Day 2 dawned cool and clear. With Rich Rosendale leading us off, we immediately detoured from the daily route guide (DRG for those of you that lived by it for 8 days) provided and headed for the beach. Detouring from the route would be an almost daily occurrence for our group and would also get us in hot water with the ride leaders more than once.
The first stop was the famous and often photographed Santa Cruz lighthouse. It was here we first realized how challenging it would be to get our entire group together for a photo. It was at least 10 minutes after we started that we finally got everyone together for the shot.
From here we rode along the cliffs where we could see the surfers, stand up paddle boarders and even a couple of dolphins. We went down through the boardwalk and on down the coast.
Stopping regularly for pictures, we eventually we made it back onto the outlined route just in time to stop at a bakery for a coffee and Danish. 2 hours into the ride and we were something like 4 miles along the route according to the DRG.
About this time, Tracy, John and I decided we needed to split from the group and make some time. It was fun and relaxing to just cruise along, but to be honest, after a couple hours, we were ready to put some miles under belts. It wasn’t long before I realized I may have jumped in with the wrong group. These guys were keeping a pace that had me pretty well redlined and just hanging on. Add to that we were now in the middle of nowhere and it seemed like every turn pointed us directly into a headwind.
Soon enough we could see the smokestacks from the power plant at Moss Landing. Knowing this was to be our lunch stop I hung on just hoping I wouldn’t get dropped until at least after lunch.
Lunch was at Phil’s Fish Shack which turned out to be amazing! In addition to one of the best grilled crab and cheese sandwiches I’ve had, we had a hummingbird eating from the flower arrangement less than a foot from our plates. (you'd be amazed at just how hard it is to get a good picture of a bird whose wings beat at 200 beats per second)
Eventually though, we had to head back out into the wind and I was provided even more time to practice hanging on to the wheel of the two hammer-heads I was riding with. The nice part was that I pretty much just sat behind the two of them and hung on for most of the afternoon. Still when we pulled into Monterey, I was tired and felt like I’d ridden hard all day.
The really fun part of the day was yet to come though. Once we got in to the town of Monterey, we followed the signs to the campground. The only problem was the campground was at the very top of the tallest hill in the Monterey area and my legs did NOT feel like pushing my fat self up that hill. Slowly but surely and constantly on the verge of cramping, I made it to the campground. (Turns out John’s shifter had broken and he ended up doing the climb in the big ring)
We set up camp, trying to find at least a semi-flat spot, showered and soon began the quest for beer. Luckily the Monterey Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation was hosting a little shin-dig and had a keg ready and waiting for us.....life is good.
Total for the day – 56.2 miles 2212ft of climbing (but it felt like more)