Sooo to continue the trend of coast ride reports I read today, I thought I'd write my own before my memories get fuzzy. In a word, I would describe the coast ride as awesome. But that is like saying that cookies are delicious - it just doesn't quite get the essence of HOW awesome it was.
Let's just start with the view from the beginning of the ride.
Yeah, that could be worse! The night before was pretty awesome too - hanging out with friends I hadn't seen much or hadn't really met in person, and finding out how easy it was to settle right in with them. I actually slept pretty well the night before the ride even though I was a little nervous - I hadn't ridden over a century probably since my Ironman in 2011, and had never ridden 375 miles in three days before, because I am not insane. Well okay I'm a little insane. But you know even I have my limits.
We started out day one and the biggest challenge I had was that my bottom bracket started making a really bad noise. I mean really bad, like a very loud clicking noise every time I pedaled. Yeah so I was that guy who came to a very long ride with a ghetto bicycle. But it really wasn't doing it before! I still felt like a giant idiot. So after the first 30 miles out of San Francisco I stopped and talked to the nice Sag driver and lost my group and rode the next 40 miles by myself, which wasn't that bad, because the scenery looked like this:
The ocean is just past those pretty yellow flowers. Yeah, I am cool with that. Later on during the first day I also flatted so it was definitely not my day. Because of the mechanicals and other stuff I ended up chasing a group for a LONG time towards probably miles 105-110. That was fun - how high can my heart rate get that late in a ride? Pretty high! I did finally catch them and ride in with them to Seaside, California. I immediately checked into my room and rode 5 more miles to Pacific Grove to the Winning Wheels bike shop, which SAVED my ride. Those guys are awesome. They stayed like 45 minutes past when they were supposed to close and replaced a bad bearing I had in my bottom bracket. Seriously amazing. I owe them so much more than I paid. Now that extra 10 miles on the first day gave me a total of around 139 for the day, so that was a long one.
The next day was the one I was most nervous about but also most excited about - I had been told it was the most challenging yet prettiest day. And I would say it was both. The scenery was insane. For the first 80 miles it was a lot like this...
So it was pretty enough that the climbing that was pretty much constant didn't seem that bad. We also made a stop in Big Sur, which was much smaller and more quiet than I expected, yet also really beautiful. It's a little bit inland but I found a quiet spot with a nice stream.
We stopped at a place called Ragged Point for lunch at about 80 miles in and then the next 45 were pretty awesome. I got in the group with the fast guys (we had two awesome pros from the Kelly Optum team that would just pull like all day long), and somehow hung on until we reached Morro Bay. It was so painful at times, especially on a long section with a wicked cross wind and a chip seal surface. But I did it! That really boosted my confidence.
Morro Bay, our stop for day two, was really beautiful - there's a volcanic rock or something right off the beach. I am not sciencey. But it was cool to see.
Here I am surprisingly not feeling that bad the morning of the third day. Yet I just feel that I am not photogenic in kit. Who knows what that's about.
My new friend Mark took this picture. I liked the perspective on it with the sun rising in the background. He's a professoinal photographer so he has a good eye. It's early on the third day when we cruised into San Luis Obispo, which is amazing, and I can't wait to go back there. It was nice to warm up the legs slowly and get a huge muffin. I love muffins. I kept that bad boy in my pocket for hours, I kept eating it and it wouldn't go away!
So after SLO we rolled out and things were going well. I stopped for the bathroom and lost the group (I rode with the fast guys to that point) and the pros from Kelly Optum came back and rode me up to the group. They are awesome. After that I was determined to stay with them to Santa Barbara, and I did!! I am so proud. It was very hard at times. Mostly on the big climb after the lunch break and then on the long section on the 101 right before we finished, with lots of traffic and a crappy surface. Day three also sadly included two crashes. One happened right in front of me, and one right behind me (I mean RIGHT behind me - the guy behind me tried to bunny-hop a grate, hit my back wheel, and went down). The first one I don't know how I avoided it. But I feel very lucky that I did. Three guys were injured in that crash. It's a reminder of how dangerous our sport can be. But outside of those little blemishes, it was an incredible day. I am so proud of myself for hanging with the guys for 125 miles.
After the ride we showered up in Santa Barbara and drove back with a very full car!
Today has been a long day and I am very hungry. I suppose that's par for the course. My legs are tired but happy. I am tired and happy. I love California. And most of all I love the people I have met through triathlon and cycling, that make my life better all the time. You know who you are!