Monday, November 30, 2009

DATMBA 2009 – Mt Tamalpais

This years DATMBA was different than in years past in that it was chosen more for its social aspects and its beauty than for its crazy ride venue. It was also very similar to years past in that it was to provide us with many, many stories that we could share and expand upon in the future.

I woke on Friday to the sound of cars driving by on wet pavement...never a good sign when there’s a ride planned. It didn’t look too bad though and after touching base with Jerry and Tracy, it was decided that although it was probably too cold and wet for Caleb to go, it wasn’t cold enough or wet enough to keep his grandpa home. Besides, with Deb working and the girls out battling the crowds at the mall, where else would I be but riding my bike?

And since I wasn’t going to be pulling a trailer, I was able to bring the SS mt bike which, with no shocks and big wheels is absolutely perfect for ripping up the fire roads we were going to be riding today.

Tracy and his neighbor picked me up in Tracy’s new truck (sorry about the scratch) and we headed for the base of Mt Tamalpais in Marin County, the birthplace of Mountain Biking and where keeping up with joneses means you have more anti-Bush stickers on your BMW than they do...(ok, just kidding about the scratch Tracy. Although I'm sure you already stopped reading to run out to the parking lot and check)

No-one ever said mt bikers weren’t a crazy group. Where else, on the day after Thanksgiving, when rain is predicted and the high is supposed to be below 60 degrees, are you going to find 13 people willing to crawl out of bed and go for a ride?

But here we were...

Originally, this was planned as a picnic. Tracy and I were going to be hauling trailers with everyone bringing food and drinks to share. As soon as it was decided though that Caleb wasn’t coming and I wasn’t bringing a trailer, it all fell apart and most of us brought only the sandwiches and snacks we could shove in our camelbacks.

I did put the rack on my bike in which I had 3 beers, plus the two I had in my camelback and the two I was able to convince Tracy to carry, so there was beer at least. Here’s a little lesson I learned - put the beer in first so it doesn’t smash your turkey sandwich.

Chris though, decided to stick to the original plan (or maybe I forgot to tell him the plan changed) and loaded up his single speed road bike with full panniers and brought a stove, coffee pot, plate, silverware, tablecloth and the makings of an open faced hot turkey sandwich – complete with stuffing and pie!

The ride up Mt Tam is a pretty sedate ride and although it’s a constant climb, none of the pitches are too steep. (unless of course you happen to be riding an SS road bike with 42-17 gearing and full panniers)

The fun in a ride like this is really getting to hang out with everyone and in keeping with the Thanksgiving theme, I’d like to say I really am thankful to be able to count all these people as friends and to be able to spend time with them doing something we all enjoy.

I was especially blown away by the fact that Cheryl and Mike, Jerry’s daughter and son in law, brought their son Alex with them on the ride. As I learned, he had just the day before turned 9 and, as I also learned, that kid is a stud! He kept up a really good pace the entire way to West Point. Never once did I hear him complain and every time I’d see him, he was just spinning away up the hills with a smile on his face.

Several times on the way to the top we stopped to regroup and take pictures. It was still cold, but the weather system that was supposed to be coming seemed to be holding off.

At the top we found the picic area is actually pretty sheltered from the weather so we took some time and ate our respective lunches.
For some it was a clif bar, for others a smashed turkey sandwich and for Chris, it was a veritable feast followed by hot coffee and pie. I have to admit, I was really regretting not having put more effort into preparing my lunchtime meal that morning.

Well, as you can imagine, one of the best parts of climbing a mountain is in the going back down. And Mt Tam did not disappoint. Although the first part of the descent was cold and damp, we eventually came out below the clouds and enjoyed ripping our way down the wide, fast fire roads.

It was probably because of this that none of us noticed we had lost John until we stopped at an intersection to regroup.

Some thought he had continued, other thought he had turned down the wrong path. After talking about it for a bit, we decided that Troy and I would go down the wrong path to see if he had gone that way and the others would continue on the regular trail.

