LA River Ride Century

What do you do the day after a 3/4 Marathon Training Run/Race? You do a century ride, of course? Clay and I headed down to Griffith Park – the Autrey Museum for the Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition’s LA River Ride Century. The ride looked simple enough.. Down the LA River Bike path to Long Beach, south on the Long Beach shoreline bike path then inland on the San Gabriel River bike path until 50 miles, then turn around.

I chose this one, it would NOT have been Hill Killer Clay’s choice for a ride. I chose it because it was this weekend – the last before Sierra to the Sea. Beside’s I kind of like to see the urban sights from time to time. The first part (and the last part) of the ride, however were not quite what I expected. Apparently there is some construction somewhere on the bike path so they rerouted the first 16.6 miles through East LA. It was kind of fun riding along with a pack of riders seeing downtown, the 5th street bridge, Boyle Heights, and well a desolate Sunday morning industrial area….

Then we got on the bike path and headed south. There was just a bit of a headwind coming from LA’s natural Sea Breeze, and the path was kind of narrow, so pelotons formed as we rode along. I had started rather lethargically due to Saturday’s run and the lingering quad soreness from Thursday. But by the time we were on the path we seemed to be with riders about my speed.

After a couple more miles Clay sped ahead of the line. At first I stayed in line, but then I put in a little extra effort and passed the line as well. Clay was 100m or so ahead and I slowly gained on him. The line went with me right on my back tire. We had caught him and I tried to call out to tell him we were there so he could quit waiting for me… just then, thinking that he was still way ahead, he suddenly slowed and veered right. I braked and had to go right as well as my tire was next to his….. I avoided hitting him, but then I went down. Amazingly the 8 or 10 other riders right behind me all missed me. It could have been bad. I jumped up with a bloody elbow and a skinned up knee but felt good to go. After a couple more minutes we were on our way.

We lost some time stopping at the next couple of aid stations seeking some medical attention… I needed to clean out bandage a very bloody elbow. We washed it out at one station, but there was no first aid, at the next they had some band aids… it took several. At Long Beach they had a couple of larger pads and some antibiotic spray… We re-bandaged it there.

The rest of the ride went great. We got to run into a few AV Riders: Nestor Ponce De Leon was there with us at the start. We ran into Mark Covert a couple of times along the way… and Dan Calderon… and a whole club of AV cyclists with LAKEYS Jerseys. They are Philippino riders from the AV. Dan and Rob Perez are members.

The last 1/3 of the ride was from Long Beach back to Los Angeles on the river path and through the streets. Clay headed off ahead of me for some extra credit. He got ahead and rode extra in the park till I got there. I held a good pace only stopping at one of the aid stations. On the return trip we were routed onto a stretch of river trail we had not used at the beginning. This was between the 110 and Griffith Park. It was pretty. There was water in the river, trees growing in the middle, people out for walks and rides, and yes a few homeless camps…. There was a cycling shop and cafe that looked like a fun place to stop…. Spoke Bicycle Cafe … but with only a few miles to go… i sped on by.

I finished with 99.24 miles and was tempted to continue for .75 more…. but I didn’t… close enough…. This was only my 2nd Century ride and the 2nd longest ride ever… It would also be my fastest Century ride!

Day after injury report: My legs feel great. They were up to the challenge of the weekend. My back and neck however feel like they were in an accident. The back is a little stiff…. not too bad and my neck is even more sore and stiff. I had to use my hands to lift my head as I sat up to get out of bed this morning…. I’ll be feeling it the next few days.

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