Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Catching up with Bill

Bill's exploration of the bayous of Bonelli captured new wildlife. His bicycle routes were varied and he happened upon fawning fauna.

Snowy white egret

A great heron.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Catching up with Daryl

Our man abroad Daryl was traveling in France on his bike.....

Tuesday July, 21 2009

Today the Tourmalet and I aspire two challenging mountain passes. Three more days to go. This is the France coast to coast ride across the Pyrenees. About 450 miles riding from the Atlantic coast of France to the Mediterranean sea along the Pyrenees mountain range. The Pyrenees mountains separate France and Spain. This is bicycle country. Everyday our group sees lots of bike riders out enjoying the French countryside just like we are.
Still riding,

French church in the countryside:

Col d'Aubisque with donkey

The riding group:

Thursday July 23, 2009

Hey all,
Well, one day to finish the coast to coast ride. Today we completed our last major mountain climb, Col de Jau, yes it was a tough ride. Tomorrow we ride to the Mediterranean sea, a city called Argeles sur Mer. It will be a 50 mile ride that is mostly down hill, we are all looking forward to a fun easy ride to complete the journey. There are 8 guys in this group, all are from the United Kingdom, except the brother from LA!!! They are all strong riders who have been training for this ride since January, I started around April. Some of the group work for the oil industry in Qatar, and it seems like a big activity for them is riding bikes, they are strong riders, but I do get respect. Anyone who can ride all of these mountain passes is a bike rider. Although I am traveling in France, I am having a very British experience. Lots of UK slang and humor, and of course a bit of tea after a long ride, talk of the Tour de France and UK riders and soccer and cricket. Needless to say this type of trip is a pretty bonding experience so we are all cool with each other.

Au revior,

Tour Operator's Country House where Daryl stayed the night:

A town along the route:

The Tourmalet:

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday Ride

I started out with the intention of riding solo setting my own tempo on Glendora Mountain Road. Then life happens. I met Naomi at the Electronic Sign and rode with her to the shed. She had ridden from Altadena and wanted to loop down to East Fork, Highway 39 and back through Duarte, Monrovia and home. She was building her endurance for the Cool Breeze Century.

The Sunday crowd passed us out on the road. Carlos, Carlos, George, and Albert all said hello. Alan joined us at Newman's turnout. I had a good surge up the hill to the shed. Rode with Alan to Fork Plus Four. The California Highway Patrol was managing the over the side vehicle.

The view of the shoulder where the car went over the side.

The vehicle was a 2007 Scion. It had just been paid off. There were three people in the accident. The crash occurred between 2 and 3 am while racing other vehicles along Glendora Mountain Road. The worst injury happened to the driver of the vehicle. His ear was reattached at a local hospital.

Imagine being in the car in the dark and crawling up the hillside!

The tow truck operator didn't have a long enough winch and ended up attaching chains to help drag the auto up the hillside.

It was very hot standing and watching the tow truck operator attach the chains and get the angle off the truck, cable and mountain side just right.

The clouds that help shade the ascent of the morning ....

quickly evaporated.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Daryl Abroad in France

Daryl trained on GMR in preparation for his cycling adventure in the Pyrenees Mountains of France.

After a parched hot day on GMR, thinking of someplace cool and green seemed heavenly. He wrote:


Trip from to France was long and uneventful.
Los Angeles to Paris was 10 hours of flying.
Paris to Toulouse 2 hours of flying.
Toulouse to Biarritz 3 hours of driving
I am tired!
Tomorrow we ride about 100 miles, starting into the mountains.
Resting now, will update.

Au Revoir!

View with Daryl's buddies.

The Atlantic Coast from Biarritz

Tour de France Stop at the Pyrenees

TDF Sculpture

Hot July Saturday Ride

The heat came early and fast. I joined Carl, Brian and Jason. The air was muggy and humid. Hydration was key to having a safe trip. I carried three water bottles. A necessity for this time of the year.

Carl had suffered leg cramps on the way up. His toes were tingling. Loosen the shoes. Wiggle the toes.

At the fork I saw an Australian Cattle Dog. I looked for the car he arrived in, when I overhead the owner state, the dog road on the back on the motorcycle! The others were already way ahead of me and I didn't stop for a picture. I really must take more pictures!

The view from Fork plus Four.

Carl suffered a few more cramps on the way back. I rode a slower conservative pace. The shed provided respite from the sun and the myriad of motorcycles on the road today.

Leaving the shed, Carl looked over his left shoulder back at a passing motorcycle. The edge of the road had crumbled away and left a gaping hole of dirt. His bike slipped off the road, a cloud of dust arose as Carl's body and bike crashed onto the asphalt. He scrapped his knee, chest, hand, cheek and chin. His cleats had disengaged and the bike lay in the middle of the road. With the amount of heavy but sporadic motor traffic I retrieved the bike off the road. After a few moments of collecting his breath. He felt fit enough to travel downward. He and Bryan descended quickly. I took a slower pace. The wall of heat hit me at the first saddle. It was close to 100F. Carl stopped for rest near Colby Trail. The water fountain at the Equestrian Center provided fresh cool water for Carl's body and soul.

