Bike &amp; SCUBA
Tuscany Tandems Reunion - LONG
It all started with an invitation from our good friends, Hermes and Velodiva. We met them during last year’s Santana Tuscany tour and had great fun riding and eating our way through Tuscany with them. They were planning to spend a week in May riding in Southern California and invited us to join them. Our acceptance triggered all sorts of plans on how to make this happen.
First, Stoker Shari and I had to decide what bike we would ride. We have our new Seven that we rode in Tuscany and it is a very fine bike. Our daughter lives in Vista, Ca and for several years we’ve thought about taking a tandem out to her house to have to ride when we visit her. After serious consideration, we decided to ship our old Cannondale out to her and to ride it during the May rides. We shipped it before our visit at Thanksgiving expecting that it would arrive before we had to return to Minnesota so we could reassemble it and give it a test ride. Of course it didn’t arrive in time so my daughter’s boyfriend assembled it for us. It did get one short test ride in January and then went to a LBS for a tune-up.
The next issue was how do we keep our fitness level during a long, cold, snowy Minnesota winter. If you’ve been following Hermes and Velodiva’s posts than you know they trained hard all winter and are racing and time trialing. Well, we had the longest, coldest winter in several years. We spent time at the gym and doing Spinning classes. This winter, our gym purchased new bikes with great electronics (HR, Watts, cadence) that helped us measure our training effort. A late to arrive, cold spring kept us inside more than we planned for. We were only able to get in less than 20 outside rides with the longest being 40 miles so our fitness was not at the level that we hoped for.
Suddenly it is the beginning of May and we are in California getting ready to ride. Shari and I rode a short checkout ride on Saturday, kayaked on Sunday and on Monday met Hermes and Velodiva for our first ride. We started in Carlsbad and rode to La Jolla for lunch at George’s at the Cove. We even had our tandems watched by the valet parking attendant. Now we had to climb up La Jolla Shores Drive on a full stomach and return to Carlsbad. Our tandem partners were nice to us and did most of the pulling, letting us sit in their draft. This was our longest ride of the year and also more climbing that we had done all year.
The next day was a ride from San Clemente down to Oceanside through the Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton. This was my first time on the base since 1969 when I went through infantry and Amtrac training. What a nice ride. The northern part is through a state park and had very little traffic. The base had more traffic but wasn’t bad. Another great lunch and then back to San Clemente. We almost had a crash when a park worker stopped his golf cart on the blind side of a curve to pickup a piece of garbage. We almost ran into him at 25 MPH.
Wednesday, we rode from Laguna Beach to Newport Beach to Irvine and back to Laguna Beach. A shorter ride but more climbing. We celebrated Velodiva’s birthday with frozen yogurt and later we had a great dinner.
Thursday, was another ride through Camp Pendleton. We decided to go south alternating two minute pulls. What a fun ride! On the return we made it part way through the base and were stopped by a Military Police officer who was blocking traffic due to a fatal car accident. They were not letting any body through because of the investigation that was underway. No other alternative to ride through the base so our options were to wait for the investigation to complete and that could have been many hours or find another way. We decided to ride back to the main gate and ride 8 miles on the 5 until we could get back on the bike path at Las Pulgas. This was the first time I’ve ridden on a busy freeway with lots of the trucks. The shoulder was actually cleaner than I expected, some dodging of debris but not too bad. The wind being pushed by the trucks was the major distraction with sore hands and shoulders from controlling the tandem. It sure was nice to get back on the old highway and state park bike path.
Friday, Hermes and Velodiva had to head back home so Velodiva could prepare for the Berkeley Hills RR. Shari and I did a tourista ride through Oceanside and out and back on the San Luis Rey MUP. Saw several groups of bikes and recumbents.
We arrived back home on Sunday evening. Last night we rode our Seven on a group ride with a mean head wind. Thanks to Hermes and Velodiva providing a great tandem training camp we pulled the rest of riding group through the winds. It sure was nice to be riding the Seven again. Our Cannondale is a nice bike and we’ve put lots of miles on it but it just doesn’t compare to the Seven.
Velodiva and Hermes, thanks again for the great rides, the ride planning and the wonderful times. We feel this was our second best tandem vacation surpassed only by theTuscany tour.
PS. Another invitation was extended, something about tandems, Mount Hamilton, Thanksgiving. Hmmmm!
It was great seeing you guys again - another great tandem vacation! And thanks for making my birthday special. See you at Thanksgiving.