Saturday, February 23, 2013

LA Chinatown Firecracker 30 mi Bike Ride

EVENT: Los Angeles Chinatown Firecracker Bike Ride (30 mi)
DATE: Saturday, February 23, 2013
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
RACE BEGAN: 09:05 am
FINISH TIME: approximately 02:30:00

Last year, I ran the Los Angeles Firecracker 5K AND 10K run.  My friends and I decided to "catch 'em all," so "The Ukrainian" decided to join us.  I was originally signed up for the 10K (I learned that doing both is not that fun, haha), but the race coincided with my sister's wedding.

No fear, I switched us both to the 30-mile bike tour taking place the day before.  The longest bike tour I had ever done was around 20 miles, but the thought of another 10 miles was a bit daunting.

I trained for this tour -- once -- in the gym on an upright bike, riding for 60 minutes (about 17.5 miles).

On race morning, we took the train to Chinatown.  I got nervous as I saw everyone in their expensive road bikes and gear -- felt like a fraud, ha ha.  The race started with the lighting of firecrackers and one of my worst fears -- riding in a mob of people.  It went fine, though.

The first few miles were a very tough climb.  People were walking their bikes up the hill -- yes, even the fancy bikes (mine is a hybrid bike, much cheaper and not nearly as light/fast).  I'm proud to say I did not have to walk my bike the entire time... yay for barre DVDs for strengthening my quads!

Around Mile 9.5, there was a rest stop with trail mix, peanut butter, gels, water, orange wedges, and sports drink.  I had a little peanut butter, trail mix, and sports drink and decided to continue on, since we were definitely taking longer than imagined -- partly due to hills and partly due to waiting at traffic lights.  Yes, we rode with traffic.  This was super scary, particularly in some parts.  Even more scary was going down very steep downhills with many, many potholes.

I kept imagining myself being clipped by another cyclist, despite my best intentions, or losing control and showing up to my sister's wedding all scarred.  I kept a somewhat conservative pace in the scarier parts, since this wasn't even a timed event.

The most interesting parts were Griffith Park and the bike path near the LA River, which was a path I never thought I'd take.  After what felt like an eternity (the second half went by WAY faster than the first), "The Ukrainian" and I crossed the finish line, high-fiving boy scouts.

I was trying to assess the effort that it took to ride 30 (hilly) miles versus running, and unfortunately, they don't compare. Although it was tiring, I feel more beat up after a 7+-mile run than this 2.5 hour schlep on my bike.  I don't mean to offend anyone, but I guess I have always been intimidated by cyclists.  I shouldn't have been -- I outlasted many of them.  This was a boost for my self-esteem and some sort of affirmation that I am fitter than I thought.  On that note, I think I will finally try spinning classes soon -- due to a gym and job change (yep! more later, perhaps), I will have access to spin classes, and maybe I won't find it as painful as I did the first and only time I took a spin class, back in college.

Anyway, enough rambling.  Here's the goodie bag... the highlight was the Biscoff spread!!!  Tastes like cookies!!  I know this product is sold in my area, but I never bought any because I couldn't justify in my head buying something that unhealthy.  Hah, I will eat it if it's free, though!  (Not pictured: a package of Corn Thins I ate before the ride because I was hungry!)

There was also adequate course support to tell us where to go, so thumbs-up!  I will be back next year, hopefully to run.  Here's my Snake medal to add to my dragon medal... atop the awesome drawstring bag they included!  Happy Lunar New Year!!  Gotta catch 'em all!!


  1. Looks like it was a great day for a ride. Nicely done!

  2. Hmm. I've done the 10K run a couple of times, but never the ride. Nice!