Friday, September 28, 2007

The Day After

If you are coming upon this blog for the first time, the story starts at the bottom. Then work your way up the page.

The ride was spectacular. A true adventure. It was a challenge to ride so many miles alone, no drafting, no one to talk to (except myself) and no one to show me the way. I am grateful to have a friend like John to help shlep my stuff from place to place and be, in his words, my 'pit crew'. John also impressed me with how much work he was able to accomplish. Aside from getting a start on a novel, he filed at least 1 article each day. Here are some links to his work -,0,4602662.story,0,1129259.story,0,78448.story

Would I do it again? Absolutely. I just need some time now to recover. Give me a few days ;) Here are the final stats for those of you into numbers.

Days Riding - 6
Total Miles - 643
Average Speed - 16.0 mph
Total Elevation Gained - 34,110 ft.
Total Ride Time (on the bike) - 40:17
Flat Tires - 0

I look forward to seeing you out there soon.


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Day 6 - Run Forrest Run

Solvang to Malibu

Or is it more like the Energizer bunny? You wake up in the morning, get on your bike and start pedaling. After about 30-45 minutes you've loosened up and start enjoying the ride. But wait! Today's the last day. Say it isn't so!

Rolled out at 7:30 going through Santa Ynez and then into San Marcos Pass. This is another beautiful area with a bunch of rollers. Then I started up a long 4 mile climb peaking at an elevation of 2100ft (the start of the climb was around 400). For those that don't know, this is a hard steady grade (8-10%) with no breaks. For those that do know, it's more elevation than Piuma in a shorter distance. And yes, I can't wait to do it again someday ;)

Once over the top the decent is long and intense. Think Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. I then proceeded into Santa Barbara, past the Mission, and down to the coast (that always seems cool in Santa Barbara). Through Montecito (hi Leonard), Summerland, Carpenteria and into Ventura where I met John and had a great burrito.

It was surprising to me, that in this entire ride, I'd only met 2 cyclists riding in my direction. While riding through Oxnard I met another cyclist. Jim started in Daly City and was riding to Thousand Oaks. He was keeping a very strong pace on his bike. He did 60-70 mile days and camped along the way. I guess this is how the real men do it. Let's just sat I was impressed. Here's a pic of his bike and gear (note the Brooks saddle).

I was now in very familiar territory as I ride often through the vegetable and fruit fields of Camarillo and down the coast and mountains of Malibu. While I was riding this part I was struck by the fact that I am so lucky to be able to live and ride in this area. After riding over 600 miles of California coast, this area really does have it all. Here are some pics I've taken over the last couple of years while riding around here.

I met John at Malibu bluffs and called it a day at 110 miles and 5000 ft of elevation.

'nuff said :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Day 5 - Getting The Hang of This

Cambria to Solvang

The rhythm of the ride is now established. Thinking of doing 100 miles or more is now not even a thought. It feels odd to me to think this way, but that's what it has become. Hills don't matter. Flats don't matter. But wind - THAT matters!! And there was plenty of headwinds this morning. But once I entered Pismo Beach, they were gone and now became tailwinds.

I passed through Morro Bay, Pismo Beach, Oceano, Guadalupe and then stopped in Orcutt, just south of Santa Maria for a sandwich. That was about 80 miles into the day.

Going east, I was now in wine country. More specifically, this is the area where they shot the film Sideways. They also grow a lot of flowers in this area. [btw - if you click on any of these pictures, they will enlarge to the actual size.] I rode through Foxen Canyon, up Ballard Canyon and down into Solvang finishing the day with 116 miles and 4800 feet. Also had my best time/average today. Looking forward to heading home tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Day 4 - Big, Big Sur

Carmel - Cambria

Yesterday was a huge ride and it was nice to have the extra time to ride around Monterey, Pacific Grove and Carmel. This morning was hard to leave, but it's time to ride. You quickly get out of civilization in this area and before you know it, it's just you, your bike, the road and the ocean.

Eventually, the road leads away from the shore and into a heavily forested area to Big Sur State Park. Marked by tall trees and beautiful mountains the road climbs to 1000 ft. where there are 2 resorts - Ventana and The Post Ranch Inn. After this it's all up and down. Thrilling riding. Passing a few towns, though they're more like outposts - Lucia, Gorda & Ragged Point.

