Salisbury Beach

Salisbury Beach
Thank You Katie, Mary, Caitlin and Brian

Sunday, April 24, 2011

24 April 2011 Fast America Day 1

Mileage:                     114.26 miles
Riding Time:              6:50
Total Time:                 8:45 (with wheel dipping ceremony and flats)
Flats:                           2

Well, the start couldn’t get much better than this. We rode to the Pacific Ocean, dunked our wheels, and took pictures. Then it was 32 miles along the Santa Ana River bike and equestrian path (didn’t see any horses). I am not a big fan of bike paths, but 32 miles of grimy LA streets isn’t so nice either. In many places, there were separate paths for pedestrians, dogs, etc. We kept a steady tempo, almost single file, and generally stayed together. One guy went off the front and someone went with him, only to drop back complaining that Mr. Hot Shot didn’t communicate (bicycling etiquette is to point out potholes and pedestrians, both verbally and by pointing). But EVERYONE else was someone I’d really like to ride with. Yesterday’s safety lesson had sunk in and no one did anything dumb. I remained at the front (but not actually setting the pace) and very attentive.

After the path (which seemed flat, but had an elevation gain of 500 feet) there was a little climbing, and I drifted back, only to catch back after the climb. We began to break up into groups of four or so. At the first real climb, I fell behind the lead group by about 5 minutes and we hit lunch at 60 miles. After lunch we motored 14 miles to the major climb of the day behind the Norwegian giant, Lasse, who is my size (or would be if I gained 25 pounds). But he can hammer (fitting – he trains by riding from Lillehammer to his home in Oslo). There were four of us, and we caught another group of 3 just before the climb.

And then a miracle happened: the lone female rider, Shelley, went off the front for a mile but then slowly I reeled her in. And then: I was all alone? I had dropped everyone else! The others told me later that they had stopped to take pictures, but regardless, I just motored the 6 miles to the top of the grade (at about my PR Old La Honda pace). Lasse joined me briefly, and at the top one of the other riders caught me but from that point it was all downhill.

Has anyone reading this ever ridden Interstate 10? I do not recommend it. It is usually bumper to bumper trucks, but on this Easter, it was almost empty: but the shoulder wasn’t, it was filled with crap. I learned a lesson: don’t follow another rider at 30 mph on the freeway shoulder. I hit something, flatted both wheels, and lost my water bottle (I discovered later). But there was a downhill tailwind and I averaged 27 mph for the last 24 miles. Question: when is a tailwind not a tailwind. Answer: when it is a crosswind. We had been warned, but a 30 mph crosswind carrying stinging sand particles, while you are going 30 mph is very difficult. It took all my strength to stay on the shoulder; and when I hit the sand that had blown across the road (probably about 3 inches deep) I prayed.

I am checked in my cozy hotel room, had a great meal at a Mediterranean café, and all is well with the world. The ride leaders  have promised us however, that every day will not be like today!

Good night, all. Breakfast at 5:30 tomorrow. It’s a 133 mile day to Blythe.

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