Friday, July 3, 2015

LA River Ride ~ Report

The LA River Ride this year was hot, literally.  Of everything I could say about the day, the heat is the most noteworthy.  According to the Weather Underground, the temperature was 97 degrees.  Although at some points on the roads, a cycling computer read well into the triple digits.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC) did a fantastic job of providing water stops.  Hollenbeck Park had restrooms and large water reservoirs (and music!).  Maywood and Dills Parks were also great!  There were small Clif bars, peanut-butter pretzels, water, electrolytes, and trail mix with nuts and rice crackers.

Hollenbeck Park
Maywood Park
Dills Park
Aquarium of the Pacific
I am extremely grateful to all the volunteers who made these rest stops possible.  I am also grateful to Wayne "Ridetime" Howard for taking us on the Metrolink Metric Century the weekend before the LA River Ride.  Riding in the heat for the majority of the day helped us prepare to successfully complete this ride without incident.

We completed 70 miles in about 7 hours, for some segments we were going 16-18 mph.  I will caution riders that the segment of the river trail around Firestone has some really nasty underpasses.  The trail zig-zags around some large curbs after going over a kind of bump and there is no visibility for riders coming under the roadway.  I'm not complaining, it's always great to have an underpass, but these ones are gnarly and we had a rider from our group collide with another rider in a head-on collision.  It's unclear who (if either of them) violated the centerline rule, and I'm not saying the trail should be removed or redesigned, but I am urging all cyclists to ride safely in this part of the course.  Riders that passed us, walking their bikes, mentioned that someone always "goes down" in this part of the ride, every year.

Friday, June 26, 2015

If the shoe fits...

I retired a flight of shoes this week.  It's hard because we've been through so much together.  I rely on my shoes to protect and cushion my feet.  I've been having pain in my feet, which may or may not be related to the wear and tear on the shoes.  A friend recently asked me why I would wear shoes with holes in them when I have plenty of money to buy new shoes.  

So let me tell a few stories about these retired shoes, to honor them before they are donated to reuse-a-shoe, Nike's recycling program to turn old shoes into new materials like flooring and jacket zippers.  If you want to recycle a few pairs of your old shoes, a few nearby recycling centers are:

Nike Running Pasadena
37 West Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91105

Fleet Feet Sports Burbank
1516 West Magnolia Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91506

From Left to Right: The Asics TK61E was an impulse buy at Big 5 sporting goods in Claremont (or Montclair) on a day when I had to teach lab and I didn't have closed-toed shoes.  I used them for walking, running, cycling, commuting, and teaching.  I logged 139 miles of fitness on MapMyRide, and now they are retired.  

The Nike ZOOM NUCLEUS MC+ was a shoe that I researched and was fitted for at Running Center in Redlands.  I logged 282 miles of fitness on MapMyRide, these shoes ran probably 13 races and many training runs.  

The Nike DUAL FUSION RUN was an impulse buy on my way to participate in the Color Run in San Diego.  I loved that they were hot pink and I ran/walked only 70 miles with them, but wore them on many bike rides and for teaching.  

The Old Navy MESH SNEAKERS were on sale for probably $10.  I bought them because I loved the tennis-ball fluorescent yellow color.  Turns out they were like barefoot shoes and I wore them for many bike rides and for teaching.  

Last but not least, the red PUMA.  I bought those in Switzerland.  They may have been on sale.  I wanted something to remember my trip there, something that could not be found in the US.  I wore them for 10 years, they are shredded in the heel and have a hole in the toe.  The little gold puma details are falling off.  When I wear them it hurts, so it's safe to say these are cleared for retirement. 

Here's the new lineup (from left to right): New Balance 730 (W730RB2) is an ultra-lightweight running shoe. ACTEVA™ LITE midsole provides optimal resistance to compression set.  ACTEVA LITE is 24% lighter than standard foam because it is a blend of Elvaloy® and ENGAGE™ to increase flexibility, toughness, long-term outdoor exposure, and soft touch. I liked the color scheme and the way it felt like wearing a nice pair of slippers.

Fila Turbo Fuel Energized running shoe has a memory foam insole for extra comfort and CoolMax® technology for ventilation.  I really liked the color.  I don't know how they will feel to run in, but I will wear them for teaching and possibly also for Zumba.

New Balance 580 (W580SG3) is a classic running shoe with ABZORB® technology for cushioning made of Dupont ENGAGE™ elastomeric polymer, and a sole of Isoprene rubber for durability.  I realize these shoes are made from petroleum, and I wonder if there are shoes that are made of primarily renewable materials.

