Tour of the California Coast

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 took the train in to the Embarcadero. I was nervous about riding in San Francisco but it actually is quite bike friendly and very quiet on a Sunday morning

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.

We had a nice tour of San Francisco riding along the embarcadaro and towards the Golden Gate bridge. It was classic San Francisco, misty and grey. We could hear the fog horns well before we could see the Golden Gate bridge.  Tim has some cool video's off these things from a helmet cam. I just need to work on uploading them.
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.
I believe the verdict with the rack/packs is to descend with soft arms in the drops and climb seated. If you must stand to climb do not attempt the Tour De France side-side sway with the bike. We actually thought about doing this ride on our Time Trial/ Tri Bikes. I am glad we didn't as the road bikes have so many positions you can ride in.

Plus the road bike lets you sit up a little higher and take in all the scenery. There was a lot to take in. Miles and miles.

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.

 We had a nice tour of Santa Cruz and after a few (well several) photo stops, he pointed us out of town.

It was a nice tour but we were on mile 94. There was about 40 miles to go before sleeping so we pedaled on. It was about 5:00 p.m. so we were anxious getting moving.

We enjoyed the ride out of Santa Cruz and Capitola. We were able to ride through some really nice residential areas and avoid the traffic. We headed away from the water and went past fields of strawberries. I could see the bright red strawberries and was tempted to get off my bike a pick some. I kept telling myself they were full of bad pesticides and they'd make me sick so I had to keep riding. Then I saw a sign that said organic and I was tempted. I saw a parked truck with a very large dog in it and I knew what would happen to me if I snitched a strawberry. Another side note of irony is that " strawberry picking" is a term I use  for easy slow riding. We were definitely strawberry picking at this point. Rolling along thinking life was good and it couldn't get much better. Then at mile 120 we rounded the bend and faced an enormous demoralizing headwind. It was a slog fest to beat all slog fests into Monterey. 20 more miles could take eternity and suddenly it seemed we may not have enough food, water, or warm clothes to get through the first day. This was a test, but we made it. I think it was almost 8:00 p.m. by the time we got checked in the Holiday Inn Express. We certainly weren't riding any further to get dinner so it was a walk across the parking lot to "Chilis" for dinner. We all had beer to numb dull any thoughts and fears of what tomorrow could be. There was too much time between the beers arrival and the food. I don't remember what I had to eat, but it's probably better that way. Especially if you are eating at Chilis.

1 comment:

tim said...

It was really fun, but at the end of the day with a ripping headwind, I have to say it was a slog.