Midnight Century

2 Jul

I pulled an “all-nighter” yesterday, riding the BICYKILLERS Century, which rolled out at 9:30PM. With some “bonus miles” when I got myself lost around Camarillo, I did 120.19 miles in a total ride time of 8 hours, 5 minutes. Here’s a map. The other riders of this night-time insanity were soon divided into an “A” and “B” group, with me in no-man’s-land in-between. The group at the front had at least three racers in it (including Rich Bartlett), and the pace they were sustaining was pretty remarkable (I think they finished in well under 6 hours including copious time farting around at re-group points). We had a good pace-line going through the valley along Ventura Blvd and were out-running lots of cars. Many people lining the road were cheering us on, including a homeless guy with a shopping cart – very encouraging! We made it to Westlake in amazing time. Next up we climbed Potrero through Hidden Valley (I was on my own by this point) – the high-speed descent over the mountain was thrilling with no cars on the road. I was very pleased with the brilliant illumination provided by my Supernova E3 headlight: the blazing center-line road reflectors rushing past reminded me of something out of Tron.

After getting quite lost among the strawberry fields of the Oxnard Plain, I finally made my way back to PCH just West of Point Mugu. The marine layer hadn’t moved in yet so there was a surreal clarity along the coastline. The reflections of the moon made the roiling Pacific and even the silent cliffs, spilling black shale and sandstone out of their ancient wounds, seem alive. A coyote darted across my path, probably on its way to pilfer the remnants of a meal in one of the somnolent sea-side campgrounds.

In Malibu I caught up to the “B” group (they didn’t take a wrong turn) who was taking a long break at a Chevron. I ate some salt and vinegar chips and downed another chocolate milk and was ready to move out. I dropped most of the group going over the rollers into Santa Monica, although I traded a few pulls with one guy who was spinning a stupendous cadence (I guessed correctly that he usually rides fixed). Back up through the city I watched the sun rise as I slowly made my way up Sepulveda (the hardest climb of the night, especially after riding well over 100 miles). I enjoyed a final long descent returning to the valley, watching the city wake up (including another coyote, this time at Ventura/Beverly Glen, right in the middle of Sherman Oaks). After finishing I rolled over to Panera and squinting through red bleary eyes, ordered a light breakfast to celebrate my finish:

Chai Latte FTW

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