MT4? Gran Fondo Dorkola? MS-150? Gitcher miles here!

It’s that time of year when people come up with silly goals to help them forget about the sillier ones they made back in January and spent the year not achieving. Got a 137-mile slog in the Sierras on your fall hit list? Planning to join 5,000 of your best friends on a Gran Fondo flailfest? Hoping to raise money to pay the salaries of MS Society administrators? Regardless of your windmill, in order to properly tilt at it you’ll need to log some miles. The last two Saturdays people have been showing up at the center of the known universe and riding out to the Rock at Point Mugu for no apparent reason. Sound pointless? Then you should consider joining up. Here’s a brief recap:

Week 1-Saturday, August 27: Eight guys left Manhattan Beach Starbucks at 6:00 a.m. and rode to the Rock at Point Mugu and back. They kept a steady pace the whole way, and ended up with a 100 mile round trip back to MBSB, and 118 miles back to the Hill. Everyone was home in time for a scolding, lawn work, and youth soccer, well before noon. We took a couple of brief stops to pee and take on fuel. The average speed was just under 19mph.

Week 2-Saturday, September 3: Word got out that the ride was steady and solid. 20+ riders showed up. We rode two by two the whole way. Some people turned around at Cross Creek or Trancas. Most did the whole ride. No one got dropped. We had two flats, a stop at the Ocean Park toilets on the way out, and another stop at the Cross Creek Chevron on the way back in. The average speed was 19.0 mph. There were no attacks, accelerations, sprints, or bitterly hard pulls that strung out the group. Participants professed to enjoy the ride and to be fairly whipped by the time it finished.

Week 3-Saturday, September 10: It will likely be the same ride, same route, same departure time, same pace, and the same focus on steady riding, fun, conversation, and
fitness. I’ve had several people say they were going to join the ride this coming Saturday, so it’s possible that there will be an even bigger group. If there are more than twenty people, we likely won’t be stopping for flats, so make sure your tires are in good condition and you’ve brought a spare. We’ll stop at the Ocean Park toilets on the way out, at the Rock, and at the Cross Creek Chevron on the way back in.

Ways you can help make the ride a success

1.      If the group starts to spread out and get ragged towards the rear, tell the flailers to ride two by two. Don’t be afraid to teach the rules. It’s not necessary to call out unsafe riders as “worthless, no good, goofballs who are screwing up the ride,” but I’ve found that doing so often gets their attention. If you’re uncomfortable shouting insults, let me know and I’ll see if I can find someone who is.

2.      When the group descends the rollers, don’t take this as your opportunity to “break free” and go whizzing away from the group in a faux race tuck. Yes, your beer consumption has given you a gravitational advantage, and yes, we’ll catch you at the bottom, but it’s unsafe, it teaches bad riding habits, and it splits up the group. The goal is to maintain the same two-by-two formation for the duration of the ride. If you hear someone on the front roaring that you’re a “dumb clod” who should “get his sorry butt back into the line” you can safely assume the epithets are being directed at you.

3.      If you’re looking for a ride where you can blaze away from the pack, put your enemies to the sword, intimidate those who aren’t as fit for you, make up for all the races you didn’t show up for this year, or otherwise toss grenades into the group, you should probably do the Donut or any one of a zillion other SoCal Saturday rides. Better yet, pin on a number, pay an entry fee, and test your mettle against those who are similarly inclined at a CBR crit. This ride is for fun, general fitness, and saddle time only. And of course once you’re on PCH you can ride away in a group of your own or hit any of the great canyon climbs that line the coast.

4.      If someone tails off on the rollers despite the moderate pace, drop back and give them a push or lend them a wheel to pace them back up to the group. We will be ratcheting back the pace on the rollers, and going easy across the tops to give people a chance to latch back on.

5.      Don’t expect the ride to leave at 6:05 or 6:10. We’ll roll out at 6:00 a.m. sharp, so be there on time unless you want to chase all the way to Santa Monica.

6.      Understand that this isn’t an organized or sponsored ride, there’s no sag or support, and understand that no one on the ride is taking responsibility for your safety, for your mistakes, for the mistakes and negligence of others, for the messed up roadways, for the trash and glass atop the asphalt, or for the crazy drivers who often seem hell-bent on running over cyclists. It’s incumbent on you to ride safely, obey the traffic laws, and assume the risks that come with riding your bike on PCH, a busy highway with significant amounts of weekend car traffic. Those risks include death and permanent, catastrophic injury. You’re free to ride as you please, but everyone will appreciate it if we’re all on the same page. You’ll likely live longer to boot.

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