Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Thursday Night Fixie Fun

As we are coming out of the cold winter nights, Thursdays are getting better and better! When I asked for a Fixed Gear bike for my birthday back in January, I had one thing on my mind...Thousand Oaks Chain Gang Thursday night rides!

Drew (The Pirate?) Guarding the fleet!

As the weeks roll on, there are more and more people showing up to ride! We meet at the bike shop around 7PM and start rolling at about 7:30. All kinds of folks show up. Guys, gals, and youngsters. Most have fixies but some show up on geared road bikes and occasionally something crazy like a tall bike! We usually head down Thousand Oaks Blvd.(The main street in our community) towards Moorpark Rd. The larger the group gets the safer we all seem to feel riding on the busier roads. We usually get lot's of honks and waves. People get a kick out of seeing us all riding down the road. We also get the occasional jerk that wants to give us grief! Whatever! Once we hit Moorpark road it's a climb up to Toppers Pizza! Some of the best pizza ever!

After salad and pizza we have been lately heading out trying to find a place to race. Some weeks it's drag races, other weeks we map out a course. The last two weeks we have been going to the park behind the Thousand Oaks Library. We figured out a CRAZY figure 8 cyclocross type of race track. The first half-lap is on a 4 foot wide sidewalk that has twists and turns(even a bridge crossing) that are hard to navigate on a fixed-gear! Then it gets even CRAZIER when you hit the second half as it turns to a sandy path that also twists and turns! People were even crashing as we slowly rode the course pre-race. It then turns off the sand path onto the grass where you have to duck under some tree branches! A mushy jaunt over the soft playground surface and you finish the lap! 3 laps was the call and the first week out was NUTS! There was crashing and banging from the start, (no injuries) and I couldn't even hang with 3-4 of the guys! After that race we decided to do a gate to gate drag race. The road through the park is shaped like a big U. There are closed gates at each end and I would say that it is about 1/2 of a mile or a little more all the way around. We had someone yell o and I got a pretty good start. I was 3rd at the half-way point and I think we had pretty much dropped everyone else. As we approached the finishing gate it was slightly uphill. I looked up to see Bobby Langin Jr. and some other racer guy hammering with their heads down. In a flash Bobby screamed OH SH...and next thing you know he was flying over his bars! He did he pretty good tuck and roll and came right up to his feet screaming' "Did I win, Did I win?" The other guy had locked up into a skid that was no less than 25ft! Yeah...they were flying! I locked into a skid(I have no brakes, this is a complete lock up of the legs) and barely missed crashing into the fence! I guess we should have checked the end of the course first! The whole way back to the shop all we talked about was Bobby's Superman over the fence! He's got a pretty good talent for crashing onto his face!
We had about 20 people this last week and hope that it continues to grow! We will have to start reserving the party room at the pizza place! I also got to do the Ride of Silence this last Wed. This was a memorial ride that was held all over the country last week. Thousand Oaks had about 300 riders show up! It was pretty cool as some bike police also showed to ride with us. We rode up Thousand Oaks Blvd and made a big loop back around to the start. It was about 12 miles and there were all kinds of riders there! There were a couple really young kids that did the whole 12 miles on BMX bikes! There were old folks, racers, tag-along's, and even a few tandems. It was kind of funny when we were sitting in the parking lot waiting to take off and there were people eating GU"S and Shot Blocks! We asked each other if we missed the invitation to the race? It was a great time! We rode to Taco Bell afterwards and managed to eat a lot!
Sometime in the next couple of weeks will be the big Chain Gang Race that we have been planning for over a year! It will be from Agoura High School to the Jann's Mall parking lot! Straight down Thousand Oaks Blvd! There are a couple tough hills in the first 5 miles so correct gearing on the fixie will be key! I will definately have some pics!
I HAVE TO GIVE A HUGE CONGRATS TO MY MOM AND DAD! They have been looking to buy a bike for my mom and actually went out and rented one to try. So any regular Joe would go to an easy short bike path to get a feel for the bike! Nope! Not my parents. They decided to ride from Ventura to Ojai and back!!! Ummm yeah...that's 15 miles each way! It climbs 1000ft from Ventura to Ojai and then when you head back to Ventura it's all downhill, but usually a headwind right in your face! Though she started to have a little cramping, they made it the whole way! Awesome! Way to go guys! I am dropping off my old mountain bike to my dad tomorrow! Next up for them, a ride through Sycamore Canyon! They want me to go with them but I am not sure I will be able to keep up!

Ride On,