Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Day 5 San Simeon to Oceano – 63.4 miles 2157ft of climbing

I’m lying in my tent and wondering just how early it is...although the surroundings are different, this is pretty much my normal morning ritual.
I rarely use an alarm as one of the downsides to getting up so early every day for work is that even on my days off, my body wakes up early and then I’m up for the day.

I’m guessing it’s about 5am and even with my head buried in my sleeping bag, I can hear the waves crashing on the beach below. Eventually I muster up the energy to crawl out of my bag and head out in search of coffee.

I’m surprised when I crawl out of the tent by how calm the ocean looks. From the sound I was expecting the waves to be large and continuous. Instead, there’s a small shore break that wouldn’t even interest a beginner surfer.

I find the coffee and my fellow early risers and I spend the time before breakfast recapping yesterday's adventures. Soon enough though, the caterers are telling us breakfast is ready and continuing the trend I started on the first morning, I eat enough to fuel a small army.

Once the sun is up and the gear is packed we’re heading out on the road. Today will be a great day. From here our goal is Oceano and I’ll be riding with Jerry and the gang which is always a lot of fun.

Not that riding with the other group isn’t fun, because it is, it’s just that riding with Jerry has a completely different flavor. Instead of spending my day hanging on to the wheel ahead of me and trying not to embarrass myself when it’s time for me to take a pull at the front, today will be about seeing the sites, enjoying the scenery and catching up on our friendship. (and it’s also usually about making sure we take in way more calories than we’ll burn)

The route today is mostly flat and it seems like we just started when we pull in to Lily’s Coffee House in Cambria. Finally! A good cup of coffee! I’m not complaining about the caterer’s since any coffee is better than no coffee, but when I take that first sip from the hot cup of goodness that we get at Lily’s, I’m in coffee heaven...And of course you can’t just enjoy a good cup of coffee on it’s own. I had to have a piece of cinnamon walnut coffee cake to go with it. Afterall, it’s been almost an hour since we last ate.

Here's Dwight practicing his Vanna White impression as he points to the sign.

The owner (I assume it's Lily although I never actually confirmed that) remembered him from last year as well as the reason they were riding.

Back on the bikes again and the ride down Hwy 1 is scenic and empty. We do pass by the town of Harmony which due to a recent population explosion has increased to a total of 24 residents.

As Jay and I were riding yesterday, we passed a couple of trucks set up on the side of the road as a rest stop. It was the USO support vehicle. The strange thing was we didn’t see any other groups on the road so we weren’t sure what it was all about.
Today though, we found out as we came upon a group of riders and their support vehicles. The Ride2Recovery group is a group of veterans and supporters that were riding from SF to LA to benefit wounded veterans. Their ride pretty much leapfrogged our ride for the length of the coast so from today on, we would be seeing them regularly.

It was actually pretty humbling to see them ride. One of their riders on a hand-bike and whenever they came to a hill, you’d see a healthy rider pull up, grab the handle on the back of the hand-bike and begin pushing. Behind him, another rider would pull up, place a hand on the other riders back and begin pushing him and so on and so on...eventually there were 4 riders pushing the guy on the hand bike up the hill...a pretty inspiring sight for sure.

Before we got to the next scheduled rest stop at Morro Bay we rolled though the town of Cayucos which is a nice little coastal town. We stopped at the downtown pier/bathroom and met this guy and his friend. They had started in San Simeon and were just out for a day ride.

I also posed for the typical “what a cool roadie guy I am” photo...

Pretty soon we got to Morro Bay, hit up the rest stop and went down to the beach for the requisite photo of the big rock.

Back on the road again the route turned inland a bit and we came to what would be the only climb of the day. Eventually we rolled into San Luis Obispo for lunch. We ate at a great little sandwich place before rolling down the road to the scheduled stop at a local bike shop that had prepared homemade tamales for anyone that stopped in...very cool

From there we headed back towards the coast and down through Avila Beach, Shell Beach, Pismo Beach and eventually to our final stop for the day at Oceano. Somewhere along the way we passed the natural hot springs where several of the group decided to stop and indulge in a good hot soaking....Jerry and decided to motor on.

Once again, we rolled into camp, the tents were set up, showers were taken, chargers were plugged in and thoughts turned towards dinner and beverages....

Tonight though instead of joining the regular routine of sitting down to a beer and waiting for the caterers to get dinner ready, Tracy, Jay, John, Jerry and I decided to head down the street to a little Mexican restaurant for dinner and a pitcher (or several) of margaritas.

After a delicious dinner, we walked back to camp and as I have done every night this week, I crawled into my sleeping bag as soon as the weather got chilly and was asleep before 9pm once again.

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