Day #1 Sunday, June 6
San Francisco to Monterey 139.8 miles and overview of how trip was done.
We began our journey from my in-laws house in Pleasanton and rode to the BART station. It was only 3 miles away. The first train didn't leave until 8:05 a.m. on Sunday morning so we rolled from the house at about 7:15 a.m. Sounds late for a big journey but the train time was not negotiable; neither was beginning the tour without a ride across the Golden Gate Bridge.
It was sunny and warm already in Pleasanton.We were nervous and excited.
I have never taken my bike on a the BART before so this in itself seemed cool.
We had a nice tour of San Francisco riding along the embarcadaro and towards the Golden Gate bridge. We saw a few people riding fixies in the city. I was glad to have gears and hand brakes for my trip.
note: homemade pizza strapped to Tim's pack
The bridge was our "classic" signature start so we had to do it. We were all in good spirits and wanting to embrace every part of our journey so we stayed positive. In truth the bridge wasn't that fun. It was wet, slippery, loud, bumpy, had tons of cyclists with a variety of skill sets (or lack there of). I was just glad I didn't have a rack and pack on my bike to change the handling. All I had was my flip flops, two bento boxes, and a tubular sized seat bag filled with tubes, tools, and Co2.
We packed really light to keep the riding efficient and enjoyable. Tim carried all of our stuff in a bag/rack by Topeak. We each had two pairs of shorts and socks, one jersey, jacket, vest, arm warmers/coolers , knee warmers, one tech t-shirt and quick drying board shorts. I had a TYR bikini (which also served as undergarments when not riding). We washed our clothes out each night at the hotel. I figured if I brought extra clothes we'd be less inclined to wash our dirty clothes. Then we'd end up riding the coast carrying our dirty laundry. Yuck.We used travel sized containers of sunscreen, toothpaste, and chamois butter. We tried to minimize the amount of extra plastic we lugged along. I didn't bring any fancy hair products except for some conditioner to detangle and a comb. The only "product" I brought was NUUN tablets. We figured high performance products were for high performance and we could buy what we needed to eat along the way. We could just go slow and digest. It wasn't a race.We shared a charger for our Iphones. I sort of wanted to bring my Garmin so I could record our routes through the cities. It would have required me to bring the charger and that seemed a bit wasteful. If I did it again I might bring the Garmin and just turn it on through the cities so I could share the routes with my friends thinking about doing the ride.
We used the Adventure Cycling Association, Bicycle Touring Map. They are laminated and have side notes that give specific instructions such as on weekends take this route through the city and on weekdays this is a better option. The lamination is a must. A plain paper would not have held up through mist, fog and sweat. I recommend bringing a clothes pin or clip. I know you are laughing but in cities you don't know you can open the map to the section you are riding and clip it to the bikes cable. Of course Tim did all this, I just followed along.
After crossing the bridge we headed along the frontage roads to Daly City and eventually merged with the "1" in Pacifica. Things started to get really pretty at this point. Soon we went through "Devil's Slide" and Half Moon Bay. I was giddy with glee. The gorgeous descent had curves that were tight enough to be fun and keep speed under control but not so tight to be nail biting. The downside was there was no shoulder in this section so you had to take the lane. The good thing was you could go pretty much the speed of a car.
The guys had their agility tested learning to climb and descend with the packs. The packs put a lot more weight then normal over the rear tire. I do feel a little guilty I wasn't carrying a rack/ pack. It is a basic belief of mine that one should schlep his/her own gear in this world. They must have wanted me to keep up or maybe needed an excuse in the event I pulled some Idropboys maneuver.
We noticed a lot of other riders and apparently we were crashing the AIDS awareness ride. We sort of felt like we were banditing a century and wanted to get out of the congested group. We planned to stop at a State Beach Park for water and restroom but all seemed to be congested with the AIDS riders. 10 miles out of Santa Cruz there was a general store that we could have stopped at but we had a tail wind and decided to hold off until Santa Cruz. On a side note it is ironic that we ran into the AIDS ride as a few years ago I was watching Tim do an Xterra. The run was really hot and hilly. When a female competitor ran by, her husband yelled "Come on honey, pick it up! This isn't the AIDS walk!" She didn't find it funny, was at her wits end and started to cry. Our family has adopted this line in her honor.
In Santa Cruz we stopped to visit Uncle Brian's coffee shop "Fins". In addition to the "Tour of California" the trip was a great opportunity to see family as well. After hydrating, ingesting much needed caffeine, and throwing down a cookie we were rolling again. Uncle Brian reviewed our route leaving the city and said it was the least scenic most congested route. He told us to follow him and hopped on his mountain bike.