Trying to come back to this ride after a few days and I’m sure my memory is going to be spotty, but let’s give this a try anyway.
The day started early with an alarm for 3:45. Big miles means a big breakfast and this day would be no exception. I also needed to be certain I would be rolling by 5:00 in order to be to Encanto Park by 6:30. I’ve ridden this pre-ride segment many times and it usually takes me 1:15 – 1:30 depending on traffic. My loaded overnight oats were awesome and hit the spot. Rolled out at 4:58 and the cycling gods were with me as traffic was almost non-existent allowing me to add an extra loop before joining the San Gabriel River Trail (SGRT) and ultimately rolling into Encanto Park.
Dang was it cold though! I knew it would be chilly, but I wasn’t quite expecting 42°F/5°C. I hadn’t fully prepared for the lower temperature and wasn’t wearing all the gear I normally would. I hadn’t brought my shoe covers, a vest/jacket, or heavy gloves. I was able to improvise with a plastic bag under the jersey in lieu of a vest, but the feet and hands would have to suffer until it warmed up. The temperature was forecast to top out at around 60°F/16°C which also played a role in clothing decisions. Definitely a arm/leg warmers day versus a long sleeve jersey and thermal bibs day.
I arrived at the park at 6:22 which as good as I could have asked for. The plan had been to meet up with several others from Vegas and roll at 6:30. I was pleasantly surprised to see so many friendly faces and all early to boot! Our group took some time to check-in, receive our arm bands, and take a group picture. We ended up leaving much later than we had originally hoped, leaving closer to 7:00.
I couldn’t be happier to start a ride. I was chilled to the bone and knew that riding was going to be the only way I would warm up. Thankfully, our group, eight strong(!), wasted no time putting in work to start building some heat. I was more than happy to lead everyone out, and they were happy to let me lead, due to having some experience along the SGRT while having the entire route programmed on my computer.
Our group did a good job sticking together for the most part. We stopped after crossing the river at San Gabriel River Pkwy because we’d lost Kant. This “interchange” is funky so we just stopped until he caught back up. I was surprised when he rolled up with a few riders from another AV chapter just yammering away. With our Vegas group back together we rolled on remaining together until we left the SGRT to join CA-1, aka Pacific Coast Hwy or PCH.
We lost Ivan when we turned onto PCH. He’d mentioned before leaving the first rest stop that he would be turning back early. Afterwards, our group was doing great rolling along PCH until another group came onto the highway just ahead of us. Henry rolls up next to me and calls across, “Hey let’s catch that peloton!” and off he goes like a rocket! I hesitated at first and that would be my undoing as he gaped me and I just didn’t have it in my legs to bridge the gap. Same thing would happen a few minutes later when Josh went by. Thankfully I caught a red light and had to stop allowing the rest of our group to catch up. Or was it to let me fall back? Guess we’ll never know! Even though we would see this group on and off for the next few miles we were never ever really close to jumping onto any wheels.
We did our best to stick together until the turn up the Santa Ana River Trail (SART). I’d say it was more out of necessity than anything. We were riding into a pretty stiff headwind and were pretty exposed riding almost on the beach. Thankfully that was a short stretch and we turned onto SART soon enough. A few miles later we rolled into the halfway rest stop for a rest and refuel. We hung out for a bit looking for Henry and Josh before Kant finally sent Henry a text to check on them. They rolled in a few minutes later and shared that they’d rolled almost all the way into Newport Beach before realizing they’d missed the SART turn and had to double back!
After our nice break at a well-stocked rest area, we started the long journey back to Encanto Park. Before rejoining PCH we spotted the Mendoza boys rolling the opposite direction and made sure to hoot, holler, and wave at them as they went by. Once back onto PCH we really started moving. We have rested legs and a decent tail wind pushing us along. I thought we were moving pretty good until a solid group of five riders rolled on by. Not wanting to let this group get away and eager for the opportunity to get pulled for a bit I latched onto a wheel. I was so focused on the rider in front that I never really had a chance to look behind to see who was still with us. A short while later their trailing rider let us know that the would be turning to stop for coffee and I took the opportunity to thank them for the wheel. After they peeled off, I checked to see who was still with us and we’d lost Tony while holding on to the speed demons. We agreed that we’d get to the SGRT and wait for Tony to make sure he didn’t miss the turn. He probably didn’t need us to wait because I know he had the route loaded on his computer as well, but better to be certain than roll on and have him miss it worse.
