A recovery week riding and swimming in Vegas

No, not recovery swimming in the gigantic leisure pools here at the hotel.  Rather, swimming laps at the actual municipal city pool.  But before we get to that, I had to get to Las Vegas.  So after running the Paris Marathon Sunday morning, I boarded a flight up to London later that evening, and then caught another flight from London straight to Vegas first thing the next morning.  Along the way, I saw Greenland:

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And 10 hours later…Viva Las Vegas!

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Yes, that’s Elvis. And yes, they were getting married.  And yes, there were actually other Elvis’s there at the same time.

Within about about 2 hours of landing I was on my feet having fun with booth duty.  The rest of the afternoon and evening was a blur.  And well, that was mostly true of the entire week.  Back to back meetings, booth time, more meetings, and plenty of other randomness.  By time I got to 8-9PM each night, with the 9 hour time change, I was exhausted.  Hence why my posts were a bit…well…non-existent this week.

But, that didn’t mean I completely ignored training.  The positive side to the 9hr time change is that I was up before sunrise each day this week without an alarm. Usually around 5:20AM.  So I took advantage of that time best I could.  For Monday/Tuesday, the only ‘training’ I did was just lots of walking (happens naturally in Vegas).  No reason to add injury post-marathon with running or the like.

When Wednesday came along I was ready to hit the pool.  So I went over to the city pool.  It’s a really nice facility that I always visit when in town.  It’s a couple miles north of the main strip, but the price can’t be beat – $1.50.

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When I was there, the place was pretty much empty.

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My workout was descending sets from 800y on down (i.e. 800y, 600y, etc…).  Nothing too long or messy.  Mostly just getting me back into the routine of swimming.  So back and forth I went:

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I was playing around with the underwater case for the iPhone, so I could get that post out the door.  My hope was to get that done for Thursday.  But then the whole sleepy thing set in again.

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The swim went well, and I was soon back at work getting more meetings done.  And trying to avoid free dessert tables like these. I succeeded. I had none of that.  Now Dairy Queen…well…nevermind.

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Fast forward to later that evening and I headed out to the car to unpack my bike:

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Yup, that’s a Kia Soul.  Every time I go to Vegas, Avis gives me the Hamster Mobile.  It’s alright, it’s a good little thing for getting my bike around.

The next morning I got up again before dawn and watched sunrise:

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Then me and the Hamster Mobile headed out to the desert.  I went out towards Lake Mead and parked the car right near the entrance to the state/national park area.  Aside from two other cars, the place was empty.

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My workout plan was simple and straightforward: Bike 1hr 30m at a Z2 HR.  Nothing too hard, and err on the side of easy given it was still post-marathon.  I’ve cycled in this area before (it’s also home to many triathlons here), and decided to just do an out and back along a quieter section of the route I did previously.

To start out, I hit up the ranger station and paid my $5.  This would actually cover me for 7 days of riding (in and out privileges), though, I won’t be able to take advantage of that.

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Once clear of the ranger station, I got all my gizmos and gadgets ready to go.  Six concurrent head units recording various data streams for various things.  And two cameras recording.  I’ll probably clean up the GoPro + GPS file video so if folks want to import it into various trainer apps, they can do that.

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Once I made the turn off the main road, it gets pretty quiet pretty quick.

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Most of the traffic is headed to Callville Bay, which is a boat marina about 15 miles from the main entrance.  It’s actually where I biked to last time (but from a different starting point further away).  This time, I’d go past it and stay on the main road.  But even then, I only saw a couple of cars on the way out.

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Most of the time, the ride just looked like this:

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And this:

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Obviously, a few self-portraits were required:

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Unfortunately, the one thing I did forget back in my hotel room was my sunglasses.  Doh!

I like riding out here because the rock colors change a few times along the way.  From a dusty brown, to a bright red:

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The other thing I like about this section of roadway is that it’s really easy to figure out how far from the start you are.  The mile markers bring you right back to the ranger station.  As long as you can count both forward and backwards – you’re good to go.

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I hit the the 45 minute marker and turned around about 45 seconds later at a little breakdown area:

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The way back was pretty much identical to the way there, except in reverse.  I was surprised that I came in with both the inbound and outbound segments being within a few seconds of identical.  I was lucky though in that there was absolutely no wind.  Unlike Monday and Tuesday which had crazy howling winds.

Here I am headed back up to the ranger station at the end of the ride.

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Post ride I spent a bit of time getting a few photos I needed for various reviews collected.

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Then packed things up and drove the 30 minutes back to the city:

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The ride itself went really well.  Actually better than I would have guessed.  Average power was 230w, with normalized power a bit over 240w.

