Sunday, May 21, 2017

Short lunch run

I've been up north helping my friend Julie move into a new house.  Nice house, nice neighborhood, and a nice view when we rode 2 miles to the local cafe for lunch.



.........Road Bike........Rollers.......MTB..........Lifecycle......Total
Today ........2.................0.................0...............0.............2
Jan.........304................15................0...............31..........350
Feb..........0..................0..................0...............0..............0
March.......18.................0.................0...............0............18
April.......113................0.................0...............0...........113
May.........155................0.................0...............0...........155
Total.......622...............15.................0...............31...........668

Friday, May 12, 2017

16 miles this morning before heading to Oceanside

I'm an early riser by nature, and my hosts not so much.   It was 59 degrees in LA at 7 AM.  The high temperature at home was predicted to be 53 degrees.  It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that I should get out there on my bike!

I decided to ride along the coast.  I found Jefferson St to be 3 lanes of rather busy commuter traffic so I figured I'd ride the sidewalk in the early morning dim light.  After just a few blocks I decided there was less risk to just turn on my rear blinkie and take the center of the right lane.




I turned right on the Pacific Coast Highway for just a few blocks to Balona Creek and followed the bike path to the ocean. 


June Gloom came a bit early, the sky was grey but it was dry and the temperature was comfortable.


I was surprised to see that the bike path not only went to the beach, but actually proceeded right out onto the beach.


I imagine it takes a lot of maintenance to keep it clear of drifting sand.



I rode south along the beach for several miles.  When I arrived at some power generation plants





I pedaled a bit farther and found some people out enjoying the morning.


 I decided I should turn around.  The team had plans to drive to Oceanside beginning at 10 AM, and I had dallied around enough that if I were to proceed any farther south I'd get late.

It was a fun ride and the last one I'll get for a few days.

............Road Bike........Rollers.............MTB..........Lifecycle......Total
Today ............16................0....................0........................0............16
Jan..............304...............15...................0......................31..........350
Feb................0..................0....................0.......................0..............0
March..........18.................0....................0........................0............18
April...........113.................0....................0........................0...........113
May..............153................0....................0........................0............153

Southern California RAAM Challenge

I am helping Steven Burns and Jay Nadeau as they team up to challenge the 400 mile route of the Southern California RAAM Challenge.  Inspection and team meetings are today in Oceanside, with racing beginning Saturday at 5 AM PDT.  I've been instructed to take a chill pill.  The rider's goal is to have fun.

This is going to be interesting.

Last minute edit.

Jay just withdrew.
This just got waaaaaay more interesting.

You can track our progress along the route HERE.


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Riding Fixed in LA

I arrived in Los Angeles in advance of the Southern California RAAM Challenge, where I'll be helping out Steven Burns.  I had an hour before I was to meet him, so I unloaded the bike and went for a little ride. As I pedaled around the neighborhood I remembered seeing something on Youtube a few years ago about the fixie culture in LA.  I can't locate that video now, but it was a documentary style clip where riders belonging to the group "Wolf Pack Hustle" introduced themselves, "I'm 'loco Annie', I ride fixed in LA". I'm 'fast Fred', and I ride fixed in LA". Then you watched the folks show some pretty badazzed fixed gear skills as they rode alley cat races in the automobile centric streets of Los Angeles.

So today I introduced myself silently "I'm Desert Coyote, and I ride fixed in LA", though much slower and in tourist mode. LOL!



I came to some interesting paths that I thought I might ride, but noted that down that list of rules that "promote enjoyment of all" was a rule that said no bikes.




After puttering around a bit I stopped at Hop Daddy Burger Bar and had one of the best burgers I've ever had and a cold Angels IPA.



After topping off my tank I pedaled back to meet Steven.  It's time to convert a rental minivan into a bike race support vehicle!


Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE smartphone

............Road Bike........Rollers.............MTB..........Lifecycle......Total
Today ............6................0....................0........................0............6
Jan..............304...............15...................0......................31..........350
Feb................0..................0....................0.......................0..............0
March..........18.................0....................0........................0............18
April...........113.................0....................0........................0...........113
May..............137................0....................0........................0............137

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A good day, not such a good late afternoon

I'm supposed to be in Los Angeles tomorrow at 2PM to meet members of a mixed 2x team for the Southern California RAAM Challenge. This morning I drove to Bakersfield (the closest "real" town) and got some last minute supplies.  I got back around noon and promptly took off on the fixie.   I've been down I-5 many times and taken the Buttonwillow exit on most of those trips, either for gas, or sometimes for lodging. With all those trips, I've never actually seen the town of Buttonwillow! I decided to fix that today. I took off down the road.


