Sunday, January 29, 2017

2017 Five Rivers 300k Staff Ride

Yesterday I rode the Five Rivers 300k Staff Ride. I had a great time.

Before we get to the meat of the ride report, there are three things you should know.

1. East-bound Pomona Road is closed about a mile from the end of the ride. There is an easy detour on Railroad. The map at has been updated. The final cue sheet will be posted on the website asap.

2. There is some light to moderate sand/gravel in some dips on the bike paths from the recent storms. I had no problems riding over it with 28mm tires. There will probably be less when you ride the course.

3. The Huntington Beach half marathon is scheduled for the day after the Five Rivers 300k. They may close the beach path while they set up for the run but PCH will be open.

I started my ride at 4am in 55F temperatures and very strong winds of 20-25 mph. Fortunately they were tailwinds, but that just meant I would have headwinds towards the end of the ride. As I sped towards the coast the temperature dropped to 52F. I spent a lot of time travelling at 25mph in the dark and admiring my Luxos U's ability to highlight sand, gravel, and fallen branches in time for me to deal with them. When properly adjusted, the Luxos' beam is second to none in terms of width and evenly illuminating the road up to 100 feet ahead. Its ability to push the beam further up the road when I was travelling at high speed was a true blessing.

I stopped at the first control and, unlike last year, I had decided to really enjoy the ride so I actually sat down at the Starbucks there and had a proper meal while watching the sun come up.

Second Breakfast
I continued north west, still with a slight tailwind until I turned inland expecting a massive headwind. But all I had was a slight 10 mph side wind and even that died down almost completely by 8am.

The climb over Santa Fe dam was as hard as ever but the view of the snow covered mountains from the top was spectacular. I live at the top of the one in the middle.

Snow covered mountains from a distance
Snow covered mountains up close.

Even at the next control in Duarte there was almost no wind. It was still 52F but 52 in the sun feels very different from 52 in the dark. I had a massive Italian sub and another coffee at the VIP dining facility at the 7-11. Fast riders will be limited to the 7-11 here, but slower riders will be rewarded with the option of pizza next door.

The 7-11 VIP dining facility
The next segment back to the coast nearly always has a headwind but today the wind was on my side for a change. I had a light tailwind until I got within ten miles of the coast and then I had a strong tailwind. Crazy but true. I made amazing time through this section.

It had warmed up to about 75F and it was the most beautiful day for a bike ride I can imagine. I had a leisurely lunch at Tequila Jacks and enjoyed a chicken quesadilla and a small beer while looking over the harbor. The yellow building on the left in the picture below is Twisters and Coffee which is a good option if you are in a hurry. One thing I tried today that worked is to ask for the bill when you get the food. That way you can pay and leave much more quickly.

Shoreline Village - yes, it was that pretty. No, that isn't my bike.
The beach path from Long Beach to Little Italy was surprisingly clear. According to the electronic counter next to the bike path I was only cyclist #431 for the day. I had a mild tailwind all the way to the turn off from PCH up to Castaway park - not that I'm gloating or anything :-)

If you look at the cue sheet there is a right turn at mile 147.3 onto San Diego Creek Trail. You can see the hard right after the bridge in the photograph below. Hopefully you won't miss the turn now.

Hard right onto San Diego Creek Trail. Yes, that is my bike.
I followed the trail all the way inland to the last receipt control at the Crossroads Center. I had another relaxed meal at the Ha Long Vietnamese Restaurant. It was all very civilized. There wasn't even enough wind to blow the straw wrapper off the table. That didn't last long.

Bahn Mi, boba, and a bucket o' caffeine.
Now I continued back inland towards Corona. Somewhere around the info control at mile 168 I realized I had picked up a headwind which quickly freshened into a 20-25 mph sufferfest. I couldn't really complain as I has been so lucky for most of the ride. I crawled up Green River road hill in my granny gear at about 4 mph into the teeth of a gale.

As I rode along Pomona Road I saw a sign saying "Road Closed". It looked pretty open to me so I rode over some dirt and onto the "closed" road. About a mile later there was a huge hole in the ground that I couldn't get over or around. I had to backtrack and find an alternative route. I guess they were right all along. At least you won't have to backtrack.

 The last 20 miles took me over two hours and I rolled into the hotel at 18:17 for a 14:17 ride time. I was 80 minutes slower than last year, but most of that was at the controls. My actual ride time was about the same.

The weather forecast for the 4th is cool and dry, but with mild, normal winds. See you soon.

Monday, January 16, 2017

I broke my Brooks

Amber and I rode the usual Beachwood BBQ 50 mile evening ride yesterday. On the way out we saw Greg, Stacy, and Martins completing my Four Rivers 200k brevet. It was quite cold so we both took some extra layers. We had the usual headwind.

At Beachwood I tried the hush puppies which didn't impress me, but I went' crazy and had a four-ounce glass of a chocolate, coconut stout. It was delicious. I liked the idea of a 4oz serving of beer. I can taste it but feel confident my blood alcohol level will be zero by the time I get back to the car.

Five miles from the end of the ride the tension bolt in my five year old Brooks B17 saddle broke. Perhaps this is a sign that I need to lose more weight.

It is supposed to be longer

I was able to finish the ride without any discomfort but it has to be fixed by next Saturday for the Five Rivers 300k staff ride. I ordered a new tension bolt online (five dollars plus a dollar for shipping).

My first plan was to pull the bolt from a new Brooks saddle I ordered for when this one dies but apparently Brooks uses a hydraulic press to install the bolt and I would say you need one to remove it. I don't have a hydraulic press so plan B is to either pull the bolt from the partially broken in B17 on my Trek or move the whole saddle over. The idea of riding a 300k on a partially broken in B17 is not appealing.

Update: With a strong screwdriver and a little grunting I managed to pull the tension bolt out of the B17 on my Trek 520 and install it onto the Serotta's saddle. When the replacement bolt comes from Brooks I will have such fun installing it on the Trek (not!)

New bolt on my old saddle