Malibu Coastal Cruise 200K

7 Nov

Ready for take-off?

So, we are entering the “off season” for cyclists across much of the country – soon the cold weather will drive many indoors to their trainers, their rollers, or to spin class. Meanwhile (as recently as a few days ago), in Southern California temperatures still hover in the 90s as we flirt with the arrival of Autumn. Seasons here are barely discernable, the natural rhythms muted or contorted. On Saturday, it finally cooled off a bit, so it was a perfect day for a ride.

The “Malibu Coastal Cruise” is one of the more popular RUSA permanents, thanks to its gorgeous scenery and relative lack of elevation gain (only about 1500 feet over 208K). On Saturday, the PCH Randoneurs rode it as a RUSA brevet and we had a small but enthusiastic group show up for the ride.

I left home around 4:15AM, biking 34 miles to the start in Malibu, enjoying the empty bike path and the dark solitude of Topanga Canyon. On the descent, I realized that I had installed a fender stay bolt that was too long, as it locked my chain/drive-train up when I shifted into my highest gear (oops). I managed to take the rear wheel off and wrestle the chain free, switching out the bolt when I reached the start. All this work was for nothing; as someone else remarked, installing new fenders ensured that there was no rain.

Wanting to finish in less than 8 hours, I rushed off ahead of the group, reaching Point Dume on my own, passing a few groups of roadies on my way. Sea-gulls formed huge arrow-shaped formations, strung out over the horizon while hugging the water-front. Not long into the ride, Bruno (an experienced rider I hadn’t met before) passed me on his Merlin, and we traded pulls until Point Mugu, where he went off the front, and I couldn’t hang on to his wheel any longer. For most of the day, if I looked ahead of me, I would see him just out of reach:

Bruno breaking away on the 101...

I’d catch up to Bruno at the controls, and we even had a leisurely chat at the mid-way point in Carpinteria (I needed some time to re-fuel properly, as I was fighting cramps from the pace). When we turned around to come back home, we ran into Shai, Jim, and Marcus (the former two riding a fixed gear and a mountain bike respectively!) who seemed hot on our heels.

Bruno pulled ahead again on the way to Ventura, but by the time we reached Emma Wood State Beach, he was fighting off a bonk. I assumed he would latch on to my wheel, but a few miles down the road, I realized he was nowhere to be seen. I stopped in Port Hueneme to mix up some more electrolyte drink and down more chocolate milk, apple juice, and some jerkey and dried bananas – feeling better, I upped the pace when I hit PCH again.

The view of the beaches, some abbreviated coves hidden from campers and tide-pool invaders, were stunning – the ocean remarkably blue, off-set by the gray sky. Alas, my attempts to capture some snippet of these vistas range from the mediocre to the comical…

(click to enlarge)

On my way back over Point Dume, traffic started to back up – at the top, the CHP had blocked off the road entirely. Waiting a few minutes, I saw a car riding against traffic in the fat left lane, a long arm sticking out from its undercarriage across the right lane and shoulder, a camera mounted to the end. After waiting a little longer, the CHP waved me forward, and I was back on track.

(Stay behind) the CHP...

From here, it was up and down some rollers, watching the addresses slowly wind down as I got closer to the finish. I pulled in to the Starbucks less than 7hrs and 45minutes from the time I left. I had time to organize my receipts and eat a big chocolate brownie before Bruno arrived after 10 or 15 minutes. After that, I did some people watching for another hour before the other riders started arriving (the group just behind us in Carpinteria had stopped for a proper lunch). Everyone seemed to have a great day out there and it was fun talking to Errin and Marcus at the end, and amusing to see that my Casseroll outweighed even Jim’s mountain bike!

The path of the Surfliner along Los Padres (click to enlarge)


One Response to “Malibu Coastal Cruise 200K”


  1. Malibu Coastal Cruise 200k Brevet | Frontage Roads - November 8, 2010

    […] friends Marcus and Ryan were also going to ride so I was looking forward to seeing them. As is becoming the norm, I see […]

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