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80 Miles

By | June 27, 2012

Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Santa Monica to Capistrano Beach
80 miles

We spent two days off staying with Jess and Brent and their awesome Corgi puppy, Zelda, in Marina del Rey.


We stayed in my good friend Chris’ room while she was still up at Sara’s in Ventura. We had two massages in two days at a Thai place we stopped in on the way back from breakfast. I ended up with a therapist, Mark, who had been a bike racer when he lived in Thailand! He had also lived in Indiana and done the little 500. So he knew exactly where I would hurt. What a wonderful coincidence to have met him!

I also got a chance to go out to the Acrogreens near the Santa Monica pier on Sunday, where acrobats and acroyogis gather to play. I did a few hand to hands with Ernie, a stuntman who I have met there before. I also saw Jonathan, who owns TSNY, the trapeze school I work at, and met his wife, who is a champion acrobat. TSNY has a location right there on the Santa Monica pier, but I thought Jonathan was from New York, so I was surprised to see him.

Mostly at the Acrogreens, I chatted with Jon, a retired rocket scientist who is often there with his friend Larry. He is also a cyclist, so we had lots to talk about! Also, I taught him some basic acro. He he had been coming to the greens for so long, he thought he should get around to trying some eventually.

On Monday, I had lunch with my friend Nick. It was very fun because I met him in Chicago, and he mentioned he would be in LA visiting the neon benders he works with for his art pieces. He does the neon on the man at Burning Man, and it’s time to work on that for this year’s event. Originally, we thought we would just miss each other, but we ended up being there at the same time!

Later in the day, Sadie and moved over to our friend Charlie’s apartment. Charlie had been on Odyssey with Sadie and Ben, but it had been years since either of us had seen him. We were excited to hear that his girlfriend of a year or so had gotten him to eat vegetables, finally. He now thinks they are delicious, and says he feels much better now that he is eating so much more healthy food. He always used to wake up feeling like he got hit by a truck, but now, at 40, feels great in the mornings! (Ben Melnick, I hope you are listening!)

Sadie and Charlie

Also, Charlie works for Elektra bikes, and he outfitted us with new bells. We went out for a delicious Italian dinner, joined by his roommate Susie, who needed to be kept awake after a long weekend in Vegas with friends. She had great stories about a five week camping trip she took with a friend after they got out of college. I apparently horrified everyone by describing how a ten year relationship can quietly fall apart if you’re not paying attention.

Tuesday morning we were well rested, and actually left the house by 8:30, which was a record for us. We even left the overpriced but scrumptious smoothie place a few blocks away where we ate breakfast by about 10.

I don’t have too much to say about the long 80 miles that followed. About 40 of it was on bike paths.




I kept up with Sadie much more closely than any other day. I was making a concerted effort so I wouldn’t get left behind at stoplights, so I probably pushed harder than usual, but it still felt good. Much of the day was quite flat. It just took forever, between stopping at lights with the city riding, and winding around beach bike paths. Luckily, the paths weren’t too crowded for the most part. We still had to watch closely for small children wandering across and got stuck regularly behind groups of slow cyclists out cruising.

We rode for a while down the LA river, which is little more than a viaduct. It is definitely looking better and greener than the last time Ben and I rode down it for an organized ride. Much of the area around it still contributes to a view of LA as a dystopic wasteland, though. In one section, there was a tent city of homeless people clustered around an underpass, next to wall of graffiti. A lone man in black with scraggly hair strode away in the rubble, wearing thigh holsters that looked like they held long knives. I wish I had a picture of that!

Just past that strip along the river is a tidy suburban neighborhood. There are not many entrances to the riverside bike path, probably to reduce the transient traffic through the neighborhoods. We missed the first entrance, so we had to navigate past the homes for another mile or so before we could get on the path. We came upon this unsettling street:


We spent an hour or so in a cozy coffee shop in Torrance, which we found off our route because we’re getting good at recognizing the street patterns of downtown areas. The rest of the day saw only brief stops for water and power bars, and more riding. We were meeting Sadie’s friend Sue at Sue’s mother’s home in Capistrano Beach, which is right after Dana Point.

This meant we were retracing much of the route of the first day of the Odyssey ride, which ended in in Dana Point. Sadie hadn’t been able to finish that day of riding, so she was extra determined to have a strong finish today. Of course, this time, she’s been on the road for six weeks already, so it was no problem at all. Sue even met us in Dana Point and made a video of us arriving!

We left our bikes at Sue’s mom’s, took pictures on the beach,




and drove up several steep hills to Sue’s house. Sue is a photographer who travelled with the rodeo circuit and lived in the Marshall Islands, among other interesting things, so her house is like a treasure cave. You never know what you will find! She made us steak and baked potatoes for dinner, and I fell asleep before I even finished eating.

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