Rolling back up SGRT almost everyone’s legs were starting to get sleepy, mine included. We rolled into the final/first rest area with Al and Tony off the back some. I took the opportunity to take off my leg warmers, change to summer gloves, use the restroom, and grab some snacks. Al and Tony decided to leave early so the rest of us wouldn’t have to wait on them which was tremendously courteous on their part. I’m not sure how much of a lead they got, but we didn’t pass them up for quite a while. I was on and off the front until eventually being passed up by Henry, Josh, and Kant before Santa Fe Dam. Having 25 more miles on my legs than everyone else was certainly starting to show and I was fine with that. I just kept grinding to the best of my ability. Eventually, Josh realized how much he’d gaped us and he rolled back some to pick me up, but Kant and Henry were gone.
Along the north side of Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area, John got a puncture in his rear tire and it just start spewing sealant everywhere. Watching his rear wheel spin combined with the spraying sealant reminded me of someone shooting a fire extinguisher in a movie. We stopped twice to allow it to seal because it failed to fully seal after the first stop. Thankfully it held on until we made it back to Encanto park.
We were all relieved to roll into the park. Unfortunately, some of us had to do a couple laps in order to push over the century mark. I won’t say who, but you know who you are! I was happy to learn that there were snack and refreshments so our group went over to enjoy. I snagged myself a piece of pizza, spam musubi, and a couple cherry Pepsis. Spent nearly an hour relaxing, visiting, eating, and taking pictures before I finally bit the bullet and rolled out. Was feeling super blessed when I had multiple offers of a ride back to my in-laws’ house, but I was determined to finish this thing out and politely declined.
I rolled out of the park feeling particularly fresh. I had to remind myself that I still had around an hour and a half of riding to do and not blow all my recovery on the first few minutes. I settled down and focused on my music and keeping a steady pace. One frustrating thing about the ride back is how much elevation is actually involved. I rode around 1600 feet in those 25 miles. On a positive note, the last nine miles are mostly down hill with only a few climbs amounting to only 250 or so feet. Really lets me put on some speed and feel like I’m a rockstar and super fresh after such a long ride.
As I rounded the corner for a final climb to my in-laws’ house, I let out a holler and one more once I rolled into their driveway. I was super pumped at managing to finish another monster ride. It’s been months since I last did 150 in a single go so it’s nice to know that I still have it in me. I’ve had friends poke me about doing a double century and it’s certainly on my mind, but I think that’s a hurdle for next year. Perhaps a run at the California Triple Crown. Who knows and only time will tell.
28.31 new miles — From Wandrer.earth
Completed 25% of Sunset Beach
Give your activities the names they deserve. – by Bandok.com
Clear-Sunny, 43°F-61°F, Feels like 45°F-62°F, Humidity 63%-33%, Wind NNE 3mph-SSW 3mph – by Klimat.app
— myWindsock Report —
Weather Impact: 1.5%
Headwind: 43% @ 2.8-10.6mph
Longest Headwind: 01h 1m 54s
Air Speed: 18.8mph
Precip: 0% @ 0 Inch/hr
— END —
Max elevation: 1612 ft
Min elevation: -41 ft
Total climbing: 4531 ft
Total descent: -4517 ft
Average speed: 20.37 mi/h
Average cadence: 87 RPM
Average heart rate: 153 BPM
Average temperature: 56.12 °F
Total time: 10:27:27
[…] Distance: 904.08 Miles Total Ride Time: 51:47:29 (H:M:S) Longest Ride: 150.34 Miles – ‘I bet it’s really fancy. Like Beauty and the Beast fancy.‘ Calories Burned: 39,482 Total Elevation Gain: 37,949 ft Average Speed: 17.5 MPH Average […]