Monday, August 31, 2015

Birthday Weekend

Saturday evening I raced the Ezakimak (Kamikaze backwards) which started at the Main Lodge on Mammoth Mountain and finished at the top. Good "fun" with nice temps, clear air, and one of the most amazing sunsets I've seen in a while.

Battled for a podium spot, but ended up fourth which I was happy with. The strange thing about the race was that for 45 minutes I rode, pretty much in my own hypoxic world, then I finish and there's a full on raging party going on! Crazy.

I slept under the stars off a small dirt road near the Scenic Loop. Woke up and embarked on an entirely different sort of ride - long and easy.

Loved the spinning in the forest.

A little smoke was creeping into Long Valley early, but thankfully kept its distance.

On the gravel superhighway - Bald Mountain Road. Saw my first traffic here nearly three hours into the ride.

Up to Bald Mountain Lookout.

The view to the northwest with the mountains near Tioga Pass in the distance.

Home for someone once upon a time!

Looking out along the crest of the Glass Mountains

To the west with the Minarets, Ritter and Banner poking up behind the San Joaquin Ridge.

And to the southeast. Ugh.

After a quiet spell on the summit I meandered down to Big Springs for some fresh cool water.

Then spun back through peaceful forest to the truck.

A fine, relaxing birthday in the saddle.

Monday, August 24, 2015


Mary and I traveled to Carpinteria (Carp) for some beach time, pedaling, and visiting friends. This was our fourth visit and our longest at 8 days.

The evening of our arrival was your typical summer dusk at the beach in Carp. Mild temps, small waves, and a thinning mellow crowd.

and another great sunset.

Sunday afternoon we spent "out on the town." First we met our friends Camille, Sue, and Rick at the Figueroa Mountain Brewery for a little music from the Ventucky String Band, then a little wine at the Oreana Winery across the street, and topped it off with a spectacular dinner at The Lark

The band.


Rick and Sue.

Monday was penciled in as a day for a long ride for me. Starting in Carp I headed over Casitas Pass under a cool, cloudy sky to this view of Lake Casitas.

I pedaled through the little berg of Casitas Springs to Sulphur Mountain Road. I started out with a bit of trepidation since I was on my road bike, but the dirt was pleasantly firm so I kept climbing.

After about 45 minutes I figured it was time to turn around for the jarring descent.

Which proved to be not too jarring.  Near the bottom are some oil seeps. Not sure whether they are natural or not, but pretty weird. Where does it go when it rains? Likely right into the Ventura River!

By the time I got back to Lake Casitas the clouds lifted making for some fine scenery and super pleasant temps for riding.

Tuesday was a day for a light spin, playing in the surf, topped off with yoga and some great Thai food up in Santa Barbara.

Wednesday was bike day again.

Rode from Carp up onto Foothill Road. Lovin' the oak!

Then up to East Mountain Road. My water bottles were nearly empty as I approached the big climb of Gibraltar Road, so I was getting worried I'd have to descend into Montecito to top them off when I found this great little fountain by the side of the road. Yep!

The climb of Gibraltar Road is amazing. Continuously steep, but not brutally steep, newly paved, NO traffic, two other riders, warm verging to hot, but with a breeze and a little shade. I loved it!

At the top I reached the junction with Camino Cielo and enjoyed wonderful views towards Santa Barbara.

and the wild, rugged San Rafael mountains to the northeast.

Camino Cielo follows the ridge west for around seven miles offering fun rolling riding in a spectacular setting. This is the view back.

I descended Painted Cave Road which proved to be great fun. Twisty, technical and steep.

I rode that road down to the namesake park.

Impressive cave paintings!

Thursday Mary booked us a trip out to Santa Cruz Island.  The trip started out with about an hour of rough seas. Surprisingly rough! We were headed almost dead into a strong wind with swells running up to 8 feet or so. We were up on the second deck and spray was routinely going up and over us. 

We were quite happy to enter the sheltered Scorpion Bay near Elephant Rock. 
It took a bit before our stomachs settled down and our land legs firmed up beneath us. When they did we set out for a hike up onto the headlands.

Scorpion Bay with Anacapa in the distance. The temps were nice, but it twas blowin' a gale here!

Pleasant hiking.

 Looking straight down at kayakers. This would be us in another hour!



Back to the visitors center.

Friday we took it pretty easy with an early morning stroll on the beach, a light spin and more great beach time at Carp.

We were in the Carp bike shop, Rincon Cycles, and noticed this flier.

So, we did it! Mary rode the metric and I rode the hilly century. Real fine riding. It lived up to its name too. Just as we reached the turnaround, the temps were getting toasty, but the return route was right along the coast with a nice cool breeze. A tailwind cool breeze at that!

The next morning we packed, dipped our toes in the ocean one last time, and hit the road. Returning home to mid 100 degree temps and smoke was a little rude, but that's summer in the big O valley.