practice, but clearly it's difficult to avoid calorie debt. So if you eat what your body wants, you will eat more.

I remember riding a tough 200k down in San Diego county many years ago with Amber. We made an unscheduled stop at a 7-11 and while we were there this incredibly tall randonneur stopped too. It was the first time I had met Ron and he was having some problems. Something was aching and he was bonking and dehydrated. He was having a hard time. I looked at him and said "You're having some problems. The 7-11 has everything you need. What are you going to do about it?" Fortunately Ron is smart and he realized I wasn't being a jerk. I was making a simple statement. Your body has told you everything you need to know. It's up to you to buy aspirin, cookies, water, etc and solve the problems.

The simple ability to do that is a huge part of randonneuring.