Friday, December 22, 2017

Winter solstice 200k

December 21st was the winter solstice, the longest night of the year, so Kerin Huber organized a 200k from Pasadena to Oceanside starting at the Sierra Madre Gold Line station at 7pm. For a late season 200k, we had a surprisingly large turnout of 12 riders.

Starting in Pasadena


We have had terrible Santa Ana winds for the past two weeks - so strong that Amber and I had to abandon last week's ride. Fortunately the wind was fairly calm, and the prevailing northerly winds had returned for our ride. On the other hand it was bitterly cold (for California) so I had the opportunity to try out some of my new cold weather gear. I had new silk undergloves, a long-sleeved woolen RUSA jersey that I had only worn once before, and a new Showers Pass jacket.

When we started the ride it was about 46F. We rode tempo around Pasadena before heading east to the San Gabriel river trail. Charlie was unable to hold our pace and dropped off. It turns out he was not feeling well and was unable to complete the ride within the allotted time. David Nakai started late and caught us after an hour or so, then quickly rode off the front because he needed to finish before we were likely to.

Dana Point

Once we got onto the San Gabriel bike path, around mile 30, the temperature dropped even lower - bottoming out at around 36F. Fortunately as we approached the coast, it rose back up to around 41F and stayed there for the rest of the ride. Even with four layers of clothes, standing around at the controls was very cold, so several times I left before others were ready so I could warm up a little.

At Seal Beach, the McDonalds had closed early so we rode on the the Harbor House Cafe which is open 24 hours. This is good to know. The service there was pretty chaotic, but they got the job done eventually. We spent an hour here in total but at least we were well fed when we left.

We rode south with a tailwind in one or two groups, coming together and splitting as people felt stronger or weaker. Riding through Laguna Beach at two in the morning is much better than during the day. Hardly any parked cars, traffic, or pedestrians. Dana Point was quiet and we stopped at the penultimate control at the Arco to use the rest room and get water.

I showed Mark Tagawa the bike path through San Clemente which is slightly shorter and has less climbing than the bike route or PCH but because it's hard packed dirt, it is slightly slower. As we finished climbing out we saw the group that had stayed on PCH pass about 30 seconds ahead of us so I chased to get back on. Mark didn't even know the bike path existed and he said it was cool. When it's not packed with pedestrians, it is a lot more fun.

I was with the lead group of five as we approached Las Pulgas Road but I had to stop to eat some GoCubes and ended up about 1/4 mile behind them. I think they stopped at the rest area off the I5 because I saw them go in but I got to the Oceanside Amtrak before them.

My total ride time was 10:03 and the whole group, except Charlie, rolled in within another twelve minutes at 05:15. We were lucky enough to catch the 05:42 Metrolink to Los Angeles and Terri and Kerin were kind enough to show me how to buy a Gold Line ticket (and pay for it) back to Pasadena. It turns out it's not enough to buy a ticket. You buy the physical, reusable ticket and then have to load a virtual ticket onto it, and scan it as you enter. Too much for my sleep addled brain to figure out.

Ending in Oceanside

Sunday, December 17, 2017

DNS

Southern California has been experiencing unprecedented Santa Ana winds for the past 10+ days. During this time of year we have normally had our first snow and started the rainy season. However, in 2017, we have had no snow and almost no rain. Instead, we have had continuous dry, warm, powerful winds blowing off the Mojave desert. The Thomas fire is wreaking havoc in Ventura County and is now the third largest fire California has ever experienced. And it's still going strong.

Amber and I were scheduled to ride from Anaheim to Oceanside, but the wind in Anaheim was very strong and would have been a side-wind on the descent of Santiago Canyon so we decided to abandon that idea and ride up the bike path to the Lucky Greek. At least the wind would have been a head-wind on the way up and a tail-wind on the way back.

I pulled 16 miles into a 20-30 mph head-wind until we reached the canyon, by which time the wind had increased to the point where it was unsafe even as a head-wind. We decided to turn around at that point and flew back. At one point we were riding at 26 mph and I could still feel a tail-wind on the back of my legs. Our average speed on the way out was 12.1 mph and on the way back was 21.2 mph.

This is what 30mph looks like on the bike.


Monday, December 4, 2017

When the lights suddenly go out

Twice in the past ten years or so, I have passed out while using the rest-room after abandoning a hard brevet. Both times were after the first 400km of a multi day ride that was much hotter than I expected.

I did some research on this to see if I could prevent it from happening again. I found this page to be very useful https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/when-the-lights-suddenly-go-out.

I had suspected this was related to dehydration. When you stand up quickly, especially from a deep sleep, the blood pressure in your brain drops suddenly and the heart takes a while to catch up. If you are dehydrated, your blood pressure is low to start with.

In addition, if you have recently eaten - and this is common at the end of a 400k, your digestive system has more than its usual allocation of blood, making less available to the brain.

So the combination of exhaustion, suddenly standing up, dehydration, and a heavy meal all add up to a recipe for passing out. It's amazing it hasn't happened to me more often. So what can I do about it?

Normally there are warning signs. I feel dizzy or break out into a clammy sweat a few seconds before passing out. I could sit down and put my head between my knees (apparently this actually works). It also seems crossing your legs and squeezing your leg muscles helps pump blood up to your head.

I should also make a more concerted effort to re-hydrate after a ride and maybe try not to eat too much before going to bed.

Last time I went down I cracked my head and elbow pretty badly. I don't want to do that again.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Anaheim to Oceanside populaire - another perfect riding day

After dire threats of rain from weather.com all week, Saturday came with perfect weather for my Anaheim to Oceanside populaire. Rather than taking the obvious coastal route, the ride goes over Santiago Canyon which means we start with a good climb, descend on Alisal Creek bike trail, and avoid Laguna Beach.


There were four of us at the start: Myself, Kerin, Len (just getting back into randonneuring), and Marc (first organized ride). At 8am the skies were blue with puffy white clouds, there was no wind, and it was slightly cool. We left Anaheim Artic and stayed as a group until the start of Santiago Canyon. By the time we reached the top at mile 26 we were split asunder.

We skipped getting a receipt at Cook's Corner because they were quite busy and settled for a selfie.
Not my best selfie
We waited for Len for a while a Cook's Corner but after ten minutes Kerin took off. Marc and I had almost given up when Len showed up so the three of us took off down Alisal Creek trail which was fun as always. I'm glad we waited because Len and Marc were not familiar with the route and would have struggled to stay on course.


