Happy New Year!
If you are reading this, you have made it to 2018! We're gearing up for another great year at La Grange, so read on as we get the new year underway!
Club Photo - January 20
Please join us in your new kit at 7:30am on Saturday, January 20 for our annual club photo. Yes, in years past we have scheduled the club photo for November but since our new kit order closed in October with delivery mid-December, we decided it made a lot more sense to wait until January to take the club photo. Be a part of history! Come to San Vicente/Ocean and if you can, bring a spare jersey for any members who missed out on the new kit. You will also be able to get your 2018 member card, which gets you, among other things, the much sought-after $1 Peet's discount.
Helen's Night - February 26
If there is one night a year where you want to tap into your cycling slush fund, Helen's Night is the night! We will be able to announce the deals soon, but you won't want to miss this! We will be providing plenty of food and drink, so come hungry! We are working on putting together a range of great deals for you, from bikes to helmets to shoes to tires to a lot more! So stay tuned for details!
2018 Event Calendar
At our upcoming January 10 board meeting, we will be completing our annual calendaring exercise, where we will map out our major events for the year - La Grange Cup, the annual picnic, the annual banquet and of course lots more. We'll announce the calendar and you'll be able to see everything in the Events section of the website.
Double Century Report
THE 2017 DEAD OF WINTER DOUBLE
by Edgar Burcksen
I was determined in 2016 to do 5 Double Centuries but at the end of April hurrying to the start of the La Grange Tuesday ride one mile from home I crashed when my wheel caught the edge of an on ramp to the Expo bike path. When a passer-by helped me up I noticed something on my right leg was not attached anymore: an X-ray confirmed that my femur was broken close to the hip. After some titanium screws and six weeks of recovery I was allowed to get on the stationary bike to get my legs moving again. Then another complication: although I thought that I did not hit the pavement with my head because there was no scratch on my helmet they had not done a CT scan. But my right arm got numb and I could not remember the most obvious things like the date. I was hurried to the emergency room where they did a CT scan and noticed that fluid was pressing against my brain inside my skull. I had an emergency brain surgery where they drilled some holes in my skull to relieve the pressure. This was more serious than the broken femur and I was in intensive care for a few days and the recovery was much more tenuous than I expected. In the first week of September the brain surgeon allowed me back on the stationary and by the end of September I was back on my regular bike again.
It took me until January 2017 to finally feel I was back again when at the GMC Winter camp in Solvang I climbed the back of Figueroa Mountain and descended back into Buellton. After all the medical issues of the previous year and reaching my seventieth birthday in May my wife Jana thought I was finally done with these crazy Double Century rides. I did not feel strong enough to do the Solvang Double but I was determined to do at least one more double to prove to myself that I was fully recovered from the disastrous 2016 year. So I convinced Jana that the LA Wheelmen’s Grand Tour would be perfect for that; it starts in Malibu, goes to Ojai and returns via the Lake Casitas Pass back along Highway 101 and PCH to Malibu. If I would not be able to carry on she could pick me up along the route and that would be it for my endurance cycling career. But I finished the ride and it was great to connect with some of my friends again and I started plotting another double. I signed up for the Hemet Double Century and left the registration form on the desk near the home computer so Jana would be able to find it… She was not happy about it but grudgingly allowed me back on my Doubles pursuit. In August I signed up for the Dead of Winter Double and if I would finish that one I would have earned another California Triple Crown. I rode the Hemet Double in my fastest time ever under perfect weather conditions.
The Dead of Winter Double century designed and organized by the legendary Kermit of the LA Wheelmen was held on Saturday December 2 and Sunday 3. Because of work I opted for the Sunday ride.
I started in Malibu at 4.30 AM and rode in a chilly moonlit darkness on PCH to Oxnard. It was cold early in the morning in the low 40’s and I hoped that when the sun would finally come up the temperature would rise to more pleasant levels. I arrived at the first rest stop in Oxnard at mile 36 around 7.30 AM. I was able to connect with a group of riders who went at a steady 20/21 mph on the long flats of Pleasant Valley Road. When we entered Camarillo they veered off to a CVS Pharmacy because one of the female riders needed a restroom break. I decided to soldier ahead on my own but that diminished my speed to about 18 mph. I never was able to connect with another group again so from there I basically rode all by myself. In Moorpark was the second rest stop at mile 68 and there I texted Jana where I was and that everything was OK. I had copied the route slip so she could see where I was and what I still had to do. After Moorpark the first climbs were Grimes Canyon and through Stockton into Balcom road. I hooked up with a guy who had done more than 50 Double Centuries. He was not a good climber so I dragged him to the tops of the two climbs but on the descend he just outpaced me and I never saw him again. From there it snaked through various flat stretches into Ventura and at mile 94 where rest stop 3 was our lunch was served. Lunch at this double is what you bring in a brown back to the start and they transport it to the rest stop at Juana Maria Park. I had packed two sandwiches, a banana and apple, some cookies and a bottle of tea. I texted Jana, charged my Garmin with my back up battery pack and had a quiet lunch. The temperature was in the low 70’s so it was a lot more agreeable now. After 45 minutes I climbed back on my bike again and rode up to Ojai on route 33 to rest stop 4 at mile 120. It was 4 PM and with the sun disappearing I tried to zip on my thermal vest. The zipper malfunctioned and with some safety pins I tied it up. From Ojai you ride along Lake Casitas on Highway 150 and climb on two hills to descend to the 101 at Rincon beach close to Carpentaria. Rest stop 5 at mile 150 was under the 101 overpass. It started to get dark and I prepared to turn on my lights. At a speed of about 18 mph I rode with a mild tailwind on the beautiful bike path along the 101 back to Ventura. It was getting cold again so I stopped at a gas station and got myself a hot tea and some chips. On to rest stop 6 in Oxnard at mile 172; I just let them register my number and continued to ride to Point Hueneme because it was 8 PM and I wanted to finish back in Malibu before 10 PM. Returning on PCH I stopped briefly at The Rock to eat a Bonkbreaker; I felt the wind softly blowing behind me and that promise of a tailwind gave me some new energy to forget my saddle pain and move on. I arrived safe and sound in Malibu a couple of minutes after 10 PM. The 2017 Dead of Winter Double was a little more than 200 miles with over 7000 Ft of climbing. It was my 25th Double Century ride and I earned my 7th California Triple Crown. I will of course never reach the more than 100 Double Centuries that the legendary LaGranger Paul Koppit did but if I keep on riding another ten years who knows I might reach 50…
It is heartbreaking to realize that the next day the Thomas Fire started raging in Ventura county and all the beautiful scenery I had passed on my way to Ojai and back has now been destroyed by the all consuming flames powered by forceful Santa Anna winds.
It's not a double century, but it's likely one of the toughest days you'll ever face on the bike. We have secured a discount code for the 2018 Belgian Waffle Ride. We can't post the code publicly on our website, so check your email inbox in the next couple days - we'll have all the details there.