Pasadena Marathon Bike Tour 2011
May 22, 2011 by Bryan
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.