So, using the excuse that we were only trying to catch up to John, we released the brakes and proceeded as fast as we could down the trail...way down the trail...and even part way back up the trail as it turned back towards the summit. Eventually though, we decided he couldn’t have gotten that far ahead of us and turned back.

Here’s another little lesson for those of you that haven’t been paying attention. If you go a long ways down a steep fast fire road and then turn around...yep, you get to go a long ways back up a steep, fast fire road.

And, seeing as I'm tossing out all these little life lessons today, I’ll throw in another. If you and another guy have no idea where you are and haven’t ridden in an area ever before, you might want to let someone else volunteer to go searching for a lost rider. You guessed it, Troy and I rode for quite a ways (again all downhill) before finding a parking lot and realizing it wasn’t the one we wanted. So, once again we turned back uphill until we found the turn we had missed.

Eventually though, we made it back to the truck only to find John hadn’t turned up. And, just as we were trying to figure out how to tell his parents we had lost their son, they pulled up asking where he was.

After much discussion and no small amount of worry on their part I’m sure, we reached him on his cell. By talking to him we were able to figure out where on the trail he was and Troy and I again headed back up the hill on bikes while Tracy drove up the road just in case he came that way.

Just as we got to the top of the hill where we thought he might be (and just as my legs were beginning to cramp) my cell phone rang and Tracy let me know that John was back at the parking lot safe and sound.

So, I have no idea what my mileage was or how many feet of climbing we did. Originally it was supposed to be something like 16-18 miles and about 3K of climbing, but I know for a fact that Troy and I had at least double the miles, double the climbing and double the stories that we would have had, had everything gone as planned.
Another fantastic DATMBA in the bag!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The new girl in my life…..

I recently sold my geared road bike and have been spending pretty much every waking minute since then trying to figure out what I was going to replace her with. I’ve literally spent hours talking to bike shop people, surfing the web, reading reviews, riding bikes and generally obsessing over this upcoming purchase.

After all of this research and shopping, I’ve come to the conclusion that just about any of the new carbon fiber rocket ships available today will be an improvement over my previous bike and likewise, any limitations that will come about on my rides will be more about my ability than any bike that I happen to be riding.

In the end, I had narrowed it down to 3 or 4 different bikes all of which were similar in that they were all from the performance/comfort category. Specialized has the Roubaix, Cannondale has the Synapse and Giant has the Defy Advanced. They’re all very similar as far as comfort and spec and each manufacturer has an offering at various budget levels.
With this being the case, and with margins being so tight that most all the dealers had pretty much the same offers, it really came down to which dealer I was most comfortable working with.

It turns out that Chris at Eden Bicycles in Castro Valley was by far the most helpful and most tolerant of my constant questions and emails. It was pretty obvious he understood what I was looking for and wanted to help me make the right purchase decision.

Of course, by the time I finally analyzed the decision to death and was ready to pull the trigger, the bike I wanted wasn’t available any longer and wouldn’t be for another month. It was here that working with a local bike shop, and a generally good guy, really paid off.

I had decided on the Defy Advanced 3 which is the lower spec’d bike. But since they all share the same frame, it was a good base to start from and upgrade later. It turns out that the Advanced 3 wasn’t available. So, I looked into the Advanced 2. A little more than my budget, but by now I was emotionally invested in this bike and wasn’t giving up.

Nope, that one’s not available either. So, what Chris is going to do for me is to order the Defy Advanced 0 (the top of the line model) remove some of the components and re-build the bike with components that will allow me to get the bike I want at a price that fits my budget. (which has only gone up slightly since I started this search)

The other cool thing I found out was that the Advanced 0 is the only frame in the Advanced line that has a full carbon steerer and not the aluminum one on all the other Advanced models. (another bonus!!)

I’m totally stoked about the new bike and can’t wait till he gets it in and starts building it up. Pretty sure with the short week, it won’t be this week, but that’s ok. I’m a very patient person – ok, that’s a total lie. I’m not at all patient and this waiting is driving me insane!!!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

The de-Funkification of it all……

No, I don’t mean the day I quit wearing my angel flight polyester slacks and platform shoes (although that would qualify) I mean the day Chris and I got the stank outta the garage...