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With that, my workouts in Vegas were complete.  One interesting fitness related item was a quick trip to Best Buy.  I had to find a replacement battery for my GoPro, since for some reason it went kaput.  While they didn’t have the battery they said they had, they did have an incredibly impressive area dedicated to fitness.  This entire aisle (and more out of view) was all fitness and/or health related.  Really amazing.

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Now, I’m off to LA increda-early in the morning on Friday.  I’ll be spending Friday afternoon in Long Beach with ERO Sports and the Alphamantis folks doing aerodynamic testing of both my position, as well as a pile of gadgets and gadget locations.  Should be interesting stuff.

I’ll be in the area until Sunday.  So if anyone has any recommendations for a good 40-50 mile ride I’m all ears (links to route map is ideal).  I’ll have a car, and would prefer to be away from the city.  So something that’s out ‘in the wilderness’ is best.  Happy to drive a bit for a worthy scenic and quiet cycling route.

Thanks all, and thanks for reading!

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39 Comments

  1. Hubert

    Thanks for those pictures of the countryside!
    Ray, how did you choose your path around the city? Simply a map, a local cycling club?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I usually use Garmin Connect or Strava to find routes. I also look at triathlon's in the area, and their courses. I found this route about 4 years ago, and always come out to this area when riding here. It's free of cars, simple to get to, and pretty.

      Reply
  2. Ryan

    Off topic, but what do you do about a pump when you travel?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I bring a full stand pump with me in my case. It comes from using aerowheels (my older HED's) that only a certain pump head would fit, so always just travel with it.

      Reply
  3. David

    Google La Canada Flintridge, CA... park in the town (i like to park at Glendola Park.. so i dont have to pay the fee to park bc its a pain to pay) and ride 25-40 miles uphill on Angeles Crest Highway... all wilderness... or you can park in the park and start off in the middle of nowhere.

    Reply
  4. Amedeo

    But..........where was Grissom???? :-D

    aren't you afraid riding alone and thinking nobody coul helap you if something would be wrong?

    Why do you bring your bike?
    just for workout or for testing your (you and bike) aeodynamic?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I tend to bring my bike if the cycling is good and if I'm in a single place for a long time. In this case, my total trip length is 9 days, so it made sense. And the riding is easy to accomplish and there are great rides.

      No worries riding alone. I have a cell. I'd rather be further out with less cars, than closer in with cars. Not a perfect theory, but it works for me.

      Reply
  5. marian

    ooh i love that bike ride!!

    ray, how do you transport your bike on the plane/s???

    Reply
  6. oldSAP

    your bike route was empty? had it all to yourself?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Basically, just a couple of cars (less than 10 the entire time I'd guess). No other cyclist this day. One crow.

      Reply
  7. Chris

    Ray, love the posts, welcome to LA. Here are some of our clubs routes:

    link to ridewithgps.com

    If you want climbing I suggest the GMR Routes.

    Agoura is more north but is near the beach.

    Montrose is a great ride too.

    I would love to ride with you, but you'd leave me in the dust!

    Reply
  8. Ray,

    One question about the iphone underwater case. What do you use? Because if I google i only find cases without any holders to stick on to the bottom of the swimming pool?

    Thanks,
    Bjorn

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      It's the Hitcase case. I was using the stand that the GoPro comes with. The nice part of the Hitcase is that it's compatible with all GoPro accessories/mounts. So you could DIY one with a metal plate at home depot. :)

      Reply
  9. Gunnar

    Ray,
    Have you ever thought of getting a S and S coupled frame or Ritchey Break Away for your travels?

    I got tired of trying to cram my regular road bike in small European taxis and rental cars and went the coupled route. Also saves on oversize baggage fees.

    For really stealth and easy travel I use an Airnimal Chameleon. Wheels just big enough I can do fast group rides and be comfy on long rides.

    Now get some sleep!
    Gunnar

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I've thought about it. With my softshell bike bag, I very very very rarely get charged for it (none on this trip so far). And, with the soft-shell design I've never had a problem fitting it into even the smallest cars or taxi's (and I've been in a lot of really small cars/taxi's).

      The bigger challenge at the moment is actually then sorting out where to put another bike at the apartment these days. Though, we just got access to a new closet...

      Reply
  10. Jeff

    Ray -- not training related, but FOOD related for LA. If you are in the Hollywood area at all, go to Terroni for Italian food (lunch or dinner). Make sure you ask for the peppers as a condiment, they are absolutely amazing. You will see jars and jars of them lining the walls, and you should purchase one of the large jars before you leave. Absolutely amazing.

    Oh, as for a ride... go up/down the PCH from Santa Monica heading North as far as you need to and back. Turn up any of the county roads once your past Malibu if you want some hill work.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Hmm...maybe I'll wander up tomorrow. Nom!

