Friday, February 6, 2009

Dispatch: Santa Monica

Several weeks ago, when my boss called to ask if I’d like to join her at a three-day summit on progressive education in Santa Monica, I had to pinch myself to confirm I wasn't dreaming. Los Angeles in February? Haven’t they been experiencing a record heat wave coupled with serious drought? Bad for agriculture, possibly a sign of the Apocalypse, but perfect for my winter training. With the Tour of California less than two weeks away, the Hudson Valley Randonneur was heading West!

I contacted the Pacific Coast Highway Randonnuers RBA for some advice on rentals and routes to make the most of this warm weather training opportunity. Was I available for his club’s 300K on Saturday? Well, no I couldn't back out of the final day of the conference. In fact, I wouldn’t have time for more than a 3-hour training ride. He suggested renting a beach cruiser to ride up and down the South Bay bike trail.

As the date approached, I consulted the weather forecast. Bad news: heavy rains for the entire three days of my scheduled visit. Someone recently told me that 90% of California’s weather is like heaven and 10% is like Armageddon. We were clearly in store for the 10%. When I arrived on Thursday morning, the rain was Biblical in proportions. Disappointing as this was, I figured that as a randonneur, I had more than a few experiences riding in the rain. It would be good preparation for L-E-L this summer.

Despite the downpour, I suited up in shorts, sneakers and my Gore-Tex jacket and set off to find a rental shop on the Santa Monica Pier. I did not see many cyclists on my 20-minute walk to the coast, but I did see a randonneuring bike chained to a parking meter. With a set of lightweight bags hanging from the bars and a waterproof rear-rack bag fashioned from plastic, bungee and steel chain, it was a rig worthy of P-B-P. Sadly, the owner was nowhere to be found so I could not ask to borrow it for a few hours.

I reached the pier and learned that the rental shop, shuttered for the day, was clearly not owned by a fellow randonneur. So it was not meant to be. My legs and lungs will have to wait a few more weeks to experience the joys of warm weather training. Tomorrow, I'll head back to New York and my trainer. Who knows, I hear the ice is thawing; I may even get out on the single-speed this weekend.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry you made it here just in time for the rains! Lance and the boys had the same luck, so you're not alone. I was commuting in that weather which led me to the conclusion I need a more all-weather bike...

    Sorry I didn't know you were here, I could have set you up with a ride!