Ride Report. SoPas – Sierra Madre – Hwy 39 East Fork – Coached Ride to Cafe

67.8 mi, 3,645 ft elevation, 5:02:35 moving time, 125 suffer score, 64 Strava trophies

On a cool blustery morning, I rode from home in SoPas to join the main ride in Sierra Madre. We did the usual pick up at Encanto Park in Duarte. Today, I hosted the coached ride, with Laura as my only trainee. MikeW (her uncle), MikeK, and PaulB were riding with us at friendly pace. We went up the San Gabriel River Trail to the end then continued on Hwy 39. Laura got a flat on a roller by the dams. I helped her change the tube and used a gel pack as a boot for the hole in the tire. It worked fine. She was a trooper and made it to the East Fork Bridge and onto the Cafe. We flipped it and returned to Encanto. During the descent and rollers, the clouds got darker and darker. It started to drizzle. I picked up the pace a little to get home before it really rained. MikeK descended faster than us and said we missed the A group which went from the Cafe up the backside of GMR (Glendora Mountain Road). From Monrovia to SoPas, it drizzled and I got wet and cold. It took a nice hot shower to warm me up again.

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Eugene loves his new Garmin 920XT. Multi-sport watch. Watch mode. Activity tracker. Smart watch notifications.


Kirk, Derek, Eugene, Rob, Jonathan, Luis, Gregg, Lynda, Bryan, DavidB, Bill. PeterD rolled up a second later.

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DavidB, Jonathan, Bryan, Shane, PaulB, Lynda, Eugene, Derek, Luis, Rob, Brent. MikeW and Laura are in the back fixing a flat, which later flatted again.

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Since you made it all the way to the bottom, I thought I’d share a few things that I learned as a Coached Ride Leader. Here’s my helpful tips for Leaders and Riders.

Be helpful, but not preachy. Ask questions and get to know the riders. See if he is a seasoned vet or a brand new cyclist.

While changing a flat tire, talk your way through it so, that the riders learn how to do it next time. I used a CO2 cartridge and explained it. It’s faster and more convenient than a pump. Look for the root cause. Remove the glass or debris. Press around the tube and ensure no pinching of the tube and tire.

When climbing up hills, keep your cadence steady and use all the gears. Pedal in circles, rather than mashing.

While descending hills, lead with your head, literally. Your bike will follow what you’re looking at and where your head is leaning. Get a solid grip on your brakes either from the hood position or from the drop position on the handlebars. You should be able to both steer and brake. Use both brakes if it’s very steep. Stand on both feet at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock to give your butt more clearance for bumps.

Hand signals are useful when riding in a group. Point at hazards for those that are following you. Call out traffic or bikes or runner or dogs.

If person is new to group riding, give them space in front and in back to do their thing. Don’t follow too closely. They may do something unpredictable.

When there is car traffic, be very predicatable. Don’t do something un-predicatable. Turn on rear blinking lights, even in the day. Be very visible. When riding through suburban or urban street, make eye contact with drivers for better agreement on who’s turn it is. Wave ‘hi’ and ‘thank you’.

Don’t cross wheels. This means follow behind a person, so that his rear tire can moving side to side without hitting your front tire.

Nutrition. Drink water and electrolytes. Eat goo’s or bars for longer rides. Hydrate even after the ride to support your recovery.

Replace and maintain bike parts. If you have a hole in the tire, replace it before you go a ride into the mountains.

Be patient.

Look around and enjoy the view. If you’re leading the ride, and it’s super slow, enjoy the journey anyway. See stuff you never saw because you’re always flying by.

— Those were my random tips. Enjoy!

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