Friday, February 16, 2007

California - Day Ten - PCH

I was planning on doing a many hour ride today, something like a Palomar attempt. But after waking up a bit late and feeling sapped of energy, I decided to wait a bit and do a shorter ride. In the past I've come back from California with no speed whatsoever and get into serious trouble the first time I race. I wanted to work on that today. Unlike Connecticut, there aren't a lot of flat roads with lots of truck traffic going 35-40 mph. They're all hilly and the trucks are going 50+. A bit fast for me.

I did manage to catch a nice oil rig and sat behind it for a while at 45+ mph. I had to get across a two lane "exit" (i.e. I was on the right and had to get to the third lane to go straight). As the traffic started moving, I jumped to get up to car speed, moved over to the third lane, and accelerated up to the truck. I was immediately in the 11 tooth and flying. Safe though, as I didn't have to cut through about 40 cars while going 20 or 25 mph.

I turned onto the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) and went north, a direction I've never taken. I think the Top Gun house (where Maverick met what's her name for dinner) is there but I didn't see it.

I caught up to a couple guys but trailed behind. You know, not to make an ass out of myself. One guy was super fit. Even suspiciously super fit. All his muscles bounced up and down as they flexed and relaxed. That's fine for the calf muscles, that would be normal. But for his quads, triceps, shoulders... It just seemed a bit too much. Anyway, he might have been a really good former pro or something but it's just unusual to see a rider that defined and muscular.

A pickup truck passed me very slowly but very closely even though the left lane was clear for about 1/4 mile. He then went up to the next two guys and carefully placed his mirror about 6" away from the fit rider's head. I was shocked enough to freeze (I wanted to yell a warning) and although the mirror went over the guy's shoulder, it didn't hit his head.

This got me a bit mad. The truck driver obviously drove as close as possible to the rider.

I did a long, steady acceleration to catch the truck and got his plate. He seemed to have something for cyclists as pulled right up to me at a light, then slowly drove around me, and then essentially turned through a cyclist waiting at the light (the cyclist had to move over else the truck's midsection would have run him over). All done very slowly. If anyone in SoCal has a problem with a black pickup with a shiny silver toolbox across the back, get his plate.

Anyway, I caught up with the fit guy and he was really nice. A serious regional rider but not a pro. We went our own ways and I ended up riding along the beach in Oceanside. It was like an early summer day - there were people laying out, throwing frisbee's around, walking in the surf. Incredible. I guess that's SoCal for you.

Tomorrow is supposed to be beautiful again. So I think my friend and I will be able to do a nice ride. Sunday gets a bit cooler, then Monday would be short as I am traveling back home.

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