Specialized Cadet cycling shoes that have a simple black exterior and all kinds of hidden goodies.  First, the shoes have a Lollipop™ inner plate to enhance pedaling efficiency while EVA midsole stabilizes and cushions off the bike. Second, there is a Lacelock™ elastic mechanism to securely stow shoelaces so they won't catch in your chainring. Third, the shoe is decorated with reflective elements for enhanced visibility.  So far I love these.

Nike Flex TR5 has an EVA midsole. The bottom of the shoe has a rubber traction outsole with pods at high wear areas.  I liked the way it felt also like a slipper when I put it on.  The shoe weighs 7 ounces, putting it in the lightweight category.  I guess stability shoes can weigh anywhere from 10-13 ounces which is probably why it feels so weird that this would be a running shoe.

Of all these new shoes: I hope to find something good for walking, something good for standing (teaching), something good for running, something good for cycling, and something good for dancing!  I doubt I will find the perfect all-around shoe, but I hope each of these shoes eventually proves that they have a specialty.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Summer Lovin'

I had a flashback yesterday jumping in my car.  It's hot and humid here in Southern California and I felt like I was 17 years old again.  I felt a rush of excitement when I realized that I could just drive straight to the beach and enjoy the waves all day.  Then I realized that I'm a grown woman and I should instead go to the store and return home to analyze some data.

It was interesting to entertain the idea for a moment and to contrast what was going on in my head 17 years ago with what is going on in my head now.  I just realized in the process of writing this that I had a flashback to half my life ago.  I used to absolutely LOVE summer.  I used to love waking up early and going to work at a telemarketing job (indoors) then heading to the pool to "lay out."  To me that was the epitome of summer.

Now I think about SPF 50, large hats, and polarized lenses before what bikini to wear.
I guess some things don't change, I still like my frames to have a cat-eye and tortise-shell.  I still like the color blue.  I still like to prevent chapped lips.  But instead of trying to get bronzer, I'm worried about sun spots.  Instead of laying around listening to the FM radio, I'd rather run in the sea and sand and try to tone up my tush.

We're biking from Anaheim to San Juan Capistrano this weekend with a large group.  The event is called the Metrolink Metric Century.  I've done enough biking events that I will not wear a sexy little tank top.  Instead I will wear something sensible (with sleeves) and my arm coolers (providing SPF 50).  I guess that's the difference between 17 and 34.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Jewel City Ride ~ Report

The 3rd annual Jewel City Ride (Glendale, CA) was a fantastic success!  We had 3 bike rides: beginner, intermediate, and advanced.  Having done some of the climbing for the advanced ride, I know for sure that it was a challenge.  My husband and I marshalled the intermediate ride.

In total there were about 130 riders.  The majority of cyclists chose the Fun & Fitness ride.  The feedback we heard from those riders towards the middle or back of the pack were that they didn't expect that many hills.  Even though the bigger hills from the 2nd annual event (last year) were moved to the Gear Grinder, some felt that there were still too many hills.  But the person who was saying that had only one gear on their bike.  There were very few complaints actually!  We had great weather and the cars we encountered were well-behaved.

The feedback we got from the Gear Grinder riders is that they got "dizzy" in the switchbacks leading up to North Glendale.  I'm glad it wasn't just me.  I wish I had taken some pictures of the event, but I was pretty focused on keeping everyone on our ride safe that I didn't want any other jobs.  There were professional photographers for the event, so it wasn't necessary to take pictures.  The other comment from Gear Grinder riders is that they would have liked to see an elevation profile.

The event got some good media coverage from Mr. CiclaValley and Streetsblog LA.  Some people on the ride indicated that they really weren't comfortable riding in traffic.  It may be a good idea to check out Bicycle Safety Classes throughout June, July, August, and September.  They will be held at a variety of locations including Claremont, Culver City, Downtown LA, North Hills, Long Beach, Pacoima, Reseda, and Santa Monica.  These classes are FREE of charge, thanks to Metro and a grant from the CA Office of Traffic Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

BIG THANKS to the Glendale Rotary Noon for helping secure funding for this event and for providing support at the water stops (and for all the other things you all did that I'm not aware of).  It made a great community event to have the picnic cooked up by Rounds Burgers.  Some wondered why many of the sign-ups happened during the last few days leading up to the event, but from what we heard, many participants found about the event through word of mouth.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

SF to Salinas Century

My California Coastal Bicycle Adventure will have to be continued... at least I made a century!

