Pasadena Marathon Bike Tour 2011

May 22, 2011

As the first of the three alarms I set for myself the night before started beeping, I immediately knew I was going to need coffee and a lot of it. It was 5AM and I was standing in a dark hotel room trying to force my eyes to open. Why do they have to have these events so early in the morning? As I readied myself by dressing and downing a full cup of coffee, Jamie asked if I was going to wear a jacket. “Probably not” was my reply as I looked out the front door just in case. “Ok, yes” was my new answer as I saw it was softly raining. My hotel room was two and a half blocks from the start but I still needed about 5 minutes between getting my bike out of the car and riding down there. I finally get my biking shoes on and head to the car. I had patched the inner tubes on both tires the day before and when I left the bike the night before, both were holding pressure. Both were flat now though. I quickly put 100 PSI in both and hoped for the best. I clipped in and rode down the slick roads to the road block and proceeded to join the group just as the ride began.

If you have ever been in a bike tour, you will know that these things start more with a whimper then with a roar. In other words, more often then not you end up walking your bike across the start because of the traffic and lack of width at the starting line. This day was no exception and it was fine because by the starting line, my front tire had gone from 100 PSI to 1 PSI. I rode anyways carefully around the first corner and to the first clearing of grass on the side of the road. I then proceeded to change my flat inner tube. This let every last person in the pack pass me while I worked to change the tube as quickly as possible. Fortunately the rear held pressure because I only had one tube.

I know I should carry CO2 but I don’t so I could only put about 40 PSI in the front tire. This I did and then I was off. The course was flat with a few slight inclines and then a pretty quick decline to a narrow right hand more than ninety degree turn. I was actually glad I was still back in the thin crowd at this point of the ride. Some more incline and I took a small break. By this time I had passed some riders on the uphills but I wanted to make sure my body had plenty of fuel so I stopped to eat some Honey Stinger Energy Chews. This was one of the best ideas of my life because this fueled me for a long time.

Next the course headed toward the Rose Bowl where it had a large out and back section. This is also where the half marathon runners would split from the full length course. Now bike riders like to ride on the right side of the road for some reason even if the cones tell them otherwise. This led to some confusion but nothing major. Besides the course confusion, this is also where I happened to be when the skies opened up and a torrent of water fell on top of me and the other riders. It had been raining up to this point already but now it was a downpour and to make matters worse, bikes kick up a lot of spray straight up the riders backside. To make matters even worse, my glasses started fogging.

All of these things happened, but I rode on. At least my inner tubes didn’t give me any more headaches. I was up with the main pack by now and passing a good amount of riders on both the uphills and downhills. The second half of the course had some nice big dips in it but it also has some of the straightest and widest streets. This allowed me to pass a lot of people. Some people I passed multiple times because they started cutting the course. I don’t know why you would do that but that is their choice. I chose to ride the whole length and put up with the torrential downpour. Another thing that happened to me is I had to belch a lot. This brought up the smell of the beer I had consumed the day before from Lucky Baldwins. This is the Pub within walking distance of the hotel we stayed in.

The rain slackened slightly before I finally rolled across the finish. Jamie was there to take my photo and I got my finishers medal. Jamie took a few more shots while I was wet and covered in road grime. I proceeded to head back to my room and take a nice hot shower before driving home. It was a fun ride but next year hopefully it does not rain and my tires stay inflated.

Blackthorn's Dry Apple Cider and Fuller's London Pride


Lucky Baldwins assortment of beers




Even with Live View mode on the waiter couldn't get a good photo


Marathon Start


Crossing the finish


Soaking wet


Bike Tour Complete

Loma Ridge Wildflower Hike

May 6, 2011

On Tuesday I went on another wildflower hike with the Irvine Ranch Conservancy. This time the hike was in Limestone Canyon, specifically at Loma Ridge. Also this was a dedicated photography hike so many of the hikers brought along various DSLR’s. Again our docent was Kelley, the same IRC employee who guided us in Round Canyon the week before. We started at the Augustine Staging Area which is just off Santiago Canyon Road. After meeting in the parking area we all carpooled about a mile in to the trail head. This hike was a little faster paced, we still did stop a few times so she could tell us about the flora and fauna. Unlike Round Canyon this trail had a hill, now I’m not vary fond of hills so the elevation gain was a bit of a surprise. It was probably about 500 to 700 feet of climbing total but when you are carrying what feels like a 50lb camera it’s slightly more difficult. When we stopped at the top of the first part of our climb we could see the most spectacular view of Orange County all the way to Catalina island. We continued our climb and we ended up at a spot that overlooked part of Limestone Canyon. By then we had been hiking for about two hours so we decided that was good turn around point, plus the temperature was rising pretty quickly. This was a really fun hike but unfortunately the trail is not open to the public. The IRC does various hikes on this trail including cardio hikes if you really want a challenge. Every so often the IRC also has open access days where they open these trails to the public (they are having one this Saturday). I highly recommend taking advantage of these programs if you ever get a chance and see how amazing the Irvine Ranch really is.

You can see more photos from my hike at Loma Ridge in our GALLERY. You can also click on the images below to see the large version.


Cal Poly Pomona Sunday Horse Show

May 4, 2011

I must say that I feel like a bad person. I went to Cal Poly Pomona for nearly three years, my major was Equine Science and I was on the IHSA horse show team for crying out loud.  Despite all that up until this past Sunday I had never seen the horse show that the WK Kellogg Arabian Horse Center puts on the first Sunday of every month from October to May. It’s sad really, even after I left Cal Poly, a few years after Bryan graduated, we continued to live in Pomona so we could have gone anytime. We actually tried once but when we got there the show was canceled due to rain that had fallen days before. So now it’s a lot more inconvenient to make the drive but I finally planned to go. This particular show was the last of the season which won’t start up again until October. Because this is an Arabian horse farm all the horses in the show were Arabians performing various disciplines and wearing various tacks. They had Arabians in native costume, saddle seat, English, hunter, side saddle and Western. Each tack showed the versatility of the Arab breed in some form whether it be as trail horse, a jumper or pleasure horse. One Arabian mare was even taught to do tricks! For the finale of the show they brought out a mare and her foal, a plucky little chestnut colt. The horse center is a breeding farm for Arabians and many babies have been born in the past few months. The show was very entertaining and it was nice to finally see it and also do one of my other favorite things that Cal Poly has to offer; go to the Farm Store!

To see more photos from the horse show check out the GALLERY. You can also click on the images below to see the larger version.

Descanso Gardens

May 2, 2011

Last weekend my friend Sarah and I along with her family visited Descanso Gardens which is located in La Cañada Flintridge. Descanso reminds me very much of the LA Arboretum and the Huntington Library which are both located in the surrounding cities. It has many different kinds of flora and fauna, including California natives, a rose garden and a Japanese garden. There is also a small train that runs through the facility. Don’t be fooled by it’s size, it may look like a toy but it is actually a fully functional train. If you walk to the far end of the gardens you will see the Boddy House which is large and beautifully decorated. We didn’t visit every corner of the park but we did enjoy ourselves and got some pretty good pictures out of it too.

To see more photos from Descanso Gardens check out the GALLERY. You can also click on the images below to see the larger version.