March 19, 2016 – Second bike camping training ride

North Hollywood to Sycamore Canyon Campground
54 miles

Redeemed!! As I sit here in my tent before bed and hopefully a full night’s rest, I am in a much better place than I was last week, both figuratively and literally.  I am spending the night at Sycamore Canyon, about four miles up the Pacific Coast Highway from Leo Carillo.  I am the only occupant of the hike/bike site (last week the sites were packed and we all got little sleep due to noisy neighbours).  Cat stopped by for a short visit which was incredibly sweet of her.  The ride today was relatively uneventful albeit long.  I need to find a way to balance filming the ride whilst maintaining good time on the bike.  I would expect that I won’t shoot nearly as often as I am doing this weekend as I’m trying to get a lot of footage out of only two days.
I’ve always wanted to ride Las Virgenes through the mountains and it met my expectations. Not as difficult when taking one’s time.  Tomorrow I will wake early and take the same route that Wesley and I rode last week up Encinal to Decker, through the mountains to Thousand Oaks, Calabasas, and then the San Fernando Valley.  It’s a lot of climbing but it’s incredibly beautiful.  I’ll be taking a lot of pictures.

Please, God, no flats!!File_000 File_001

March 13, 2016 – Riding Home

Leo Carillo to North Hollywood
50 Miles

Wow, what s great ride!  Wesley guided me through the Santa Monica Mountains and into Thousand Oaks.  The views were incredible, and the downhill was awesome.  I learned a few things from that crossing: My seven gears couldn’t hold a candle to Wesley’s nine.  I’ve climbed much of that road before and compared to others it’s not a big one; riding loaded has changed the dynamic of my ride and I’m going to need to add gears to my bike if I expect to climb the Rockies.  The downhill taught me a lot, too: My brakes suck.  I rode them the whole way down and was too scared to pick up speed for fear they wouldn’t be able to stop me quickly if need be.  At one point we had to pull over to let my burning rims cool off – if they overheated too much my tires could blow up.  So I’m going to have to look into getting better brakes for Bruce.  On a positive note, no flats!!!!!!
Once entering Thousand Oaks we stopped at Jamba Juice for a smoothie and a rest.  From there we rode to Calabasas and I treated him to a thank-you lunch at a local favourite for cyclists called Pedaller’s Fork.  Wesley has been cycle touring for a long time and it was invaluable learning his habits.  After Calabasas we ride to the San Fernando Valley where we parted ways.  Thank you Wesley for the guided ride and the education!!! Happy Tailwinds to you!

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March 12, 2016 – First bike camping test trip

North Hollywood to Leo Carillo Campground
50 miles  11 Miles

I can’t call my first cyclocamping experience a complete failure because I learned a lot.  I learned that my tubes aren’t the right size for my wheels — that’s a big deal!!  Sadly it took me having to deal with three flats within two hours to learn this lesson… I think I need a checklist for future rides.  Things I forgot this time around: Patch kit, cable to charge my phone… Maybe that’s it.  There are a lot of people at the hike/bike sites.  One guy has a cool chair, someone else has an inflatable solar lamp. It’d be nice to have something to drink with dinner aside from water but it’s not necessary.  I’m going to try to ride part of the way home with a guy named Wesley.  Hopefully I can keep up with him.  In the meantime I plan on riding to Leo Carillo again next week, and I’ll be damned if repeated flats derail my ride again!

Kind strangers lend a hand
Kind strangers lend a hand
The third flat was the final nail in the coffin... only 11 miles from home!
The third flat was the final nail in the coffin… only 11 miles from home!
Waiting patiently at the bike shop
Waiting patiently at the bike shop
This is NOT how tubes are supposed to look!
This is NOT how tubes are supposed to look!