July 14 LA City Proclamation Day
Save the date! Sunday, July 14th, which is Bastille Day, the City of Los Angeles will present the club with a proclamation recognizing the club’s 50th anniversary at the start of the World Famous Nichols Ride at 8 am. We expect a huge turnout for this so be sure to mark it on your calendar now. Post ride crepes will be served at San Vicente and Ocean starting at 10 am!
2019 LG Cup TT
The 2019 LaGrange Cup TT will be help on Saturday, July 13 starting at 9 am. “The race of truth” as Phil Liggett would say! The 20K time trial follows the Pacific Coast Highway from Trancas to just south of The Rock. Like the sprint, you will be held in position, and then counted down to zero. The key to the time trial is to find the maximum speed you can maintain for the next 25+ minutes. PCH is mostly rollers with no real hills. Wind can be anything from a nasty headwind to an awesome tailwind! Bring your aero gear out for this one or borrow what you can. Every last bit of “go-fast” will help with your elapsed time!
Registration is open now. Click here to register. Registration closes on Thursday, July 11th at 9 pm.
La Grange Grand Prix
The La Grange Grand Prix on June 2, 2019, was an extraordinary bike racing experience. Everyone seemed to have a very positive experience from a racer’s perspective and a spectator’s perspective. Race Director Zach LaBry did an outstanding job and Race Czar Joe Duerr made it happen. Many many thanks goes out to thankless club volunteers who showed up starting at 3 am and many stayed until 8 pm to clear the venue of any trace of a bike race….and congrats to Steven Walter for winning the men’s 4/5 race at LGGP
La Grange Happy Hour Monday, June 24
Hotel Shangri-La at 1301 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, California 90401 hosted the happy hour last month.
June LG 50 for 50 Ride
LG member Troy Huerta was in charge of the June 50 for 50 ride. It was one of the largest turn outs we have had and support was provided by Dan Chapman. Thank you Dan!
Santa Barbara Century June 22
The annual La Grange Santa Barbara Century was another big event for the club. We started with around 35 people with some turning back at the Rock.
Grand Tour Double Century By Edgar Burcksen
After a suffering a broken femur on my right leg in April 2017, crashing on the ledge of a bike path ramp and six weeks later back on the home trainer getting brain surgery after an undiagnosed subdural hematoma caused by the crash, I got back on the bike end of September. Slowly I starting building up my strength until in February 2018 after climbing Nicols Canyon I went down again at the infamous “crash corner” at the start of the descend and broke the femur on my left leg. You can imagine that after this second crash my dear wife Jana was not very supportive when I got back on the bike. She relented when I promised I would take it easy now and at my 71st birthday I would not do these crazy long bike rides called double centuries anymore; before my crashes I had done 24 of them.
But when you ride your bike regularly, you still try to push yourself and at my age now 72 years old, you do not have speed anymore but endurance is still strong. So in the back of my head I started to boil a plan to do at least one more double century to reach the 25th mark. I started to do longer rides like to Las Posas and back (90 miles). When plans with riding buddies fell through to go to Santa Barbara for burgers and beer, I decided to go by myself and take the train back: another 91 miles ride. These rides were pretty flat so when Jana went to Northern Cal for a short outing to meet friends, I planned a long climbing ride. I went up Encinal, down Latigo, up Malibu Canyon, up Mulholland to Coldwater and down to SF Valley and finally up Sepulveda to go back home into Rancho Park: 90 miles and 6700 ft of climbing. I knew I was ready for a double century and signed up for the LA Wheelmen’s Grand Tour Highland Double Century. Jana was not happy about it but she gave her OK if I would be careful and text her at all the rest stops so she could follow my progress.
The Grand Tour has always been a 200-mile ride from Malibu to Ojai and back. But in my two year absence from doubles, it has shifted from Malibu to Port Hueneme. When I got the paperwork back from the organizers, I first noticed this change. For me it was always an easy half hour car trip to the start. When I took the trip to Port Hueneme on Friday for registration, it took me 1 ½ hours in heavy traffic to get there. If I wanted to start at 4am it meant getting up at 2am to get there in time for an early start. It would have been better to get a hotel room and start fresh without a long car ride before the ride.
On the way from LA to Port Hueneme there was construction on PCH in the middle of the night with a flagman and only one lane available. I waited at least 20 minutes before they let me through. After this delay and all the prep before you can start your ride, I rolled out at 5.15am. Because the elimination of the route from Malibu to Port Hueneme, the distance from Malibu on PCH had to be replaced. So they designed a loop from Port Hueneme and back ranging around 40 mostly flat miles through the strawberry fields of the Oxnard plain. I connected with a group of riders who were lead by Tony a guy on a fixy and they went at a crisp 22 mph. I was able to barely hang on with them through the first 35 miles but when Tony ramped up the speed to 24 mph I had to let them go and I hooked up with some stragglers of his group who also had fallen behind. We rode along at 18 to 20 mph to the first rest stop in Port Hueneme around 7am. I texted Jana that everything went fine.
