Here it is late March along the coast of Southern California and Spring is finally feeling like it is showing up. We have moved clocks ahead as the daylight lengthens and the sun heats our slice of paradise up a bit more each day. Week two ended with a bit more mileage than anticipated thanks to some exploring up a road I’d not been up in a long time. Construction and San Juan Capistrano road maintenance or lack of conspire to make a large mess. Weekend riding there only since during the work week there are three sites to navigate with plenty of lost cars and minivans. No thanks.
Week three begins with adding a hill to the mix and some more distance. That all means I now need to pay attention to what I carry for food. With the weather still on the cool side I can get away without hydration tablets. But, after a near four hour ride I could feel the very beginnings of legs wanting to stiffen and cramp. Lots of water, only five energy beans, (Jelly Belly) and one small Clip bar. I’ll be ordering some GU gels for future rides. It has been a few years since I rode hard enough to need such things.
I began the week on Monday with a ride out to almost Santa Margarita. I turned around when I reached 40 kilometers. I was a few hundred meters short of my old usual metric century turn. I got back home with a total of a bit more than 84 kilometers. I felt like I could have added the last sixteen to get an even one hundred. But, that would have meant riding down to SONG, and I was hungry. Tuesday was the annual physical and EKG this time around. Everything was fine. Wednesday I grabbed an old opened pack of Jelly Belly energy beans and a small Cliff bar and headed out. I stuffed my gilet into a rear pocket at Dana Point. I had a tailwind for my inland leg. I tried to use it. When I got to the park stop at Ortega I decided to head up the Antonio Hill and see how I felt along the way. I had what felt like a tailwind again. Life was good. I passed a couple of mountain bikers spinning the hill on the sidewalk. I was working harder than they were. But, that was why I was there. Out to Santa Margarita, and out to the very end of Antonio, I was nine kilometers shy of fifty. I decided to turn back and find them elsewhere. My legs felt tight at points, but I would just spin them up and feel better. Back down the hill to the park for a break I ate my last three beans. I was hungry. I refilled one bidon and hoped water would convince my body my stomach was full.
As I rode past the Catholic school I patted my back pocket and felt a small Clip Bar. Score!
I ate half before the rollers and kept rolling. Flipped around now, two kilometers shy of what I needed and headed back on track. I zoomed the screen to show my odometer in larger text and concentrated on trying to spin and relax my now stiffening neck. I ate the remainder of the Clif Bar on my way around the Harbor road. Down the Coast Highway path I zoomed the screen out and tried to relax and spin. I pushed a bit, but always wanting to hold a bit back, just in case I needed it.
When the last turn came for home, I was still shy of where I needed to be to hit the ton. Instead of turning I continued straight down to the south end of town. I got there and flipped a U-turn and headed back through town for home. My odometer clicked over one hundred a few driveways before our own. Job done. My March Gran Fondo in the bag. It had been more than a year since I did one.
After that effort I was chilled having ridden through the warmest part of the day and back into the gathering evening chill. My back sore, and very hungry I got my bottles washed and refilled, changed clothes and started dinner. I figured I would shower after eating, which is exactly what I did. And I felt better by bed time than I did on Monday at the same time. Thursday was colder with more wind and wet at times. I don’t normally like to ride in the rain. But, it wasn’t raining when I left. I took off from the garage wearing my Rapha rain cape. I kept it on until I got to Dana Point and was warm enough for the inland leg.
On the return leg back out toward Dana Point, I stopped and put the rain cape back on just as the spray began. As I approached the harbor the light spray became a mist then a heavy mist then light rain. By the time I got to the beach parking at Capo, the mist was gone, the pavement was just damp in spots. About a mile from North Beach the pavement was dry. Once home, the sun was almost out.
I’m not climbing long or steep hills. I simply added some easy climbing to my routes. An example of this is on Friday I rode a loop of sorts with the usual Ortega and Antonio park route. When I headed back from the park the first time, I didn’t turn under the 5. I went straight, then didn’t turn around at the top of the hill as on other rides. I went ahead and rode over the Marguerite hill past Saddleback College, then over the top and down to Crown Valley Parkway. Turned on CVP and headed up to Antonio. Turning right at Antonio, back down to the park. On the descent I had shifted to the big ring and small cog, but as I gave it a good spin, the connector for the right side Garmin Vector 2 powermeter pedal popped out. I stopped at the curb, stuffed it back in. But, when I rotated the pedal to get going, it popped out again. That was when I noticed the connector was honking on the chain and pulling out. The solution for the remaining ride was to stay out of the big gears. I got home after logging 73 more kilometers for the week.
Two more days left for the week. All my kit were now in need of laundering. While the laundry ran, I pulled the chain and cleaned it and a spare then dried and lubed and installed it back in place. Once that was done, I put my attention to that connector to find the cap has a slight bevel at one side if rotated 180° from where I had the battery clamped, the bevel would hit the chain and not dislodge the cap. Done.
Saturday saw warm weather and clear blue skies. A good breeze on the way out provided a little head wind. Inland the temperatures soared to 32°C by the tale of the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt. A good effort to bag a second 100 kilometer day in the span of four days. I did need a lap of the next block over to complete it at the end. While I was out sweating sunscreen off my bare arms and face, the new Honey Stinger gels showed up in the post.
Sunday morning was warmer so a planned spin out to Ortega and back was the plan. No leg or arm warmers, just plenty of sunscreen. A pocket full of the new gels, some Jelly Belly energy beans along with other cycling-seeming treats. I headed off Into the warm sunshine. 50 kilometers later I’d done the week. 460 km total over eighteen hours and twenty minutes in the saddle. A good week indeed.
I kept things relaxed to recover from the previous days effort on the hills. Good week of riding and a good first week back in hills. Next week I’ll summarize the first month back out and the next goals.