Marc and I got to Crown Valley Parkway at the same time and grabbed food and Gatorade at the 76 gas station, expecting Len to show up a couple of minutes later. After a while I phoned him and it turned out he had stopped a mile or so back and told us to continue without him, which we did.

Marc and I rode on to Kaylani and once again I courted brain-freeze with one of their wonderful iced coffees. Most of it went into my water bottle. We took the beach path which Marc thought was stressful, partly because of the pedestrians and partly because he was riding narrow tires.

Beach path through San Clemente.
Riding on we got to Camp Pendleton. Marc was not pre-authorized, but Kerin had mentioned they would let people though who were not pre-authorized. We decided to give it a go, I mean what are they going to do? Shoot us? Worse case is he's denied access.

They let him through without a murmur. Interesting.

We got to Oceanside in almost exactly six hours which is a very good time for me. Kerin beat us by fifteen minutes or so and managed to get an earlier train. Len texted me to say he had DNFed at the entrance to Camp Pendleton and his wife was picking him up.

All the trains were hosed up for some reason and running very late, so I ended up getting a train to Anaheim Canyon and riding the five miles back to Anaheim. It took me almost as long to get home as it had taken me to do the ride.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Four Rivers 200k on a perfect day

Greg and Stacey Kline, Martins, Amber, and I rode my Four Rivers 200k permanent yesterday. I decided to use the event to test my BrevetManager.com Electronic Proof of Passage as RUSA has now officially sanctioned this for permanents.

We started at 7:30am and rode into a cool, still morning. As we were using EPP we rode straight past the first control, my cell phone app detecting that we were there, and rode on to Seal Beach. Unfortunately The Crema is closed for refurbishing so we went to the Hangout which turned out to be slow but the food was wonderful. Martins had to turn around before Seal Beach so he missed out on a great breakfast.

The wind was gentle, even near the beach and there was some light overcast that burned off as we headed inland to El Monte. Pretty soon we were cruising on the San Gabriel bike path under clear skies with temps in the mid-70s. Absolutely fantastic.


We were still pretty stuffed from The Hangout so we grabbed some nuts and water and headed on back on the Rio Hondo trail. Unbelievably we had almost no headwind as we headed back to Long Beach. This is very unusual.

We rode through at least two wedding parties as we worked our way through Seaport Village and headed to Chronic Tacos at Belmont pier. Once again, because we passed through the control point on the way to Chronic Tacos, we got credit for the control but we ate where we wanted. Amber had never been to Chronic Tacos before and she liked it. I got the veggie burrito with added carnitas which was about the size of a small toddler. I couldn't finish it even though I had ridden sixty miles since my last real meal.

Heading back to Yorba Linda I was trying to finish before it got dark so I put my head down and pulled Amber at 20mph for the last six miles. Even so, We rode the last mile in the dark. No problem, my new Edelux II front light did a great job. Greg and Stacey rolled up eight minutes later.

I could not have asked for better weather and the food, route, and company were all icing on the cake.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Back bay with kayaking

Amber and I rode my Back Bay route on Sunday with an hour of kayaking at the Newport Aquatic Center. It was very windy with choppy water which made the kayaking even more interesting than usual. We ate at the Champagne Bakery in Irvine. They have a new baguette cutting machine that cuts them into 1/2" slices. Fresh sliced baguette, butter, jam, and a decadent desert. Fabulous.


To paraphrase a Norwegian cross-country skier: "I'd rather be cycling and thinking of God, than in church and thinking about cycling"

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Anaheim to Oceanside 125k permanent

Amber and I rode my Anaheim to Oceanside 125k permanent yesterday. It was a beautiful day and we had a great ride. Cook's Corner was quiet and we got in and out in only 30 minutes. The descent on Alisal Creek bike path was excellent as usual but we were surprised by a 10mph headwind which is unusual.




Kaylana coffee has stopped selling their Caramel sea-salt iced coffee so I got a large caramel infused iced-coffee. Bloody expensive but lovely. I was getting brain freeze and we were short on time so I poured most of it into my water bottle and topped it up with water. That worked very well.

We normally take the bike route south from San Clemente but I noticed the beach path at the San Clemente Amtrak station is open to bicycles so we decided to give that a try. There's a lot of sand on it so it was hard work but our 28 and 32 mm tires handled it well. It's just over three miles long and very picturesque. It brought us out to an unfamiliar road which we climbed up and we found ourselves back at the end of the usual bike route. It isn't any faster or any easier that the bike route, but it's more fun and safer.

The climb from Calafia state beach to San Clemente Inn at the south end has less climbing than either PCH or the bike route but it's concentrated into a short distance. If any of my routes go through this section, I will allow riders to use this "shortcut".

Taking the beach path from San Clemente Amtrak station to San Clemente Inn
Beach path has lots of sand but it's fine for 28mm tires
We got to Oceanside with 40 minutes to spare before the train so we ate quickly at Angelo's and got to the station five minutes before the trail did. We actually got seats this time, first time in the last three trips.

A couple of weeks ago I rode my Four Rivers 200k permanent with Greg and Stacy Kline and I was admiring their saddle bags. Greg told me they are Acorn bags which are made locally. The manufacturer (a husband and wife team) cannot keep them in stock. I subscribed to their email list and received a notification that they would be restocking in early September.

I managed to order a medium saddle bag, then realized it would make a great gift for Amber's 30th birthday. I tried to order another one for me the next day, but they had already sold out. I will have to wait for the November release to get mine.

I gave her the bag before this ride and she installed it on her bike. It's a really nice bag, and their website is awesomely professional.

Acorn bag

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Stupid bike products

I've seen some stupid bicycle accessories in my time. How about a pair of mirrors mounted in front of and below the handle bars. It reflects the road to you can "see ahead" while looking down on the aerobars. That's dangerously stupid.

I just came across a product on Amazon that's just stupid.


From West Biking we have "Heart Shaped Bike Tail Light, West Biking Bike Rear Light Waterproof Warning Taillight Bicycle LED Night Light (Red)"

That isn't a heart. That looks like something that was hung from the back of redneck trucks a few years ago. I wouldn't put this on my bike if it was the only tail light I had. (Actually I might, but I'd never admit it here).

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Four Rivers with the Klines

Yesterday Greg and Stacy Kline and I rode my four rivers 200k permanent. We met at the Costco parking lot in Yorba Linda at 7:30am and headed out in mild, calm conditions. The Santa Ana bike path was very busy, which is not a bad thing. If the state builds a bike path we should show our appreciation by using it.




We rode by the usual control and headed to The Crema in Seal Beach. Stacy used the Nowait.com app to book our table 30 minutes before we got there and we strode in with no wait. Brilliant!



