Thursday, April 9, 2009

Days 3-7

Day 3: marina, mandeville, and wind. I am slowly learning that afternoon rides in the springtime in Los Angeles are a bad idea. Reason 1: more wind! I moved my tire size down to 23cm from 25 and every gust pushes my bike around like it's nothing. On days like last Wednesday it was SCARY!!
Reason 2: afternoon drivers don't like bicycles as much as early morning drivers. There was a lot of impatience on the road. Also there were an inordinate number of women who angrily honked at me that afternoon. What gives? I was in the right side of the lane near the shoulder. And, I was being perfectly safe and courteous. Some things in life I will never understand.
On the plus side, climbing mandeville (a 7 mile moderate hill) in the afternoon is great! There isn't much traffic and less traffic means fewer chances for accidents. When I got home I felt a strange compulsion to eat lotsa matzo. I made some matzo ball soup, charoset, and drank some wine. It was lovely day of riding and celebrating. Total mileage (including commute): 45.


Day 4: Almost immediately after my teaching responsibilities for the day ended, I left UCLA for Malibu with fellow graduate student CedarBough. It was a quick, fun spin and we even met up with some triathlon guys on San Vicente. Unfortunately, we made a bad decision when entering the VA on our way back to campus resulting in a pinched tire for my cycling buddy. Too bad because it was otherwise a perfect ride. Total mileage (including commute): 47.

Fundraising: My dollar count topped $1200 on Thursday which made me feel incredible! You guys are awesome!


Day 5: After teaching discussion section, I loaded up my panniers and rode straight down PCH to Laguna Beach for a family passover seder. Aside from the weather being really gloomy, it was a fun ride. Aside from an abnormally large number of phone calls, and the huge amount of extra weight I was carrying, I feel that I made pretty good time. When I was just south of Long Beach, I met another cyclist who was carrying the full touring gear. He showed me a beach path through Sunset Beach and Huntington Beach that avoided all of the cars. It was nice and we got to chat for quite some time. In Newport Beach, I met up with my mom for a late lunch. She insisted that I get in the car with her (mothers will do that), but the only problem was that my bike would not fit in the car as is along with 4 passengers. So, I dismantled my bike as quickly as I could (including the handlebars), and we drove the last 12 miles to the house in Laguna Beach. By the time we got to dinner, I ate like I truly earned it. Total mileage (including commute): 65.

Casualties: I realized 10 miles in that I had completely neglected to bring some bike water bottles with me (doh!), so I had to stop at a cycling shop to grab some more. Good bye $8...


Day 6: Yesterday's riding mostly consisted of getting to Occidental College and then getting home. I took the Amtrak from Orange County to Union Station, LA and hopped on the Gold-Line to South Pasadena. I then biked the 4 miles from the light-rail to Occidental College for some canvassing with Vote for Equality. After the canvass (around 3:30PM), I attempted to get myself home to Santa Monica. Unfortunately, I got a little lost once I hit the LA river. Who knew Los Angeles was so complicated?! I eventually found my way to Broadway, which got me to Olympic (my bicycle corridor of choice). The stretch from Chinatown to Downtown LA is simply amazing. I've been to both neighborhoods many times, but I normally don't get to look around at the scene on Broadway. I felt like I was in a real city for about 20 blocks. Unbelievable! And I was the only cyclist on that street!
Olympic was a good ride as is usual –- cracked gravel, rolling hills, and not very much traffic. I played a little tag with a Metro bus. The driver laughed each time I passed him in Koreatown. Somewhere near Highland, another cyclist (who enjoyed running stop lights) and I began to chat. Those two things made an otherwise unpleasant route bearable. You see, normally I ride my bike to get places or to get away. Doing a training ride along a commuting route was just... not fun. I will file this information away for future reference. Total mileage: 30 on the nose!!

Casualties of the day: a somewhat wasted training day (is my resentment too much?) and a lost set of panniers containing clothes on the Amtrak.


Day 7: Rolling spin to Trancas Canyon and back with Shifting Gears. At the meet-up I ran into an old training buddy from last year's AIDS/LifeCycle. Although the official ride consisted of 3 options (cross-creek, Latigo, and Trancas), I opted for Trancas when said cycling buddy said that he wasn't interested in the 10-mile climb. Sometimes company means more than mileage... We averaged 17 miles per hour (a relatively quick pace) and beat most of the nasty traffic. What a fun Easter ride! Total miles: 50.

In other news, I decided that I will indeed be riding in the Shifting Gears Double Century on April 25-26. What's another 200 miles?!

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