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You’re coming with me. It’s a long trip. I’ll need a snack.

What an amazing day for a ride. Sure it started a little cool, but it warmed up quite nicely.

I love riding down in SoCal when I get the chance to visit, but I’m not terribly fond of going outside of spring or summer. The only reason I don’t like it is my paranoia about being properly dressed. I worry I’ll never pack enough gear and end up being cold while simultaneously worrying I’ll wear too much and cook myself. In the week leading up to today’s ride I tried to keep an eye on what clothes I was wearing around town with specific temperatures so I could plan accordingly. I think I just about nailed this weekend.

I left my in-laws house exactly when I’d wanted to at 5:00 a.m which has become my standard time to roll out of their house. This gives me plenty of time to get down to the beach, enjoy a coffee and snack, and return home with plenty of time to spare for visiting and dinner with the family.

For the most part the ride down to Long Beach was uneventful. No surprise there weren’t many cyclists out so early in the morning. In addition, I get the feeling that the LA River and Rio Hondo trails aren’t as popular as the San Gabriel. I’m more likely to find cyclists, and groups of cyclists, on the later than the former which I find odd considering how similar they are. I did pass a few riders on horseback which caused me to slow down and ease past them in an effort to not spook their horse. I doubt screaming up behind a horse at 20 MPH and blowing past is going to go over incredibly well. Last thing I want is someone getting thrown because I spooked their horse.

Starting along the Shoreline Beach Bike Path in Long Beach, I again came across a group of runners participating in some kind of organized event. I thought to myself, “What an odd coincidence that every time I come down here there is an event going on.” Once I got home I looked up “running events in Long Beach” and found that today was the “Reindeer Run Half Marathon”. On top of that I found an entire list of events that are happening along the same stretch. Wouldn’t you know it, there is an event nearly every weekend. So certainly not a coincidence it’s just a popular stretch for running events.

While enjoying a chill relaxing pace along the beach I spotted someone pushing their bike. I hesitated for a second, but decided to turn around and check on them anyway. They had a flat and after talking with them it appears that they’d already dumped one CO2 into the tube with no luck. I figured, “What the heck” and volunteered to give it another go. Try as I might I could not get the guys tube to take any CO2. It was going everywhere except where I wanted it to go. I was really frustrated and apologized that we couldn’t get him going. He proclaimed it wasn’t a big deal and appreciated me stopping and at least trying. It was one of those scenarios where I wished I packed a dedicated pump as well as CO2. Shrugging it off that I’d done the best I could in the situation I rolled on for Seal Beach.

Before crossing Ocean Blvd at the end of the Shoreline Bike path, I stopped to search for a bike shop. I wasn’t fond of continuing on my ride without the ability to fix my own flat should I get one. I thought I’d spotted one on 2nd St only to pass by the address and when I pulled over to see how I’d missed it I realized it wasn’t a bike shop at all. For some odd reason Google had listed “Oracle Red Bull Racing eScooters” as a “Bicycle Shop”. Undeterred I widened my search and found a true bike shop on Main St in Seal Beach which would work perfectly and wasn’t too far out of the way.

I made my way south on Central and turned left/east onto Main St to hunt down Main Street Cyclery. I stopped at one point to double check its location and found I hadn’t passed it yet. I continued forward, came up on CA-1, and realized I must have missed it! I checked my map again and doubled back along Main St to find it. Thankfully taking it extra slow I was able to find it without issue to only find that they didn’t open until 9:00! I checked my phone again and was delighted to see I’d only have to wait five minutes before they opened.

Soon enough someone came to the front door, opened it up, and flipped their sign. Before taking a step I asked if they carried CO2 to which they replied they did. Thrilled, I followed the man back inside. As I was walking through the shop I told the story of the gentleman I’d tried to help out along the beach. Without missing a beat the guy says, “Well since you were trying to pay it forward, I’ll do the same. Here you go, on the house.” I was absolutely floored and overjoyed. I packed the fresh CO2 into my downtube bag and the gentleman even took my empty for recycling. What a win, and with that settled I rolled out for the quick trip to Bogart’s.

At Bogart’s I grabbed an iced coffee, banana, and a huge bear claw. The thing was larger than my fist it was quite impressive. With my refreshments in hand I went back outside and grabbed a seat on one of the several benches out front. While I saw I checked in with the little darling to let her know I’d made it this far safe and sound. As I looked across Ocean I spotted a huge Christmas tree that had been setup in Eisenhower Park by the city. I was quite surprised when I saw a group of cyclists hanging out and then made out a very distinct Santa Claus out of the bunch! I continued to watch as they packed up and rode off. I shared the turn of events with the wife and she wanted pictures, but I had none to share!

