Stan’s Obligatory Blog


Saturday to Whittier

Filed under: — stan @ 5:46 pm

Today’s bike ride was to Whittier, which is not exactly a garden spot, but it’s not a bad ride at all. It was cool and overcast, which was actually very pleasant for riding.

When we got there, we stopped in at Panera Bread for a bagel and some orange juice. Then a small group of us headed back early, since I had a sitter with Lucinda, and I didn’t want to waste time. We maintained a brisk pace all the way back.

It was a nice ride.

55 miles.


A nice ride out of town

Filed under: — stan @ 7:31 pm

For a year now, Susan has been telling about the rides she used to do with the Channel Islands Bicycle Club when she would visit Ventura. So this weekend, we headed up there for an overnight micro-vacation complete with a bike ride on Sunday morning.

The ride started at the park next-door to the hotel, which was very convenient. It was relatively warm for 8:00AM. The ride went up to Ojai and back, including a gratuitous climb up the Dennison Grade on Highway 150.

We started out on the Ventura River bike trail, which paralleled the 33 Freeway. We rode through some oil fields on the way out of town, but we were out in the country very quickly. We went up past Lake Casitas, which had some very nice views from the road. Then it was down into Ojai. That was where I saw the Muffler Horse. I’ve seen Muffler Men before, but never a horse.

A bit later, we saw a house with the front yard turned into a large found-object art project. That was pretty amusing.

Then it was time for the gratuitous climb. It was a pretty nice uphill, with a nice viewpoint near the top, complete with a wall I could balance the camera on for a picture. Then we turned around and went back down.

At the bottom, we picked up a stiff tailwind, and we were able to cruise at 30mph easily. That was fun for a few miles. Then we got to the snack stop. We loitered around for a bit until a group decided to head back. We rode pretty much straight south back to Ventura. It was mostly downhill, but with a weirdly varying wind that kept changing direction on us.

The last part was back down the bike trail we’d started on, which let us off right by the park where we started.

It was a very nice ride with some very pretty scenery.

41 miles.


And we were nowhere near West Hollywood…

Filed under: — stan @ 2:07 pm

Gaybar Ave

On Saturday, I went on the Foothill Cycle ride out to West Covina. This was a pretty mundane, basic ride. But suddenly, I saw a photo-op. It was Gaybar Ave in West Covina. Who knew there would be such a place? I stopped to take a picture for my collection of signs.

I needed to get home by noon, so I skipped the stop and rode home. It was a nice day, so it was a good ride.

49 miles.


The five-year anniversary

Filed under: — stan @ 7:27 pm

The Sunday ride this week marks five years that I have been riding with the Foothill Cycle Sunday group. And today we did a new route.

We rode to South Pasadena and then across the bridge on York into Highland Park. From there, we went down Figueroa to Lincoln Heights and then up the hill on Montecito. That side is the longer, but less-steep side, and it was a nice little climb. We regrouped at the top and then headed down the steep side to pick up Huntington Drive for a long cruise out to Arcadia.

Along the way, I picked up the requisite picture of Susan with her packet of Gu.

We tried something different today, in that we tried forming the group into a double paceline for practice. Most of the riders in our group had never raced, so this was a new experience. But with a little coaching, we made a reasonable effective line, which we rode out through Arcadia and then down to Temple City.

We stopped at a bakery called El Pavo. I noticed that they had a vanity phone number, 800-6-EL-PAVO, which I thought was a little funny, since that implies that “4-EL-PAVO” was already taken. I wonder where and what that number is.

They also had a minor spelling FAIL on the sign on the side of the building.

After the stop, we rode back to the park. Along the way, we rode through one neighborhood where all the trees had purple ribbons on them. Gene asked, and one of the people who lived there told us that it was a display of neighborhood support for one of the residents who has cancer.

By the time we got back to the park, the sun was out, and it had turned into a nice day. When we got back to my house, Susan and I washed out our helmets and hung them up to dry together.

It was a pleasant ride.

41 miles.


A new animal crossing sign

Filed under: — stan @ 5:45 pm

Percy crossing
I didn’t get to go on a bike club ride today, but when Lucinda went to play at her friend’s house, I went out for a little ride on my own.

I went down to San Marino, and then across to South Pasadena. That was where I saw the Percy Crossing sign. So I had to add it to my Animal Crossings photo collection.

After that, I headed up to the Rose Bowl and did a few laps around there before heading home by way of Altadena. It was a fun little ride.

26 miles.


Seal Beach for 2009

Filed under: — stan @ 4:22 pm

Today’s bike club ride was the route down the San Gabriel River to Seal Beach. This ride is a sentimental favorite, since the day we did it last year marked a special day for Susan and me. We’d been bike-riding friends for a long time, but that day was the first time we had that moment when we looked at each other and said, “Hey…

It was cool and overcast, much like it was last year. The club met at Live Oak Park in Temple City, and we headed out down the Rio Hondo bike path. In Whittier Narrows we crossed over and picked up the San Gabriel River bike path, and from there it was a straight shot all the way to the beach. We started out trying to get the group moving a bit faster, and a new guy named Scott took us up on it. He was very strong, and he towed us all the way down there, averaging about 22mph the whole way.

