Saturday, September 02, 2006

No Chain

In between listening to Bob Dylan's lush new album, I've managed to get out and turn the crank once or twice.

Today was a gorgeous day to go riding. Temperature perfect, and (at least at first) light winds, strictly in the same direction I was going. Best part: Look how deserted the beach is at 11:30 a.m. That means I don't have to keep braking to dodge two-year-olds whose parents aren't paying enough attention. Also guys who had a beer too many at the beach barbecue.

Striking to see in Long Beach harbor the history and the current phase of the shipping industry in a single frame.

Nationwide testing is supposed to improve reading ability across the board. No, she's not on a bike.

Huntington Beach was having a pirate convention. That place has gotten way more commercialized than the rest of the beach towns along the route.

I started out on this ride last weekend, until I got as far as West Newport and my rear derailleur cable crapped out. Six years of shifting gears wore it through. Could have kept on keeping on, using strictly the front set of sprockets--which would make the bike a three-speed--but I decided to head for home base instead of sticking my neck out further.

It felt really good to be out on the road again after nearly a full week's rest. Pro cyclists have an expression when a ride goes really well; they say it was like riding with no chain. In other words, you felt like your legs were going around with no resistance, and you just flew down the road, up the hills, around the corners.

This is south of Newport, riding toward Laguna Beach, around Crystal Cove. Beautiful road. As the guy who was pushing the pedals, I have to urge you to note that the road dips nearly down to the sea, then climbs back uphill again. This happened more than once. On the way down, with the wind behind me, I wasn't complaining. Yet. No chain, provisionally.

This is on the way back. Let's argue that it's about five miles from the southern point on my ride, so I rode about 65 miles. I didn't stick strictly to the route this sign refers to, and I didn't measure my exact mileage. I was having too much fun, on a three-day weekend with nothing else I had to rush home and get done.

(Actually, I wasn't even going to ride this far, but when I got to the turning point, the bike was rolling along so beautifully, I decided to add the extra 15-mile loop. Never ask yourself what it'll feel like on the way back.)

For those who know the area, I'd like to point out that in this picture I am looking down at the tops of the buildings at Fashion Island.

If you don't know the area, let's just say I climbed 35,000 feet to the tops of the cumulus clouds and got breathtaking views from there.

Newport Back Bay. I was taking a picture of the dredge they're using to keep the muck from piling up too far, and I caught a bird as a bonus. Beautiful nature preserve, and fine, mostly flat riding.

I got to a certain point and decided the wind was whipping a little too strongly in my face, so I pulled off the road and used the opportunity to rest and replenish my electrolytes with a beer or three, plus maybe a shot. This was part of a carefully calibrated strategy to avoid the roads just until the wind had died down enough to let me continue.

My legs complained much less all the rest of the way home.

1 comment:

Papa Bradstein said...

Ah, what a beautiful ride. I do miss those roads down around Newport Beach.