Sunday, January 28, 2018

No such thing as an easy 200k

Due to the terrible mudslides around Montecito, Greg decided to run the "Between a Rock and a Rincon" route instead of the scheduled "Santa Barbara Easy" last Saturday. Fortunately both rides start and end at the same place and are quite flat.

Amber and I stayed at the Best Western in Simi Valley and we both felt the extra cost over the Motel 6 was well worth it, especially as the ride's 7am start time allowed us to enjoy a nice pre-ride breakfast at the hotel.

We had 34 riders registered and even though we had a few no-shows, a large group rolled out on a cool, calm, and dry Saturday morning. After warming up a little on the rollers of Tierra Rejada we enjoyed a gentle downhill to the coast on Santa Rosa, trying to avoid the rumble strip as best we could.

This 200k only has one receipt control but it has seven info controls. Perhaps it should have been named "Infopalooza". I managed to get to the receipt control in Carpenteria at mile 57 by digesting my enormous complementary breakfast supplemented with a ProBar. As the info control stops were quick, we made excellent time. Greg even managed to route us onto two bike paths I'd never been on before - I thought I knew them all.

In Ventura the nature of the route confused both Amber's and my navigation systems (rwgps) which suddenly though we were on the south bound portion of the route. It wasn't until a mile or so later, when I saw the ocean, that I realized what had happened and turned around. From that point until Carpenteria my gps thought I was south bound and gave me the wrong cues. Fortunately I knew how to get to Carpenteria.

Heading back south we had a gentle tail wind and the info controls made it seem like a scavenger hunt. Greg had made the info control questions multiple choice which is an excellent idea - one I shall copy. For longer rides, it's understandable that riders will be fuzzy with exhaustion and sleep deprivation so I think having multiple choices will really help them understand and answer the question correctly. Unfortunately, his first two info control questions concerned the cash price of regular gas at gas stations. Both of them had raised their prices in the 24 hours since Greg had checked them!

Everything was going well and we were on schedule for a 9:30 ride time until we were about three miles inland on Port Hueneme Road. In the space of a quarter mile we went from having a gentle tail wind to having a powerful head wind. It seems the predicted Santa Ana winds had arrived about 12 hours early.

It was clear we would have a 30mph headwind while climbing the 11 miles of Santa Rosa Road, but it turned out the real problem was the strong crosswind while we were on PCH. Sure enough,  especially in the vicinity of Point Mugu, the cliffs and Mugu Rock concentrated and diverted the wind so that it was strong enough to cause a sandstorm across PCH and forced us to stop and wait as a particularly violent gust went by.

It was actually a relief to get onto Santa Rosa Road so that the wind was in our teeth, at least I wasn't worried about being blown off my bike. When we got to Camarillo we stopped at the Chevron and ate the massive cookies we had bought in Carpenteria and refilled with a little Gatorade. The wind was fairly calm at the gas station and I thought, perhaps, we had seen the worst of it. But no, as we left the shelter, the wind came back and we crawled up Santa Rosa at 10 mph.

When we turned onto Moorpark Rd, we still had a head wind. Go figure! Finally we turned onto Tierra Rejada and had two miles of well-earned tailwind. We finished with a 10:22 ride time so the wind cost us about an hour. Like I said to Amber "If all the rides were easy ..... that would be great!"

Greg was making pizza and it was good - the four cheese was one of the best I'd ever eaten. We shot the breeze (pun intended) for 45 minutes then headed back to our cars for the drive home.

This was my first ride with my new helmet mount. I purchased a small headlight during a flash sale on Amazon for a mere $15 and was very please with it, although it's not as good as my $80 Cygolite. Still, it would make a great helmet light but it doesn't come with a helmet mount. So I decided to foray into 3D printing. I downloaded some free CAD software from Design Spark and designed a mount so I could attach this light to my existing Cygolite helmet mount. Then a friend, who owns a 3D printer, printed it for me. After a couple of iterations I had the mount shown below.

See you later.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Lucky Greek and Acorn Bags

Amber and I decided to do a different route last night and rode from Anaheim Artic to the Lucky Greek in Corona. There are fewer problems with the homeless encampments in that direction and I get a good climb up Green River Road.

On the way back we saw a high illuminated sign on the bike path saying it would be closed 1/22/18. There was no indication of why or for how long.

I finally managed to order an Acorn Bags saddlebag for myself on the third attempt and also snagged some leather straps for tying a jacket or something to the outside.

Medium Saddlebag with light jacket lashed on
Even though I still think Carradice bags are superb, this is the perfect century/200k saddle bag.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Fast solo 200k

Last Saturday I decided to celebrate getting over my cold by riding my Four Rivers 200k solo. I tried to set the best time I could, while keeping my calories to a minimum. It was a beautiful day with a high of 68F and mild winds.

Starting out on the SART

Nearly at the park

First control where they messed up my order
I got to the Jack in the Box which is the first control and ordered a breakfast croissant. Somehow I ended up with a junior breakfast sandwich and hash browns but I couldn't be bothered to wait for them to fix the order. I took one bite and burned my mouth so I shoved it into my Carradice bag and took off.

Time for breakfast
I headed up the San Gabriel bike path and about 30 minutes later I started to get hungry so I ate the breakfast sandwich which was still warm and kept going to the Shell control. There's a Subway there so I got the veggie sandwich (my favorite while riding). I got here to the halfway point in almost exactly four hours, but I'd had some tailwind.

Heading back towards the beach on the Rio Hondo bike path I picked up a headwind almost immediately. No surprises there.

Rio Hondo bike path before the Whittier Dam

I still had a decent average when I got to Long Beach. I shot some video as I approached the next control. As I passed the electronic sign I saw I was about the 700th cyclist to pass it that day.

I ate a Chronic Taco because their carnitas quesadillas are fantastic. This was my longest stop at about 30 minutes. I should take a photo of the food one day.

View from Chronic Tacos
I left well fueled and headed back towards Huntington Beach and then picked up a tailwind as I rode inland back to Yorba Linda. I got back to the car in 8:48 - one of my better times for a 200k.