6:00 am  February 13,  2016,  Solana Beach CA

Corona-300a

This would be my first event of any real distance this year. I signed up for it in part because I really like the route, but also because it fit in well with my availability. Still, doing nearly 200 miles in one day with no mileage base was going to be a challenge.

The route was one big loop, starting in Solana Beach and heading up the coast for over 60 miles to Newport Beach before turning inland on the Santa Ana River Bike Trail. Then, 30 miles inland to Corona before heading south roughly on Old Hwy 395 to Escondido. A final dash down Del Dios Hwy would bring us back to the start, the parking lot of the Amtrak Station in Solana Beach. Our outbound route took us through Camp Pendleton on our way up the coast.

Corona-300c

The morning air was a little chilly, in the mid 40’s for the first few hours. The sun only really came out once I got about 10 miles inland and then it made itself known. After our cool morning, the temps got into the mid 80’s and stayed there for hours. That’s pretty warm for a guy who has mostly been skiing lately!

Corona 300b

After checking in at the San Clemente control, we continued up the coast on both the PCH and local bike routes. Riding early in the morning was very pleasant on these otherwise busy routes.

Corona-300e

I had ridden with a couple of other riders early in the day before becoming the lantern rouge of the ride, after having to make of couple of personal stops in the morning. Upon my arrival in Corona I was happy to see some others at the control. Larry, Makoto and Lisi were still there when I arrived. I would keep them in sight for much of the rest of the day, often overlapping with them at the controls.

Corona-300f

Heading south from Corona we had very favorable winds which I was grateful for. But, I had gotten behind on my hydration in the heat, and could not make the best use of these tailwinds. Later on in Temecula, as it was getting dark again, I discovered a new problem, my headlight had failed and it was dead as can be! While in Temecula I searched around for a temporary fix, eventually finding a cheap flashlight at a store about a mile off the route. All I needed was a temporary fix since I had left a spare light in a drop bag in the bushes about 10 miles up the road. Once I got to that I should be good!

I was very pleased to be well equipped again, and after my mid-ride doldrums I was also starting to feel good again. It is amazing to me still that at 150 miles into a ride you can still get a second wind, or maybe it was just the light. Either way I didn’t care, I was now at the last control with 18 miles to go and starting to feel good again. A little Wendy’s chili and a coke and I was good to go!

Corona300_CW_map

Headed towards the coast it was getting cool and foggy again and I was wearing all of my gear. I pulled into the Amtrak Station (and the finish) just after 10 pm and noticed that my rear tire was getting soft. Now that was good timing, a flat tire just at the finish! Our RBA Greg Olmstead got me checked in and after some pizza and a cold drink I was done! Thanks again to Greg and the San Diego Randonneurs for another great event!

P.S.  The bike I rode for this event was my 1991 Sancineto, which is not exactly a brevet bike, but it rides so nicely I thought it would do for this shorter event. It rode flawlessly all day and got me home safe! The bike may have even been older than some of the riders that day!

 

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