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

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 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)