Okay, I’m back for another one in SoCal, this time a 300 km jaunt around Orange County and the surrounds. It retraces some of the 200 km route from last month but adds a big inland section before returning to the coast. A quick glance at the map told me that I would be riding some familair and friendly roads. That would turn out not to be entirely true, and there were a few other surprises waiting for me too!

There was a nice group of people at the start, I counted about 35 or so riders total. The weather forecast looked pretty good and I was ready to ride. We rolled out from the start at about 6:00 am and the adventure had begun. This time though, rather than give you a blow by blow account of the day’s events I thought I would keep it a little more simple and just list the high-lights and the low-lights of the day. People who were there will know exactly what I mean and people who weren’t there will at least have a clue about how the ride went that day.

Things I liked:

  • Another beautiful sunny day in SoCal.
  • Seeing many of my riding friends again.
  • Riding early in the day on quiet bike paths.
  • Being able to ride in shorts and short sleeves for most of the day.
  • Group riding with experienced riders.
  • The big climb of the day up Clinton Keith Rd.
  • Having a pretty good finish time (for me).

Things that I didn’t like so much:

  • Southern California traffic.
  • Cruel headwinds on the Santa Ana River trail.
  • Corona, Lake Elsinore and a few other armpit communities.
  • Carnacho Rd, the road from hell!
  • Sandia Creek Rd, the son of the road from hell!
  • Sleeping Indian Rd, the daughter of the son of the road from hell.
  • Climbing a maximum grade of 24.7 percent!
  • Descending a maximum grade of 22.8 percent!!
  • Headwinds going down the San Luis Rey trail.
  • Riding the shoulder of Interstate 5 through Camp Pendleton, the road to hell.
  • Riding alone through skechy neighborhoods in the dark. Hell.
  • The seeming endless climb up Marguerite Parkway, the climb from hell.
  • Being mostly wrong about what to expect on this ride!

To clarify a few points from above. This ride seemed to take in more unpleasant areas than other rides I have done in SoCal. I found myself more often than not wishing I were somewhere else. Carnacho Road is an evil road, full of unpleasant short steep climbs and crappy pavement. Sandia Creek Road is also evil though not quite as bad. Sleeping Indian Road is only slightly better than Sandia Creek. These three roads, along with some of the bad neighborhoods we passed through kind of ruined the ride for me. This is probably not a ride that I would consider doing again, though I am glad I finished it in a reasonable time. 16 hrs, 26 min total time with 14 hrs 17 min on the bike. When I got home I was checking the metrics on my bike computer and I saw that my max speed peaked at 66.7 mph. I remember the section because it was so rough that I could not look down at my computer. I let it run a little because the road was straight but I was on the brakes the whole time. Holy shit, this is as fast as I have ever been on a road bike! My previous top speed was a rather sedate 59 mph. I guess the moral of the story is that when you are riding through hell, you had better ride like hell!

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