As I continued to enjoy my break, a pair of ladies rolled up dressed up as elves and reindeer with their bikes all decorated as well. I asked if i could take their picture to which they agreed. I started sharing the story about how the wife wanted a picture of Santa on his bike and they let me know that he was just behind them and would roll up shortly. Almost as if on cue, there rolled up the big man himself. I have to say the bike looked amazing as did the suit. I couldn’t believe how great everything looked all together. I ended up taking several pictures of Santa, the group, their bikes, and, of course, a selfie with Santa. I learned that this Santa ride is a tradition for the group and something they do every year on the Saturday before Christmas.

With things getting busy and feeling I’d been hanging about a little too long I decided it was time to get rolling home. Before setting off I went across the street to get a picture of Shadow with the Christmas tree. As I was lining up the picture trying to get it just right I couldn’t help but say to myself, “You’ve been a very good boy this year.” I’m not afraid to admit I even got a little choked up at the thought. Funny how we become emotionally attached and express emotion to something we personify. Damn I love that bike.

As I finished up my pictures of Shadow with the tree, one of the dressed up ladies came over and offered to take a picture of the two of us with the tree. I hesitated at first, but handed over the phone to let her take the shot. Pretty damn great way to head into the end of this year and the start of the next, but we weren’t quite done with the day yet.

I got myself put back together and rolled out to return to my in-law’s house. I was having a nice cruise along the San Gabriel when this group of five riders came around me. They were going a little faster than I was and I felt it was just fast enough I could latch on and get a free wheel for the way back. Unfortunately, as I frequently do, I forgot that I was already in for over 70 miles when they came around me. While my mind was up for the challenge, my legs weren’t so much. I did a decent job of hanging on, but I was following a group I’ve never ridden with before and the guy I was behind, the last of the group, didn’t inspire a lot of confidence with a lot of back-and-forth movement and not riding steady. It made for a very surgey pack with wild power swings to stay on. However, at one point I must have missed the memo for the start of the “effort” as a gap started opening up in front of me and it took more and more power just to keep up. Eventually, I bailed and watched as the group tore off into the distance. I was satisfied with the effort considering the fatigue debt I was carrying for the day and was even able to keep a moderately decent pace as I continued.

After crossing over the Whittier Narrows dam, I spotted the same group of five fellas stopped at the base taking a breather. I rolled by and gave a good afternoon and continued on. About ten minutes later my radar alerted and looking over my shoulder I spotted the same group of five riders coming up on me. As they went by I noticed a different rider was on the back so I figured I’d give them another go. I felt a little more confident following this new rider, but I made the mistake of blindly following a group as I nearly missed my trail exit onto Ramona. I don’t know why, but for some reason my Garmin refuses to alert me for the exit and eventual turn. It must be something with the way the trail intersects with the road that confuses the thing. Thankfully I’d only rolled maybe 15 feet beyond the fork when I got stopped. I turned around and jumped onto Ramona to continue home.

I did make a nice rest stop at a Mobile on the intersection of the 605 and Ramona. I went inside, grabbed a Coke and a pack of Zingers. I then proceeded outside and sat down to enjoy a well deserved rest and refreshment before continuing on the rest of the way home.

The ride from Mobile back to the in-law’s house was the typical chill road ride. Nothing crazy happened which was nice. Overall, today was a great day and this was a great ride. I honestly feel with all that happened it ranks up there as one of the best I’ve had along this route. With the generosity displayed by the guy at Main Street Cyclery to the group out for their Santa ride, today’s ride is going to be hard to beat.

New bike fund: $35.82 (+$0.38)
0.56 new miles — From
291 vehicles @ 2.3 per mile, 0.7 per minute, Speeds: 33.2 mph (avg), 63.8 mph (max) —
Give your activities the names they deserve. — by
Cloudy-Mostly cloudy, 51°F-60°F, Feels like 53°F-63°F, Humidity 92%-63%, Wind NE 2mph-WSW 2mph — by

Total distance: 127.1 mi
Max elevation: 1571 ft
Min elevation: -37 ft
Total climbing: 3433 ft
Total descent: -3465 ft
Total time: 08:52:08
Published inCycling

One Comment

  1. […] 13Total Distance: 922.21 MilesTotal Ride Time: 53:53:12 (H:M:S)Longest Ride: 126.92 Miles – You’re coming with me. It’s a long trip. I’ll need a snack.Calories Burned: 40,790Total Elevation Gain: 37,090 ft.Average Speed: 17.1 MPHAverage Heart Rate: […]

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