The Great and All Powerful Tri-Geek Dreams Kahuna. Just an amazing host and great guy. He made me feel comfortable the entire time we were together. The thing about the Kahuna is that he is always smiling and laughing.
Prodigal Joel. I actually spent more time with Joel on Saturday than anyone. He is funny, flirty (as pictures will hopefully show), and really just an affable guy. To everyone's joy he was the first to arrive and as I will relate, he saved my ass at the end of the day. Much props out to brother Joel.
Robo-Stu. Crap he is a blaze on the bike. He just doesn't want to be out in the front he wants to be lapping the pack. Stu is incredibly friendly, asks well thought questions and then beats the hell out of you based on your answers. If anyone has scared me straight on my cycling skills its Robo-Stu and for that I am eternally grateful.
Head Doc. Head Doc is pretty cool. He is extremely polite and easy going but has a core of molten lava. I think mano-y-mano he could take Robo-Stu out but he is so gracious he would never do so.
Commodore. Some dumb hick from Arizona who only rides on table top flat terrain with lots of stop lights to catch his breath. What the hell was he doing with these guys?
I arrived late to the impenetrable fortress of Casa de Kahuna and while the street is right out of Mayberry the house is out of Extreme Makeover. Just amazing. We had enough time to drop my gear and head out for a sunset viewing on the ocean, again amazing and awe inspiring. Then we went to his decade old hangout a Mexican diner come surf shop. We swapped stories and a beer discussing work and training.
Saturday morning the cast of characters arrive and after much badgering and photos, we get out almost an hour later than planned. It didn't help that I spent four minutes looking for my sunglasses that I found underneath my helmet firmly on my head. That was a tough one to live down for a few minutes.
The PCH route is just ama...its beautiful. Lots of surf and tanned bodies. The pace was at a speed that I was comfortable with but not the hills. After an hour of rollers and some bigger rollers, I was trailing way behind the pack. Joel and I stuck together for a while but what he lacks in his training he more than makes up for in raw talent and was soon pulling Kahuna and Head Doc away from me on their quest to catch up to Robo. Upon inspection Robo has a normal drivetrain on his bike but I kept looking for the engine.
By the time we hit Marine Corp. base, which was a great flat layout my quads were snockered. I was pulling up on the group but they are all freaking fast, big ring mashing all the way. Average speed probably 22 mph. One picture taking session and a flat tire by me later, plus the tardiness when we left, started to put a time crunch on making the San Diego train in time and the pack picked up the pace.
At around 50 miles, Joel decided the time crunch was too deep and he needed to make it back to Hollywood for an appointment, (work, date, drinking, partying-maybe all of the above at the same time). So we stopped at the Amtrak for him to go back north and I went with him. No not to chaperone, those 50 miles of hills pummelled my quads and I was cramping hard every time I got out of the saddle. Kahuna had told me earlier about the 3 mile climb into La Jolla at the end and the rest of the 'bigger' rollers and I had enough. Plus deep down I felt I was holding Kahuna, Robo and Head Doc back. Joel and I were going to peddle back to Kahuna's anyway and that eventually added another 20 miles to the day.
Sidenote: Sorry Kahuna, we tried to follow your 10 mile instructions but decided to follow a bike path map that we later realized did not have any street names on it. You know what they say about shortcuts...
While at the train station, Head Doc had convinced Kahuna to enter a 1.5k swim the next morning and at that point I decided that since I was getting back to the "O.C." earlier I would just drive home since I haven't seen that place much anyway in the last couple weeks. BTW all the swimming and running that was planned was sorta cast aside. The water temp. dropped to 60* and I don't have a wetsuit and Kahuna was nursing a bad calf that hurt his running. So it just worked out right.
Joel and I spent a hazy hour plus getting back to house. Speaking for myself I was beat. The path we took was again lots of ups and downs going under roads and just as we turned the corner to get home my legs seized up and stopped peddling. Luckily I just coasted down the block and Joel helped me off the bike. A hot shower and I was heading home in twenty minutes. No regrets.
Its so exciting to met an entirely new group of friends and just feel like one of the guys. I took something away from each of them that will stick with me for years to come. One of the words that comes to mind is 'community'. People that barely know each other yet have a common bond and electronic communication can come together and find so much in common and be so well intending to each other. Just...well I will say it again...amazing.
And to cap things off, a retort made by Robo-Stu at the beginning of our little jaunt after he asked me when the last time I rode was I answered before my vacation started two weeks ago, "Your a triathlete...right?" See what I mean.