I was looking forward to getting out on the roads and giving the new wheels a road test. The ride started in the fashion that it was to continue in, at least the first half did, hence the post title; my back light fell off! After I had picked up the pieces, reassembled it and put it back on I started off again. Four miles later I realized I had left my water bottles behind! I stopped at a gas station and picked up a couple of bottles of water. I was only planning a short ride; my legs were feeling heavy from the week so I decided to do a usual 40 mile loop that is a good benchmark on time/fitness. I’ve ridden this ride quite a few times, it’s a nice combination of some rolling hillwork, a good flat section and then a solid climb through a canyon, my best time is 3:08 so I was hoping to shave a few minutes off and finish it around the three hour mark.
The cloud was low and moody and the sky looked like it was a pile of wet washing, I pulled out my camera to take some pictures on the go and managed one photo (see above) before the batteries went flat. Despite all these minor irritations I was making good timing and the new wheels and crankset seemed to allow me to up the ante by 2-3 mph and instead of cruising in the high teens I found myself rolling along in the early twenties. I notched off the first 16 miles in around an hour, not bad for an elevation gain of 1845’.
The ride is basically a square with a tail and I was on the third side which follows the Pacific Coast Highway, despite the traffic this can be a fairly flat and fast section and I hoped to make up some time, I rode past Malibu Lagoon and that was where trouble struck; roadworks, not just digging up the road but resurfacing it and I found myself in the middle of the process, where they have roughly removed to top layer and had scored it with so many grooves and pits that my eyes were nearly shaken out of my head! My speed bled away and I found myself tooling along at 10 mph, hmm, the worst mile in this section took over six minutes! Finally after several boneshaking miles I was back on the old blacktop and I pushed through the few remaining miles watching a pod of dolphins swimming south parallel to the shoreline, before making the penultimate turn into the climbing side of the square; Topanga Canyon. This climb is familiar to me and I wondered if the increased range on my cassette 12-27 versus my old 12-25 would make any difference. I cleared the heaviest of the climb 1459’ in four miles in just over 23 minutes, which shaved a few minutes of past rides; the extra range seemed to help as I could just sit still and push up the hill in a steady effort (my HR averaged around 140 for the total 10 miles of climbing), and then cruised through the rest of the canyon, another 1300’ making it to top by 2:26 for a total of 33.5 miles. I span down the backside and pushed hard to get home within the three hour mark making it to my driveway in 2:55:35, for a total elevation gain of 6207’ and 3412 calories; that should help with the 8 or so pounds I want to loose!
So despite a rough start it all came good, the new bike parts performed flawlessly and I know that had I not had the rocky road middle section I would have been even faster, but hey I have to save something for later.