Monday, February 07, 2011

Santa Barbara 300K

Our 300k brevet started in Moorpark and rode many of the same roads that we traveled on the 200K four weeks earlier (this was okay by is beautiful cycling in there yonder hills!). I was surprised at the number of riders...46! Quite a turnout for a 300K. Bruce and I decided to ride together again, and we spent many hours talking about our preparations for the Big Wild Ride 1200K in August.

A quick spin up Grimes Canyon, over the top and up Balcom Canyon took us to our first not-so-secret control. Our RBA had ridden there and set up camp, waiting for all of us unsuspecting riders to come on by!

We then continued on through the orange groves on our way to Ventura. While we were at the back of the pack, we continued to make good time, keeping the pace mellow and enjoying a beautiful 45 degree morning! The stretch along Foothill Blvd. is one of my favorite. I just wish I had a camera that could capture the wonderful views of the Channel Islands off in the distance as we zoomed along at 30-40mph on beautiful pavement with minimal traffic. It was a bit overcast this morning, but the views were still sublime!

We then began the wonderful climb up to Lake Casitas. Santa Ana Rd. parallels the Highway 33 and provides you with breathtaking views of the Ojai Valley as you gradually make your way up to Lake Casitas.

The weather was so nice, I thought I would take a couple videos as I started the climb up to the top.

By the time we reached the lake, it was a balmy 65-70 degrees. I rode up to the summit with Terry and Amber, chatting all the way. We zoomed down the other side and laughed at the "free pigeon manure" sign, and then climbed up the second pass. The descent down into Carpenteria was fast and breezy - a fantastic opportunity to get comfortable with my new wheels. I waited for Bruce before crossing the foothills to Toro Canyon, and we continued along together for most of the rest of the ride.

Rather than just an information control at the top of Toro, a volunteer was waiting for us with munchies and water...wonderful! However, the best munchies of the ride were just a few miles down the road at the bakery in Montecito!

The ascent up Mountain Ave. is challenging by any standards. It just climbs and climbs. Fortunately, the views from the top are worth it, but was hard to believe that we were climbing so much and still had over 100 miles to ride! Oiy!

The descent down into Santa Barbara was fantastic, and the Garmin 800 didn't lead me down any off-course roads! Soon enough, we were enjoying sandwiches at Cantwell's Deli and hanging out with the back-end riders of our group.

The next 85 miles were generally flat as we cruised down the coast on our way to Malibu. We all played leap-frog with each other along the Ventura beaches, the stop lights south of Ventura and into the Wendy's at Port Hueneme. It's pretty much become a tradition that we stop for coffee and french fries at this Wendy's - it's a control and there really isn't anywhere else to stop! (you normally wouldn't catch me in a Wendy's for anything!) The sun had just set, so as we got back on our bikes, we donned our night wear, turned on our lights, and headed out into the darkness.

The ride down to the Malbu coast was uneventful. I was getting a bit annoyed at some of our riders blowing through the stop signs around the Navy base and staring at Bruce's Dinotte tail light flashing in my face, so I eventually pulled off the front and met everyone 15 miles down the road at Trancas. Riding through the night was wonderful, but this was the only time in the ride where I started getting a little tired. Nothing some coffee, good conversation and a protein bar at the gas station couldn't cure!

For the return trip up the road, Bruce turned down his light and we continued riding together. The rolling hills and miles just passed by...we were almost done. BAM! I hit a rock and pinch flatted. Oh well...easy enough to fix and we are back on the road again progressing toward the last climb, Santa Rosa Rd.

Bruce was feeling a little frisky and took off as we started up the climb. I continued along behind him, watching him slowly fade into the distance. Shortly thereafter, the front end of my bike started feeling funny, so I stopped to check it out. Slow leak...bummer. I decided that instead of digging for my spare tube and sitting on the cold concrete, I would just pump it up and see how long it lasted. As I unscrewed the valve, it actually came off in my hand! I guess I know where the leak was! The irony here being that just 19 hours earlier I was looking at my valve tool and telling myself that I wouldn't need it. Hah! No problem...screw it back on and pump up the tire. This continued four more times before I reach the finish at about 17:24.

Overall, it was a wonderful, albeit slow ride! I'm looking forward to the 400K in SLO in March!

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