Living the cycle dream! – Dana Point, California

Living the cycle dream!
On August 15th I received the following e-mail from my employer:

You are scheduled to be involved with CTEC is some manner this year. The North American event will take place at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa in Dana Point, California from November 3-8, 2019. Participation typically involves speaking or training, but you will receive separate communication on how you will participate specifically.

This could potentially mean that I was going to live one of my dreams: biking in the United States of America. As one of my colleagues, Gary Stimson, is also a notorious cyclist. I know he is arranging some sort of cycling all the time during such events. So I immediately reached out to him to see if he also was going. The answer was yes and the planning could begin.

We both reached out to a couple of bike rental companies to see what options they had. I have to say I am not that impressed about the customer services of such companies. But in the end we found one that could rent us some bikes. Synaptic Cycles was the one that we found. They had a good price for our Tuesday morning ride. We ordered a Scott Addict and a BMC GF01 both size 56 cm. Also they did add Shimano & LOOK pedals as well as a Garmin mount.

On Sunday I woke up pretty early (still on European time) and when I opened the door to my balcony the sun was shining already in my face. I suddenly realized it would be a week with beautiful weather and I did not bring any swimming shorts or slippers. As I found out during check-in that renting a mountainbike was free for 2 hours and an outlet mall was pretty close. So the idea came to do a ride to the outlet mall after breakfast. After a steep decent the ride went along the beach to San Clemente. Via downtown I rode up the hills to the mall, did some speed shopping and back via more or less the same route. Total 24 km and my first kilometers on American soil.

On Monday evening around 6:30 PM the guy Synaptic came to the hotel to bring our bikes. For me the Scott was reserved. A very nice bike with Shimano Dura Ace setup. So we brought the bikes to the room and after dinner I prepared my cycling gear. The planning was 6:00 AM Tuesday morning outside to start our ride.

Waking up at 5:30 AM while you are still a bit on European time is not difficult so a short shower and then I was ready to go out. As the sun was just up it was pretty cold, luckily I had a long sleeve Dharco mtb short with me which I could wear below my bright yellow Parentini shirt. This was especially needed on the steep decent and when some cold wind pockets caught us. The plan was to do 60 miles along the coast in the direction of San Diego. Gary was much more in shape and on the little climbs he dropped me easily but as he waited on each of the tops I could manage to stay with him. Seeing the sun rise was very beautiful and the bike paths in California are really amazing.

As we came closer to our return point we had to pass a US military camp. According the route and sign we should have been able to continue after the security check but unfortunately when Gary showed his drivers license we were send back. No access for the Brit and Dutch it seemed. So after some attempts to still go direction San Diego we had to return the same way as we came. In San Clemente although we drove a different route which led us to the beach and pier.

As Gary was not satisfied with the total number of kilometers we drove not to the hotel but the other direction in Dana Point. This took us into the harbor and also to an extreme looking climb. As I tried to avoid this we ended up in a dead end and this was for Gary the sign to still go up this climb. My legs were destroyed on what felt 20% (actually it was 13% average over 300 meter). But the view on there was really amazing. The drive to the hotel although was all downhill what made the climb even more worthwhile. On the last climb, a steep sucker to the hotel my legs gave up. I ended totally out of breath and then it was time to shower and start working…… Thanks Gary I loved this ride and your company!

On Wednesday I had some time to go to the GameStop down the road to pick-up something for my youngest son, he texted me that morning. As this was pretty close I took again a mountainbike from the hotel and drove to the shop. A long the beach again and a short climb later I arrived at the shop but unfortunately the thing I came for was already sold out. So via the same route (and of course some pictures) back to the hotel. On the steep climb back I rode my fastest time, still 1 minute slower then the KOM. This got my biking total over 100 km.

So finally did “Living the cycle dream!”