Tour of The California Coast

Day #6
June 11, 2010
Newport Beach - Home
85 miles

The end of the journey.

We woke up to June gloom and a headwind. I took the gloom as mother nature's sadness our trip was coming to an end. I viewed the headwind as a chance to prolong the riding. Emotions were mixed today. I wanted to celebrate the success of our journey but I also did not want the trip to end. I thought this journey would be more of a test of my physical and psychological make up but it wasn't. It was just plain fun. It was amazing, exhilarating, awesome, and liberating I did not want it to end. It was a great reminder of how fun it is to ride a bike. Sometimes expectations of performance, fatigue, and other responsibilities wear on me.  Riding from point A to point B without any other cares is sinfully delicious, like eating nothing but frozen yogurt for dinner :)

I really enjoyed the ride down from Newport beach. Soon we hit Laguna Beach and it was beautiful. I forget how close to home this riding is. Throughout the week when I saw county signs or mileage signs I would cheer. When I saw the Laguna Beach sign I wasn't certain I should celebrate. I didn't really want to face the reality that the trip was soon to be history.

After Laguna Beach was Dana Point. I read Beth's blog a while back and learned of a place named Revo, a bicycle/ espresso shop she and her husband rode their bikes to. I couldn't think of a better business establishment to patronize so we stopped. Unfortunately they weren't open yet. We rolled on. Maybe one of these days I'll talk the gals into Dana Point, via bike.

San Clemente was the last chance for coffee before entering Camp Pendleton. Cappuccino sounded good.
I like the kind of business establishments that have good bike parking.

Makes me smile a bit.
Told you it was windy. Windy. I heard these "old guys" or "blinged up geezers" as we now say, bragging about how thay had been averaging 35 mph. I wanted to say "Don't turn around, just keep riding and take the train home."
I couldn't delay things forever and despite not wanting the trip to end Camp Pendleton is a wonderful place to ride. Lot's of reminiscing. Memories of my first century, first 1/2 Ironman, training from Ironman Arizona in 2008.
Pendleton went by too fast and soon we were in Oceanside Harbor. Tim and I did some extra loops around the harbor for full effect. We were getting to close to home. Next up for debate was lunch. Tim voted for Pannikin in Encinitas. I voted for "Berry Happy" frozen yogurt in Encinitas. Bruce voted for fish tacos in Carlsbad.
Bruce won. It's a family tradition while in town. I think it's where Bruce goes to eat after Oceanside 70.3 while waiting for awards. It's where the rest of us just eat.

I'm sort of sad here. I don't want to the ride to be over and I know there is only 25 miles between me and my home. Bruce suggests we ride to Mexico. Tim says he's glad we thought to put a beer in the fridge to celebrate with post ride. Part of me is immature. I feel the urge to hurl myself on the ground in a "Dennis the Menace" style tantrum. I don't want the trip to end end. "No! No! No!" The part of me I act on is the reasonable rational side that realizes I have had the privilege to do something really, really amazing. If given the chance I would do it again but doing this trip once makes my feel like I have had more than my fair share of fun and opportunity in this life.

We roll home along the coast. We choose the inside of Torrey Pines for the ascent. Tim always takes the inside of Torrey as the views are better and he like bunny hopping the cracks in the "Broken Road" on top. Bruce doesn't know the tricks Tim and I do entering the the park. He gets stuck behind traffic. A large gap form and we soft pedal. I notice Bruce eliminating the gap quickly, very quickly. I hear him breathing and see him riding with enormous speed. At mile 645, he is ready to race. He is throwing down, blinging up,  giving everything he's got  and looking for somebody willing to engage. At first I don't engage. The faster we ride, the sooner we are done (: Tim taps my bike and says "get him". I launch into an all out climb. We race like kids through the park. I keep thinking the game will end but Bruce continues to launch attacks until the La Jolla Shores descent. We take the scenic route through the neighborhood and debate which way to ascent Soledad. Via Capri or not. I don't think a standard 27 is enough gears for me today to tangle with Via Capri and the guys have packs. So we take the longer but less steep route. We ride through the village, drop our packs at home and climb to the top of Mt. Soledad. All too soon the trip has ended and we are looking back on the ground we covered. The journey ended but the memories didn't.

Riding the coast from San Francisco to San Diego in a unsupported fashion was like reading a really, really good book. The best book you've ever read.  The kind were you can't put it down and quickly turn all the pages. As you see the pages left to turn get smaller, you don't really want it to end but it does. I'm sure like a good book there are other great experiences yet to be discovered.
The End.

Tour of the California Coast

Day #5
June 10, 2010
Carpinteria - Newport Beach
133 miles

Not too bright and not too early we were on the road again. Once again we had a 6:30 a.m. breakfast then hit the road.
Even as far south as Capinteria it was chilly in the morning.

The fog didn't last long and then it was a typical California bluebird day.
At some point it was time for a coffee break.

and maybe a croissant  (for me it was a cookie).I think the coffee break was in Port Heuneme south of Ventura and Oxnard. After the coffee we did good work and made it into Malibu lickity split.

I didn't think Malibu would be as nice to ride through as it was. It was awesome.
 We flew and there really wasn't much in the way of traffic and lights.
Riding through Malibu was delightful.Tim and I went to a wedding here two summers ago.
It sure was fun. We had fun reminiscing. Riding is good for that.

We met up with a couple of nice roadies. Bruce befriended them and they advised us where to get lunch. How to get through L.A. as there are multiple options, and most importantly, where to have lunch. Just passed Pepperdine University at the bottom of the hill was a nice shopping complex. We ate at Koogis. The food was great. The ambiance was great, slightly shi shi, but very eclectic. Most important to know is that next store there is a frozen yogurt shop. Unfortunately, I failed to leave room for frozen yogurt. Total travesty. BTW: I don't think life is any to rough for the Pepperdine University students. Just saying.