      Reply
  11. Alberto

    Ray, two great options for a ride in the (awesome) wilderness of the San Gabriel Mountains in the LA are:

    1) heading to Pasadena: the Upper Big Tujunga loop on the road that goes up Mt Wilson
    link to connect.garmin.com
    2) Heading a bit more inland, the Glendora Mountain Road:
    link to connect.garmin.com

    I love them. And springtime is a fantastic time to ride in SoCal.
    They're both very well known and you can also Strava them.
    Let us know if you chose any of these.

    Enjoy!

    Reply
  12. DoubleAA

    Second the PCH stuff. If you want some climbing, Deer Creek, more mild Yerba Buena, Decker Canyon, Mulholland Dr all excellent and as scenic as you can get year-round.

    Reply
  13. You could ride in the Glendora Mountain Road (GMR) and Mount Baldy area, an area visited by the Tour of California: link to ridewithgps.com

    Or southeast to Orange County, try Santiago Canyon Road, that route is about half rural, half suburban bike lane riding: link to ridewithgps.com

    Reply
  14. Were you in Vegas for NAB? What booth were you working at?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Nah, another IT conference this year. Though my Dad often works at NAB...(but not this year).

      Reply
  15. Seb

    Hi Ray,

    Is it just me, or does your front brake release lifted up (first pic riding the main road)?

    Ok, I guess you're unlikely to need full braking power on that road ;)

    Great reading, as usual.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      It is. The bike shop adjusted my brake cabling the last time I was in there and there's way less slack than before. I prefer a little less 'instant' braking on the front brakes. Still plenty of stopping power, but just a little lighter touch.

      Reply
  16. Brian

    Just recently discovered your site while looking for info on the Stages Power meter (looking forward to your update.) More notably is that while scanning through your pics of your Vegas trip, I noticed the old retro Specialized Cactus jersey you were wearing. I have the same jersey bought over 20 years ago. Based on your age and bio, I doubt you have been riding 20 years.

    Reply
  17. Brian

    Ray, what kind of underwater case was that for the iPhone? Looked great! How about the World Famous Swamis ride in Encinitas on Saturday? link to swamis.org

    Reply
  18. link to southbaywheelmen.org

    Check out the Saturday "Donut Ride" or the Sunday "Kettle Ride". These both start in Redondo Beach and Manhattan Beach 10 minutes south of LAX.

    Donut Ride:
    link to strava.com

    Kettle Ride
    link to strava.com

    Enjoy your stay!

    Reply
  19. Brian

    Just saw the case model above... Thanks! Read comments first :)

    Reply
  20. Jason Kummer

    This is my group ride tomorrow morning, we leave from the Mcdonalds at this location, 23340 Avenue San Luis, Woodland Hills. We leave at 7:30am and will take around 3.5 to 4 hours. I have attached my garmin connect file from when we did it last year.

    link to connect.garmin.com

    Reply
  21. Pete Doc

    Where you at MMS ? I am on the flight home, My run routes were pretty boring but the weather was perfect early in the morning! Except for wind on Mon and Tues!
    link to connect.garmin.com
    link to connect.garmin.com

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Indeed. Very nice, I often do that airport run. You can actually make it all the way around in almost exactly 10 miles. It's a little funky around the airport entrance and the arrivals area, but it only lasts briefly before being back to clean running.

      Yeah, that wind was crazy Mon/Tues. Really glad they were recovery days for me. :)

      Reply
  22. Monica

    Hmmm Ray-can I play mom/ultrasound/vascular tech for a moment. Since you took a plane ride right after a long run, did you wear compression socks to help stave off possible blood clots? Hope so. I have found several on runners... just being a concerned reader :)
    Those landscape pictures a breathtaking. It's easy to forget about the 'other side' of Las Vegas. This post makes me want to hop on a bike and ride those roads!

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I helped a bit by splitting it with an overnight stay in the middle (Sunday night post-marathon I stayed in London at the airport hotel).

      No compression, though I had gotten upgraded - which helps with being a nice flat bed to sleep on.

      Reply
  23. Matthew Cortez

    Another Dairy Queen reference, wow. LOL

    Reply
  24. Leo

    Ride PCH in Malibu. Park at John Tyler road and go north until big rock and then back. Nice rollers...about 47 miles. Go up Latino canyon if you want to climb. I'm available if you want to ride.

    Reply
    • Leo replied

      Latigo canyon no Latino...iPad spellcheck!! Haha

      Reply
  25. Hi Ray

    One question about the iphone underwater case. How did you make/take the photo of your iPhone underwater case - do you have two cases?

    How do you take a photo of you swimming - do you have some kind of timer?

    Thanks a lot for a great blog
    /Kudsk

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I've got a small waterproof camera (link to amazon.com) that I use as well to take photos. I also have a full underwater kit for my DSLR camera, but I really only use that when it's a major product review.

      For swimming photos you can use a timer option (there are plenty of photo apps that do that), but in this case I just set it to record video and took a screenshots of the video. :)

      Reply

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