Saturday, March 3, 2012

So we meet again

A few years ago I did my first Century with the Tour De Cure.  The best part of the route in my opinion was going through Elfin Forest.  I hadn't been back since, and I've been itchin' to do so. 

It's part of the route for our upandcomming ride (, so I figured it was high time to do so.  I planned out a nice 35 mile loop, starting at the Mira Costa college. 

My daughter really liked riding through Elfin Forest as well.  If we had the time, we would have pulled over and checked it out more.  The ride past Lake Hodges on the Del Dios Highway is always nice.

Our average speed was lower than previous times, but we didn't feel nearly as sore or as tired as before.  I think we're finally starting to get the hang of properly climbing hills on the tandem. 

With the nicer weather, we saw a lot of cyclists out today.  This route is particularly popular with many cyclists and teams.  

To keep the water bottles from coming loose and having to stop to retrieve them from the road, we've tightened down the cages which make pulling the bottles while still riding a bit difficult for my daughter.  After getting mildly dehydrated with the last ride, I decided to have her carry the CamelBak.  Great decision and it helped her out quite a bit.  The problem is that we had to stop several times for bathroom breaks.  I'd rather take the extra time than have her not drinking enough water. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Two Training Rides

So after buying the tandem, I get this bright idea that I'll sign my daughter and I up for an organized ride.  It makes for good motivation to train for it, since you're committed to it.  Without having to drive or travel way out of the way, I decided upon this one -  After looking a the course, there was no way I was gonna sign up for the century route.  I just know there are too many hills involved and that we would never be ready for it.  The 37 mile route seemed almost too easy, so I opted for the 66 miler.  It's going to be a challenge that should be obtainable. The map for the 66 miler is shown here -

So that means we're gonna have to train every Saturday morning to make sure that we are ready for that kind of distance.  So far we've gotten in two good sized rides -

27 miles.  I was familiar with most of this route, since I ride a lot of it in my daily ride to work. Not too many hills and will be the easier part of the route.

A 38 miler that we didn't drink enough water through and suffered the consequences afterward.  A good amount of climbing that we definitely have to work on.  Very nice, scenic ride past Lake Hodges and the Del Dios Highway -

My daughter is getting really good at riding the tandem.  Her balance is great, she knows all of the signals and communications that we need to have.  The only complaint that she has (which I have too) is that her butt is sore after these longer rides.  That's something that we're just gonna have to get use to. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A new toy!

My employer had a very good year, so everyone got a sizable Christmas bonus.  My family has been wanting to get a decent tandem for a while now, but the cost prohibited us from getting one. 

I found a late 70's Santana on Craigslist for $400.  I figured at that price, it was either stolen or there was something terribly wrong with it.  If you know anything about tandems, Santana is the top name in the tandem business.  Come to find out that the owner just didn't use it anymore, and didn't have any use for it, so he lowered the price to get ride of it ASAP.  Plus it doesn't have very many of the original components on it (which is just fine with me!)  It it older, but the components on it are quality.  Phil Woods 48 spoke hubs, Specialized chainrings with Campy cranks, Sachs (SRAM) freewheel and shifters.  The owner changed it around so it was more about comfort, with a strait bar, bar ends (which I don't like), grip shift and gel seats. 

When we tested it out, it surprisingly fit me and my daughter AND wife very well.  The frame had some paint chips and very light rust, but was in great shape for being 35+ years old.  All of the other components were dirty, but in great shape.  Needless to say it didn't take much of a test ride to make a decision. 

The initial test ride

After giving it a quick cleaning and small seat adjustments, my daughter and I took it on it's maiden voyage.  Not too far, just to my work and back. 

Needless to say we've got a lot of work to do to really take advantage of this machine.  For being 9 years old, my daughter caught on pretty quickly with all of the signals, communications, pedal positions, etc that is needed for riding a tandem.  We'll have this down in very little time.

This was a very well spent investment.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

San Pasquel loop

A few years back I bought a book that details different cycling areas and trips all around the San Diego area.

This is a great book.  It's been around in various editions for a long time now.  It describes the rides in great detail, including pretty accurate maps and elevation information.  The text description of each ride is in good order as well.

I've used this book several times to plan out routes.  Sometimes I ride the routes exactly as describes, and other times I use this mainly for information about part of the routes to plan out my overall ride(s).

It's been a good investment and well worth the small price I paid.

Last night I decided to run a route that I noticed earlier, but have never gotten around to yet.  It circles around the San Pasquel area.  20 miles for the loop, 30 total including getting up there from where I live. 

I should have paid more attention to the elevation changes for this route befrehand.  There were some short, steep hills that I had some difficulty on.  But overall this was a very good route and very picturesque.  A few farms, a pine tree seller, and even a milk cow pasture was noticed.  There is also a battlefield memorial for the battle of San Pasquel

This site has a lot of pictures that are on the same route or very close to - since I didn't bring my camera with me on this ride. 

The graph below shows the quick changes in elevation that I experienced.
The first sharp drop was at Bandy Canyon Road.  It had a lot of switchbacks.  Not having traveled on this road before and taking sharp turns at a high speed, I rode on the brakes a lot.  Not until the switchbacks stops did I let go of the brakes. 

A great ride for certain.  I just didn't appreciate the sharp increase in elevations that made climbing difficult.  But I'll definitely hit this route again in the future.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Lake Hodges/Del Dios loop

I've always see the Del Dios highway on maps, and it looked like a good way to get around when I'm up North.  I was finally able to ride it last week.  As usual when I'm checking out new territory, it took me 1.5 times longer than it should have.  I also got a bit lost even though I had a map.  The street names on the map weren't the same as what they were in reality.

This weekend I decided to ride the same route, but in reverse.  Went much better this time around.  The fog was really thick at 6:30 in morning (which will only get worse as winter sets in) .  At some points I could only see about 50 feet in front of me.  So the beginning was slower than usual. 

The nice part of this route is going past Lake Hodges.  You can see the dam from the road on the West side.  The tail part I ended going past my work and riding the same route as I always do going to work.  I wanted to head down South a bit more and ride the 56 bike path.  But I was running late and had an appointment to get to. 

The route is fairly flat, with a few short climbs along the way.  Typically when I travel this far I'm completely wiped out afterwards.  But I actually felt really good afterwards.

Goin' camping

Last month my family went camping.  Unfortunately we don't do so as much as we would like.  I decided to take off early from work and ride the bike up to meet with my family.  It's at Dixon lake, which is only 15 miles up there.  The ride itself is mostly on the outer edge of Escondido.  Nothing difficult about this ride.  But there is a very steep 1/4 mile section just before getting into the park.  If you notice the red line on the map, it actually breaks for a bit.  That's because I had to walk it up for a while.  My Garmin said it was a 70% grade.  No way it was that much.  It was more around 20%, which is still too much for me for that distance.  Dixon lake is a great place to camp!

Saturday, September 10, 2011


I decided to head out to Ramona again this morning.  It's a great challenge, hard to get lost on, and is close to home. Knowing that my legs were going to get over strained on this ride, I should have prepared for this ride better this morning.  I only has some water, a peach and an apple before heading out.  Well, I paid the price for my foolishness.  On the way back home, I could feel my calves starting to seize if I pushed it too hard.  I had plenty of electrolytes and water, just not enough nutrition to meet this kind of challenge. 

My average speed was about 1.5 mph slower than last time.  Which is a significant difference spread over a 40 mile course.  Although my max speed was the fastest it's ever been on this course (39.5 mph).

Then to make matters even worse, I got stung by a bee at the most inconvenient time.  I was starting my decent down the Poway grade (heading West), and then POW a big stinging hurt came over my inner right thigh.  Thankfully I was able to keep my cool and slow down quick enough with traffic passing by me with little shoulder on the side.  The bee was still attached, so I pulled it off.  Good thing I'm not allergic to bees, or I would have been in a world of hurt.  Good thing I only had about 5 miles left, because the pain interfered with my peddling.  The stinging still bothers me 12 hours after it happened. 

My body started to bonk the last two miles, but I made it home safely.  After taking a shower, I proceeded to take a nap.  I probably would have slept all day long if I didn't have so many things left to be done. 

Well, at least I can say that I did go out and ride today.