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.

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

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.

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.