Sunday, September 20, 2009

Did my good deed for the day

I took my usual ride to the Lyons Valley/Japatul intersection and on the way back saw a guy ahead of me walking alongside his bike. As I got closer, I saw he was limping and then realized he had been on a hand cycle. The hill from Four Corners up to Wisecarver was too much for him, so he was pulling the bike. I stopped and walked with him and at the top we caught up to his friend, Fred, also on a hand cycle.

Although the day wasn't too hot, they had been riding for several hours and had run out of water. When we got to my driveway, they stopped. I rode home and came back in my car, carrying cold water to refill their bottles and camelback.

They said I was a lifesaver. Since the rest of the ten mile ride is mostly downhill, I don't know about that, but dehydration can sneak up on you, as it did to a cyclist as he rode with Trek Travel through the Pyranees in Spain.

It was a beautiful day for a ride. I rode the Klein bike again today. I tried to get going as fast as I did on the Bianchi, but 41 mph was all I could attain. That is fast enough . . . The profile was the same as the one from the previous ride, although the track has a lot more spikes in it because of the slow ascent up Skyline Truck Trail as I walked the last half mile.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Border Patrol was very present today

Today I rode the Bianchi, the bike I just put DuraAce parts on I took off the McMahon. Even though the gearing is very high for the hills around here, that bike feels like a race horse. It wants to go fast, and does, except uphill. On the Colnago two days ago, I got up to 41 miles per hour. Today on the Bianchi, I got up to 44.5 miles per hour. With a bit of a crosswind, it was scary and before the descent was over, I started braking.

At the Four Corners intersection, there were several Border Patrol vehicles. Then, just past that intersection, I saw two cyclists, one riding a recumbant, the other riding a mountain bike. I talked to them for a little while. They commented on my Nashbar cycling sandals, which I really like.

Along the rest of the route, the road was deserted, except for a few dark-colored trucks, and more Border Patrol vehicles. Near the Lyons Valley/Japatul intersection, there were more Border Patrol vehicles stopped, including a Hummer. Finally I saw two helicopters flying overhead.

They were sure prepared for something.

The route I took was the same as yesterdays:

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A lazy Sunday morning ride

After watching one of my favorite TV shows, CBS's "Sunday Morning," I put on my cycling gear and took off, this time on the Mako. Although I ate breakfast, I got very weak and shaky during the ride. I drank my green tea with ZipFizz and that got me home, but next time I'll take some raisins and almond with me for some a quick glucose and protein hit.

The sky was blue, but the views were hazy during today's ride. There weren't as many motocyclists on the road, and those that were riding had normal bikes instead of the crotch rockets the guys ride at 80 mph.

On my way back, it was a good thing I maintained my line and didn't have to avoid something in the road because, even though I monitor my rear view mirror frequently, I was surprised by a car that zoomed past me going 100 mph. I'm not kidding. It was a sports car, but it came up and went past me so fast, I didn't get make or model, much less a license plate number. I would have been a goner if I had moved into that guys path. Even at that speed, on an empty road, he didn't give me a lot of room.

I rode just a few feet further today than yesterday. Hers is the Profile:

Saturday, September 5, 2009

What a beautiful morning for a ride

High cirrus clouds accented the blue sky when I pedaled out on the Colnago this morning. The temperature was ideal and the bike performed flawlessly. The vintage Shimano rear derailleur someone told me was "junk" shifted perfectly.

I listened to the classic Joni Mitchell "Court and Spark" album on my iPod as I pedaled along Lyons Valley Road in the warm morning air. I wore the grooves out on that album back in the 70's when I lived on Ocean Front Walk in Old Mission Beach.

The only thing that distubed the great music was the loud motorcycles that passed me. There were many guys out riding their "crotch rockets" at a speed that would net them a several hundred dollar ticket if an officer was standing by to add to the counties coffers. The bikes went past me very fast, but the exhaust fumes took longer to dissipate.

I rode almost to the Japatul intersection where I turned around following two woman who were just starting out. I passed them and never saw them again in my rearview mirror.

Here is the Profile of this morning's ride:

Hopefully more details will follow, but right now I am going out to work on a couple of bikes. I decided to part out the McMahon and see if I can get it listed on eBay in the next day or so.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Test rides . . . and an interesting-looking Profile

I don't even like red . . .

So, how I ended up with three red bikes, I'm not really sure, but I have a red Mako, red Colnago Mexico, and a red Bianchi. One is 57 cm, the other is 58 cm, and the Bianchi is 61 cm. So, today I took all three for a test ride to see which one I liked least so I could sell it.

I got on the Colnago first, a bike I had not ridden for a few weeks, and one on which I just put the wheels that came on the Gios Torino I parted out several weeks ago. The bike rode fantastically. I really let it fly down the hill on Skyline Truck Trail heading west from my driveway.

