November 26, 2004: Racing the sun

Picked up the Hoo-E from Rich today; he installed some brand new Fox F100 RLT forks. I had originally intended to have Fox refurbish the Fox forks I had recently replaced on Blue Sugar, and put those on the Hoo-E. Fox claimed that it would cost $350 to fix mud and water damage to the old forks, but, conveniently, they have a "Crash Replacement Program" wherein one can buy a new pair of forks for $320 and the damaged set of forks. Seems like a bit of a scam to me, but whatever. The upshot is I now have brand new 2005 Fox F100 RLT forks on both Blue and the Hoo-E. I should be set in that area for a while.

I was excited to test out the new and improved Hoo-E, but first I had to do some maintenance, maintenance that I've been putting off for several rides. I wiped down and lubed the drive train and cleaned the rims, which have been screeching like Bill O'Reilly at an ACLU convention for the last month or so. As part of the anti-screeching measures, I also lightly sanded the brake pads with some sandpaper. This effort revealed some metal flakes in the front pads -- the telltale sign that pads need to be replaced. Failure to do so can lead to badly scored rims as the metal flakes make contact with the rim braking surface. This happened to me at the 2003 24 Hours of Laguna Seca and ended up ruining my awesome Bontrager Race Lites. I also put a new spare slime tube in my camelback and dialed in the rebound compression and dampening settings on the new fork.

Stay focused on the trail
Today's riding partner
The old man of Miramar

All this, coupled with my circadian rhythms, left me with very little remaining daylight. I didn't want to run any lights, so I got changed and was pedaling a backside EG up to the Crack by 3:15. I was racing the sun for the entire ride.

I didn't make the Crack today. In fact, I touched down twice; the second touch was more like a backwards plunge into a stand of pampas grass.

As Rich and I had discussed, the coastal bike path was a zoo of interloping beach-goers from over the hill. The usual parade of oblivion was taken to a new level today by two thirty-something moms pushing strollers that would put a Hummer to shame side by side down the middle of the path. We made eye contact about 100 feet out, but the stroller fascists didn't flinch a single muscle or make any sign of acknowledgement save the briefest flash of dismissive, uninterested comtempt. They just kept walking right at me like it was their God-given birthright to use this path in its entirety in whatever fashion they deemed necessary. I slowed to a crawl and snarled, "Bush-lovers" as I squeezed my way between four-hundred pounds of stroller technology and a splinterly split-rail fence. Please, mother of God, it's about protecting the children!

The rest of the ride down to Strawberry Ranch was typically fantastic. The coastal trails are still in great shape: firm, packed, dry, and fast. On the return trip, a heavy headwind developed and the pace slowed considerably. Coming back past the Miramar, the coral pink sunset reflected on the glimmering sands of a rolled-back tide. The color was soft, serene, and reassuring.

To add a few more miles to the ride, I did a lap around the Fitz, downhilling the White Whalel in what can best be described as a deep gloaming. Then I jetted out to Mavericks. While the last fleeting remnants of the day backlit the Pillar Point reef, in amongst the rocks I noticed a lone surfer paddling back from the direction of the Mavericks break. He crawled out, scraped the seaweed off his board, and came jogging past me and down the path toward Princeton. Big guy, could have been Laird Hamilton out previewing Mavericks in preparation for the Big Surf Championships this winter. I finished the ride in darkness.

The Hoo-E felt really good with the new forks, but it is still not as good as Blue. The Hoo-E still feels heavier. There are a still a few areas where I can lighten it up, specifically the saddle. For a second bike though, it's a pretty solid rig.

Down at Roosevelt Beach, a huge flock of Snowy Plovers -- possibly thousands of birds -- had taken up position on the beach. Later, while watching the lone surfer paddle in from Mavericks, two great blue herons went flapping by. There were only about 10 feet off the ground and one was following the other and squawking loudly.


Mileage: 23.74 Time: 2:01:12 Avg: 11.7 Max: 23.2 Weight: 

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