Stan’s Obligatory Blog

3/21/2009

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.
cycling

3/14/2009

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.
cycling

3/7/2009

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.
cycling

3/1/2009

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.
cycling

2/22/2009

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.
cycling

2/21/2009

Turnbull Canyon from the east

Filed under: — stan @ 10:17 pm

Today’s bike ride was “Turnbull Canyon, East to West“. It was cloudy, but not feeling like rain, and it wasn’t too cold, so it was all right for riding. There are no pictures today, since Susan had volunteered as a course marshal for the Tour of California stage today in Pasadena, and I’d given her my camera to take to the race.

I rode down to Live Oak Park in Temple City for the start. Along the way, I had to do a little detour around a parade, but that wasn’t that big of a deal.

The Saturday rides usually break up into a faster group and a slower group, but none of the other usual faster riders were there today. So I just took off and hoped someone would come along. As it turned out, nobody else did, so I did most of the ride by myself.

Going up Turnbull Canyon, the route slip had a variation for a ’shorter but steeper’ route to the top. So I tried it out. And it was indeed steeper. I don’t know about how much shorter, but it was still nice for a change. At the top, I decided to wait two minutes just to see if anyone from the main group would show up. As it turned out, three guys rolled up to the top then. One was a guy visiting from Northern California, and we decided to ride back together, since we both wanted to get back sooner. We rode down into Whittier, skipping the snack stop, and headed back.

By the time I got home, it was actually quite warm. I hadn’t expected it, but it actually got up to about 72 degrees, and it was quite pleasant. So overall, it was a nice ride.

49 miles.
cycling

2/14/2009

Village Vault

Filed under: — stan @ 10:13 pm

Today’s bike ride was the “Village Vault” route. This is a meandering route that goes out to Glendora and back. It was a nice day, albeit a bit chilly, at least by SoCal standards. But we all bundled up and then it was all right.

There wasn’t a lot remarkable about this ride. It was pleasant, and the new snow on the mountains was pretty. But that was about it. We rode out to Glendora, and then we stopped there for a few minutes at Classic Coffee. Then we headed back. It was getting late, so some of us didn’t feel like sitting for a long time.

But it was a fun ride anyway.

37 miles.
cycling

2/1/2009

La Tuna Canyon my favorite way

Filed under: — stan @ 9:46 pm

Today’s bike ride was around through Burbank and then up the four-mile hill in La Tuna Canyon. As always, I thought that this was Great Fun. It’s another perfect Santa Ana winter day in L.A., so the weather was perfect for riding.

On the way through Burbank, we saw the biggest Hummer limousine any of us had ever seen. It was pretty ridiculous.

When we went up La Tuna Canyon, we passed the roadside memorial for a cyclist who was killed recently when he lost control of his bike on the descent. As luck would have it, as I snapped the picture of the memorial, a rider was zipping past it, which was kind of fitting.

At the top I had Jon take a picture of me, since I rarely appear in the pictures from my bike rides. Then we headed down into Montrose. We rode up Hospital Hill and stopped at Goldstein’s Bagels. From there we rode back across La Cañada, where I saw a fine abandoned couch, and then back into Pasadena and back to the park.

40 miles.
cycling

1/31/2009

At least I got to go riding a little bit

Filed under: — stan @ 4:43 pm

This afternoon Lucinda went to play at her friend’s house up the street for a while, so I got to go for a short bike ride. I had an hour and 45 minutes, so I rode out to Duarte and back. The weather was perfect, and it was a nice time. And on the way back I passed a couple of houses in Arcadia that had trees in the yard that looked like something out of a Dr. Seuss book.

24 miles.
cycling

1/25/2009

Another ride to nowhere

Filed under: — stan @ 4:53 pm

Today’s ride had a fairly low turnout. Probably because the weather looked pretty threatening. There were six of us at the start, and we figured we’d just go and see what happened.

What happened first was that Jon got a flat. His tire just went flat, when we had a look at it, it was completely worn out. I’m not sure how he managed to miss that before going riding, but you can see it in the picture.

Continuing on, we rode down through El Monte to Whittier Narrows and then into Montebello. That’s where I got the obligatory picture of Susan with her packet of Gu. Then we turned back north, going over a couple of short, steep hills to get back to Alhambra. At that point, it had become a reasonably nice day. Still cloudy, but it didn’t look like rain any more.

We stopped for a snack at Noah’s Bagels near Caltech. Then we headed home. We cut the route short a little bit because a couple of people wanted to get back early.

It was a pretty nice ride.

32 miles.
cycling

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