Day 1 (5/28): The route through San Francisco was facilitated by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, we took the wiggle. The ride through Golden Gate Park was scenic. We ended up on Lincoln Way, which wasn't great. We took 28th Ave nearly down to Sloat and followed Hwy 35 to Skyline through Daly City. We paralleled Hwy 1 via Palmetto and Francisco/Bradford before finding a bike path along Caldara Creek which led us into Pacifica State Beach.  We rode up and over Devil's Slide and down Hwy 1 to Half Moon Bay. We stayed the night at Americas Best Value Inn and Suites, eating dinner at Asian Kings Kitchen. The hotel offered continental breakfast, including hard-boiled eggs!

Day 2 (5/29): The second day of our trip we followed a bike path out of town and stayed on Hwy 1. A fruit stand in Davenport was a life-saver.  We arrived in Santa Cruz and stopped at 'Another Bike Shop.' Our hotel for the night was called Hitching Post Studios Inn.  They had laundry machines, a swimming pool, and a full-sized kitchen.  We rode to the boardwalk and out to the end of the pier.  We had dinner at Taqueria Agave, which served fantastically large portions.

 Day 3 (5/30): We had breakfast at Subway and made our way out of town on Soquel.  This portion of Hwy 1 does not allow cyclists in the roadway, so we took San Andreas to Beach.  The road labeled McGowan is called Thurwachter Rd.  Other than that we didn't have any problems navigating.  After taking Trafton/Bluff/Jensen back to Hwy 1, I noticed signs for a bus to Salinas.  Instead of riding by myself, it was eaiser to put my bike on the bus and get a ride straight to the Salinas Amtrak station.

When I left the house on Memorial Day (from LA to SF via Amtrak Coast Starlight) my panniers weighed about 15 pounds each.  I felt like they got heavier each day of the trip.  By day 3 I was bearly crawling, but I kept moving forward singing to myself "Takin' my time, gonna take my time."  I went through all the stuff I brought and didn't think I could have done without any of it.  In fact, I would have added a sewing kit.

One important thing I did forget was shoes. I ended up buying a pair of Specialized Cadet from Valencia Cyclery.  They worked out splendidly.  One thing that happened that I didn't expect is that my thumbs started getting blisters from the gear-shifting levers.  Also I wore a hole in my long-fingered gloves.


Monday, May 25, 2015

SF to LA packing list

As much as I hesitate to admit, I am undertaking a bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles.  The reason I am not keen on bragging about it is that I don't know for sure that it will happen.  The forces of the universe are going to have to sing in harmony for everything to work out.  Regardless, as I pack my bags, I wanted to document the items that I will bring.

Starting from my Top 10 List, I have a bicycle, water bottles, safety flag, helmet.  Said bicycle has been cleaned and tire liners have been installed.  The brakes and shifters are in working order.  I have added a second water bottle cage.  The rear rack has been used to mount panniers.  I bought this bike in February 2010 and named it "mi corazón azul" because it reminded me of Côte d'Azur (the French Riviera).  My husband and I were living 90 miles apart and I was struggling with being separated from him.  My heart was broken, since I had always wanted to live in San Diego (La Jolla) and I couldn't.

KODAK EASYSHARE M530 Digital Camera
I am ready to retire my Kodak digital camera.  The things I don't like about it are numerous (1) it takes poor pictures in low-light (2) the compartment where the battery and memory card are stored keeps coming open (3) when the battery is jostled out of its position because the compartment is opened, the date and time have to be reset before you can take a picture.  As a result, there are some pictures that have incorrect date/time stamps because I was more excited to take a picture immediately than to reset the date and time to correct settings.  I will probably bring one of our Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T10 cameras instead.  Those also have a slim profile, and we own two of them.  That means twice the batteries, twice the battery chargers.  Twice the cables for downloading the pictures.  The reason for duplication is the aforementioned 90 mile separation.

The important tools to bring, to keep it lightweight, are: a pedal wrench, a link breaker, a multitool for allen wrenches, tire irons, a patch kit, spare tube, and a pump.  Logan (on pedalingtonowhere) suggests extra rack bolts, zip ties, nuts, and a few chain links. Some of these tools fit in my seat bag, others will have to go in the panniers.  I don't think I would bring extra spokes, but I have located a handful of bike shops along the way.  I should bring bicycle lights, possibly spare batteries or the USB charging cables, and a headlamp for camping.

