This was kind of a make up ride for me. I had intended to do the PCH 200k on January 8, but a family crisis forced me to cancel. I was able to reschedule to do this trip at the last minute. The weather forecast was perfect with inland temps in the 80’s, and 70’s along the coast and there was a predicted tailwind for the end of the ride! Recent rains had also left their impression on the landscape and there was green grass everywhere.

The ride started just at sunrise which meant, no lights and no reflective gear was required. That is pretty good for the short days of January! At the start I was able to visit with a number of friends I’ve made over the years from other events here in SoCal. It is always good to see the guys and gals you have ridden with before! I think that about 80 riders started the event which is a great turnout for an early season ride. The group stayed together for a short while but traffic controls and hills split the ride up into several bunches before long.

The course seemed pretty hilly in the first half. I don’t know the exact elevation gain for the route but I would guess that it was about 6000 feet. As a result I was pretty slow to the lunch control at mile 67. I haven’t ridden many hills since last September and it was apparent. I would rate the rider support on this event as just okay. I usually dont expect any support but when it is provided it is an appreciated bonus. On this ride some minimal food supplies were provided and that was great. The only problem was that they were out of almost everything (including water) at most of the stops when I arrived, which meant that I was on my own for these things. I guess my only complaint would be that the faster riders had access to support that slower riders did not. I know it not a race but I did feel a little neglected.

I also noticed that a number of riders appeared to have shortcut the course in some small ways. Riders that I had passed previously were suddenly in front of me waiting at a stop light, or I would come out of a side street (on the route) and several brevet riders would blow by in front me on a main street (off route). Not that it really mattered in the results, its just that local knowledge of how to get there seemed to take precedent over the route guide. I did not have the benefit of local knowledge.

The predicted tailwind did appear and the cruise back down the coast was great. I caught a group of 4 in the last few miles and was able to roll in to the finish before dark with these riders in 10 hours and 4 minutes. 30 riders would finish behind our group of 5 which put me about mid-pack. I am happy with the result since my last ride with any mileage was back in early October.

I do not yet know how this year will pan out for my longer events but I think that I should at least be able to get in quite a few 200 and 300k rides. We will see what the rest of the year brings!

P.S. The above comments were not meant to be criticisms of the event or the organizers. They were simply observations that were made during the course of the ride. I admire the San Diego Randonneurs and the program they have put together.

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