Last weekend he and I spent the day cleaning and organizing the garage. No small feat when you consider we have 2 families worth of junk...I mean there. It was only after we cleaned the garage, and realized the stink was still there, that I began to worry.

All week long, I’ve been stressing about this smell thing. Wondering if I was going to end up pulling down the sheetrock and everything to try and find something that was obviously dead, and obviously in the advanced stages of decomposition. I spent hours awake at night (ok, maybe not hours) trying to think about how something may have gotten in the garage and just what that something might be.

At one point, I even debated whether or not to just procrastinate it away. Afterall, assuming it was a little ole mouse, once it was done decomposing, it would dry up and quit stinking right??? Right??? See, that’s the problem, I wasn’t totally sure it would dry up and stop stinking and I wasn’t totally sure it was a little ole mouse.

So, Saturday morning, after a nice big breakfast (Chris’ logic was that after seeing dead stuff we probably wouldn’t want to eat so we’d better do our eating early – either that or he really wanted to see me hurl) we headed out in search of the source of the funk.

I had pretty much figured, through my ultra keen sense of smell, that it was somewhere at the front of the garage and most likely under my workbench. The problem is, the workbench was left by the previous owner. And not out of generosity either, it was left because he built it in the garage sometime around 50 years ago and it weighs a ton!

Well, we huffed and we puffed and we pushed and we shoved and eventually we got the thing pulled away from the wall only to find that there was nothing behind was nice and clean actually.

So, that done, we moved over to the little bench on the corner that my toolbox sits on and had just begun moving stuff off of it when Chris looked down and there it was...the source of the funk...a dead possum...and yes, I know that possums play possum and are sometimes not as dead as they seem, but with the smell coming out of this guy, he was beyond playing possum and actually dead.

Once we had disposed of the little guy, soaked the entire area with about a quart of pine-sol disinfectant, and put everything back where it belonged, we had to figure out how he got in there in the first place.

Usually when I’m in the garage, the door is up. Chances are though, he didn’t saunter in when I was out there. Also, there aren’t any holes large enough for him to have crawled through, so the only thing I could think of was that since the side door doesn’t always close all the way when you pull it (just try to find a square door/doorframe in this place) he must have gone in one night when I thought I had closed the door well but obviously hadn’t.

You can see where this is leading...just like every project I’ve ever started it was going to take twice as long and be twice as expensive as I originally planned. Especially since I had now decided to hang a new door.

I’m pretty sure that putting in a new door correctly is one of those things people are genetically predisposed to be able to do. Kind of like being artistic, having a gift for languages or being able to dance and not look like an idiot. I’m also pretty sure that like the aforementioned skills, it’s NOT something I personally am predisposed to be able to do.

So it was, that as the sun set, Chris and I hung the door for the 50th and final time, closed, latched it and went in search of beer...Finally, a garage that is clean, doesn’t stink and that I can hang out in when the house is going insane. (now, where did I put the keys to the new doorlock?)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ain't no sunshine when she's gone.
It's not warm when she's away.
Ain't no sunshine when she's gone
And she's always gone too long anytime she goes away.

Last night I dropped off the Jamis at Tracy’s house to deliver to the new owner. I know it’s strange to be emotionally attached to a physical object, but I can’t help it.

I’ve always been a mountain biker. I was pretty well convinced that all roadies were spandex wearing, no waving, self important jerks. (Who knew I’d fit right in?)

About 4 years ago though, at the urging of Jerry, a friend from church, I decided to buy a road bike and give it a try. I shopped and researched and spent a lot of time online trying to figure out the whole roadie lingo thing so I could make an informed decision. I then went out and bought the Jamis because it was really cool looking.

At the time, I couldn’t believe I was going to spend 800 bucks on a bicycle. But I did and I never looked back. She wasn’t really anything fancy, just a solid, reliable, entry-level aluminum road bike with a triple crank and enough gears to help a beginner climb anything in their path.