We then turned inland towards El Monte where the sun was shining and we made a quick turnaround back to the beach. We had the normal headwind which slowed us down to about 12mph but it least it wasn't like Willie's Wrightwood ride when the wind slowed us down to 6mph.


We rode through Long Beach marina to Belmont and ate at the Chronic Tacos there. I've never eaten there before and it was pretty awesome. From there we had a light tailwind back to Yorba Linda and finished around 7pm just as it was starting to get dark.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

2017 Night Audax 200k

Credit Bobby Chang
September 9th saw the 2017 running of the Night Audax 200k brevet. We had 19 people signed up, but the Klines got sick and we had two no-shows so 15 people headed out at 7pm from Huntington Beach. Each rider had a free packet of GoCubes which is my preferred way to carry caffeine these days.

All the photographs were take on my GoPro Session mounted on my aerobars.

Leaving the start of the ride

Charlie and Mel were riding a tandem together for the first time so I gave them a wide berth for a while. Just after the sun set we were treated to a display of lightning over Mount Baldy. 





We had our first drama with a split tire in the middle of the homeless encampment at mile 12. They didn't give us any trouble, but it was reassuring to be part of a large group. 

Fix a flat in homelessland

We settled down to about a 16 mph pace which seemed to suit most people. Brent did a great job controlling our rambunctious group. Our usual tailwind was weaker than usual, which helped a bit.

We got to the 76 gas station at mile 30 together and it was difficult to get everyone out within 15 minutes. We moved through Norco quickly and onto the upper SART. The section though Hidden Valley was sublime.



We all arrived at the In-n-Out burger as a group so I bought dinner for 15 cyclists. Less than $100 which is pretty amazing. No police breaking up car shows this year. We ate outside because the weather was perfect.

In'n'Out

We had no headwind at all on the way back so we held pretty much the same speed going back. For some reason the lead riders kept making wrong turns which was pretty funny. I can see all the riders going the wrong way and I'm yelling from the back, but they don't hear me.

ARTIC

As we got near the end of the ride the tandem went crazy and started pulling at 20+ mph. We regrouped as we went through the homeless encampment again and then Bobbie and the tandem just went all out for the last five miles. Even so, there was only a couple of minutes between the first and last rider back. Our official time was 10:01.

The water fountain at Anza Narrows was like an old man with prostate problems
Congratulations to everyone. As usual, it was a fun ride and an unusually cohesive group this year.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Damn Bugs

I've been riding up the side of a mountain each week for the past few weeks but the last two rides were plagued by aggressive bugs, sometimes up to 20 of them persistently flying around my head.

I've found empirically that most bugs can't fly faster than 7 mph but as the climb averages 8% I can't ride that fast on the way up. So, yes, riding faster is the obvious solution but it's beyond my ability at this time (perhaps forever). I've been looking for other options.

I could do what I do when hiking - add a wide brim to my helmet and put a mosquito net over. You need the rim to keep the net away from your face otherwise it becomes as annoying as the bugs were. This isn't out of the question, but it's not plan A material.

Some colleagues suggested attaching a flame thrower to the bike which would certainly be entertaining but the rangers might not approve. Another suggested a big fan to recreate the effect of a 7 mph headwind. That's not a terrible idea.

I could also buy a USB powered bug zapper and mount it on my aerobars together with an external battery pack. I don't know how well that would reduce the bugs in my face, though. My search for "helmet mounted bug zapper" didn't return any good hits.

I also considered a stick attached to the top of my helmet holding a citronella candle in front of me and a lump of rotting meat behind me. Kind of a stick and carrot approach to bug control.

I just bought a small hand held bug zapper that looks like a small tennis racket. Press the button and the 'strings' are filled with 3000 volts of bug frying fun. I think waving that in front of my face instead of my hand might be more effective. I'm curious to see how long I can wave it around before I crash, though. Maybe I could attach it to my helmet and just nod my head a bit.



I wonder if the same few bugs are following me for miles, or if they drop off the chase to be replaced by new ones. If it's the same bugs, then zapping them will provide meaningful relief. If they take turns, it won't really help much.

Surely I'm not the only cyclist to address this problem. Any advice would be welcome. Even bad advice.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Cygolite 150 lumen Hotspot tail light

I bought my first Cygolite Hotspot shortly after they were first introduced in 2012. It had received multiple "Best Taillight" awards and it was, at the time, the best taillight under $50. Each year, Cygolite has released an improved version. This is the latest in that evolution.

Let's start with what you get.
You get a 150 lumen (max) spot tail light with adjustable brightness in solid mode, and adjustable speed in flashing modes. The light pattern is a fairly tight spot but, unlike earlier models, this one has a different lens that throws some of that beam out the side. So although you still need to mount the light carefully so the spot is level with the ground, it is more visible from the side.

You also get a micro usb cable (prior models were mini usb), a seat stay mount and a saddle post mount. You only get one set of screws so you have to find extra screws if you want to use both mounts for some reason. Note the seat stay mount is not compatible with rear disk brakes because the cable gets in the way. It may be OK in countries that drive on the left. The whole lot comes in a reusable box, which is convenient.

The light has several modes. Solid (with variable brightness - perfect for astronomers), wave (slowly goes from bright to dim and back), triple flash with background light, fast triple flash, fast flash, alternating bright/dim flash. The triple flash with background is a new feature. I've had this on front lights for a while, but I've not seen it on a tail light before. Research shows that although a flashing light is easier to see, it is difficult to judge distance. Apparently a flashing light combined with a solid light is easy to see and easy to judge the distance to.

Another nice feature is a low battery indicator. When you turn the light on or off when the battery is low, the light will flicker. Of course, this doesn't help while you're riding but it's better than nothing.

My original Hotspot is still running fine. I'm still getting more than 24 hour run times in flashing mode from a single charge and it's still daylight visible. It's so bright that riders behind me at night ask me to switch it to solid mode. If the new ones are just as good even with all the new features, I will be very happy with them.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

LA traffic

I got my US citizenship this week and had to drive to the Convention Center in Los Angeles for the oath taking ceremony. Unfortunately Google Maps was not aware that 5000 extra people would be making the same drive at the same time so it took 30 minutes just to get the mile from the 110 freeway to the Convention Center. It occurred to me that Los Angeles traffic is as unpredictable as the English weather. You know it's going to be bad, you just don't know how bad.

The Brookes Isle of Wight saddle bag that Amber bought for me about 18 months ago broke. I'm really disappointed because it looked great, but it just wasn't well made. I can't find anything similar to replace it with so I went for a smaller retro looking saddle bag.



