Monday, April 6, 2015

Backlog of Results

There's an old saw about how "good girls keep diaries . . .  bad girls don't have the time."  Well, I don't think I qualify as a "bad girl" but I have been a busy girl, so I am way behind on posting the results of our recent brevets.

No need to keep anyone guessing - we have successfully finished both our second attempt at the 300 K and the 400 K, and we've now registered for the 600 K.  Whew!  With that out of the way, I'll back up a bit and fill in the blanks.

First, a few photos from the "one that got away."  We attempted the 300 K Five Rivers brevet through LA and Orange County in early February.  Here we are at the start - everyone "glowing" in their reflective gear.
Russell Cammel and Steve Workman from our RWBTC cycling club with Roger before the start
We have ridden the Santa Ana River Trail along the Santa Ana River many times.  Here's an early morning shot as we approached the first crossing.
River Number One:  The Santa Ana, in one of the more scenic "restored" segments.
From the coast, we traveled north until we reached the San Gabriel River.  We traveled up that all the way to Duarte, I think.  Our second control was about at mile 80, and despite my best efforts to convince Roger that we could stop for "just a bit" somewhere along the way, we pretty much rolled onward until we go there.  This made for a roughly 50 mile stretch with no relief.  The control itself was a no-name stop-and-go next door to a non-descript pizza joint.  So we had a slice and rested a bit and then were on our way.  Portions of the San Gabriel River are very nice.  And then, there's the part where you are riding past the barrios where the guys are raising cocks for fighting.  Sigh.
One of the nicer parts of the San Gabriel River Trail, on River Number Two
After our stop, we returned to the trail and back-traced our route to a junction with the Rio Hondo River Trail.  This was a hoot!  There are some nice stretches of trail, but not much in the way of "river" on this one.  Here's a shot in the connecting stretch from San Gabriel to Rio Hondo.  

And, a nice shot of our friends, who enjoyed the benefits of riding the tandem train for many miles before leaving us (around mile 120 or so, at Long Beach).

Steve in the rear-view mirror
"River" Number Three:  The Rio Hondo

The Rio Hondo, like most LA rivers, has been charted into channels like what you see below.  In some cases, we're now breaking up the concrete, and attempting to return the river to some semblance of nature.  I far prefer those portions, where it's possible to observe lots of birds and, even at 18 or 20 miles an hour, identify species.  It gives me something to do as the miles churn by!

From the Rio Hondo, we connected to the Los Angeles River.  How about that shot of the confluence of the Rio Hondo and Los Angeles Rivers!?
I have to believe this could be thrilling to see in a heavy rainstorm, but otherwise -- not so much!

We took the LA River Trail back out to the coast, and then headed south to Long Beach for the next control.  In the meanwhile, nice views of the port and the Queen Mary.

River Number Four:  There actually is water in the LA River as you approach the coast.

Port of Long Beach

The Queen Mary
We arrived at the control right as the Mardi Gras parade was winding through the shopping and eating center.  By this point, I was ready for something "real" to eat.  Our friends seemed to be capable of going without any food, but they did join us for a bite and then, at our urging, headed on.  I was seriously ready to drop the pace a bit, and thankfully Roger was getting tired and okay with that.

Folks in the Mardi Gras parade seemed to be having a good time.

From this point, Roger's left side became increasingly weak.  We did not actually identify it at first - I just kept saying "why are you riding so close to the white line?"  This was annoying him, but it scared me and I couldn't see why he didn't move to the right.  As it was, his right side was dominating, and with the increased pressure from that side, we just kept drifting to the left.

We had some trouble following the route slip around the highway interchange near Balboa, but eventually found the bike trail and road above the back bay.  The sun was setting as we road above the bay - it was very pretty but I guess I didn't take any pictures.  From this point in, the route was known to us.  We just (just!) had to go back up the Peters Canyon Trail, head up Santiago, cross back over to the SART, and then retrace our steps to the start.  But it was not to be.
Along San Diego Creek, the Fifth and Final "River" of the route.
We wound along the trail for some time, stopping often to rest and, finally, somewhere out there in Orange County, stopping at a control and having a nice bowl at Chipotle.  This was heaven to me!  Real food!  After that point, we probably stopped every couple of miles.

We climbed up Santiago, and were there at the Chevron station where our group has stopped many times when Roger decided he was ready to quit.  I had no problem with that decision, as I had been growing increasingly concerned about the descent that awaited us on the way back to the Santa Ana River Trail.  I did not relish the thought of doing that with Roger being so out of it.

So, with help from our friend Steve, we were able to retrieve the car and head for home.  We phoned in that we were abandoning so the organizer would not have to sit around until 2 am waiting to see if we arrived.  No one came by to rip off our numbers, though!  So at least we got that going for us.

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