Monday, February 19, 2018

Five Rivers 300k staff ride

Amber and I rode the 2018 Five Rivers 300k staff ride yesterday. For some reason we keep doing brevets and permanents the day before a storm comes through. It always messes up the prevailing wind.

We couldn't get a room at the Best Western at short notice, so we had to start at the Motel 6 across the road. It was dark and 46F when we started and rain was predicted for the end of the day so we wore warm clothing and carried more with us.

Motel 6

It dropped down to 39F which made the descent on Green River road a little chilly, but it rose to a comfortable 60F as the sun came up. The reflection of the salmon colored pre-dawn sky on the Santa Ana river made it quite lovely.

Santa Ana trail

There is a soft barrier on the bike path at Taft that can be moved aside if no-one has done so already. Passage through this section is not a problem. About 1/4 of the tents between here and Memory Lane have been removed but the city still has a lot of work to do.

This year I remembered to make the turn towards Atlanta and Amber and I basked in the sunshine as we ate at the Von's control. It's 46 miles to the next control, but try as we might, we couldn't eat enough food to get us all the way there so we carried a little extra in our saddle bags. At this point I realized my bag of Perpetuum had a hole in it and half the powder had infiltrated every crevice of my saddle bag and contents :-(

First receipt control

When we turned inland on the San Gabriel river trail we had a spanking tailwind which was great but we knew it would hurt on the way back. The trail was quite busy and we kept getting stuck behind large groups of cyclists who were riding slightly slower than we wanted to. Maybe that wasn't such a bad thing.

San Gabriel trail

During the climb over the Santa Fe dam my cleat came lose. It came lose last week too and I forgot to fix it. Don't be like me!

View from the top of the Santa Fe dam after I fixed my dam cleat

We got to the Duarte control too soon for pizza so we had to settle for 7-11 cuisine. By now it was a beautiful 75F. Again, despite our best efforts we were unable to eat enough for the next 39 mile stretch to Chronic Tacos especially considering the headwind we would soon be dealing with.

7-11 dining facilities
We picked up a headwind almost immediately on the return towards the coast. It started as a tolerable 10 mph but by the time we got to Long Beach it was 20 mph. I'm really glad I was able to trade pulls with Amber. This is a good stretch to buddy up. We normally get an onshore flow on this stretch of the ride, but today was exceptionally bad.

Rio Hondo bike path, the wind is so strong it's bending the pylons!
Eventually we got to Long Beach and turned south to pick up a well deserved tailwind. We passed through Shoreline village and went straight to Chronic Tacos. Be aware you can either stop anywhere in Shoreline Village or continue about two miles to Belmont pier and use any of the businesses near Ocean and Livingston. We'd been planning this stop for at least an hour. We were hungry and thirsty and decided to have a civilized meal. It was awesome!

Chronic Tacos

Continuing with our tailwind and taco fueled dash southward, we made good time down PCH. The left turn on Dover has a bike-friendly underpass which is currently closed for repair. It looks as if our best bet is to make the left turn onto Dover in traffic. Please be careful.

The tailwind got stronger as we turned inland and we made excellent time to the last receipt control at the Crossroads Center. We decided to go to the Ha Long cafe because Amber was feeling sleepy and wanted one of the excellent coffees. It was starting to get dark by now and the temperature dropped to 60F. I made the mistake of drinking a large jello and crushed ice drink which left me shivering. You'd think I'd know better by now.

Ha Long - great bahn mi, boba, and pad thai.
The navigation over the next few miles is a bit challenging as we jump from bike path to bike path but once we get onto Pioneer it gets easier. The East Irvine trail is always a pleasure, especially as it is so well lit at night.

San Diego Creek trail
The only real problem we had was the right turn from Lakeview onto the Santa Ana river trail at mile 171.3. For some inexplicable reason the gate was locked. Amber and I found a way around, but it wasn't easy and needs two people. I am pretty sure I can get the gate unlocked for us, but if I can't we can continue 1/10th of a mile and make a right on La Palma which will bring us back on course about four miles later with no extra climbing and no extra mileage.

PS. It didn't rain

So to summarize there are three things to take away from this blog post.
1. The bike path is open and the homeless population is reduced but still present
2. The left turn from PCH onto Dover needs to be done with traffic
3. The right turn from Lakeview onto the bike path may be closed, but we can use La Palma instead.

See you soon.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Headwinds and bad nutrition

After spending the past week on vacation in Albuquerque and not getting enough exercise, Amber and I decided to ride my Anaheim to Oceanside permanent in preparation for my 300k staff ride next week.

We started 30 minutes late, due to Caltrans and headed out north along the SART from the Anaheim Amtrak station. Despite brightly colored signs stating the SART was closed, it was open and as heavily populated as ever. I'll be riding the entire length next Sunday and I'll post an update on the conditions.

We picked up a headwind as soon as we turned south which sucked because normally we have a tailwind all the way. We got to Cook's Corner ready to eat but just as we got there about 100 motorcycles arrived and blocked our turn. We figured we'd have to wait at least an hour with all those bikers in line in front of us, so we took a photo and kept going. I had a pro-bar which we split to give us enough energy to get to a gas station at mile 40.

When we got to the gas station it turned out they had no sandwiches. All we could find to eat was cookies and chips. Not a great meal after 40 miles of climbing and headwinds. Fortunately, the Kaylani coffee house was only 10 miles further.

We got to Kaylani in San Clemente only to discover they have gone out of business. It looks like the building is going to be occupied by a deli, which is good, but we got nothing to eat. Because it was cold and windy, we took the beach path through San Clemente and it was relatively clear of pedestrians.

Neither of us had remembered to renew our Camp Pendleton passes so we were surprised when they let us through without a murmur. Ten more miles of headwind and we were at Angelo's in Oceanside. We ate our first real food in eight hours and eighty miles. It was yummy.

On the train back we even got to sit down, which doesn't always happen.

That was a tough ride, made worse by the food. Over an 80 mile ride into a headwind I only got to eat half a pro-bar, some Gatorade, a bag of chips, and some toffee covered peanuts.