The PCH Randonneurs in addition to the full schedule of events they offer, always have some great early season events to ride. This one I have done a time or two now and is a great route. Here is a brief photo essay of the days highlights!

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It was a little chilly at the start but quickly got colder as we climbed up into the citrus orchards along Grimes and Balcom Canyon Roads. The solid ice on the crops from the irrigation systems meant that temps were well down into the 20’s in this section. We were way past this being a heavy frost! At the first control we were happy to see Fosters smiling face to greet us. I thought I saw his name on the roster ride but here he was instead watching out for us.

pch200bA nice section of rollers on Foothill Road brought us into Ventura which seemed busy for this time of day. It was still cool but the air was exceptionally clear and the views were amazing!

Here we are just starting up the Ventura River bike trail. It was shortly after this pic that I got a flat front tire. In true randonneur spirit everyone on the ride who passed my by while I did my repair asked if I needed help. Where else in the world of sport do you get that? It was an easy fix and I was soon on my way.

This bike path led us to Santa Ana Road, a popular local cycling route. By this time of day we started seeing others cyclists out riding, but were already forty or more miles and 3 hours into our ride while they were just starting out!

Kerin and Renee at control #3

Kerin and Renee at control #3

Corner Market was our last chance to stock up before the climb over Casitas Pass. It is not a hard climb but the double summit can be a surprise for those not familiar with the route. There were many more cyclists out on the road now that it had warmed up some. They must have thought us over-dressed but we knew that they had sat in a warm coffee shop until it was warm enough to venture out!

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View of the lake on the climb to the pass

View of the lake on the climb to the pass

These local club riders did not seem too friendly to me. Even though I would offer them a greeting as they passed me by; even after two dozen or more riders overtook me I got no response. Maybe I didn’t know the secret code word or something.

Arm and leg warmers were great to have on for the descent into Carpinteria but when I made it back down to the coast it was time to shed some clothes!

The lunch stop was an open control so I picked my spot and had a quick snack before going again. I think some of the other riders must have lingered here a bit as will become apparent later. The route for the rest of the ride was quite familiar to me, so I would only have to the sheet for the control locations.

Mussel Shoals

Pelicans at Mussel Shoals

This next part of the route is what I come here for, the blue skies, the surf & sand as well as the island views. Today the air was exceptionally clear and the view of the islands was spectacular! As a bonus there was a quartering tailwind here, which if it stayed would blow me all the way home.  I started this return leg riding alone but before I got back to Ventura I was caught by a couple of other riders. Before I knew it I would have even more company!

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Control #5 was getting a little busy

A pair of riders on recumbents picked me up on the way in to Oxnard, then suddenly, several others pulled up. It looked like I would have lots of company from here on in! This new group was pretty social and we were riding two by two, chatting it up. It made the ride quite enjoyable and go quickly too! The finishing leg on the climb up Santa Rosa Road went by quickly and soon we were finished. Total ride time was 9 hrs 14 minutes got us in well before dark.pch200h

Before we knew it we were back at the finish and a wonderful wood-fired Pizza social that is becoming the buzz of the Rando community. Greg and Lisa sure know how to finish an event! Other regions RBA’s should take notice!

Thanks once again to Greg and Lisa Jones and the other PCH Randos volunteers for all they do to host these events. Us refugees from colder climates appreciate all that you do!

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