I took an extra day off on Friday, and drove down to Ventura to do the Cool Breeze Century. This is a really fun century, and is really well supported. It’s less than 4000 feet total climbing, so make no doubt about this … this is a fun, social century.
Getting to the ride start, directions tell you to exit on Stanley Ave. off of Hwy 33. However, when I get there, it was jammed. Took me about 15 minutes to get off the freeway, and into the parking lot. Wow, that’s the first time I’ve had a traffic jam like that for an organized ride. This is just like trying to get to a Dodgers game or a concert.
Finally got to the start to meet up with Herb. It’s great to see Herb, and ride with him again. Also met up with his friend Mike, and on queue, we roll at 7 am.
As we roll, we could see more people waiting to get off the freeway … Maybe the organizers should recommend taking California Ave off-ramp as an alternative. I heard someone in the parking lot trying to guide their friend in … that traffic jam was just terrible. We even waved to some who were just coming in.
As expected, there were a ton of riders on the road. The beginning of the route had a narrow bike path, so it was hard to get past some of the slower riders ahead of us, so it was a relaxed easy pace for the first 10 miles or so. The first rest stop was at 15 miles … jeez, hardly enough to get my heart rate above 110 bpm. So we skipped this, and headed onto some climbs. Once we got onto the climbs, the sun pops out, and perfectly timed too. By the time we got to the peak of the climbs, we were treated to great views.
I was feeling really good out there … maybe part of it was the relaxed pace early on. As soon as the hills came out, I decided to flex my legs, and powered it up the hill … getting my heart rate up to the 170’s. Nice!
One famous landmark on this route was mailbox in the form of a cyclist. I later found out this is the property of Theodore Roosevelt Gardner II, who has a number of interesting sculptures throughout his property. And where is the mail stored? Out his rear end, where else?
It’s a good thing I was riding this for fun, otherwise I would have missed this. I just had to stop and take a pic of this. Too many times, we are so focused on riding, that we never notice interesting sites as we zoom passed.
Michael was having some mechanical problems while on the climb. It seems that there was some issues with his hub. We definitely have to have it checked out when we get to the lunch stop.
On to the lunch stop. Who do I find there? Shai !!! … It was good to see him. For once, he’s not doing a 200 or 300 mile ride, but he was doing this on a fixie … what?
While at lunch stop, we also caught up with MarkAJ … another from socalbikeforums … it’s so cool to come down to SoCal, and meet up with friends. This is the social aspect of riding … yay!
Mike’s rear hub definitely has issues, and will probably have to get it looked at when getting home. We rolled on, but soon after leaving lunch, Mike still had some issues. The wheel still locked up, and eventually he had to give in and sag it in. That’s so sad, as this is his first century.
Herb and I carried on, and we bypassed the next rest stop, and will hold off until we get to the Rincon rest stop. When I got to Rincon, I was pleasantly surprised to see Mike there. He got sagged to another rest stop, where he ran into a cycling version of McGiver. They were able to jerry-rig the hub back to life, and he was then able to ride on. So he won’t get a full century in, but at least he’ll get in a good 80 miles or so.
Cool Breeze is famous for having the popsicle stop at Rincon … so I just had to have a picture with me and my popsicle. Other rides will have their signature (Davis Double for their chilli bowl), and Cool Breeze has its popsicles. It’s a terrific backdrop too, with the pacific ocean in the background.
Ok, now on for the final stretch .. 15 more miles and another century will be in the books.
The route back to the start begins with a little stretch along Hwy 101, and it straddles along the ocean side as we approach Ventura. For some reason, traffic was really slow along this stretch.
(Update: I later found out two women got caught in an accident along 101 on bike path (perhaps got caught by turbulence of the tail end of a big rig). They had to stop traffic and airlift the cyclist. Shai took a short video of this, and you can see this at http://picasaweb.google.com/shprung/CoolBreeze82010#5508009791741519346
Got back to the finish, and logged in 101 miles, 3971 feet climbing. This was a great ride, a fun ride … This may be my new favorite ride.