As usual, OC Velo met at Worthy Park in Huntington Beach and then headed south on Pacific Coast Highway picking up a bunch of additional riders. We took PCH all the way down to Laguna, which is about a 17 mile trip through Newport Beach, Corona Del Mar and Newport Coast/Crystal Cove State Park.
The ride through Newport Coast is always great. It's about a 4 mile stretch were the Pacific is directly to the right and the coastal mountains are directly to the left. The road undulates through this stretch. But none of the climbs are particularly steep, so with a good group you can fly through this section.
|The Cottages @ Crystal Cove|
I took off after them, but I was never able to bridge the gap. Instead, I hooked up with a solo rider about halfway up the climb and we traded pulls to the top. The top is where the wind hit.
We are having pretty strong Santa Ana winds this weekend. Santa Ana's blow from the north-east, and since they come in off the desert, they are hot. Today they where strong. Once I hit height of land, the wind hit me like a blast furnace from out of nowhere from about my 2 o'clock. And they where so strong that I nearly went down. It was probably more of a case of not expecting them, but even after I recovered and adjusted they still made for an interesting descent out of the canyon. I met the guys who passed me at the bottom of the hill, and then we all waited for everyone else. To a rider, everyone had a hairy "oh-my-gosh-the-wind-nearly-knocked-me-on-my-ass" story.
The rest of the ride was pretty routine, save for when the two guys who punched my ticket on the climb took off down the multi-use path in the Back Bay. But this time I didn't let them go - I jumped on the wheel of the second guy and we tore along at about 26 MPH. Then it was coffee at the HB Pier and the last 8 miles home.
Final Ride Stats
Distance: 55 Miles
Moving Time: 2:56
Average Speed: 18.8 MPH
Top Speed: 43.0 MPH
Climbing: 1,130 Feet