Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Training in the Santa Monica canyons!

After my 26-hour drive I went on three epic road rides and a fun mountain bike ride with my buddy Les in Thousand Oaks, California. I met Les back in 1987 bike touring down the Yugoslavia coastline. Needing a rest day, I took the opportunity to ride with my favourite motorcyclist Dino.

brilliant action shot by Paul Herold

We met up with two of his motorbike buddies and hit the canyons in the Santa Monica Mtns. Dino's bike handling was exceptional on Super Duke, his canyon bike, with having a 100-lb monkey on his back. He surprised his buddies easily keeping the pace and one time had me bug-eyed when he decided to zoom by and pass them. Talk about warp speed. I told Dino that squeezing him by holding on for dear life did not mean "go faster"!

On the weekends, a photographer perches on the Rock Store climb and captures all the cyclists, motorcyclists and cars zooming by. I laughed when I saw this photo as I would lean into each corner with Dino like I was riding myself. One of his buddies said I was a good rider, and I guess that's what he meant!

We passed by the famous "Rock Store" which is a huge weekend motorbike hangout. There were hundreds of riders with lots of fancy machines to gawk at.

The Rock Store climb in the Thousand Oaks/Agoura Hills area is the site of Stage 8 of the upcoming Amgen Tour of California. Wicked climb and super intense technical descent. It'd be most fun to be perched on a corner of the descent to watch the riders get down smoothly.

Les & Marg checking out old town Ojai after an epic road ride on Hwy 33 north

Marg with Super Duke wearing jeans too small for Les' 13-year-old son, a youth-size helmet borrowed from the neighbour down the street, Les' wife's boots, and a borrowed motorbike jacket! I was set for action.

Running with Les on his favourite trail

Hitting the coast bumping into a RAAM racer

Typical view of the rides thru the canyons - I love it!

1987 flashback - Les 2nd from left, Marg in red

Posing on the Yugoslavia coastline in 1987... Shelley from Australia, Les from USA, couple from Quebec, Marg from Canada, couple from France, Suzuki from Japan. I was on a Europe bike touring trip. I met up with all these cyclists travelling separately when I reached Yugoslavia. We all travelled the whole Yugoslavian coastline camping on the side of the road and cooking meals together. It was a highlight of my trip!