Saturday, December 26, 2009

San Diego Christmas Ride, Day 1

not funny....5 flats by 28 miles. Glad I use a pump and have patches. Saw 1st skiffs of roadside snow at Guatay.
(posted via cell phone)

The rest of the story:

Today was the first day of the Hostels International San Diego Christmas Bike Ride. The information mailed to me said the ride started at 7:30 AM from the "parking lot on the left" at University of San Diego. I planned to get there about 6:30 AM to make sure I could find it, and to have time to load my gear and prepare the bike.

I got up early and had breakfast at a nearby Denny's then made my way to USD. I found a parking structure but wasn't sure if it was THE parking lot. It was 6:45 AM so I drove in and looked around for other cyclists or registration tables, etc. Not a soul around. Drove back out to the road and looked for another parking lot. Finally came back to this one and drove back in. This time there was a SD County cop sitting in his car. I went up to him and asked if this is where the ride started from, thinking he was there to assist with traffic control. He didn't know a thing about any ride. It was now after 7AM and still no sight of cyclists or organizers. I was beginning to worry that I might be in the wrong location.

Finally about 7:15 another car pulls in. This guy doesn't have a bike, but does ask me if this is where the ride starts. I'm laughing now, I tell him that I have no clue! As it ends up, he's a marketer for FRS energy drink and had some samples and literature to hand out. Finally around 7:30 another cyclist shows up. Same question, "is this where the ride starts?" :-O

Finally about 7:40-45 organizers and other riders start showing up. I unload my bike and start preparations to ride.

I questioned the organizers on ride time, they tell me, "oh, around 9:30-10 or so, whenever everyone is ready". Seems that "ride begins at 7:30" means something slightly different in NW Oregon than in SoCal!

The group was finally ready to roll. A brief orientation talk was given by Ralph, the defacto leader on the road. He noted that despite what our cue sheets said, we'd be riding up Friar's Road because "that's the way we always do it". ;-) The mostly SoCal riders were bundled against "the cold", as where this native Oregonian thought the weather was lovely and was in shorts.

Since support was only along the official route, and because I figured there were probably good reasons the route was designed the way it was, I decided to ride the official route. A few others did this as well.

A mere 7 miles into the ride I was on a secondary road behind the Fashion Valley Shopping Center. The roads in SD are notoriously rough by Oregon standards and this section was no exception. A new cycling buddy, Ronaele, (Eleanor spelled backwards she tells me!) and I rode into a shadow under a raised light rail line. I hit a 2" step up in the asphalt and immediately the rear tire goes flat.

Ronaele waits as I change it and off we go again. We climb a hill and come to Mission Trails Park where we turn onto the Father Junipero Serra trail. The trail is a good paved path, pedestrians on one side, cars one way on the other side, separated by a curb. I had ridden this several times in June when I was there and knew the best way to ride was to take the vehicle side of the curb, thus avoiding Ipodded walkers, strollers, and others not paying attention. The speed limit is slow enough here that a determined rider can keep up. As it ended up, I didn't see a single car on this section today. If you ever are in San Diego I'd recommend this park. A nice visitor center and a historic dam built by locals under supervision of Spanish Padres for irrigation, as well as lots of nice trails.

There was no time to take that all in today, I had done that in June anyway. Today we pedaled on. I was following the course via my GPS when I turned onto Railroad Street. It seems that the road used to go through but now is cut off by a new freeway under construction that rises some 20 feet above the old road. ......as if Southern California doesn't have enough freeways!

As I make the turn in the new cul-du-sac down I go! Seems that my front tire had only about 20 lbs of air in it and rolled, sending me down to the asphalt hard before I knew it. Bike was fine, I banged up my left hip a bit but was still "functional". A guy named Jeff road up to see if I was okay and help with tire repair duties. As it ended up, he was the guy who designed the route. Ronaele rode on because the was a bit slower and said I would probably catch up. Jeff apologized for mapping us onto this road, explaining that the freeway was new and he didn't know it was there.

With the tire repaired Jeff and I freelanced a bit and got back on course after finding an underpass to get across the freeway. We pedaled onward.

I was riding strong and Jeff couldn't hold the pace. I knew we must have been well behind the main group so continued on. As it ended up I couldn't hold the pace either. Before long I felt the back end of the bike get a bit "squishy". Yup, another flat! As I'm repairing it Jeff rides up, and as we are just getting ready to inflate Ronaele's husband who was accompanying us in an "unofficial" support capacity, stops and offers a floor pump!

Before 28 miles was covered I had 5 flats, by the end of the day I had suffered through 7 flats. SoCal roads are crap.
I've got two road bikes and 4 sets of wheels, I was riding on the only wheels that do not have (clarification: that did not have!) Continental Gatorskins on. I don't know if Gatorskins would have stopped all the problems but I've never had a flat with them.

I finally got to Campo, and Lake Morena where we spent the first night in a church multipurpose building. Some of us, me included, pitched a tent outside, the rest rolled out in the church building. I locked my bike to the chainlink fenced tennis court. At dark they locked the door to the courts so all our bikes were pretty secure for the evening. We had a filling and nutritious dinner before sitting in a group and introducing ourselves via the traditional "hot seat" ceremony.

It was already below freezing by the time we turned in for the night.

I was tired today, blamed it on the 7 flats and riding hard to catch up.
More climbing tomorrow to Warner Springs via Mt Laguna. The highest point in San Diego County, we will be over 6000 ft at the summit.


video

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
...............Road Bike.....LifeCycle.....Total Miles Today
.................63...............0.................63
Jan total.......501.....+.........30.......=.......531
Feb total.......614.....+.........0........=.......614
March total.....860.....+.........0........=.......860
April total.....790.....+.........0........=.......790
May total.......901.....+.........0........=.......901
June total......543.....+.........0........=.......543
July total.....1322.....+.........0........=......1322
August total...1603.....+.........0........=......1603
Sept total.....1403.....+.........0........=......1403
October.........503.....+.........0........=.......503
November........664.....+.........0........=.......664
December........594.....+.........0........=.......594
Year to date..10,370.....+........30.......=.....10,400 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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