The Grand Tour has two options, the Lowland and the Highland and after the first rest stop is where they diverge. I like to climb so I had chosen the Highland as always and it takes you from the Oxnard fields to the infamous Portrero Hill climb that maximizes out at 17%. When you stop at that grade you have to walk up because you cannot get back on your bike. Traffic is too dense to zigzag or go down and make a U-turn and get back up. I do the wall on Westridge every Thursday so these grades are not unusual for me. At the top of Portrero was the second rest stop: 60 miles. From there it was a rather easy and moderate climb on route 23 through Thousand Oaks to Moorpark to rest stop #3 at 87 miles.
Starting in Moorpark you have to climb the Santa Susanna mountain ridge into the Santa Clara Valley. The continuation of route 23 goes via the Grimes Canyon climb into the exhilarating technical descend into the Santa Clara Valley. At the bottom of the descend you have make a left turn on the way to Santa Paula. I always hated that left turn because it puts you smack into a strong coastal headwind. Even though I’m originally from a very windy flat country The Netherlands, I hate going against the wind, I rather climb. Well, the left turn did not disappoint and I battled the headwind into Santa Paula. I was looking forward to climb Hwy 150 from Santa Paula to Ojai. It’s a moderate but long 8 mile climb and it ends with another exhilarating technical descend into Ojai’s rest stop #4. Here is the Grand Tour “Café” where lunch is served. I connected my Garmin to my emergency battery pack so it would last until the finish. It was now 3pm and as usual on my doubles at the lunch rest stop that’s where I take a nap.
I woke up at 4pm and mounted my bike to leave Ojai and on to Rincon where Hwy 150 connects to the 101 freeway. I hooked up with two Randonneur USA riders on our way to the Lake Casitas climb. Randonneurs are long distance endurance riders for whom 200 miles is nothing. They are steady grinding machines so it is very comfortable to ride behind them at a pace of 18 mph. When we reached the Lake Casitas climb I passed them because now I had to go uphill on my own pace and they were going too slow for me. I reached the Rincon rest stop #5 at around 5pm and I thought that I would finish the ride maybe even before 9pm. But there was another surprise: before they changed the start of the ride from Malibu to Port Hueneme this was a straight ride home along the 101 and into Ventura to the Port Hueneme rest stop.
I looked at my road slip and it directed me North instead of South. In order to make up the lost mileage on PCH they had added another loop from Rincon through Carpentaria to almost Santa Barbara. Having done the ride to Santa Barbara many times this was familiar terrain but where was the turn around? With some other riders we climbed Ortega Hill road into the Santa Barbara suburbs before we realized that we missed the turnaround. On my Google Maps I found the cross street and we headed back to where the sensor for the turnaround would be; hey, a few extra miles and an additional climb when you do a double, who cares? From there it was an easy ride with a comfortable tail wind into Ventura where I stopped for a cup of tea. When I reached Port Hueneme my Garmin warned me that it had “low battery”. I stopped, saved the ride and started another one; on Strava it showed up as a short night ride. When I arrived at the finish at 10.15pm and wanted to sign out they asked me if I had passed the sensor; I had entered the Hilton parking lot on the wrong side and had missed the final sensor. So I went back on the bike and looped around the parking lot to enter on the correct side so the sensor could record me: Double Century #25 is in the bag!
2019 California MTB Series #6 – Big Bear – aka Danie’s Second MTB Ride Ever
Result: 1/1 Beginner Women
I hear them coming but it takes several seconds to unglue my sights from the sweeping spread of single track. On the road looking back is no problem, but I’ve never done it this close to hitting a tree on a mountain bike. “Keep one finger over the brakes,” Kate had said, and it’s all I can do not to hold them with three. I am almost track standing in the sharp, sharp switchback. Before accelerating out I take a deep breath and look back up the hill.
The Juniors field is all knobby knees and elbows and streaming ponytails and I admire for a moment how closely they manage to ride behind one another, like a pack or swarm – coming for me fast. Out of the next turn, I stand up.
Soon I am baffled by an uphill rock step and the kids are on me. I let them pass and finally have a piece of course to myself. OK. Breathe. How do I ride a bike? And – I belong here. I am not just in the way. This is my race. I’ll adapt. I can do this.
Every 15 minutes out there on the course something new clicks about the bike and my body. I loosen up and gain some speed. After a rock chute of a descent, the course hits its first and only stretch of pavement before turning sharply up a gravel embankment twenty yards from the finish. This, like almost everything today, takes me by surprise. “Shift shift shift!” the man on the corner yells. I mash the levers, realizing I have no idea whether Kate’s bike even has a gear that will get me up that thing (note: it does). But the chain clunks home deep between the frame and inner cog and I (gently) eat the dirt. At least the crowd of parents is cheering when I run across the line with an armful of bike, no rips in my San Remo, and a big silly grin.