Once through the mountainous coast, it's about 15 miles of flat and rolling roads to Cambria. Again, the terrain changes entirely. After passing the Hearst Castle and San Simeon, I pulled into Cambria finishing the day with 99 miles and 6760 ft. of climbing.

This was a spectacular day of riding, and possibly the best time I've ever had cycling.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Day 3 - The Sun Shines

Half Moon Bay to Carmel

Finally! No legwarmers and I needed my sunglasses. By the end of the day the arm warmers and the vest was off too. How normal :). Anyway, got a late start today but it was smooth sailing, er... riding out of Half Moon Bay. About 28 miles in to the ride I met another rider, George, and he kept me company until we hit Santa Cruz - about 45 miles from HMB. Here are some pics from that stretch.

John met me in Santa Cruz where I refueled and took a break (since George was keeping a quick pace). Not so by the way, John (Pit Crew) Anderson, has been great! I could not have asked for better. Here's a shot of John about to make that important call to his editor.

After the passing through Santa Cruz I went through several other farming town until reaching Monterey. I took a bit of a leisurely ride through Monterey, Pacific Grove and 17 mile Drive (Pebble Beach). Then down into Carmel to our friends home where we're spending the night. All in all - 113 miles & 4600 ft of climbing. And if you believe my computer, I burned 6900 calories!! And how about that sign......

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Day 2 - Golden Gate

Bodega Bay to Half Moon Bay

I was exhausted after yesterdays ride. But it felt good to get back on the bike this morning, at 7am. Today was completely different terrain. First, leaving Bodega Bay, Route 1 heads inland traveling through farmlands. Again, many rollers. But it was a peaceful and quiet Sunday morning.

As Route 1 heads back towards the coast, you pass through several small towns. They reminded me a little of New England. Riding through the Tomales Bay area was really beautiful and the first time I found roads that were almost flat.

Eventually I made my way to Point Reyes where, for the first time, I saw groups of other cyclists. Most were headed out of, and back to Petaluma. However I did find one person that was headed my way and we rode together for about 8 miles or so through Samuel P. Taylor State Park.

From the park, I began to enter several, very nice suburban/countryish towns of Marin County - Fairfax, San Anselmo, Ross, Larkspur and Corte Madera. Now instead of riding on country roads by myself, I was riding with traffic. Eventually I made my way through Sausalito (where the mist felt like rain) and up to the entrance of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Once over the bridge, I rode through a very nice SF neighborhood and then over to the ocean. Coming down along the coast was interesting, and at times, a real challenge. I was going up a long hill, and it was so foggy, I couldn't see the top. Wondering all the time - where is it? I took several streets though residential areas to avoid the freeway that Route 1 became. I rejoined Route 1 near Pacifica where I started another long climb to the top of what was going to be Devil's Slide. This is a tiny strip of road that is etched into the cliff. Pictures I've seen make it look harrowing. Let's just say I'm glad it was too foggy to look over the side. Since they were doing construction on this road it made it even more difficult.

But once down from Devil's Slide it was smooth sailing into Half Moon Bay. I finished the day with a paltry 94 miles and 5700 ft. of climbing, in 6 hours of ride time. After checking in to the hotel the sun came out and the forecast for the rest of the week is good.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Day 1 - Battling the Elements

Fort Bragg to Bodega Bay (where Hitchcock shot The Birds)

6am. Woke up to Ted Haggard on TV. Then this guy came on. He was talking about the pain that Jesus endured for us all. Was this a foreshadowing of the pain I was going to endure on my ride??

Sun up here is 7am. I was on the bike at 7:15. A short 15 miles down the road is the picturesque town of Mendocino. This is a picture looking north from Mendocino highlands.

As you can see, overcast. But I was glad. The rain that was forcasted seemed to be holding off...for now.

About 50 miles in to the ride it started to rain. And then there was wind. Though the rain would be on and off, the wind would remain for the rest of the ride. And unfortunately, it was a headwind. That combined with endless rollers (no flat sections at all) made for a hard 110 miles. By the end I had climbed over 7200 ft. as well.

The landscape is beautiful. Rugged and dramatic. At times completely barren and then densely wooded. The road is never straight, often turning inland and downhill to a cove/beach and then immediately turning back out to sea and up again. Some wildlife and few people. This is certainly a remote area. Sweet scents of the trees, sea and brush.