Manhattan Beach, CA to Riverside, CA
At last I am on my way East until we reach Boston. After riding the bike in groups of two side by side the 5 miles from the hotel to the beach, I took of our shoes and socks and dipped Irma’s back wheel into the Pacific Ocean. Probably not the best thing for high performance cycling wheels, but a ‘mark in the sand’ for all of us to start this adventure. After spending a little time with Deirdre and two great friends David and Julianne, who all started their Sunday very early just to see me off, it was time to get on the bike and hit the road. Just as well the departure was quick, before Deirdre got too emotional and started me off.
As it was a Sunday, the traffic was quieter than usual for LA. This suited me as I know from my training rides, early morning drivers can often have little patience for cyclists and especially small groups of them. The first mile was uphill with a couple of good gradients. So off I went quite happily climbing up the first hill feeling the eyes of my supporters and staff watching me from behind. As I approached the first traffic light I saw something yellow coming from the left, which was a rider travelling sideways rather than forward. It was then I decided that it might be a good idea to ride a little more spread out at the start, so I cranked it up a touch for a few minutes to get clear of the cluster of riders, hills and traffic. After a couple of miles I found myself with three great guys and excellent cyclists, Barry and Mike from Florida, and Terry from Texas. I felt safe following these guys as they negotiated the many traffic lights, turns and road conditions safely and with ease. I tucked into their shadows and drafted along at a good pace for around 60 plus miles. A few times they dropped me on the inclines but I managed to rejoin them on the descents or when they got stopped by the many red lights which littered today’s route. It was really fun and the boys got me out of the city in one piece, and as it happened, quickly too.
We reached a few more hills late in the ride and the boys powered away. I was more than happy to be out of the urban sprawl and content to cycle alone, through the orange groves and flowering trees for the final 15 miles. The smell from the orange groves and roads lined with flowers were amazing and really took me aback. As happy as a ‘kid on a bike’ I rode to the hotel and arrived 15 minutes or so behind my heroes for the day.
I am sure every day will be different and I will hopefully ride with every one of our group at some stage. Today I was lucky to have these ‘Three Amigos’ drag me out of LA.