Tag Archives: Biking

Disneyland half marathon results

First, I forgot to post my results for the Jet to Jetty 10K on August 22nd — 57:08. Not as fast as I hoped, but a significant improvement on the last 10K I ran in October 2008. That was 1:08:42.7, so peeling off well over eleven minutes feels pretty good.

So for the half marathon, I finished in 2:13:08. Not quite my goal of ten minute miles, and nowhere near my stretch goal of two hours, but not bad overall. There was a ton of congestion for the first several miles, and I had to take an unexpected break for a few minutes in the middle to (ahem) lighten the load a bit. One thing I notice in the results is that several people who finished with near my chip time (actual time on the course) finished with nearly the same clock time (time since the start of the race). That means they started at nearly the beginning of the race, which I think only happens if you sign up for a highly competitive pace. Optimists, or dissemblers?

All in all it was a good experience, but if I run another half marathon, I’m going to be looking for one that’s not so popular, or just measuring out the distance myself. I don’t need bands and screaming cheerleaders to keep me moving.

I do need a change of clothes, I think. My shirt and shorts were saturated long before the finish, and I wonder what effect that has on performance. Keeping cool is critical, and sweating does no good if you’re already soaked.


Running sucks

Okay, I guess it doesn’t really, but I certainly seem to suck at it. I can ride a century on my bike, but running for a few hours hurts — a lot. I let one of my friends talk me into signing up for the Disneyland Half Marathon, so I’ve been training at running for a bit.

The 10K I ran this past Saturday was supposed to be my last long distance run prior to the half marathon, but I felt good tonight so I decided to run around the marina. Then I got the idea of running around the marina and on the way back running each of the streets that project into the marina as well. That totals 11.6 miles per Google Maps, and I finished in about 2:02 (I wasn’t timing, so that’s based on the playlists I went through). Not exactly the sub-two hours half-marathon I was looking for, but it will have to do. Here’s a picture of the route, linked to a map:

That's a long way.

That's a long way.

Tired now. Going to sleep.

The Riddler stole my daughter’s bike


There’s no other explanation for it — my daughter’s beach cruiser was stolen yesterday, and the Riddler was involved.

Background: We live in Marina Del Rey, in a 900 unit apartment complex, all the way in back, far away from the main street. We lock our bikes in front of our car, in a parking structure that is halfway underground but open so you see (and be seen) in two directions. To secure the bikes I bought heavy (3/8″) cables and locks. We store three bikes there: two beach cruisers we bought two years ago for my daughter and her friend for about $100 each, and my recumbent, which cost substantially more than that. All the bikes are locked with the same single cable. My recumbent is the outermost bike, since I’ve been riding it a lot recently. The beach cruisers are dusty and rusty from two years of mostly sitting in the sea air. and their tires are low on air.

The scene of the crime: Yesterday afternoon we went out to the car and immediately saw that something was wrong: my recumbent was in the parking space next to ours, on its side, unlocked. Then we saw that our daughter’s cruiser had been stolen. The other cruiser, identical but for color, was still there, and my recumbent (albeit tossed to the side). The cable was cut clean through, seemingly in one cut. I’m not sure how big a set of cable cutters that would take, but I was surprised.

That's disappointing.

That's disappointing.

Given that the cruiser cost $100 and was beat up and rusty, we wondered why anyone would take it. We figured that since bike theft is a low priority for the police and we know that there are no cameras in our parking garage, we would just have to live with the loss.

Then I noticed the set of perfect prints on the hood of our car. The right hand, all five fingers. They couldn’t have been any clearer if there had been a mug shot beside them. So we called the sheriffs. They told us there had been a string of bike thefts that day, so it would take some time for them to come out.

When the sheriff arrived, she said that yes, there had been several bikes stolen that day. She said that thieves will often ride out solo on a junker bike, find a bike they like, and leave the junker behind, riding away on the stolen bike. She wasn’t sure whether the fingerprint person would be available on a Sunday.

It starts to get weird: When we started giving her a description of the bike — beach cruiser, red, rusty handlebars, bike bell — she recognized the bike. It had been left at the scene of another bike theft two blocks away. She drove over there and came out with our daughter’s bike.

Riddle me this: What is the logic to this? The thief arrived at our complex — somehow. Then he stole our daughter’s bike, rode it two whole blocks, dumped it there stealing another, more expensive bike. I can think of no way this works out better than just starting with the other bike. He (they caught him on video at the other place) could have walked from our apartment to the other place in less than ten minutes. The only explanation: the Riddler is involved, and he’s trying to confuse us.

On the plus side: It now appears that my recumbent is theft-proof. This is the second time in nine days that a bike thief has looked at my bike and said, “no thanks.” Gotta be happy about that.


84 Miles of bad road

Yesterday’s ride was about 84 miles, and some of them went well. Here’s an image of the map, linked to the real thing:


D (with A underneath it) is the start/end point. B is as far as I got. C is where, on the way back, I bonked big time. I was at a grocery store wondering what I could possibly eat that would let me keep biking. I drank about a quart of milk and it seemed to help. By the time I hit Santa Monica I was feeling alright again.

Before this ride I made a small adjustment to my bike: I reclined the seat about 5-10 degrees. The change to the riding configuration wasn’t that noticeable, but it had a large impact on the way the bike handled bumps in the road. The bike isn’t suspended front or rear — here’s a picture of a bike like mine:


Every bump was like a punch straight to my back. I’m going to have to see if I can put a rubber shim in between the back support and the seat.

My first century in nearly a quarter century

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:


72 miles and sore

I’m considering bicycling back to Los Angeles from Humboldt University after I drop Aja off there in August. That would require riding sixty to a hundred miles most days to get it done in a reasonable amount of time. When civilization is sparse, there’s a level of flexibility you get if you can cover at least a century without struggling too much. I wanted to find out how close I am to that, so yesterday I rode to Long Beach and back after work, and today I headed north.

I got as far as Pt. Mugu State Park, then turned around and headed back, for a total of a bit over 72 miles. Here’s a map:


C (the end point) overlaps A (the starting point). Combined with yesterday, that’s 125 miles in two days. That would likely get me home on time, but I’d want to do better than that. Nevertheless, as a proof of concept for the ride, I think this qualifies. I’m sore now, but I think I could do it again tomorrow, and I have six weeks to prepare.

Also, this ride took six and a half hours. I had more hills today than yesterday, but fewer stoplights. At that pace I could do a century in a little over nine hours. I’d be happier with 8, but like I said, six weeks to prepare…

53 miles, and ready for more

I’m considering riding back to Los Angeles from Humboldt University after I drop Aja off there in August. Last weekend I rode sixty miles, but that was just one day. To make it down the coast I’d have to ride at least sixty miles a day, day after day, and maybe as much as a hundred miles on some days. I figure this weekend is a good time to try out riding several days in a row. Today after work I took off south along the coast and then rode back home. Here’s the map:

Out and back.

Out and back.

That’s about 53 miles. I left work at about 4pm, and got home at about 9pm. I’d be happier if I were faster, but I can live with it. I felt good toward the end, ready to go farther.

The real test comes tomorrow, though. If I can book 60 miles tomorrow and still feel good, I’ll start to think I can make it from Humboldt to Los Angeles in a reasonable amount of time.