After accomplishing my goal of 25 DC’s, you would think I would slow down and relax … but how could I, when I enjoy doing them. Yeah, there is the going to sleep at 8 pm, to wake up at 2:30 am, to go for a 4 am ride. That’s normal, right? This time, it’s Dead of Winter. I’ve always enjoyed riding in this area, Port Hueneme, Oxnard, Camarillo, Ojai area.
I wasn’t sure who I would ride with this year, but I know that Kirsten (who is super woman, and I’m not sure how long I’d ride with her), and Peggy would be there (who I did ride with for “most” of the ride).
Kirsten was telling me the night before at dinner how she had not had much riding in lately, maybe a 30 mile ride, and it was going to be a slow roll. The route exited the parking lot, and a right turn and boom, she was out of sight. I remember riding for the first few miles, seeing a red dot ahead of us (that being Kirsten). We never caught up with her … like I said, Superwoman.
The route did a 40 mile, fairly flat loop from Port Hueneme through Camarillo and back, and who do we see jogging on the side of the road … of course it’s Memo. He is everywhere … we should start calling him Waldo … Where is Waldo? Memo is everywhere … is there only one of him?
It was a constant drizzle on the drive down, which made the road wet, but luckily the weather held up, and we wouldn’t get any drizzle or rain. However, it was still overcast, and the sun didn’t peep out too much, so we kept jackets on for most of the ride.
Since there was a loop for the first 40 miles, the next part of the route went on some of the same roads we just did on the first loop. We had loaded the route on our Garmin, and one of the after effects of doing that, with a route that travels on the same road, is it may think you are doing the first part of the route. In other words, it may take you in the wrong direction … and it did. We were supposed to be 8 miles from the lunch stop, and the route was taking us back to the hotel. I thought it was strange that we seemed to be going the same route as we did in the first 40 miles, so Peggy and I stopped, and looked at the route. Yup, we did miss some turn. We couldn’t tell where, but all that mattered is getting back on the course and onto the lunch stop.
I pulled out Google Maps, and had it route us the quickest way to Juanamaria Park. The ETA there would be an hour … damn! The thought in my head is I hope we will get there before the lunch stop closes. Google Maps took us through a bike path, and when you look on Google Maps, it looks like it wants you to go on the freeway (well Hwy 101). All it said was “turn right” but it didn’t mention a street. When we got there, I realized it wanted us to turn onto the bike path, which parallels Hwy 101. And boy, was that bike path dirty, and full of trash. We thought we would encounter some homeless camp there. Then, it took us on another bike path, but this time, it said “turn left”, and again, no street name. By that time, I figured it wanted us to go on another bike path.
Finally, we reached Junamaria Park, the lunch stop, approximately 1.25 hours later than expected, and there were still people there, with about 10 riders left behind us. We quickly fueled up, loaded food to go, and off we went, for the hardest part of the course, onto Ojai.
This is the part of the course where I anticipated I would be slower. Big thank you to Peggy for pulling me through Ventura Rd, till we got to the climbing portions of the ride. It was just a matter of time before I would lose sight of her. When we headed out to Dennison Grade and Ojai Summit, I knew I would be alone in the climb. There was no one in front of me, and no one behind me. This was a tough grind … not like Sierra Road or Hicks, but it still kicks your butt. As Peggy says, this was a MF’er climb.
On the way to the summit, I do see Peggy heading back in the other direction. I was meaning to tell her to go on ahead, and don’t wait for me, as I know I’d be trailing behind. She does have plans to do Double-Double (which is the same ride the following day …. one is enough for me).
When I got through Dennison Grade, and it flattens out, I thought I should be at the summit, right? Wrong. It descends a little bit before a couple of minor hills before we get to Ojai Summit. Oh, that’s cruel and unusual punishment.
Got to the summit before it turned dark, but I knew on the return, I would need my lights. By the time I got to the Mob Shop, for the next stop, it was definitely dark enough, where lights are required. This meant we had to climb Casitas in the dark. I didn’t anticipate this, but I was able to mount a light on the fork, near the hub of my front wheel. That worked out pretty good, as it would light up the road while I’m climbing. I figured I would use this, and save my main lights on the handlebars for the descent.
While climbing Casitas, there were just a few cars passing me, but there were tons of traffic coming the opposite direction (from the coast inland). The problem there was many cars had their high beams on, and at times, it would blind me for a split second. It’s a good thing there wasn’t any traffic behind me when that occurred.
For the descent, I had three lights, so visibility wouldn’t be an issue, but man, it was dark. Despite that, the descent was okay for me (although I was going extremely conservatively … aka slowly).
For the rest of the route, I hooked up with another group, who I recognized from previous doubles (Bass Lake and Davis), so I was not riding solo on the way back.
The original route was about 190 miles, but there was a detour which added 3 miles. With our extra detour, I ended up with 202 miles, 6942 ft climbing. The important thing is I made it back safely, and without any flats.
That’s DC #27 for me. Now to take it easy for the rest of the year, before ramping it up again for 2023.