4:05 a.m. That's the time that my alarm went off this morning. I got out of bed, threw on my shorts and jersey and started making breakfast and coffee. Oatmeal with protein powder and frozen strawberries...YUM! After eating and gathering my gear, I set out to meet Tiff and Clark at a park near the Santa Ana River Trail in Huntington Beach. Clark is a Spinning instructor at our gym and has had to endure our neverending road cycling questions for the last couple of months, so we thought it was only fair to invite him along on a ride with us.
In case it looks like Clark is bordering on giant status, he is. The man is ginormously tall...six foot eight to be exact. We figured that we'd be safe riding through the darkness with him in tow. We set off across the wooden bridge where I'm never sure if I'll actually make it to the other side, or if today might be the day that I plunge to my death into the Santa Ana River bed below. It seems like every fourth plank is loose and riding across it makes an awful racket. I'm still trying to decide whether the *ride it as fast as you can and get the fuck off* or *take it slow and steady so if the bridge collapses you have a chance to grab on* approach is best. I pretty much alternate between the two and I've survived. So far.
Since the Santa Ana River Trail is flat with the exception of the underpasses, the ride was less challenging mentally than the hilly ride that we did last week. The biggest challenge was sitting in the saddle for an extended period of time. It was nice to do a steady ride to gauge our endurance for the upcoming century. I was able to get the hang of eating on the bike and not having to stop to refuel and I felt much better over the course of this ride than I did last week. It's amazing what a difference eating just a few hundred more calories over the ride make. Well...that and no hills ;)
If you look closely in the upper right corner of my picture above, you can see the sign that says "Orange County Line." I say it on almost every ride that I take, but it still amazes me how cycling makes the county seem so much smaller to me. Maybe it's because I don't really enjoy driving and sitting in traffic, but I'm finding that I totally enjoy riding to someplace that is 30 miles away.
Our timing on the ride back was great, the headwinds hadn't picked up too much yet and we were able to keep a good pace. Clark had a lunch meeting to be at, so after we crossed the bridge we said goodbye and he headed back down to LeBard Park, while Tiff and I continued down to the beach, determined to finish the entire Santa Ana River Trail. As we approached PCH I asked Tiffanie where we were mileage wise and she said that we were at 58 miles. I looked at her and said...you know...if we ride up the beach trail for just a little bit before turning around, we'll bag a metric century. She started talking about having to go get her TB test read at the doctor and I turned the pleading up a notch and she quickly changed her mind. Honestly, it didn't take much to sway her. As soon as we hit the beach path the headwinds hit us and it felt like someone turned the air conditioning on. Relief from the soaring temperatures...it felt so nice! We turned around before we got to Newland and started the ride back. Damn. There went our nice air conditioning and now it felt like the oven was on. No worries though, we were almost done. The ride back was quick and when we pulled into the parking lot we realized that we had gone over 63 miles! It was a great ride and we exceeded our mileage goal for the day by six miles. Can't wait for the next one. :)
Riding Time: 4:28
Total Time: 4:49
Distance: 64 miles
Avg Speed: 14.2