I again saw olive and almond trees, but not in the same place.

Almonds

Olives



After just a short distance, I was officially in Buttonwillow. The sign says Buttonwillow is the heart of California's agriculture. I presume that other areas may take exception to that statement.


It was a warm and windy day. As I rode toward Buttonwillow's "downtown" I had a warm crosswind.

Downtown Buttonwillow
I hate out and backs and usually like the front half of the ride to be more challenging than the back half.  I turned to the right, into the wind to make a loop.  My Furnace Creek 508 totem is Desert Coyote, and as such, I guess the Road Runner would have to qualify as my nemesis.  As I pedaled against the wind I saw this.

Beep Beep!
As I pedaled out of the north side of town I noted that on this end Buttonwillow is presented as the heart of cotton country.


Sure enough, the next field I biked by was cotton!


As I kept pedaling along into the pesky wind I passed a large field of something that baffled this farm boy.  These 6-7 ft trees were covered in red blossoms.  It took Google to find out that they were probably young pomegranate trees.


I rode a few miles into the wind then looped around and headed back south. I was having a blast riding with a good tailwind. Even on the fixed gear bike I was holding 20 mph!  I was going to stop my southbound travel when I got back to the Blue Star Hwy, the road I had biked to Buttonwillow on, but I was having so much fun I kept right on riding south.  I eventually got far enough south that I figured it would be worth the pedal to the Tule Elk Reserve again.  It didn't take long to get there.


As I approached I was surprised to see elk very near the fence.  They saw me coming and decided discretion would be the better part of valor.  By the time I got the bike stopped, the phone out, and activated the camera, they were out far enough that my phone's wimpy 4x zoom was at its limit.


I watched the elk for a bit, then pedaled back into the wind again.  I followed along an irrigation canal.  The road here was packed dirt, but just like yesterday's ride, the dirt road was pretty easy to ride.


There were a lot of frogs!  There was a constant splashing of frogs jumping into the water from their sunny perches.  It was another nice ride.


After I got back the day took a downturn.  As I said, I'm down here to support a 2x team.  This afternoon the female half of the team bailed out.  Really? Less than 48 hours to race inspection and you bail? That shows disrespect to the race, to your race partner, and those who crew for you.  No words that I can print.

............Road Bike........Rollers.............MTB..........Lifecycle......Total
Today ...........30................0....................0........................0...........30
Jan..............304...............15...................0......................31..........350
Feb................0..................0....................0.......................0..............0
March..........18.................0....................0........................0............18
April...........113.................0....................0........................0...........113
May..............131................0....................0........................0............131

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Impending death

Not me (that I know of!) but my phone.

I thought a ride to the Tule Elk Reserve would be a great thing to do on a sunny day.  I took my compact 7x-15x binoculars, as suggested by the website.  I left the real camera, taking only the cell phone so that I didn't have so much to carry.

I took off westerly on a paved road but shortly turned southward on a packed dirt road.  I have a pretty decent sense of direction, and the sun was out, so I just kept taking roads that took me in the direction I wanted to travel.

I took a few photos as I pedaled along. The first as I pedaled along on the paved road.


I soon had to turn south, and the road was packed dirt.


I was riding the fixie with 25c tires, hardly an off road machine, but had no trouble despite what the roads looked like.



Before long I left the barley and alfalfa fields and was riding between almond and olive orchards. I stopped to take a photo, hoping to post something here about "almonds to the left of me, olives to my right, here I am, back in  the middle again",but alas, my phone repeated the same symptoms it had a couple of days ago.  Black screen. I took out the battery and restarted multiple times to no avail.

I finally gave up and pedaled along, hoping it would work when I got to the Tule Elk Reserve.

I got there  to find that I had the place to myself.  I scanned the expanse and found a herd of 5 branch antlered bulls.  They are much smaller than the Roosevelt and Rocky Mtn Elk found in Oregon, but  I was very impressed by their antlers.  6+ points on all of them (on each side for those not familiar with antler terminology) and many more than that on most of them.  Alas, my phone was not going to cooperate.  I watched the elk for quite some time.  The eventually moved to the left, nearer a service road.  I pedaled over there and had a front row seat.  The elk didn't seem to care that I was there. Sure wish I would have brought my camera.