This tent is over 12 years old... and weighs ~14 pounds
I know it's not a great idea to add new items at the last minute, but I might go buy a new tent today.  The one I have is pretty big and pretty heavy.  There are Memorial Day sales going on, which may bring us a small discount.  I got a 1-person tent for $35 at Big 5 Sporting Goods.  I practiced pitching it twice so I think I'll be good with it.  I'll go to the storage unit today and pick up my sleeping bag.  Don't think I'll have room for a tarp or a yoga mat.  The weather looks good (for San Francisco at least) and hopefully we will be blessed with low winds and no rain!  I'll probably use spare clothes for a pillow.

The outfit I'm wearing above is part of what I will be packing for clothing.  I'm definitely bringing my Adidas track suit.  I will bring a windbreaker jacket.  I will bring about 4 pairs of cycling shorts, my legwarmers, and 2 pairs of arm coolers (to prevent sunburn).  I will bring about 4 pairs of socks and probably 4 sportsbras.  I will probably bring only 2 jerseys, with sleeves.  I will bring 2 t-shirts (one short-sleeved, one long-sleeved) and about 4 pairs of regular panties.  It will be good at the end of the day to change into something clean, dry, and absorbant.  2 pairs of gloves (one full-fingered, one fingerless), and a long-sleeved winter jeresy.  I'll bring my cycling cap and maybe also a hat for wearing around camp.  I want to bring a pair of sunglasses for sure.  I will also pack a reflective vest for safety.

The toiletries that I'll bring include: face wash, face sunscreen, body sunscreen, chamois butt'r, toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo/conditioner, and cooling foot creme.  I hope to have room for the addaday roller and possibly a racquetball for self-massage. J/K no room for those. A clothesline is a good idea, along with laundry soap that could be used for washing clothes.  I will also pack a small towel or washcloth.  I added contact lenses, contact lens case, contact lens solution, glasses, glasses case, sunglass case.  I added body glide, a hair comb, and face lotion.

For food, I'm stymied.  We had originally planned on having a chase vehicle so I bought a bunch of gus and gels.  But carrying 15 pounds of Clif bars and blocks seems a bit ridiculous.  I have been pouring over a book, Bicycling the Pacific Coast, that details where you can find bike shops and grocery stores along the route.  I'll probably just load up my panniers with the essentials and weigh them.  Amtrak has a 50 pound limit, which I hope I won't get anywhere near, per bag.  I'll just add/subtract until the bags are balanced and reasonable.

I'm reminded of scenes from the movie Wild where Cheryl Strayed thought she had it all and she learned along the way what was necessary and unnecessary.  I packed a mini-first aid kit with different shaped bandaids, sterile pads, athletic tape, triple-acting antibiotic oitment and Aleve.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

CicLAva ~ The Valley

I realize this post is almost 2 months late.  It's been on my "to do" list.  CicLAvia - The Valley was AWESOME!  Like many of the "open streets" events we've attended, we rode to this one from our house, CAR FREE!  The weather was overcast for most of the day, which was nice biking weather.

We met with Walk Bike Glendale at the Glendale Central Library.  Congressman Adam Schiff was there.  We had a large feeder ride, maybe about 80 people.  Along the Chandler Bike Path, we combined with Walk Bike Burbank.

It was about 11 miles to the start of CicLAvia.  We took California west to Concord, across the Fairmount Bridge to the Glendale Narrows Riverwalk.  We rode along Riverside to Keystone, and up to the bike path at Chandler.  The organizers did a great job puting in protected "bike lanes" between Vineland and Lankershim using orange traffic cones.  Wish those were permanent!  We posted a video of the feeder ride here.  This was my first experience as a ride marshal.  I hope to attend some workshop for training to become an official, but for now, my experience with group cycling in the Riverside Bicycle Club will suffice.

We arrived in North Hollywood and split from the group.  Some video from the CicLAvia event is here.  I don't think our GoPro battery lasted long enough to capture beyond the Universal City Hub, but we did get one video at the hub.  The course was dreamy and many businesses were packed with customers.  I was reminded of this event at a recent Bike To Work Day ~ Happy Hour at the Moose Den where I met someone who skated the entire CicLAvalley.  I did take a little bit of video at our lunch stop, which gave me the idea that about 80,000 people participated in this CicLAvia.

As a reminder, the CicLAvia ~ Pasadena event is in TWO WEEKS.  Will you walk, skate, or bike it?  We're headed to Pasadena today for the Amgen Tour of California finish!  Hope to see our friend John Morlock, from Ride 2 Recovery working a booth there.