Monday, October 20, 2008

66 for the weekend...

This weekend wasn't all bad. After all, I wasn't at work. (Insert laugh here.)

Saturday morning, Vicky got her gumption up and agreed to go on a ride with me. So, we took the mountain bikes out and hit the trail. Vicky still needs some new tires; she's riding on these stubby, mountain tires that look (and probably feel) really weird on the trail. (Now that we have to pay for tables and tubs and tickets, though, I have no idea when we'll do that!)

I let Vicky lead and she took us up the Santa Ana River all the way to Yorba Regional Park, to what I call the "Rest Stop", because it looks like a rest stop on the side of the trail. This was the farthest Vicky's gone and she was feeling it. So, we relaxed, ate some beans, and enjoyed the shade before heading back. All told, she rode about 16 miles, which is really good for her. Heck, that's how long it is to the beach from our place - I don't know if she realizes that! I think if she enjoys cycling enough and gets herself motivated, I might actually have a riding partner one day. Well, I hope so, at least.

As for myself, I took the Giant out Sunday morning for it's first "long ride". The idea is to take this one out for a Century one of these days and I figured it was time to begin building to that. So, I hit the Santa Ana River Trail again, this time heading south. I left at 7:10am. I was going to leave earlier but the sun just wouldn't come up! So it wasn't too bright out or warm out when I left. I exited on Chapman Avenue and rode that west for a while. Riding with traffic is something I'm just going to have to get used to if I ever want to do a Century and I think I managed it pretty well. At Valley View, I headed north to Katella, where I turned west again and rode into LA County. The plan was to take that to the San Gabriel River Trail and when I hit it, just past the 605... I was a bit surprised. The San Gabriel River Trail is like the Santa Ana River Trail but not nearly as swank or well kept... which ain't saying much, believe me!! But this was the route I'd mapped out, so I took it despite the worn and broken pavement, despite the lanes as narrow as the bikes themselves, with daredevils passing in between. It wasn't that far before I hit PCH and exited onto a wide, well-paved bike lane.

Fortunately, I hooked up with a group of cyclists almost immediately and rode in a pack all the way to Warner. I felt like a real cyclist; it was a lot of fun. If I ever join a cycling club, I'm sure that's what it's like - except that I lucked out and these guys were in no rush. But we made some pretty good speed. We were doing nearly 20mph for a while there. Then, the strangest thing happened. Listen, I used to roller blade (check out my arm sometime) but I never clocked myself so I don't know what kind of speed I hit. So, I was shocked when, as I was doing 20mph, the guy on roller blades just zipped past me! He was crazy - wore no safety gear - he was in his 60's easy and just sped along like he was born to it. Then, just as quickly, he cut to the right in a blur and was gone down a side street. Amazing!

Well, shortly after that, I left the street and rode along the beach. I took a break at the same spot I'd stopped the last time I did 50 miles. I had thought my route would take me 60 or 70 but it looked like I was doing another 50 mile ride... dammit. It was about 9:30 and the weather was icy cold! (Maybe my sweaty clothes weren't helping, either.) Surfers were coming in from the water and showering, stripping off their wetsuits like it was nothing - and I was shivering! Enough of that, I got back on my bike and headed south towards the Santa Ana River. The speed limit for bikes is 10mph but I was passed by (and soon fell in line behind) a blonde girl on a beach cruiser doing 13mph. I let her clear a path and used her as an excuse to speed. (So, no, I didn't learn my lesson when I got my ticket!) Soon, I hit the Santa Ana River Trail. The Giant took me up pretty fast and I was shouting "coming up on your left" pretty regularly.

One major difference with this bike as opposed to my old one is the way it works my arms. The handle bars aren't in that mountain bike style and, even though I had the handle bars adjusted to I could ride with my hands on the brakes, I found myself lifting up my tired arms as I rode back up the trail. Did I saying "lifting up"? I guess I should say "trying to lift up" because my arms were so weary I could barely hang on. The bike is easier on my legs but I'm definitely going to have to strengthen up my arms - something you just don't expect from a bike. That's not a bad thing, though. I'll get used to this. I won't hit 100 miles next week but you'll see the number ascend and before too long, maybe you'll see Vicky and I doing 50 miles together and me taking the Giant out on Centuries.

I just gave Vicky a heart attack. LOL!

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