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.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Fat tires on the road

Since my daughter bought her new Ti bicycle a couple of years ago she has had numbness in her hands at the 300km distance and beyond. We have tried double-wrapping the handlebars and buying new gel gloves but that hasn't worked completely.

I have read several articles over the years that say the size of your tires has more effect on comfort than either frame or fork material. My daughter's bicycle can handle up to 40mm tires or 34mm with mudguards. She recently bought some 32mm Schwalbe Durano tires from Amazon and mounted just the front tire.

We went for a 50 mile evening ride yesterday and she can really feel the difference. She is going to mount the rear tire too and I'm hoping we can find a day of good weather to ride my Four Rivers 200k permanent. Doesn't look like it's going to happen this weekend.

Michelle Brougher recommended "supple wall" tires from Compass. I can only mount 28mm tires on my bike so I might give these a try when the Gatorskins wear out. I really like Gatorskins, though.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

2017 Five Rivers 300k Brevet

No plan survives contact with CalTrans
(paraphrasing Helmuth von Moltke the Elder)

Event results can be seen here. The results will be posted to RUSA within a few days.

February the 4th saw the 2017 edition of the Five Rivers 300k Brevet. I rode the staff ride the weekend before, I even drove the last five miles of the route on the prior evening. But CalTrans decided to shut down Serfas Club Drive late Friday night with no warning - the main connection between north and south Corona for cyclists - again. I really hate CalTrans.

However, that was about the only problem we had on this ride. It rained on Friday and on Sunday but on Saturday eighteen riders left the Best Western, Corona at 6am under dry skies but on damp roads. David and Doug had wisely messaged me that they would be late so I returned to my hotel room and they hit the road forty minutes after the rest of the pack for a total of twenty riders.

Our only casualty was Boris who broke his carbon seatpost about halfway through the ride and had to call his wife to pick him up. Fortunately he was unharmed.

While waiting for the riders to return I went to my grand daughter's first birthday party

and also drove over to a Korean bakery called "85 Degrees" and bought a bunch of pastries.

Sun Wei flew around the route and completed it in 11:18 - a new course record. This was my cue to order pizza. As the other riders arrived they were treated to pizza (of varying freshness), Korean pastries, and cokes. When half the riders were in I ordered more pizza and Lisa and her group timed their arrival perfectly to coincide with the fresh pizza. It wasn't as good as Greg's but the riders didn't seem to mind too much. The pastries were very popular and I will be doing the same thing for the Orange ride on April 1st.

Steve, knowing he would be the lantern rouge, texted me as he reached the later controls which was much appreciated. I was able to text him directions around CalTrans. He arrived safely at 12:45am

We had only a couple of light sprinkles and the normal headwind into Long Beach. Considering the weather we have been having in the area lately, we were incredibly lucky.

I had a total of 21 riders and 20 finishers. Congratulations to all of you and commiserations to Boris. I hope that seatpost wasn't too expensive.