At the same time I replaced my top tube bag with a biggest version of the same one. The new top tube bag can hold my cell phone and the external battery back so, if my knees don't rub on it, it will be a lot more convenient and I'll be able to use it on LeJog.

I'm riding the Beachwood BBQ ride with Amber tonight so I'll find out.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Close call

I went for my weekly (weakly?) mountain climb last night and before I started I topped the 32 mm Gatorskins up to 100 psi. A quarter of a mile later the front tire exploded off the rim. It was so loud I heard the echo off the mountain a couple of seconds later. Fortunately I was climbing at 5 mph at the time.

There was a 10" split in the tube so I didn't try to patch it. Unfortunately my spare tube didn't hold air so I had to walk back to the car. It occurred to me how lucky I was that it didn't wait until I was bombing back down the mountain at 30 mph. That would have caused some serious road rash.

I got back home and replaced the tube and the spare. Hopefully that won't happen again. I still got a 25 mile workout on the trainer and I'll try the mountain again tonight. I'll probably descend a little slower than normal.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Ugh, what a ride

Amber and I rode the Back Bay loop today but it did not go at all well.

All went well until we got to a bridge on the Bayview Trail that had been closed for repair. There was only one detour sign where three were required to get us back onto the trail. Eventually some cyclists passed us who claimed to know how to get around the detour and led us back. At least the roads on the detour were quite nice.

We decided to change it up a bit by eating at the Ha Long restaurant at the Irvine control of my 300k. We would never have known how good this place is without the recommendations of some of my riders. I had a hankering for one of their tri-layer drinks. I'm not sure what is in there but I know it has red beans and boba. There must have been something in there that my body wanted. Listen to your body!

We took the East Irvine trail and followed the 300k route to Santiago Canyon Road where the CHP had closed the road at the bottom of the hill. Why they couldn't tell us the road was closed at the top of the hill, I do not know. Clearly they are not cyclists.

As we labored back up the hill my front tire blew out and went flat in about ten seconds. Amber looked at the blown tire as I replaced it and noticed a huge gash in the tube but there was absolutely no damage to the tire. Then I remembered that the previous tube had a gash in exactly the same place even before I had used it. I suspect I had two tubes from an entire bad batch. I inflated the new tube with my CO2 cartridge and put the ice cold cartridge in my back pocket. Oh that felt good for about five minutes.

Because of the location of the road closure we had to ride along Chapman to get back to the bike path. The first bit was nice, but the section through El Modena sucks horribly. Three lanes each way, no shoulder, heavy traffic. We rode on the sidewalk for a while but that was just as dangerous as the road. Eventually we saw the homeless tents along the SART and turned onto it. I've never been glad to see those homeless tents before.

Not our best ride.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Climbing Children's Forest

I used to climb Children's Forest road once a week on my bike, but haven't done that ride for over a year. I decided I need to start riding it again so yesterday I started at the base of the road and climbed for four miles to Children's Forest.

I quickly realized my climbing is much worse than it used to be. Hopefully with weekly climbs it will improve.

I recently bought a new GoPro mount to replace the poorly designed plastic one that failed in Wisconsin. This mount costs twice as much but is made of aluminum. It's a winner.

I videoed the descent from the top of the climb. Even though the road is pretty rough, the mount held the camera solidly.



Tuesday, July 18, 2017

What do I have to do to keep air in this thing?

As well as pumpkin butter, great mac and cheese, and a world-class collection of mosquito bites, I also brought back from Wisconsin a large chunk of metal in my rear tire. The fact that it only caused a very small leak is testament to Gatorskin tires.

I patched it when I got home with an old instant patch which failed as soon as I started riding last weekend. I put another patch on from the same batch, which also failed (duh!). Instant patches only have a shelf life of a year or so it seems.

I put in my spare tube which immediately failed with a flaw near the stem. It happens. Amber got her instant patch kit out, which turned out to be empty. Then she got her regular patch kit out, which had no glue in it - it had dried out.

So we went from two spare tubes and three patch kits to nothing in the space of 30 miles. Good thing this didn't happen on the Million Meters of Milk.

The lesson here is that regular and instant patch kits don't last forever. I should add 'replace all patch kits' to my new year's resolutions. I put Amber's spare tire on and prayed. I knew we would be passing a bike shop twenty miles up the road so I would be able to stock up there.

It was amazingly hot climbing Santiago Canyon and unusually humid for Southern California so the sweat was absolutely pouring off me especially into my eyes. We were very ready for food at Cook's Corner but it took 45 minutes coming. With the tire problems and the slow service we were not doing well on time.

The descent to the coast was as enjoyable as always and there was some cloud cover so the ride became a lot more pleasant. I went to the bike store in San Clemente to buy tubes and patch kits and discuss, with the owner, the deficiencies of instant patch kits.

As you know, there is a protected bike lane alongside PCH from Palisades Drive in Dana Point to Camino Capistrano. What you probably don't know is that the protected lane was recently extended all the way to San Clemente. That's great news, especially for North bound cyclists.


While I was buying bicycle supplies, Amber got us some Hawaiian shaved ice which I had never had before. Basically snow, flavored sugar syrup, and condensed milk. Very nice.

We continued down the coast with a slight headwind and after a while I started having gastric distress. I'm seeing a pattern of eating sugar heavy meals while riding and stomach cramps. I have to be very careful of this in future. I have had this problem before, but I've only just made the connection between high sugar snacks and cramps. At least I know what not to do now.

We only had 30 minutes to spare when we arrived in Oceanside so we decided to skip Angelo's and use the Burger King at the Amtrak for our last control.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Million Meters of Milk

My Summer Vacation.
By Terry Hutt, Aged 8.

For my summer vacation I went to Wisconsin to ride my bicycle. Wisconsin is a farming state. The main crops are corn, gravestones, and mosquitoes. Harvesting corn and gravestones is easy. To harvest mosquitoes you have to stand still for ten seconds. Corn feeds on soil and sunshine, gravestones grow on dead people, and mosquitoes eat cyclists. Corn is used to make popcorn and gravestones mark where you must not dig holes. Nobody knows what mosquitoes are for.

In Wisconsin they have weather which is either hot or wet or sometimes both. They have thunderstorms which are cool, and headwinds which are not. Someone said they also have tailwinds, but I didn't see any. They have a lot of dairies in Wisconsin and a lot of cheese. I ate some cheese curds which squeaked in my mouth. Now I know why mice squeak. The cheese was very good. Now I know why mice like cheese.

The End

P.S.
We rode the Million Meters of Milk 1000km brevet.