The heat and dehydration have taken down the best and fastest riders on Glendora Mountain Road. Three water bottle minimum is now in effect until October. Hydrating early and often will reduce cramping and other injuries.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Now this is July

Bill's photo of Bonelli captured the coolness of the morning. Temperatures started at 62F and quickly rose to 92F by 10:00 am. It must be July. Smart to ride in morning.

The thermometer read 102 F as I left the garage at 4:40 this afternoon. I brought three water bottles with ice. One stuck in a back pocket to help cool the spine. I had no expectations of speed or distance. Merely to survive and keep upright. I doused my bandana and head with water. Several thoughts coursed through my brain as I pedaled up the mountain. Generate a tiny bit of speed to get the benefit of cooling. The afternoon sun will shade the mountain side. Breath through the nose to moisten the air in the lungs. When the cheeks felt hot sip and hold the fluids in my mouth.

The biggest incentive: Keep ahead of the Ron and Matt for as long as possible. As the mile markers counted down, I was pleased that I made it past mile marker 10.0 before they caught up with me. The next section of Glendora Mountain Road above the First Saddle was two sweltering miles. All the smart animals were napping in cooler respites. As we rounded the bend at Newman's the relief of the mountain shadow was welcomed. Ron and Matt pressed on to the top of Monroe. I enjoyed a leisurely tempo.

The descent was particularly sweet tonight.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday Ride

Hungry for a Sunday ride, I rolled out at 7:00 am. Perfect time to ride when the day's temperatures forecast in the 100s. Rode at a reasonable pace and reached the shed in good time. The view from the top of Monroe.

Good to see Albert, Carlos and Carlos, Francis and Jesse. Met Pat and buddies from Claremont on their way to the Village. Haven't seen Alan since December so we had catching up to do.

There is an issue, a fairly hot topic on GMR that Alan and I disagree over. It's

Squirrels are rodents, small and furry, with tiny brains. They run across the road at inconvenient moments. My hard line attitudes stems from direct interaction with squirrels local and remote. After several close calls, my most recent run in resulted in a sudden stop, falling, bruises, a replacement tire and helmet.

Alan views are diametrically opposite to mine. Squirrels are nice, cute.

I will allow they have their niche in the forest and are a food source for coyotes, foxes, hawks and snakes. Alan decided the fervor of my statements showed a dark side to my nature. True. Perhaps it will mellow when my hand and hip completely heal. It's perfectly acceptable to hold different views.

The energy from meeting old friends, making new connections and getting a few calories pedalled off is always exhilarating.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Quick Trip

An early start of 6:30 am for a quick trip to the First Saddle and back. It was neighborhood breakfast at 8:45 am. The temperature was five degrees warmer than midweek with sun, sun, and more sun. It was a morning of quick hellos with Kelly, Scott and Jason.

Early morning shadow.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Is this July?

The gray marine layer deceived the senses as cool wet air hovered around 56F. I went back for warmth. Geesh was it really July or is it June or January. The base layer felt good at first. The muscles needed warming up and uphill provided incentive to produce heat and sweat.

Above the gray it was a nice day.

The windbreaker jacket was greatly appreciated on the descent.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Perfect Day

The Independence holiday, the road closure, and clear skies created a trifecta of good forces for cyclists on Glendora Mountain Road. Motor traffic stymied by the locked gates couldn't comprehend the rationale of authorities. Fireworks and fire danger, or just taking a weekend off from scraping people and vehicles off the side of the mountain were possible reasons. Life was good on the other side of the fence. Photo courtesy of Ron.

Met up with friends at the shed. Phil with his Eddy Merckx bike asked if I had a new carbon bike. Yes! It rides smooth and sweet. Easy on the heart. Happy with the performance boost.

Kelly of Claremont on his Trek Pilot 2.5. It was good to catch up on life as it has been nine months when he last had need of a tire pump in September. I have now outfitted the new bike with a micro-pump and CO2 cartridge.

It was a perfect day dreamed of for the past month while enduring the thick marine layer of June. Those gray clouds and fog that enveloped the soul and shrouded the pavement have given way to the summer sun and heat. Click on image to get the full effect.

The temperature hovered around 85F. The sun beat down piercing the clean air right through the sunscreen and clothes. My speed dipped lower. Patches of shade from a few trees or cliff were moments of welcome relief.

Met Jordan and Francis at mile 7.0. They rode to Cow Saddle and couldn't be convinced to descend to the Village. They were the front tier of Adobo Velo and are brother and cousin of Mandy.

In the Village met Francis (Tour de Francis), Mandy, Henry and Julius of Adobo Velo at the post office. Leaving the village they challenged me to ride a bit faster. Amazed I stayed in contact with them for the ride back.

One might say I had a burr up my butt to go this far. Trips to the village for the year number 5. Now to improve my time to arrival.