|What really got me out of bed.|
So when the alarm clock went of at 6 AM this morning, for the first time in a long time the thought crossed my mind to stay in bed and blow off riding. But guilt quickly set in. And possibly an even stronger motivator was that I had just received my 2011 OC Velo kit, so I was looking forward trying it out. Vanity, I know, but you've got to go with what works, right?
I rolled out of bed, got myself sorted and headed out to meet the crew downtown. When I got there and was handed the day's ride slip, I started to feel good about my decision to ride. We where scheduled to head south down the Coast Highway and then cut inland through an industrial area of Irvine - all pretty routine. But then I saw that we where then going to cut back to the Coast Highway for the ride home via El Toro Road and Laguna Canyon Road. This is some good riding.
The first half of the ride through Irvine was pretty routine. It was a big group today and the mood in the pack was friendly and conversational as we moved along at a moderate 17-18 MPH. Then it was time to cut back towards the coast. To get to El Toro Road, we had to make a 3 mile climb up Irvine Center Drive, which is under construction - not the most ideal scenario. But where the hill crests at the junction for El Toro, you suddenly find yourself in the wild (to the extent a major thoroughfare in Orange County can be considered "wild") and going downhill - all the way to the ocean.
|View of Laguna Canyon. El Toro Road comes in from the left just after the freeway crossing near the top of the picture.|
We stopped at the "officially designated" OC Velo regroup point, which is a Circle K Market (note: no bathrooms, use the gas station next door). Everyone else came in about 5 minutes later. After a quick re-group, we set off north up the Coast Highway.
As we started to ride, the first thing I noticed is we had a tail wind. "Nice", I thought, "This will be fun". And it was.
|PCH North of Laguna Beach|
From Corona Del Mar to Huntington, it's pretty congested with a lot of traffic signals, so it's tough to keep a rhythm and the pace line ceased. Instead we all just rode along. We pulled into Huntington Beach about a half hour later, which is the end of the "official" ride.
But after we had a coffee, one of the other club members and I still had to ride another 5 miles on the Coast Highway to get home. This is where the real fun started. At the last red light before a long stretch of open road, 2 other riders caught up to us. You could tell by just looking at them that they where fast. So when then the light turned green, my friend and I nodded at each other and immediately got on their wheels. I guess we figured that even if they where the sensitive types who didn't like hangers-on, they wouldn't even notice us as we'd already have been dropped before it even occurred to them to glance back.
|Trip mile/Split time/Split/MPH (Don't forget we had a tail wind)|
So yeah, this was a well timed and great ride - order in my biking world seems to have been restored.