Amber and I flew out to Chicago on Virgin America. They are far more pleasant to fly on with a bike (and without) than United. I am starting to see the advantage to shipping the bikes ahead. It may be slightly more expensive, but we had to upgrade the car rental to carry two bike boxes and getting all that luggage to the hotel was very awkward. I like the idea of arriving at the hotel and finding my bike already there. However I am still concerned about the possibility of NOT finding my bike already there.

We unpacked the bikes at the Comfort Inn and went for a test ride up the route for 12 miles loving the roads once we were outside of Fond du Lac. For some reason Fond du Lac's roads are Roman era concrete slabs with violent seams every 10 feet. Once out of town, the roads were lovely.

We made a point of stopping at the Fond du Lac bike store on the way back, which has a wide selection of bicycles and accessories, to pick up some reflective ankle straps. We met up there with some other event riders and the organizer, Michele Brougher. She showed us the final few miles of the first loop navigating a tricky section.

Riding towards the rising sun

At 4:00 am the following morning we started the first loop. The temperature was comfortable which is a bad sign that the day will get warm. The sun came up shortly after we started and we made good time for a couple of hours until a 15mph headwind sprung up which slowed us down to 12mph or so even on the aerobars (even slower on the climbs).

Many lovely roads

The route was lovely and Wisconsin drivers are very considerate. Almost all of them made full lane changes to get around us. We didn't get honked at even once. There was none of the aggressive driving we have to deal with in California. The roads were quiet, the countryside was green, and Amber and I both agreed this would be some great touring country.

Heading back south in Sturgeon Bay

We headed northeast until the turnaround in Sturgeon Bay, where I took a longer than usual stop to recuperate so I could take advantage of the tailwind which was still blowing. At this point we were an hour behind schedule but I hoped to make it up with the help of the tailwind.

Pleasant riverside trail

Returning southwest we made good time until the tailwind died three hours later. We got a good dose of rain through this section but as it was pretty warm (about 80F) it was pleasant. After the tailwind died we still made decent time but couldn't seem to eat into that deficit.

Once the sun went down both Amber and I started getting sleepy. Because of the flight times, and the time change, and the early start we had both been unable to get more that six hours of sleep for the prior three nights and it was catching up with us and slowing us down. We used GoCubes which work well but only last a couple of hours. As the night wore on, we kept getting further into time deficit. We were in that cycle of sleepiness, slowness, sleepiness.

About 50 miles from the end we picked up Paul, who is a seasoned randonneur. His navigation had packed up so he opted to ride with us. For some reason he never pulled or drafted and just rode 100 yards or so behind us. An extra wheel would have really helped. We got a lot more rain through this section which was cold, but not unpleasant.

Eventually we finished the first loop three hours behind schedule. We set the alarm for 6:30am but when it went off it was obvious that continuing was not safe. We could have tried, and we may have succeeded. The legs felt good, but the brain did not. It was probably a good idea not to continue because I passed out a couple of hours later, from standing up too quickly, and cracked my head on the restroom wall. It's a good thing that didn't happen while riding.

The next day we just slept, getting up in the afternoon and chilling. My neck was screwed up from the fall and I could barely turn it. On Monday we helped out a little bit by placing the last info control sign and did a little sight seeing in Michele's car. Amber did all the driving because I couldn't look over my shoulder. I enjoyed hanging out at the end of the ride and welcoming the riders as they finished. Even though we didn't complete the ride, we still made the best of it and got to see a little of Wisconsin.

Hiking the Wild Goose trail after the ride
The Wild Goose trail would make a great gravel brevet

PPS.
After the riders had left I overheard some of the hotel staff discussing the fact that some of the riders had used hotel towels to clean their bikes. This is not cool. Most hotels keep a supply of worn out towels that are reserved for cleaning equipment and not normally provided to guests. If you ask, they will happily loan you these towels to clean your bikes with so you don't ruin their guest towels.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Night Audax Description

Night Audax 200k

  • Ride Type: ACP 200k
  • Date: Saturday, September 9th, 2017
  • Fee: $25, CIBC members deduct $5. Click here to become CIBC member. Be sure to make out a separate check for CIBC membership.
  • Start Time: 19:00  (evening start)
  • Registration: 18:30
  • Time Limit: 13.5 Hours
  • Ride Ends: 08:30 on September 10th
  • Route Map (Subject to Revision): https://ridewithgps.com/routes/2623805
  • Cue sheet (Subject to Revision): (XLS)
  • Start: Cynthia Drive, Huntington Beach
  • Waiver and Registration
  • Registered Riders
This year we will be following the same route as previous years. This is an Audax ride so we ride as a group with the stronger riders taking longer pulls. One designated rider will stay at the back of the group (any volunteers?). If a rider has a flat or a mechanical we all stop until it is fixed. You need lights that can last for ten hours and reflective gear. Please set your tail lights on steady mode. Note that there are no rest rooms at the start of the ride.
We start on Cynthia Drive in Huntington Beach at 7 o'clock in the evening and head inland on the Santa Ana River Trail. We will be riding this section at 18-20 mph because it is flat and we will have a tail wind. The first climb is Green River road over the 91 freeway. We will regroup at the 76 gas station on the far side of the freeway at mile 28.4, but this is not a control. We will ride the next section more slowly.
The next few miles meander through Corona and Norco with gentle climbs until we get to the entrance to the upper river trail at mile 41.4 where we will have to push our bikes under a closed gate. Then we have another 20 miles of bike path to San Bernardino. A mile after the end of the bike path is the only control at the In'n'Out burger at mile 62.2. Everyone reaching the In'n'Out with me will get their food and drinks for free! Have a double-double, fries, and a milk shake on me. I expect to get here by midnight or slightly earlier and stay for about 30-45 minutes.
We return the same way we rode out. By now the wind will have died down and we will return at around 16mph with a light or no headwind. Make a point of enjoying the view north over the Santa Ana valley from River Drive in Norco looking at the lights of Eastvale. We regroup at the Arco in Corona at mile 93.4 just after we ride under the 91 freeway. Again, this is not a control.
We reenter the Santa Ana river trail at mile 97.6 and stay on it all the way to the end of the ride. I expect we will finish at about 5am.
Every year this is a unique and bizarre ride. We have had thunder and lightning on either side of us without getting wet, we have watched impromptu car shows broken up by the police, lone riders wearing ski masks, and much more. This is a great way to beat the summer heat and get some practice for that PBP evening start.

I have a write up of last year's event and also some photographs that Brent took.
Ride Organizer: Terry Hutt (terryhutt1959@hotmail.com)

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Carrying your bike on Amtrak

A few months ago I participated in a survey from Amtrak about how they could make carrying my bicycle on Amtrak better. Today I received an email from them containing a list of all the questions that had been asked by cyclists in the survey and the responses.

You can get to Amtrak's special webpage for cyclists at www.amtrak.com/bikes.

I placed a copy of the survey results on one of my websites here.

It's reassuring that Amtrak is taking the needs of cyclists seriously. I'd still like to see consistency in services and requirements but that probably isn't going to happen given the state and history of Amtrak. But a good explanation is a start.

I just sold my recumbent bike to Doug Church. It's a shame I was unable to take advantage of it, so I hope Doug enjoys it.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Ombrophobia

Amber and I rode The Crema again today. This is a flat 50 mile ride mainly on bike paths. We're taking it easy because Amber's knee got wrenched at work and we need to get it healed before the 1000km next month.

We were surprised that the weather was quite stormy and we actually had a few minutes of light rain. The bike path was unsurprisingly empty which was great, although the 20mph headwind was not.


I discovered a down-side to Amber's 32mm tires. The rooster-tail is much heavier. It seemed wherever I rode it soaked me. Now that I look at the lens of my GoPro I see it is covered in black water specks.

I have finally figured out the best way to take photographs on my GoPro Session while riding. I mounted it on the nose of my aerobars and configured it to go into photo mode when I hold the button down for three seconds. When I hear the double beep I press the button another time to take a photo and then it turns off automatically. That saves battery and I always know whether it's on or off (it's off). At night I can take it off and replace it with a light.

The wait at The Crema was shorter than usual and the weather was rather nice. When we got back onto the bike path to come home we had a 20mph tailwind. That's a great way to finish a ride.

Amber is graduating with her masters in nursing next Saturday so we will ride Back Bay on Sunday. Amber feels her knee has healed to the point where she can do a little climbing. Let's hope she's correct.

My fitbit surge broke while hiking last weekend. I'd had it less than a year so I called them up and they sent me a new one. It's so unusual for a company to stand behind their products like that. I am absolutely impressed.

Fitbit made this OK

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Seventy miles with Amber

Because of ongoing track maintenance Amtrak is not running trains on the weekend so are unable to ride my Anaheim to Oceanside permanent. I came up with a loop that uses Laguna Canyon road (from Willie's 400k last weekend). On Willie's ride we came down at 5:30am when it was cold and had no traffic.

We started at Anaheim and climbed Santiago Canyon and then dropped to Cooks Corner. They were having a concert so they were very  busy. We were there an hour. I had the steak sandwich - meh. We jumped on the Aliso Creek bike trail all the way to Paseo de Valencia. Then we headed onto El Toro Road and Laguna Canyon which was extremely busy when we got there.

Once in Laguna Beach we rode on Cliff Drive instead of PCH which would have worked if we had been going Southbound. Anything that keeps you off PCH is good. Then we just headed up the coast and jumped onto the SART back to Anaheim.

We tried the new Oyster Bar at Anaheim train station. It was surprisingly good and quite busy. There was an Angel's game that evening and I think they get quite a bit of trade from the fans. Amber had a sausage and chicken stew and smelled heavenly and I had a blackened chicken Po Boy. Both excellent and the price is reasonable. They are very bike friendly there.

Don't wait to eat

Sherry and I hiked the Exploration Trail in Running Springs today. It's a challenging hike with 1600' of climbing in four miles of rocky single track followed by an easy descent on a paved road. About three miles into the climbing I noticed Sherry was lagging and starting to think negative thoughts so obviously she was bonking.

We had food with us because we've done this kind of thing before so I told her to eat something. "I'll eat something when we get to the road," she said. Now, I've done the same thing on rides. I'm bonking and I say to myself "I'll eat something when I get to the next turn.".

Why do we do that? How is it better to make an extra stop at an upcoming landmark rather than making an extra stop right now? You have to eat as soon as you realize you are bonking (preferably before, but that's another story). Sure, if you're half a mile from a control you can tough it out because you were going to stop anyway.

But if you don't have a planned stop within the next mile, you have to stop and take care of the problem RIGHT NOW! I don't know why we fight it, but we do.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Brevet Interruptus

Amber and I have been trying for several weeks to ride my Anaheim to Oceanside permanent but track work on Sundays has made return impossible until last Sunday. However, the weather weenies said there was a 40% chance of rain in the morning. We bought our train tickets and resigned ourselves to a little rain.

It started raining as soon as we started riding and was lightly sprinkling as we climbed Santiago canyon. This wasn't so bad because it meant Cook's Corner would be empty (those bikers hate getting their bikes wet!) and we would get our food sooner.

As soon as we crested the second summit and started the descent the skies opened up and we got completely soaked. We arrived at Cook's Corner in a state of soaked shock! At we expected, the place was almost empty.

Cook's Corner is normally much busier than this
We got our food and were back out in about 30 minutes with blue skies, puffy clouds, and light rain. It was cold as we descended Alisal Creek trail so we just coasted and tried to dry out a little. We got to Irvine and the creek was above the metal bridge so we had to go around. The only other time I had to detour around this bridge was more than ten years ago with Jerry Cowden on his first double-century.

As we continued south we saw heavy black clouds in front of us and pretty soon we were getting drenched again. We made a sprint for a tunnel about a mile ahead and stopped underneath it. The weather was awful again. Rando rule #1 - find shelter.

Looking north from the tunnel
At this point we decided to abandon the ride - the weather forecast said the weather kept getting worse the further south we went. We figured out the nearest train station was Irvine - six miles back the way we had come. This was a good thing because while waiting for the rain to stop we walked to the other end of the tunnel and saw the creek was overflowing the bike path - I had never seen this before. When there is a duck swimming on the bike path it might be time to turn around! Rando Rule #2 - find an escape route.

Alisal Creek (bike trail). Can you see the duck on the left?
Fifteen minutes later the rain had eased up a bit so we headed back north to Irvine station. By the time we got there the sky was blue and full of puffy white clouds again so we looked at the map and realized it's only 18 miles back to the start. We decided not to wait an hour for the train and instead ride back. Rando rule #3 - even if you can't do the ride you want, you can still ride!

We got back to Anaheim with a total of 69 miles and still pretty damp. We ate at the Oyster Bar right there in the station. I've never had Chowder Fries before - they were great.

Friday, May 5, 2017

ModernBike.com

I needed a new middle chain-ring for my old triple-ring Campy Serotta and my local bike shop wants $120 for a new one. I send a lot of business their way, but there's a limit. I reckoned I could probably find it cheaper and install it myself.

