It had been dark a few hours, after I had suffered in the dry heat of Temecula (with no sun block! argh!), and I was riding along the Santa Ana River Trail heading toward the ocean from Corona. I heard my phone beeping with a txt message and knew I was nearing a spot Mike and I had stopped on back on the 300k. I only wanted to stop somewhere I could pee and get water at the same time (literally). The txt was from Sasha, asking me how I was doing and what mile I was at. The answer: Great and 205. I was surprised. I felt really, really good. Then I realized, that outside of the Furnace Creek 508, I didn’t ride a single double century last year. Or even a really long ride outside of 2 solo 24-hour mountain bike races. I only rode one double in 2009 (the Alta Alpina Challenge which is SO great).
Was that a break from really long distance? Is it new again? My only thought at the time: I just really do love to ride my bike. It’s that simple sometimes. I can’t explain it any more. It’s just like I felt when I was six and tooling around on my BMX. The joy is beyond words.
The route for the 400k had coast, desert, mountains, lakes, repeat. I rolled with a fast group for too long, got a flat, went to a bike shop off route (thanks to my friend Steve and the folks at Redlands Cyclery! I was like a rockstar rolling in at mile 150 with over a hundred to go. They totally took care of me and my squeaky bike!). Rode through Loma Linda (my alma mater!) and the new-ish north-of-Corona Santa Ana River Trail. Also got lost twice and carried my bike though a construction site and over a hill to get back on route.
Finished about midnight. 19 hours. I was a bit silly as I was on only 3 hours sleep to begin with. Willie, the organizer, and I rode together a fair bit of the last 30 miles. My friend Shaun, who was on fixed gear, and I carpooled so I napped in Willie’s living room while I waited. He didn’t get in till 6am (25 hours!) mostly because he stayed with some slower folks to help them through the night. Sleeping in the organizer’s living room, how many events offer that?
We drove back to LA around 7am, drank some coffee and Shaun headed home. When my housemates woke up an hour later we went mountain biking in Cheeseboro Canyon. Good training, right? Finished off the day with some Vinh Loi Tofu.
Maybe too epic too soon? It’s not even Spring yet and I’m counting down the days to summer.