Signage in the area said that Tule Elk were nearly extinct by the late 1700's.  There were evidently only two elk left in the San Joaquin Valley, and very few left in the entire world when in 1874 a rancher set about trying to help them.  In 1932 the State of California stepped up and set up this reserve area for them.

Since I didn't get any photos of the elk, I'll give you this video by the  Tule Elk Natural Reserve.

                       

They reproduced successfully until they outgrew the carrying capacity of the reserve.  The have now been transplanted to other areas that they historically occupied.

These elk are certainly different than Oregon elk.  These guys were out in the open on a 90 degree day, when their Oregon relatives would be relaxing in the deep shade of a north facing slope. ...not that they have any deep shade anywhere near here!  Their light colored coats probably help keep them cooler.

I had stayed around long enough, and started to make my way back.  I stayed farther east on the return.  There are a lot of these dirt roads laid out in rectangles around the various orchards and fields. Big pumps whirred as they poured water onto the land for flood irrigation, and into ditches that fed other systems. On the return I was riding by alfalfa, barley,  and fallow land.


It was a good ride.  I couldn't ask for better weather. I even had a big old floppy eared Jack Rabbit strike a pose on the road in front of me. And of course, the phone worked again when the ride was over. :-(



............Road Bike........Rollers.............MTB..........Lifecycle......Total
Today ...........19................0....................0........................0...........19
Jan..............304...............15...................0......................31..........350
Feb................0..................0....................0.......................0..............0
March..........18.................0....................0........................0............18
April...........113.................0....................0........................0...........113
May..............101................0....................0........................0............101

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Playing Tourist Part Deux

I had so much fun yesterday, and saw even more country I needed to explore.

I started off by returning to the Folsom Handcar Derby where I watched some of the finals action.

video

I had seen an overpass just down the road a short distance that appeared to be a multi-use path.  I had no idea where it went, but from time to time I'd see an apparently abandoned railway that I assumed was the same railway that the handcar derby was held on.


I eventually saw signs that informed me that I was following Willow and Humbug Creeks.





After a few miles I spilled out to a street. Before too long I saw another trail.  This on was shorter, but had an interesting story. It seems that Thomas Rhoads managed to pick up 100 lbs of gold nuggets near here.


I eventually saw a road name that I recognized, and rode it back to where my pickup was waiting.  I crabbed some lunch, then drove down to old town Folsom, in search of exploring the historic powerhouse.

When I got to old town I sent a Facebook message to friend who lives somewhere near Folsom to see if he wanted to join me for an adult beverage.  While I was waiting for him to get there, I biked around the town a bit.

It seems that a railroad turntable was found by accident when some construction work was being done.




lock up your bike, or tether your horse!
Jeff arrived and we set about talking ultra bike racing, and having that adult beverage we had planned  on.   After we finished that duty I hopped on the fixed gear bike again and set off to the historic hydro plant as the sun began to dip low in the sky.

Where the canal ended and the power generation began.
You can click on any photo to view it full size, and be able to more easily read it.







The buildings, transformers, and some transmission wires are still in place.  The buildings were all locked up by the time I got there, but I believe the generators are still in place as well.  The light was dimming, and the buildings didn't provide a good angle to get many photos.



I had the Garmin on the bike, and the map of today's ride should prove to be interesting, but my cable for downloading is buried deep in my race gear box.  I'll unload that later and add the map here.

Well, I got the cable out.  I was expecting a much more interesting route. I thought I was riding a big circle shape.  The most interesting part of this route was a neighborhood where all the streets were named after rock stars.  Clapton, Isely, Knopfler, Starkey, and some I had to look up.


The second ride of the day was just a short ride to find the Fat Rabbit Public House, where I'd be meeting Jeff, followed by a ride down to the historic powerhouse.



It was a good day.  Not many miles, but interesting miles on a sunny day that reached into the mid 80's.


............Road Bike........Rollers.............MTB..........Lifecycle......Total
Today ...........15................0....................0........................0...........15
Jan..............304...............15...................0......................31..........350
Feb................0..................0....................0.......................0..............0
March..........18.................0....................0........................0............18
April...........113.................0....................0........................0...........113
May...............82................0....................0........................0.............82