Thursday, March 20, 2014

Night Riding - Tony's First Ride

This past weekend got to be a first. Tony, a friend I've known for a few years now, got his first road bike a week or so ago and we were finally able to make it out for a ride. See, any time another friend gets a bike things are good. This just increased the number of people you can ride with, which only increases the fun you can have on your bike. The more people the better.

Now, Tony isn't new to bikes. He used to ride mountain bikes for some time, and from what he says it sounds like he rode pretty consistently and pretty well. So when he mentioned coming out on Saturday with us on a ride I was excited. I was also glad that Tony was in good shape, had a spin machine at home (to which he would watch cycling workout videos in various locations around the world), and had just dropped some serious coin on a very nice Trek Domane set up with Dura-Ace.

Also joining Andrew and I would be Mike. Mike is still pretty new to riding, but is also in better shape than I am (not hard), so I figured our little jaunt out to Acton and back (~53 miles) would be challenging but doable. Besides, as Mike stated, he needed to a taste of reality to get him motivated to start prepping for Rockwell Relay.

Needless to say, when Andrew let me know he might not make it due to another commitment, better sense got a hold of me, and I knew we should keep in a bit more local so we could adjust the mileage and the ride based on how everyone was feeling. Also, I adjusted the ride time back 15 minutes to allow for a bit more sleep (it was getting late and the kids were going crazy).

Mike was at my house at 5:00 so we could make sure his lights were set, and Tony showed up at 5:15. Andrew, having a few extra minutes in the morning, and knowing that I changed the route to something closer, showed up as well and figured he would ride the first leg with us.

We were off and riding shortly thereafter and I knew we would have until around 7:00 to get to ride in the dark. We started us up Placerita Canyon (the start of the route Andrew and I did the week before), but at Sand Canyon we would head north going downhill back into town. As we started up Placerita Andrew and Mike were in good shape heading up the climbs. Tony was also moving steady, but at a bit slower of a pace. See the other thing to know about Tony is that he is built like a tank. The best way I could quickly describe Tony would be to have you think of Popeye, except switch out the huge forearms for biceps. They're the size of most guys' legs. Needless to say Tony had the muscle to climb the hills, but he also had the extra weight to carry with him as he ascended.

The weather was chilly but nice, and it was as I was riding along with Tony I realized that this riding in the dark was actually quite nice. I even had a chance to stop and take a pic of Tony making his way up one of the climbs.
(Moon on the left, Tony on the right.)
The thing I like about my pic of Tony above is that you can just how strong is 15 year old mountain biking light is. As he pointed out, it doesn't quite have same output as today's lights. We were both just amazed that his rechargeable batteries were still good after all these years.

We made it to the end of Placerita (passing Andrew on his way back home) and, Mike, Tony and myself headed down Sand Canyon and back into town. Once into town it wasn't long before we were back on the trails and relatively flat terrain. I wanted Tony to see some of the great trails Santa Clarita has to offer, and this also provided for an occasional smaller hill every so often that would be sure to get a little more of a challenge in our each of us. All-in-all we tackled just over 38 miles with just over 2600 feet of climbing. It was a good ride and maybe a bit of a stretch for Tony's first ride, but not once did he complain about a thing. Tony killed it for his first ride, and I was glad that he was excited to be able to do it again. Soon.

(Making our way back home.)

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