SUBJECT: Dana Pt to Avalon by way of Oceanside Ride

This Sunday’s training ride (Mark/John/Kim/Paul/Lee/Tom/Tony) at Dana Point is sponsored by the upcoming Dana Point to Avalon Offshore Sprint" scheduled for Sunday, April 5, 2009. First time racers or wannabes can still sign up and race for a cool $100.00. This is a great entry level race and an opportunity for you to see first hand what all this offshore racing excitement is all about. So come out and join the fun!

Not to scare any future potential racers away but, remember the 2008 LB2CAT 58 mile race; remember the recent Mark Hahn 300 mile endurance race at Havasu; well, those two races may serve as a precursor to the offshore endurance conditions encountered early on today.

Once again, not making any predictions for its the luck of the draw when you get out on the water as to what conditions you will find so, it’s always best to prepare for the worse. Do yourselves a favor and if you haven't yet signed up; try talking yourselves into something that will challenge you beyond your usual riding style. For new riders it just might be like running that first marathon or doing a century (100 mile) bike ride.

My new Force 6 Mustang PFD favored the conditions well today. Thanks Shawn! When I climbed into this heavy duty work vest it sort of felt “superhero” like, as if all the first responder institutional boating safety knowledge came along with the vest. Long after I’ve floated for days and possibly weeks in the ocean water this vest is made to still remain afloat. Helicopter rescue - no problem. Self attached rescue and tow hook.

Not sure about your navigational skills? Worse yet, how about if your GPS goes down during the Dana Point to Avalon Sprint? Try following the guy sporting the brightest rescue vest in the race; at least up until 13.5 miles. That’s when the curvature of the earth starts to kick in and you will certainly lose sight of me – so please try to keep up.

What didn’t I stuff into those two front and rear cargo type pockets today. Personal locator beacon, VHF radio, first aid kit, knife, glo stick, strobe, signal mirror, water purifier, cloaking device; you get the idea. This new rescue vest also seemed to posses offshore instincts. During todays ride in the icy cold Pacific Ocean waters the vest sensed something was amiss. That something turned out to be the number of Ultras out riding and so we were all lulled into a false sense of good running mechanical security.

Didn't take long for the vests' instincts to prove right - one of the pack (an '07 Ultra) decided to act up and so it had to be herded back to the barn. In no time flat I escorted that Ultra back to Dana Point PWC where master mechanic Aaron quickly diagnosed the problem to a faulty plug.

According to here is what the race may look like; start line up at Dana Point around 8 a.m.; sprint across the channel for approximately 37 miles one way and one way only. First boat to Avalon wins; the rest of us just get a great opportunity to be the first to do this annual PWC migration from Dana Point to Avalon. If Avalon is calling then you get a chance to stop – but only to fuel up at their fuel dock. All racers will “buddy" wingman their way back to Dana Point at a comfortably leisurely pace and maybe spot a few whales along the way. The award ceremony and festivities will be around 1 p.m. Visit for the latest information and entry form.

The history of whales is rich in southern Orange County, and Dana Point's 38th annual Festival of Whales was in high gear today. Remember that group of riders that set off for Avalon at the start of this ride? Three came back for round two – Oceanside. Great offshore riding conditions and without the porpoising head seas, encountered on the way to Avalon. Kelp field dead ahead. No fear. This group of riders unleashed all fury on this massive kelp field to show you that as long as you keep her pegged and not slow down you will churn through most anything in the water. Three Ultras and two Kawasaki 15F’s put on quite a show all the way to Oceanside and back. Amazing how most any ski in the right hands, can be ridden hard and fast, no matter what the conditions.

So who wasn’t out there today? We had a group of about 20 ocean kayaks racing; our walk on water paddlers; kayak fisherman, sailors, fisherman, and a variety of other sun worshippers making for a great weekend for the Festival of the Whales that goes for the next two weekends. Here are the two weekends March 7, 8, and 14, 15.

According to the experts modern whale watching started in San Clemente off their pier and has now moved up to Dana Point. No whales spotted for this group of fast movers today. If you want to know how much this whale-watching industry is pumping into the economy it still represents about a 2 billion dollar industry and most of it gets to stay right here in Orange County.

See you on the water!