The roadies also warned us to be careful as it was trash day. Trash cans in the bike lane on a slight downward grade with a tailwind into Santa Monica was how we rolled. I guess that means we were two for three, the positives being the downward grade and the tail wind.
Soon we were at the Santa Monica Pier. Santa Monica wouldn't be a bad place to finish for the day and hang out in. We wanted to be south of L.A. by the days end so we kept rolling. We thought navigating L.A. would test our nerves and patience. At the Roller coaster we hopped on the bike path. It was crowded and pedestrian-ish. We exited and followed a street that paralleled the boardwalk. It was totally fine, comparable to riding D street in Encinitas. Soon we were at the Santa Monica Pier. Santa Monica wouldn't be a bad place to finish for the day and hang out in.

A few blocks later the good street ended and we had to go onto a busy street with lots of stop lights. We dropped back down to the boardwalk and hopped on a Venice Beach. I am certain we got a few stares since we were all spandex ed up and stuff.

Bruce usually rolls very cautiously on bike paths, being very respectful of pedestrians. This time it was lead foot down on the accelerator. It was funny to see but I had a hard time snapping pictures while riding and keeping up. Then it was back to a busy road for jut a bit then onto another bike path and a leisurely ride through Marina Del Rey

And then it was more bike path all the way to Manhattan Beach. Of note the bike path actually weaves through a parking structure in Redondo Beach. It was actually really efficient. Bike paths are usually slow but we weren't real speed demons on these long days and any time we could roll was better than sitting at a stop light.
Strangely after the first day of riding I couldn't ride for more than an hour without having to stop to pee. I have several theories on this my mad scientist thought is that after the first day (139.8 miles) of bouncing along with fluid in the bladder the bladder got a bit contused or something.
I am very proud of how my bike photography skills progressed this trip.
We chose to avoid Torrance and Carson by riding over Palos Verdes Estates. I enjoyed this section of the ride very much. It was beautiful and fun to go up and down after the last bit of flat bike path.
Getting into to Long Beach was a bit of this for a few miles.
I think the sand is marking the bike path. We utilized the sidewalk here.
Memories of Long Beach.
and then we reached the bike path.
Beautiful pavement. I could have kissed it.
Finally, we entered the good part of Long Beach
with a view of the Queen Mary
Touristy but safe!
There was a boat to Catalina Island leaving.
We pontificated taking the ferry to Catalina Island and extending our trip.
alas we rolled on
So long to Long Beach.
We kept rolling.
We rolled past Seal Beach, Sunset Beach, Huntington Beach, and called it a night in New Port Beach.

Tour of California

June 9, 2010
Day #4
San Luis Obispo -Carpenteria
125 miles

We left SLO this morning via the Vineyards.
It was a good thing they weren't open otherwise we might have stopped for a tour.
The wine country was beautiful. Why is it I always seem to think "I could live here?"
We had a tailwind.
That's right a tail wind.
We climbed up Harris Ridge Road. I loved the view from the top. I enjoyed the climb. Bruce told us stories up the climb of riding on that road as a child in the backseat of a car. No disk brakes, seat belts, or power steering.
We cruised down the other side and at mile 60 we were in Lompoc. We had brunch at the Jlama Beach Cafe.The place to stop if you are riding your bike in Lompoc and need a good meal. 
Then it was miles of scenery that looked like this. We talked about everything from A -Z. Funny we ran out of miles long before we ran out of conversation.
It's amazing how fun it is simply to ride a bike. Going someplace on your own power is just satisfying.
Soon we were in Goleta.
We made a quick stop to review the map a plan out how to navigate to Santa Barbara

We rode through the UCSB campus. I'm still in awe that a college dorm can be right on the ocean. What was I thinking going to school on the border of Canada.

We rode on though because dinner options were better in Santa Barbara. Bruce remembered eating at the Enterprise Fish Company years ago. He remembered that it was very good.Guess what,  it still is. We had a glassof wine or two with dinner and then rode out of the pier.

Funny what a glass of wine will do.

I spent a lot of time doing ride byes of the pelican. I tried really hard but I couldn't manage to obtain a picture. of me riding next to the pelican. I guess there is always next time. After giving up one the pelican we rode 10 miles further to Carpinteria. Not so much because we wanted the extra miles but because it was cheaper to sleep. Another night at the Holiday Inn Express.

Tour of California Day #3 -R &R

June 8, 2010
Day #3 Rest day for the tour. We decided to stay an extra day in San Luis Obispo. Our nephew Scott was sleeping by the time we arrived the night before. Thanks Scott  for making us feel old and slow. In the morning I got to take him around the block a few times in the jogger stroller. I may have tried to run in my $7 flip flops. Only Scott will know.
Tim spent sometime watching Scott at first they were a happy pair.
Then Scott started cry. Tim figured out that crying entertained Scott.
It was effective but very loud.
I think Scott's mom may have heard from her work a 1 mile down the road. Grandpa saved the day volunteering to babysit while we rode bikes with Seth.

  Brothers and best pals.
But it doesn't mean they won't throw down, smack down, and race each other until the end.

Most of the time I try not to let the guys drop me even when they are sparring. With another few hundred miles to go I got smart. Instead of getting dropped ...I suggested the boys slow up just a hair so I could get a good photo. I'm sure they had no idea it was a ploy. Road riding is all about the tactics.

I tricked the guys into slowing for a lot of photo ops.
I think I did more laughing than pedaling for the 25 miles.
I'm really glad we stayed an extra day at Seth and Val's house. We really appreciate them opening their home to the three sweaty, noisy, vultures. Hopefully we can hang out again soon