The last time I rode a century was the last day of the last time I rode the coast. Today I rode from Marina Del Rey out to Camarillo and back, and learned a few things:
- A century (100 miles) hurts more than it did twenty years ago.
- But I can still do one.
- And I don’t think it hurt any more than the 72 miles I did two weeks ago.
- My knees hurt, though, so I’m definitely going to need to do something about that. The last time I rode the coast I had knee problems as well, but it didn’t set in until after several days. We’ll see if a knee brace fixes it the way it did the last time.
- I’m still not fully comfortable on the recumbent. I took a tumble while starting up once today.
- I am the slowest person to ride the distances I do. Everyone passes me, but I get there anyway so I’m happy. Plus, I assume that many of them aren’t riding as far as I am. 🙂
- A recumbent (mine at least) is no faster than regular bikes going downhill or on the level — I say this because I don’t coast downhill any faster than other bikes, so obviously I’m not more aerodynamic.
- A recumbent (mine at least) really sucks going uphill.
- That said, my recumbent is definitely more comfortable than a regular bike. The only soreness I’m feeling now is in my legs, my knees (expected), and the soles of my feet (expected). On a regular bike I would also have a sore neck, sore shoulders, sore crotch, and sore hands.
- I need to find a better way through Venice than the bicycle path. Despite the fact that it’s clearly marked for bikes only, crowds walk on it, skateboard on it, rollerblade on it, you name it on it. It’s frustrating because if bikes ride on the walkway, they get a ticket (Aja did). So where are the police handing out tickets to pedestrians at least? Sooner or later I’m going to run into someone if I keep riding that thing.
- Heading south through Malibu is faster by bike than by car at 5pm on a Saturday. I passed hundreds of cars on my way home. One jerk honked his horn behind me when there was no space in the bike path to the right because of parked cars and there was about fifty feet of empty space in front of me. As soon as there was room I moved over, he zoomed past making gestures at me. A minute later he was stopped in traffic as I rode past. I feel no shame that I waved good-bye as I left him behind.
- I’m getting stronger: for anyone who doesn’t know, a modern bike generally has three chainrings (the ones in front), and this time I didn’t have to use the smallest (easiest) chainring while hitting the hills in Malibu. The last time I did.
- You can get sunburn on your face even if your back is to the sun, even if you have a hat on. <sigh> I went to the trouble of putting a brim on my helmet. It looks really silly, but I respect the sun, and I don’t want to get burned. My face was never in direct sunlight, and in fact my back was to the sun the whole way to Camarillo, but I sunburned my face anyway. I had Bullfrog sunblock with me, so I was able to stop the burn, but I can tell it’s going to be painful anyway.
- Never leave your bike outside a gas station unlocked, even if the gas station is busy.
Regarding that last one, I was at a gas station in Malibu on my way home, and as usual I tossed a lightweight combo lock on my bike. It wasn’t attached to anything, but at least no one could ride it away — not that that’s all that likely anyway given that it’s a recumbent and intimidating looking. Actually not just intimidating looking, but intimidating-riding as well. I think most people would just fall over if they tried to steal my bike 🙂
Unfortunately for him, he had a regular bike, and while he was in the gas station someone either rode it away or tossed it in a truck. He even had his cell phone on the bike. I offered him mine but he said he had no one to call. I offered to come back in an hour to pick him up after I got home, but he thanked me and walked away. Not sure what he was planning to do. He said he lived in the valley so he certainly wasn’t going to walk home, especially since he was wearing standard road cycling shoes, which are not make for walking: imagine high heels, but with no heels.
Anyway, I’m worn out but it was a lot of fun. Here’s an image of a map, linked to the real thing: