Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Winter Solstice 200 km brevet

Friday 21st was the winter solstice and Kerin hosted her annual 200k brevet.

Twelve riders met at Pasadena's Sierra Madre Gold Line station at 7pm. The weather prediction was perfect with no rain, favorable winds, and temperatures in the 50's. Many riders decorated their bikes with tinsel and Christmas lights. I was just glad to be there.

Start of ride

After a tour of the lights of Pasadena we hit the San Gabriel bike path and flew to the beach with a strong group and a tail wind. My rwgps says we took 1h35m to cover 30 miles. It seemed faster in the dark. We passed through several bands of fog on the way to the beach - some of it very thick.

At Huntington Beach I rode on the beach path for safety but the fog was quite thick. One hundred yards inland on PCH, where the rest of the group was riding, there was almost no fog at all; so I moved over and rode with everyone else. Weird how fog works sometimes.

The second control is at the Harbor House which is a 24 hour restaurant with decent food and a great atmosphere. It always takes a while to get a large group through there - this year it took over an hour - but it's a great control for this kind of ride.

Harbor House at one a.m.

The control at Dana Point was closed with a sign saying "back in 15 minutes" - rando's dilemma - do you wait or push on? I pushed on, relying on the pro-bar in my top tube bag. If I had known I would miss the train by 30 seconds I would have waited.

It's 3:15 am and they "say" they'll be back by 3:30. 
We continued on the usual route down the coast staying more-or-less as a group. I split off at San Clemente to ride the beach path while the others went up PCH. After San Clemente I caught up with the lead group and we went through San Onofre state park and then onto the shoulder of the I5 for the last ten miles or so. The freeway shoulder is the only bad part of the route.

I got to Oceanside desperate to use the rest room and by the time I got out I missed the 5:37 train by about 30 seconds so I had to wait for the 7:00 instead. Ate at the terrible Burger King but at least I got to chat with Jeff and Lori Arita who are planning to ride PBP next year. I really hope it goes well for them.

My ankle felt sore at the end of the ride, but I knew it would. I probably set the healing process back a month but I really wanted to do this ride :-)

Total riding time was 8:43 (14.5 mph average) which wasn't bad considering it was dark and there was a lot of fog.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Riding with a sprained ankle

It has been a while since I posted. RUSA has entered and emerged from an insurance nightmare. I'm sure all the RBA's and ride organizers are now suitably paranoid about waivers. I suspect we will see more reluctance to embrace the risk of litigation considering there is no benefit other than helping our fellow randonneurs.

I sprained my ankle a couple of weeks ago and it's still too swollen to fit into my cycling shoes but fortunately I bought a pair of cheap Nashbar SPD sandals a couple of years ago and they are flexible enough to accommodate my foot.

I met Amber at the Anaheim Artic. She still had her Topeak MTX rack and panniers on her bike. This is a very cool rack bag that has side pockets that open into capacious panniers. We started pedaling, but I didn't know if I'd make it out of the parking lot, to the beach, or what. Fortunately the pain wasn't to bad so we got all the way to Seal Beach and I had an idea.

I have recently discovered a Danish mead but the restaurant I found it at wants $42 a bottle whereas Total Wine only charges $30. There's a Total Wine just off the San Gabriel bikeway (this shopping center would make a great control) so we rode there.

We tried eating at Charo's, a Peruvian restaurant, but the service was so slow they hadn't even taken our order after 20 minutes so we walked across to a PizzaRev which we had never heard of. We had a custom made pizza within 10 minutes of walking in. It was really good and we would definitely go back. There must be at least 20 places to eat in the Long Beach Town Center and you don't even have to ride on the road to get there - there's a bike path straight from the San Gabriel bike path into the shopping center.

PizzaRev - very good

After PizzaRev we headed over to Total Wine to see what meads they had in stock. I bought six bottles and we put them in Amber's panniers. They we very heavy so it's a good thing there were no hills on the way back. I can tell you that the MDX panniers can comfortably carry half a case of wine. I don't know why they don't put this in the documentation - it's a major selling point.

Six bottles of wine - perfect fit

We ended up with 66 miles and I gave Amber a bottle of wine. I hope she likes it. My foot hurt a bit the next day but it was totally worth it.