At the power plant in Long Beach, I tried to see if I could see any of the green sea turtles I’d heard live there, but the water was kind of murky, so I couldn’t see anything.

When we got to Seal Beach, we rode down to the pier for a souvenir picture with the little seal statue there. Then we went to the bakery. By the time we got there, the others were arriving. I had a honey-bran muffin, which was quite good. Then we headed out, back up the river.

I took a picture of Susan when we rode past the power plant on the way back, since that was place where we had our moment. Then we both just concentrated on hanging on to Scott’s wheel. He towed us all the way back up to Whittier Narrows, again averaging over 20mph the whole way.

There is a place in Whittier Narrows where people fly radio-controlled airplanes. The bike path has a chain-link cover over it there, for reasons that I guess are apparent. When we were riding through there, I saw the wreckage of a model airplane that had crashed next to the structure. Maybe it got into a fight with the people at the rifle range across the freeway.

When we got back to the start, everyone else had turned off to go home. So I rode home with Susan, just to keep her company and be sure she got home all right. Then I rode home from there, passing a “Star Trek” themed birthday party along the way. That’s something I could relate to.

As always, it was a nice ride.

79 miles.


A different kind of bike ride

Filed under: — stan @ 7:36 pm

Today, Susan and I did one of the PAA rides. This was one with Coach Rick. I used to do rides like this all the time when I was racing, but I haven’t been on a ride like this in close to 30 years.

We met up with the group down in San Marino. Then we fell into the pace line and rode. It was fun to ride in an organized pace line again. The usual group I ride with doesn’t do this. The group held together until we got to the hill on Gladstone in San Dimas. Then it kind of broke up. We got reassembled after the Metrolink train went by. Then we did one circuit around Bonelli Park. This had some more hills, which splintered the group again. But we again reassembled when we got back to flat land. Along the way, I got the obligatory photo of Susan with a packet of Gu in her mouth. And then we rode the pace line back home.

It was a fun ride.
55 miles.


Saturday morning bike ride

Filed under: — stan @ 2:28 pm

Todays bike ride was out to Claremont, although it turned out that I had to cut it short to get back a bit early. Still, it was a perfect day for a ride. And I also got a new hot-rod mailbox for my collection.

43 miles.


I’ve never seen one of these break, either…

Filed under: — stan @ 5:49 pm

Today’s bike ride was Gene’s “Corner Bakery” route, which is another meandering route that leads us ultimately to a bakery. It was warm and sunny, and it felt like spring.

We started out heading east into Arcadia. While we were riding down Santa Anita Blvd, I heard a yell behind me, followed by what sounded like a starter’s pistol from my racing days. The sound was Gene’s tire blowing out. Being that the tire was not repairable, and it was 8:20 on Sunday morning, he figured the ride was over for him, and he called home for help. But in the meantime, Jon had gone across the street to REI and found that there was someone at the store, and he was willing to open up for us, even though the store wasn’t supposed to open until 10:00.

Continuing on, we rode down one street that was partially blocked off for reasons that were not clear at first. But half-way down the block, we saw that a minivan had crashed into and broken one of the telephone poles on the street.

A bit later, Alan saw a tree that had been toilet-papered in San Marino. He reached up and grabbed a piece when we rode by, and he shoved it into the waistband of his shorts.

Finally, we made it up to near the Rose Bowl, where we turned up Inverness for the climb up the one substantial hill of the route. We all made it to the top, where we regrouped. Then we headed down the other side. The descent has some sweeping turns, and as I was going down, I heard a crashing noise behind me. I stopped and turned back up the hill to find out what had happened. I went around the last turn and found Jon standing next to a mailbox and shoving mail back into it. Apparently, he’d gone too wide around the turn and crashed into the mailbox. But he wasn’t especially hurt in the incident. Just a few bruises, which he showed me to photograph.

We continued on down the hill, and right near the bottom, I heard yet another bang, this time ahead of me. This time it was Scott’s tire that blew out. Looking closely at the wheel, he realized that his rim had split. It wasn’t clear if that was the cause of the blowout, but either way, I’ve not seen a rim break like that before, at least not without a violent crash.

Scott was able to put in a new tube and still ride the bike, but there is certainly a trip to the bike store in his future.

It was a day of weird and improbable things happening, but it was still a fun ride.

37 miles.


Another ride to nowhere in particular

Filed under: — stan @ 10:42 pm

Today’s ride was Gene’s “Noah’s Bagels” route, which just sort of winds around the San Gabriel Valley before ending up at Noah’s in Pasadena. It was cool, but not cold. Overcast, but not actively raining.

We rode out through Arcadia and Temple City, and then down the bike path in El Monte. That was where Gaurav got a flat. Then we headed back up into San Gabriel and San Marino to Noah’s in Pasadena. We felt a few raindrops while we were sitting there, but it never did actually start raining.

The last part of the ride went past the Rose Bowl and up into Altadena. I bailed out at Woodbury Road, since I needed to get home by 11:00.

It was a pleasant ride to nowhere in particular.

36 miles.

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