Los Flores Canyon and I

Amazing – almost a year has passed since my last blog entry, and it was not for the lack of trying. I simply did not have anything I cared to share on this blog. I started a new job in January and it was all consuming. The chapter is closed now and I am trying to pick up the fitness pieces, which are in shambles.

Luckily I did not lose all of my friends along the way and @roadchickie was kind enough to drag my sorry butt up Stunt road last weekend. You can read a ride description on her blog http://mydogparty.blogspot.com/2011/12/i-cant-describe-my-joy.html . I am really grateful that she brought the whip with her and chased me up that hill. Reaching the top of Stunt Canyon kindled a renewed fire to get back into shape. Eleven months off the bike, no real exercise to speak off have left me soft and without power. But, I am going to change that, and since I know I already did it once, I know I will succeed.

Perfect Riding Conditions

Fast forward to today. My friend @M2Tiguy got sick earlier in the week and is floating high on medication. Our planned ride up the coast and Latigo canyon would not be. I figured earlier in the morning that I will do the ride by myself. I checked the weather earlier and it looked just about perfect. So I got my gear together, and  because I am a spoiled So Cal rider 54 degrees is cold, I packed a couple of layers, just in case.

I had every intention to ride up Latigo, but about 11 miles into the ride I approached the turn to Los Flores Canyon. I have a love/hate relationship with this canyon (you can read about it here), but then the thought occurred to me, that this would be a perfect balance to last Saturday’s ride. You see the end of the Los Flores Canyon intersects with the end of Stunt Canyon – serendipity, I had to do it. So I swung a right and let the climbing begin.

PCH - Los Flores Cyn - Fernwood Cyn - PCH loop

This is a 36 mile loop from my house with 3200 feet of climbing, most of it up Los Flores, which is mostly in the lower teens grade percentage, but has a number of sections which are in the upper teens, and a couple break the 20% grade barrier. Let me just say that there were a number of times I had to take a break and about half way up it started to rain. How did I miss that in the forecast? Of course, immediately I hear that little voice “ah, it’s raining, probably a sign to turn around”.

Ha, I did not – I challenged that little voice and when I needed a break I told myself I am doing that to snap some pictures (such a liar). In the end it worked out and I am reminded how challenging that canyon road is. Good news is, that the lower portion is repaved and has nice shiny new tarmac. At the top I decided to return via Fernwood canyon for different scenery, but the constant rain made that decent very technical. No time to take photos, just paying attention to the rode and keeping the rubber down.

My legs are toast and the hot shower felt incredible. But the best part of cycling is the way how great you feel when you come home – nothing compares to it. Below are some images from today’s ride.

about 1/3 up Los Flores - looking at the Pacific

I forgot how steep it gets

It is starting to sprinkle

Raining now and it is slick

A welcome sight - top of Los Flores LA County Fire post

The climb continues up Rambla Pacifico and Schuren

On Top - Stunt and Schuren meet - it got really dark there for a while

The Pacific Ocean and the sky blend into each other

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Change – the only constant in life

Angel

The new year is shaping up to be fast and furious on all fronts. Many of you know that we lost our long time companion ‘Shep’ early December. He left not only a big hole in our hearts, but also a big void in our household, it was creepy quiet, and we decided that no amount of waiting will help heal the hurt of losing Shep. We set out to scour PetFinder on a daily basis to search for our next companion. We also decided that he/she should be a small breed, keeping our own age in mind and the work involved 12 to 15 years down the road.

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New Year’s Day ride

Many people look forward to the new year for a new start on old habits.  ~Author Unknown

What would a New Year’s Day be without a ride? – unthinkable!!! Luckily for me there are others who think along those lines and I had invitations from @roadchickie and @M2TiGuy to ride. The former would have been a fun and easy cruise with a whole bunch of great girls, the latter a bit more serious riding. Kurt (@M2TiGuy on twitter) and I are planning on doing “The Ride around the Bear” on June 11, and that may seem far away, but it is only 22 weeks to get in shape for this challenge, and therefor we decided to ride some canyons.

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Shep – R.I.P. – 12/12/10

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Epic tales for epicRides™

Around this time of the year, not one day goes by without several tweets about how terrible cycling trainers are. People are lamenting the boredom and monotony, and I am scratching my head thinking: WHY?

Some comments taken from Twitter stream

I don’t mind getting on a trainer, and there are times when I really look forward to it. At times I ride for 45 minutes, sometimes an hour, and others longer, but always with a purpose. Personally, I think I get the best workout between 45 minutes to 90 minutes. There are some who told me that the reason I like the trainer is because I am fairly new to it and perhaps there is some truth to that.

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Posted in Cycling, epicRides, Exercise, Garmin Edge 705, Indoor Trainer | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Indoor Cycling Trainer – a beginners tale

Ok, so by now you know that I finally got a trainer, and I had some interesting experiences, most very good, but some, not so. As with everything new in life, a trainer also has a learning curve. My friends know that I am the analytical kind of a guy, which means I did plenty of on-line and in-store research. However, some things you simply can’t research. For example, what it feels like when you sit atop your bike strapped to the trainer for the first time and start pedaling! Weird!!!

But NO, don’t get me wrong, not weird in a bad way, it is a weird as in – why am I not moving forward? Weird as in – am I doing this right? Weird as in – how does this effort translate into real riding? Weird as in – what gear should I be in? Weird as in – for how hard and how long should I pedal? Weird as in – how do I measure my effort? Weird as in – why does my Garmin Edge just cycle on and off without recording any data?

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Posted in Cycling, Exercise, Garmin Edge 705, Indoor Trainer, Training | Tagged , , , | 17 Comments

Time for an indoor trainer

Travel Trac Fluid

Man, it took a long time for me to get to an indoor trainer, and no, this is not going to be an article about which trainer you should buy! (there are tons of good sites which debate the pros and cons of all the different models available) For me the decision came down to two three things: reliability, noise and price.

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Posted in Cycling, Exercise, Indoor Trainer, Training | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments