Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Summer Solstice Ride

On Saturday, a wonderful group of about 20 people showed up bright and early (7 am) for an 80-mile coastal ride. It was a very humid day...for San Diego. Temps moved up into the mid-to-upper 80s, a perfect day for a coastal ride with cool ocean breezes.

We rolled out, and I chatted easily with friends I hadn't seen in awhile, and met new people who had joined us for the ride. I love the Saturday rides for the simple reason that I can simultaneously enjoy the outdoors, tour all of the county, get a great workout, and socialize. There is no better way to spend a Saturday.

--rolling out (before the "separation")

I looked back and noticed no one was behind us. The front group stopped on the border of Leucadia and Carlsbad to wait. We waited. And waited. I tried calling to some missing members of the group but we were in a dead zone. We started to worry (turns out there was a flat tire). Finally, we decided to do the "right" thing and circled back. Within minutes, the rest of our group zipped by in the opposite direction, blissfully unaware of our rescue operation. Damn!

We circled back and were instantly caught by a red light. And the next one. And the next one. And, no shit, the next one too. The main group continued on at a blinding pace, in a desperate attempt to "catch up" to us. Where's the karma in that? Alex, Mark, and I buckled down and formed a tight paceline. We began hammering. For the next 5-8 miles, we took turns pulling at a blinding 23-25 mph pace. I could feel the little glycogen in my quads, still not replaced from the 4 hard bike workouts earlier in the week, depleting rapidly like the nosediving needle of the gas gauge on a Ford Expedition.

F.I.N.A.L.L.Y., we caught the main group by the Carlsbad Starbucks and soft-pedaled to catch our breaths. And we still had 60+ miles to go. Oops. There was now a new front group, still hammering ahead to try and "catch us" but we were exhausted, and let them go.

At the base entrance of Camp Pendleton, we whipped out our IDs and re-grouped. I made a phone call to one of the riders in the front group (that would be Brent...always in the front group) and within minutes, we regained 100% group cohesion. I breathed a big sigh of relief, and all is right with the world again.

Riding through Camp Pendleton is always a treat and Saturday was no exception. Songbirds sang and wildflowers lined the road. There was little traffic, and the winds were unusually calm (unfortunately, this also made it hotter). The ocean glittered to our left. Out of the base, on the north side, we connected with the Trestles Bike Path, an abandoned highway where only bikes roam, a cyclists paradise. As I cruised through the tunnel that leads to the west side of the freeway, I let out a loud hoot, reverberating off the walls. I felt good. Very good. As we approached San Clemente, we circumvented around straggling surfers lazily swinging their surfboards to-and-fro. We stopped at a small liquor store and refueled with water, peanut butter crackers, and I stumbled upon a long-lost love, "Who's Your Daddy" energy drink. Oh, yeah!

--the group at the rest stop; from left to right: Kim, Kathy, Brent, Mark, Mark, Alex, Chris, me, Cheryl, Mary, Beth, and Dean.

Our bellies full and our bloodstreams caffeinated, we hopped back on the bikes and headed back. I felt tired but relaxed and kept waiting for the caffeine to kick in. There were no joyful hollers in the tunnel on the return journey, not because I was not joyful but because I was starting to feel a little less exuberant. It's more of a peaceful, relaxed tired, however, as opposed to a drained, I-don't-want-to-do-this-anymore tired. The heat has risen noticeably, and I drank extra water, liberally pouring it through the vents on my helmet for relief, a'la IMAZ style.

I chatted with Mark and Alex to pass the time, and Alex taught me about "negativity drills" and the definition of a M.I.L.F. I always learn something new on the Saturday rides. I greedily drank in the ocean view. The waves curled and rolled lazily onto the shore, and the water was a brilliant turquoise.

--Along Coast Hwy on the return trip, suffering the terrible view. Look at what we have to put up with here!

Back at the start, we loaded up our bikes and made the short 100-yard trip down to the ocean at Fletcher Cove. The cool water was so soothing on my hot, dry skin. We all dove in, swam past the breakers, and gently bobbed up-and-down in the buoyant salt water. Of couse, it's at this opportune moment that the caffeine from the energy drink kicked in, and I bubbled with conversation and enthusiasm, much to the bewilderment of the rest of the weary group. Feeling completely refreshed, we made our way across the street to the Naked Cafe for a generously-sized brunch (Banana and Blackberry Pancakes anyone?). A perfect ending to a perfect ride.

(Thank you, Brent, for the wonderful pics!)


don said...

I am so envious. I love riding at Camp P.

Flatman said...

What a perfect day!

CVSURF said...

That sounded like a great ride. Good luck on your commuting.

teacherwoman said...

Perfect day indeed, it seems. I am so jealous of your beautiful open roads. I hope to get out to some old county roads around our area and enjoy the countryside soon, while it's still full of color!