Monday, October 26, 2009

Day 4 Big Sur to San Simeon - 64.6 miles 5080ft of climbing

Last night, I’m pretty sure I spent the whole night with my tent in front of a lumber mill… least that’s how it sounded with the guy directly behind me snoring like a chainsaw. As a result, this morning, I’m moving a little slower than normal. Adding to the misery is the fact that breakfast is off-site at the restaurant up the road.
That’s ok though, soon enough I have the gear packed up and over by the truck and am ready to go when the pump Tracy is using decides to rip the entire stem off his tube...this just gets better and better...and all before I even get any coffee. I’m pretty sure I didn’t see this in the brochure.

Soon enough though, we’ve finished breakfast and are headed out on a nice cool morning. I’m a little concerned about not having my arm warmers on, until I realize the first few miles of this morning’s ride are all uphill.

I get a slow start and soon end up behind Tracy and ahead of Jerry and the gang. That’s ok though, sometimes it’s better to suffer in solitude and this morning’s climb while not really suffering, is definitely keeping my heart rate up and keeping my ability to chit-chat to a minimum.

Soon enough though, the climb is done. I stop at the top to take some photos and begin a nice fast descent. I spend the majority of the morning riding by myself which is actually pretty nice. All week long I’ve been hearing how today is the toughest day of the week, so setting my own pace and not killing myself trying to keep up with others is actually working out in my favor.

Occasionally I run into Jay at various turnouts and the rest stops, but when we start out again, he quickly pulls away as his pace is just a bit faster than I’m willing to go. Soon enough we get to the bottom of the first of two big climbs.

Having heard from people all week, how today is going to kill me, I’m surprised when I get to the top and actually feel pretty good. Of course, as we all know, the best part of any hill is the downhill portion and this one doesn’t disappoint.

The road is in good shape, traffic is light and I practically fly down, taking the entire lane and smiling from ear to ear and the joy of letting go and hanging on...

Too soon though, the fun ends and as I prepare to climb again, I pull over to take off my jacket and take a couple of pictures. It’s here that I realize my camera is gone. Totally bummed, I frantically check my jersey, look in the bento box, take everything out of my rear rack bag...yep, definitely gone.

If you know me, you can imagine, just what a drag this is. I take pictures of everything. I am never without my camera on a ride and to think I’m going to have to finish this ride without it, completely bums me out.

Well, without my camera as an excuse to stretch out my respite before the climb, I get on the bike and begin what I assume what will be the reason everyone has been psyching me out about the days adventure...the climb up to Ragged Point.

I start off and amazingly enough, feel great. Yes, it’s warm, yes my heart rate is up in the stratosphere, but it feels good. I’ve always enjoyed climbing. There’s something good about the suffering involved in climbing. Something very therapeutic about focusing on nothing but keeping your rhythm steady, feeling the burn in your legs and your lungs and pushing right to the edge of blowing up and holding it there even as you hope the end is near. Sooner than I would have expected, the climb is over and as I pull in to the rest stop at Ragged Point, Dr Mel mentions Jay just headed over for a cheeseburger...
Did someone really say cheeseburger??? Gee, let me think about this I could have ANOTHER peanut butter and jelly sandwich or I could head across the parking lot, sit down and enjoy and cheeseburger...yeah, that’s a tough decision.

Pretty sure that was the best burger I’ve ever had. I’m also pretty sure it had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I just finished the two toughest climbs of the entire week.

After a nice relaxing break, Jay and I headed out for last leg of the day. Not sure if it was the burger or knowing the worst of the day was behind me, but I really felt great.

Evidently, so did Jay as we pretty much hammered through the rollers on the way into San Simeon.

We did stop to see the Elephant Seals which was very cool, those guys are huge!!!!

The camp at San Simeon is very nice, situated right above the beach and with an awesome view of the Hearst Castle.

After setting up my tent, I head down to the beach and swim in the ocean. How cool is that? I spend all day riding my bike and end a perfect day with a swim in the ocean.

After hitting the showers, it’s time to turn to the business of finding beer. The campsite is beautiful, the ocean is gorgeous, the weather is perfect but town is several miles away...luckily, Robin comes to the rescue and runs Tracy to the store to solve our dilemma.

After an amazing dinner of fresh baked pizza washed down with a couple of cervezas I crawl into my tent with the sound of the ocean lulling me to sleep...

sidenote - not sure when these pictures were taken but here are a couple of really cool shots the first one, Jerry took of a California Condor the second is a picture of the power cords. This is typical of what the outlets looked like in every bathroom, every night of the trip.

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