I turns out there aren't a whole lot of Campy triple chain rings out there. They aren't making them any more for the Veloce groupo. The only ones I could find were for Centaur and I paid $80. I think that's a lot of money for a piece of stamped aluminum especially as they are regular $93.

I found what I wanted at ModernBike.com. They have a huge selection of parts - for example, searching on "Campagnolo Chainrings" returns 60 products. After a lot of scrolling I found the part I needed and bought it.

They emailed me when they shipped the part and when it was delivered. I was in the original Campy packaging and I took 15 minutes to install it. All-in-all it was a very pleasant experience (other than Campagnolo's ripoff prices)


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Borrego Springs 400k

Last weekend I rode Willie's Borrego Springs 400k brevet.

I stayed at the Hilton Garden Hotel at 27082 Towne Center Drive, Lake Forest. I really liked the hotel and the price. I would definitely stay there again.

The ride started at 5:00am at Willie's house in Lake Forest. There were eight of us riding the 400k version and four riding the 600k. The route took us up to Sunset Beach, then inland through Riverside, Palm Springs, Indio, and the overnight was at Borrego Springs. The 600k riders continued up the glass elevator (a 3500' climb in 11 miles) and back to Willie's house. The 400k riders got a ride back in Willie's massively modified F250.

We started out headed down Laguna Canyon, which - amazingly - I have never ridden before. The temperature got down to 36F (someone said 31 but I don't think that's right). Brrrr. I alternately formed a fist with each hand and placed it under the opposite armpit. I remember listening to the other riders around me complaining about the cold and thinking "it will soon be a distant memory". Great way to start a ride.

We headed north on PCH through Laguna Beach in the pre-dawn light. Sublime. The first control was at the Mobil on PCH and Warner - the site of many brevet controls. I was really jonesing for something hot so I opted for the Jack-in-the-Box across the street. Looking out the window while inhaling my breakfast burrito I spotted Hector et. al. across the way so as they left I hooked up with them.



That was fun for a while but it was obvious I wasn't going to stay with them and the longer I tried to the more I would pay for it later so I dropped off the pace. There aren't many controls on this ride so I stopped at the 76 gas on Green River Road (thanks Stacey) at mile 74. I had brought some Perpetuum and Endurolites with me - enough for one bottle every 30 miles. By making sure I ate regularly and drank Perpetuum I hoped I wouldn't have the nutritional problems that DNFed my last 400k. Oddly we had a slight head wind from the coast to this point.

Soon after we hit the top half of the SART and enjoyed 20 miles of bike path with a gentle tail wind - go figure. The next control was our old stand-by the G&M gas on Hospitality and Waterman. I had an ice-cream and a tuna sandwich. Yummy. From there we headed over to San Timeteo canyon road and climbed for 16+ miles to Beaumont. To be honest we had been climbing from the beach so we climbed a total of 2600' in 80 miles with very few descents. It got to around 90F during the steep parts of the climb so I changed plans slightly and took a break near the top of the climb at the Mobil in Beaumont. I ate and drank and then took a "shade-nap" for 30 minutes waking up very refreshed.

Near the top of the climb Mark was waiting for us (thanks) and he topped up my water bottle. Now started the awesome downhill. The next sixty miles took us from 2600' to below sea-level with a roaring tailwind. What could be better? Smooth roads! I knew Johnson was bad but Main was pretty awful too. On the plus side they have repaved the shoulder of the 111 since I last rode it and I caught up with Jim and Jeff (uncle and nephew) on that stretch. They were riding a little slower than I would have, but I have always found that riding with other riders improves your chance of finishing strongly even if it means you finish later. I stayed with them for the next hundred miles or so.

We were riding on Easter weekend in the vicinity of Coachella during the Coachella music festival so even though we didn't go through downtown Palm Springs we still dealt with heavy traffic and lots of shuttle buses as we rode down Vista Chino. When you organize a ride this long it's really difficult to dodge all the marathons, fun-runs, triathlons, Grands Prix, etc. The road surface on Varner Road was spectacularly bad. I can't believe Palm Springs doesn't have the budget to do a better job of road maintenance.



Fortunately it got better and Jim, Jeff, and I made slow but constant progress at 12-14 mph on fairly flat roads with little wind. As we approached the info control at mile 183 I got a call from Stacey telling us there was a detour. Part of the route was fenced off (for the music festival?) so we had to make a two mile detour. Bummer.

At some point we stopped for pizza at a pre-arranged place that Jeff knew and shared a large Hawaiian. So good. Pizza was a brilliant idea - there's something about eating comfort food after cycling 200+ miles that really makes for good memories. At this point my fitbit watch registered 8500 calories expended. I only wanted two slices of pizza which makes me think the Perpetuum was doing its job.

It was a little further to the Arco at mile 221 which is the last food for 27 miles. I have no memory of eating anything, but I know I did. There's a sign there that says "Borrego Springs 27 miles". I knew we would start climbing (it was 1000' in 11 miles) but it seemed like a lot in the dark. Once again the road surface turned nasty for about four miles and I was amazed stuff wasn't flying off my bike. Even if I could have ridden up the hill faster, the road surface was too rough. When we entered San Diego county the road surface got really nice for a while, like they were trying to make a good impression, but they couldn't keep it up and it got a bit rough again. It took about three hours to cover the next 27 miles but I only had six cars pass me so that was nice.

According to my computer I rode 27 miles and then saw a sign that said "Borrego Springs 2 miles". WTF? "Bastard!" - I shouted at the sign like it was the sign's fault. Two miles later I found the Hacienda del Sol. It was 3am and I was two hours behind target, but very happy none the less. It took some effort to find the "suite" Willie had reserved for us. Fortunately he had placed a flashing tail light outside which finally worked through my sleep-deprived brain until I realized "Oh, that must be where I have to go."


Willie was waiting for me with food, which I didn't want, and a shower, which I did. He had brought my drop bag up from Lake Forest so I showered and changed into clean clothes then dropped onto the bed. Jim and Jeff showed up 15 minutes later and Greg and Stacey were about an hour behind.

I got three hours sleep and then up for breakfast and a ride back to the start. The ride was much tougher than the 6500' of climbing led me to believe it would be. The heat and the rough roads really beat me up. I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Dart Populaire

I rode my first Dart Populaire last Sunday. This is one third of a Fleche so it's 120km and you have eight hours to complete it. Other than that it has all the weird Fleche rules. It was hosted by the San Diego Randonneurs. There was only one team and it consisted of...

