Saturday I rode my first brevet of the year. The Orange County Pendelton 200k is a new brevet for this year. It’s part of a complete series that will be based in and around Orange County. To be honest, I’m not a fan of Orange County, but I always enjoy learning some new roads so I was looking forward to this brevet. Huge thanks to Willie for mapping out a great route.
There were about 30 riders at the start of what was looking to be a cold day. I think it was only about 45 degrees when we rolled out. There were quite a few new riders as well as my friend Rod. Prior to this ride, his longest distance was only 70 miles or so!
I took off with the lead group for the first control. I was feeling good and strong and made it to the Control pretty quick. My plan though was to ride with Rod and accompany him for the day. So I quickly got my brevet card signed, ate some snacks, checked the cue sheet and then waited for him. It was kinda weird sitting there and watching the riders come in and out. My normal plan is to limit my stops to 10 minutes max, but I ended up sitting about 30 mins. Before long Matt and Mike from SWARM! rolled up. We had talked about carpooling down to the start together, but it didn’t work out. It was great to see the guys on the road though. We rolled out of the control separately but before long the four of us were riding together. Mike and Rod were both the new guys and Matt and I were showing the way.
After the second control I got a rear flat from some glass. The Grand Bois tire gave me some problems again while getting the bead re-seated. I think I figured out the problem, but it’s always frustrating when something like a tire change takes longer than it should. I was bummed to be holding every body up, but they seemed cool with it. It was nice to have the extra hands while re-mounting the rear wheel.
Around Newport Beach we split up and Rod and I were on our own the rest of the day. We rode at a comfortable pace and enjoyed the views all along the coast. We stopped for lunch in San Clemente at Pedro’s Tacos. They claimed to be the best in the world since ’86. I had a veggie burrito and it was pretty good. I’d stop there again.
After lunch we pushed on south through Camp Pendelton and had some more food. I looked at the time and realized that we were really close to the cutoff time. In fact by the time we rolled out of the Control we were only 3 minutes ahead of the cutoff. We had 50 miles to go in 5 hours, so we’d have to keep moving and keep the stops to a minumum.
While riding through Camp Pendelton we were passed by a convoy of military vehicles on their way to some training. It was pretty cool to see these huge vehicles up close. I wanted to take a picture but I wasn’t sure if it was ok so I kept the camera holstered. Once we got back to the campground at San Onofre I stopped to add my jacket. The temps were starting to drop and it wouldn’t be long before the sun was down. Just past the campground we passed a Ghost Rider Memorial. It was pretty impressive.
By the time we made it to San Juan Capistrano the sun had set. There were some cues that were confusing on the route sheet that had us stopping to confirm more than I would’ve liked. We made it to Ortega Highway and then the long climb up Antonio Parkway. We stopped at the top to eat some more food and relax. At this point we weren’t that far, but it felt like it was going to take forever to get there. At the info control my GPS decided to quit on me. Too much using the light and scrolling through the maps I guess. I knew we were running out of time so we sped down the bike path with only the Supernova E3 to light the way. Rabbits were jumping out from the bushes and crossing the path in front of us. We were looking for the Nissan dealership, but found none, only the end of the path. Back tracking again we found the path and what used to be a dealership. I guess it was a Nissan, but all the signs were gone. Now I was getting worried. Only a couple more of these issues and we’d run out of time. Luckily there wasn’t much climbing left so I just kept trying to encourage Rod to keep it moving. Using the big gears on the downhills and carry the momentum as much as we could up the next hill. By the end we made it with seven minutes to spare. The Lantern Rouge!
What a great day! It was great to spend it with my friend and to show him what randonneuring is all about. It was also quite an adventure at the end. Would we get lost? Would I get another flat? It added some excitement to the end of an otherwise mellow day. I’m glad for that. Can’t wait to do it again. Maybe a little faster next time though.
Here’s the Garmin Stats.