Monday, March 23, 2009

Biking NW of L.A.

With only 2 hours of sleep after flying into L.A. we were up super early to make the 2.5 hour drive to Solvang. I was joining my cycling bud Sandra and her hubby Dino on their weekend to Solvang for my first official Century Ride. By 7 a.m., Sandra and I started the 100-miler with 5000 other riders. Dino was riding the 50-mile route. Bonus for me was actually stopping at the feedzones - so unlike my typical races.I was unsure how my body would like jumping from x-c ski season direct to a 100-mile bike ride. This was the inaugural ride on my spiffy new Madone that I had purchased off Ebay. My transalp bud Matt from Seattle had bike-fit me superbly on it as my ride felt awesome from the getgo. The teeny saddle he put on was comfy, especially with the cut-out section. It was long overdue for me to get this "women's specific design" (WSD) model for my monkey type body (long legs, short torso).Stayed at the hostel in Santa Barbara for Sat night. Another minimal sleep night and I was off checking out the mountain climbs behind SB. Talk about climbing which went on and on. It was a surprise when all of a sudden my left crank arm was dangling from my shoe still clipped into my pedal. The bike store at home switched over my compact crankset to a DuraAce 53/39 before I left for this trip. Hmmm... I had an allen key to tighten the bolts of the crank arm though somehow the threaded crank arm fixing bolt was missing (or had not been threaded in??) hmmm... Fortunately, a small truck was coming my way on this no-traffic road. Victor kindly drove me back down to the bike store in town and I got it fixed. Strange indeed!A day later, I visited Leslie in Newbury Park - a guy I met in Europe when I was bike-touring in 1987. Les was kind to take a couple days off work to show me the best road riding in the Santa Monica mountains.Les and I also checked out Highway 33 north of Ojai with its amazing pristine mountain views. This was part of a 90-mile point-to-point course that is mostly uphill. We had a wicked time riding back on the descent, though abit of work with the headwind.Checked out my first Raw Food restaurant in Santa Monica with Sue who I know from my track & field days when I was 16. Sue is now Dr. Susan, a dermotologist in L.A.I was very impressed with how good everything tasted. Looks pretty good in the pic!

Sandra got me interested in Native Indian art and we went shopping for a Zuni fetish at Universal City. I brought back my very own Badger fetish made by Zuni Tyler Quann.

For my final ride, I joined the San Fernando Valley Bicycle Club. I was welcomed by this friendly group on an 85-mile ride throughout the Santa Monica mtns and Simi Valley area.

Great dinner with Sandra & Dino, and visiting cyclists Gaby & Rene & Pappy before I packed up all my gear. Overall, I almost rode 500-miles/800-km in 8 days including 1 rest day - awesome! It was a great week to visit and ride.

Julie helping shovel the snow

Overnight, it snowed a record 25 cm in Calgary for my arrival home! The view out of the airplane window was wowing with the city unrecognizable covered in a blanket of white. Darcy, Ying, Julie and a soon to be little ox picked me up at the airport.

Apparently, the prior day was warm when Darcy took Julie out in the bike trailer. He was wearing shorts and a sleeveless jersey. Mountain city life!