I had to do a little adjustment to the front derailleur at the turn around point and as soon as I tightened the cable, I was back on the road.

When I got home, I put that bike away and got on the Bianchi. Now, this was really going to be a test because I am not used to Downtube shifters, but I figured them out and only did some "dyslexic" shifting one time.

That bike is big for me, but oh, so comfortable. The geometry is very relaxed, the head tube lays back a bit more than that on the Colnago.

I got home, and after helping a friend over the phone with a computer problem, got out the Mako, and aluminum-framed bike with a carbon fork.

As far as the "road noise," I really didn't feel the difference between the Mako and the two steel bikes I had just ridden. I listened to Cheryl Wheeler on my headphones as I flew down the hill and then pedaled slowly back up the hill in the heat of the late morning.

Originally, I was only going to "test" the three red bikes, but then I got out the Ti bike, a frame I recently built up with some DuraAce parts I bought on eBay and DuraAce parts that came off the Gios.

Now, everyone talks about how smooth Ti bikes are. Well, it must be the geometry of this frame, or perhaps the type of Titanium, but it seems I could feel every little bump in the chip seal asphalt as I rode up the steep driveway and then down the hill.

Of the four bikes, surprise, surprise, the Ti bike was the least pleasureable to ride.

So, now the decision is easy which one to part with to cull my herd. Anyone want to buy a Vintage 59 cm. Titanium frame?

Here is the interesting Profile of the rides I took this morning:

Saturday, August 29, 2009

An early ride to beat the heat

A heat wave arrived a few days ago, so this morning I got up at 5:00 and just as the sun was coming up, pedaled up my steep driveway and out onto Skyline Truck Trail. The sun was in my eyes, and in the eyes of drivers behind me, so I was cautious and vigilant at checking the rear view mirror attached to the temple of my sunglasses.

At the fire station road, the road descends steeply, and as I continued down, the temperature got a lot cooler. Before I started out, I thought I would ride to the Japatul intersection, but that section of the road was in the sun, so instead of going north on Lyons Valley Road, I turned right and rode past the driveway to the Jamul Castle, past the Trading Post, and past the Morgan Horse boarding facility. The road got steeper, and steeper. I had never ridden this road in this direction. The extreme descent surprised me. Because of the tight turns, I rode the brakes fairly consistently, attempting to maintain a less-than-frightening speed.

Almost a year ago when I rode this route in the other direction, I went up this hill, glad I wasn't pedaling up the other side because it looked so steep when I looked back at it.

What was I thinking . . . ?

At the bottom of the descent where a sign warns "Subject to Flooding," I had to shift to my lowest gear quickly. The bike I was riding, my "Wonder Pony," has a titanium frame. I built it up recently with vintage DuraAce parts, only has 16 speeds. I could have used all 30 gears on my Klein to make it up that short, steep stretch. Ultimately, I had to stand up in order to conquer it.

Across Lee Valley, there are many horse ranches. The smell of horse manure is prevalent, but for me it brings back pleasant memories of the seven years of my life that were organized around my horses.

After making the turn onto Lawson Valley Road, I watched a beautiful coyote cross the road less than 100 feet in front of me. I whistled, the way I used to whistle at my horses, and the coyote turned and posed for me. Too bad I didn't have my camera.

I pedaled steadily, in my lowest gear, up the long hill of Skyline Truck Trail, keeping my eye on the house to the northeast. That was my goal. Shortly after it, the steep ascent ends followed by a short downhill section into a half-mile long saddle. There was a bit of a headwind, so I didn't get to rest completely before the climb up to my driveway began.

I made it back safely, using a lot of care descending the steep half-mile-long driveway.

After I parked the bike, I checked the Garmin Edge and was surprised I got up to 40 mph somewhere along the way. Perhaps that was on the descent after the fire station. That is the only part of the route I would have trusted enough to let the bike roll that fast. Here is the Profile of today's ride:

The heatwave will continue this coming week, so to get my bike rides in, I'll have to maintain my early-to-bed-early-to-rise routine.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

My first solo ride on a beautiful route

It has been almost a year since I rode the hills and valleys of Skyline Truck Trail and Lyons Valley Road, and I forgot how beautiful the route is, and how much solitude it offers. I didn't get started at exactly 7:30, the summer departure time for our Tuesday/Thursday group, but my start was early enough to enjoy cool morning temperaturs.

I rode my Giant TCX Cyclocross bike so I could stop to visit a friend on the way back. He lives on a graded road and that bike's 700 X 32 tires are much more stable on that loose surface.

Here is the Profile of today's wonderful ride:

I got that fat-tired bike up to more than 40 miles per hour going down the hill south of Horsethief Canyon.