Myself
Kerin Huber
David Danovsky
Hector Maytorena
Keith Olsen


We started in Dana Point and rode along the coast towards Torrey Pines, then mercifully headed inland. Hector originally planned to finish at the top of a gratuitous climb called Mt Helix. I said "screw that" and he changed the end to a brewhouse.


The first control was at the southmost Angelos in Oceanside where I had a pineapple sculpin beer and a breakfast burrito the size of my head. Fortunately the pineapple dominated and you could hardly taste the sculpin at all. We lounged around here for quite a while but eventually had to move on.


Heading down the coast with a tailwind and a strong wind we made much better time than you are supposed to on a team event. I was pleased to ride on the Hwy 56 bike path, which the San Diegan riders user frequently, but I had never experienced. It's always nice to discover a new bike path. We also had to climb up a road called "Montezuma". I still haven't found a hill called "Montezuma" that I liked. For some reason I'm always going the wrong way.





We were soon at our next control which was a Shell gas station. We didn't really do much here because we had an enforced control (25km within the last two hours) within a few miles.

The 25km-to-go control was at a Carls Jr. I had DNFed at my 600k the prior weekend because of a nutritional error (too much protein and fat, not enough good carbs) so I was focused on eating carbs today. I was carrying two Trader Joe's scones which really hit the spot. I think I'll be using Perpetuum, Endurolytes, and scones on Willie's 400k in two weeks.

We covered the last 25km in 90 minutes to arrive at BJ's brewhouse at 4:30pm.



It was crazy busy so David got all our bikes into the back of his F250 which reminded me of Willie except not quite so "homemade". He drove us through nasty traffic back to the start of the ride and we all ate at Habit burger. Damn that's a good burger, especially after 80 miles of riding. Sorry, I was too hungry to get a photo of it.

Weather was great, route was great, good riding buddies - nice day.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Of Helmets and Wigs

I just finished reading a lengthy and interesting article in the Guardian newspaper online at https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/mar/21/bike-helmet-cyclists-safe-urban-warfare-wheels. It's well worth the read and the plug at the end for the book https://bookshop.theguardian.com/bike-nation.html makes me want to buy it.

But the funniest part was the professor who measured how close drivers got while he was
1) Not wearing a helmet
2) Wearing a helmet
3) Wearing a woman's wig

It seems drivers give you wider berth if you're not wearing a helmet, perhaps because you look like you don't know what you're doing and might be less predictable. They give you an even wider berth if they think you're a woman (same reason?). It seems to me the safest headgear is a woman's wig that conceals a bike helmet.

Where can I get a reflective vest that says "POLICE: CAMERA CYCLIST"?

Monday, March 20, 2017

600k staff ride

Amber and I rode the Orange 600k staff ride last weekend but I flamed out at mile 170. It was a nutritional error compounded by sickness. We ended up with 210 miles and at least we succeeded in confirming that Amber will be able to ride the Million Meters of Milk ride in July. Her new 32mm tires relieved the pain in she had been experiencing in her wrists.

One thing I noticed is that the repeated sections of the route between the bike path and the hotel confused my GPS system. I have broken the route down into the three 200k loops that can be started individually each time you leave the hotel.

300k riders can continue to use the existing gps file
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/18166171

400k riders can use
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/19700350
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/19695146

600k riders can use
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/19700350
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/19695146
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/19695158

Note the gps files posted on the website are still valid - just not as convenient.

At this time there are no detours, road closures, road works, control closures or anything affecting the route. Of course we all know that CalTrans can and will close roads with absolutely no warning at all.

I want to remind you there will be no day-of-the-ride registration. I will post my room number on this Google group Friday evening as soon as I get to the hotel. Please come see me before 9pm to register and/or get your brevet cards. Please be sure to bring your applications, signed waivers, and cue sheets with you. I will have spares but not enough for everyone.

I will be in the hotel parking lot at the far end from the road at 4:30am to hand out brevet cards to riders who didn't get them on Friday. There will be a bike and reflective gear check.

If you didn't pre-register and couldn't get to me on Friday I will be able to register you after the other riders have started.

I will have water available in the room and pizza and soda from lunch onward. I will also make a trip to the Korean bakery because I know you guys like that stuff.

I hope you all have the same weather we did - it was perfect. Your long-range weather forecast is superb.

PS. Mark pointed out a discrepancy in the location of control #4. I will accept receipts from Shoreline Village OR Termino/Ocean.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Wind, Mud, Daughter

Last Thursday I took the day off so I could ride my Four Rivers 200k together. It was her first 200k for about 18 months because she has been so busy with her Masters and with work. She's hoping to ride Michele Brougher's 1000k in July so she needs to get some saddle time in. My Four Rivers is one of the easiest 200k brevets - normally.

The day before the weather forecast had predicted 8-10 mph winds but overnight they changed their minds and correctly predicted 20 mph winds from the North.

We had the usual onshore flow as we headed towards Huntington Beach and then even stronger headwinds as we headed North towards Sunset Beach. We rode on the beach path as we were barely able to hold 12 mph anyway. The beach was quiet which doesn't surprise me as the wind chill factor was 43F.

I was trying out my new GoPro Session 4 mounted on the end of my aerobars. The hardware is good but their software lets them down badly.

We continued inland on the San Gabriel River Trail with a strong side/head wind. One problem, of course, with strong side winds is that you expend energy not being blown off the road. Here's some video showing the turn onto the San Gabriel river trail. To be honest, the swaying of my bike makes me a little sea-sick. I think I need to invest in a helmet mount.




We headed inland to Montebello and had a nice subway sandwich in relatively calm conditions. Heading back there was still a head wind! This is the effect of a strong side wind.

Even though Stacey had warned me that there was copious mud on the Rio Hondo bike path, I decided to see if it could be ridden, especially as a mountain biker coming the other way said it was open. The first stretch had been cleaned but afterwards was a stretch of dirty water which I thought we could ride slowly to avoid splashing. I was wrong, it was sticky mud, the consistency of clay, with a sheen of water on top. The mud clung to our tires and rapidly enveloped the entire bicycle.

Listen to Stacey


We got to Shoreline village and ate at Tequila Jacks. We shared a chicken quesadilla and churros with ice cream. Very nice!

We had a very strong tailwind as we headed back to Huntington Beach.


As soon as we headed inland on the SART we had a side/head wind again. We had about 15 miles of tailwind and 110 miles of powerful head/side winds. So much for Amber getting an easy 200k.

I was wondering if there would be a way to mount an anemometer to the bike and integrate the wind velocity over time to get the total distance of air passed through. I bet this ride would have clocked 250km easily.