From that point on, I was hooked. I still loved mountain biking, but road riding added a whole new dimension. With the increased speed and comfort on the road, the distances I could go were much longer.

The bike and I began, along with my friends, to explore all the roads in and around the bay area. We were shown roads in my area where you can ride and not worry about being run over. We saw vistas and views we never would have seen had I not ridden there on the bike. We attempted (and failed) the Death Ride (my fault not hers) and just last month we completed a 540 mile ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

Over the years, I’ve tried to be good to her. I’ve treated her to new jewelry and trinkets. She got a new set of wheels, new drive train components, a new seat (more for my benefit than hers) new tires whenever needed and regular cleanings and tune-ups.

We’ve had a great run and although I’ve gone through a couple of bike computers so have no actual idea of the distances we’ve gone, I think it’s safe to say we’ve seen many thousands of miles together.

Lately though, I’ve been wanting more. Something that would be a little more gentle on my old bones, a little less jarring on the downhill and a little peppier on the climbs, something a little racier even.

So, it was when earlier this month Tracy called and asked me if I was interested in selling her. It turns out he had a friend that was right about where I was 4 years ago. Someone just starting out and needing a good, reliable bike to help him on his journey.
At first I thought, no way. I can’t sell her. We’ve been through too much together. I’ll still ride her even after I get a new bike. But deep down in my heart I knew this was a lie.
Besides, what better place for her to go than to someone that needed her? Needed her stable ride and her low, low gearing and her ultra reliable history.

So, the deal was made and she has been passed off to her new owner…..and here I sit bike-less – ok, that’s not completely accurate since I still have the SS road bike, the SS mt bike and the geared mt bike, but there’s now a hole in my arsenal that I need to fill...

And, so the shopping begins...what bike will live where my baby used to lay...

Come see me Early in the mornin',
baby 'bout the break of day
Then you all saw me huggin' a pillow,
where my baby used to lay

Monday, November 16, 2009

The funk of it all...

Living in our house, we now have 6 adults and a 3 year old whirlwind. (Seriously, I have never met a kid with as much energy as my grandson) As a result, when it’s time to relax, I usually find myself looking for a nice quiet place to hide.

The problem is that with Deb sick in bed, the kids in the family room and Christina and Erin in the living room, it’s usually the garage to which I flee. Lately though, there’s been this weird funk emanating from there that I haven’t been able to track down and eliminate. I was convinced that I had either a) an unwashed ice chest with year old potato salad or b) a dead mouse inside of one of the camping blankets we keep out there.

Saturday, since the house is full of sick people, I decided to spend as much time outside as possible. One of the projects on my to-do list was to try to get the garage clean. Or, at least as clean as it can be seeing as we have all of my stuff, some of Chris and Michelle’s stuff and a lot of Christina’s stuff in there.

Chris, in an effort to stay out of the quarantine zone, offered to help. We worked from the front to the back of the garage, cleaning, organizing, sorting stuff for storage, goodwill or trash and generally getting stuff put up and away.
After a couple of hours, we had pretty much everything finished. Everything was put where it belonged, the camping blankets had been washed and folded, all the trash had been bagged up and tossed and all of the remaining stuff had been gone through...and yet the funk remaineth...

So, the upside is the garage is clean, the bikes are all accessible, the workbench is clean and useable and we even have room to play darts...the downside is, we couldn’t find the source of the funk, the garage still smells and now it looks like I’m going to have to move the workbench and the cabinets away from the walls and hope I can find whatever it is that died in there and is now making my clean garage, un-inhabitable...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Rotational therapy...

As a result of a combination of factors; tense bosses, no jobs on the board and a bad economy, things at work have been a little rough lately so I decided I needed to get out on the bike today.

I’ve found that being outside and riding my bike is one of the best ways for me to deal with bad days. No matter how rough the day or how stressed I’m feeling, a bike ride can usually fix my mood and improve my attitude. (I think it’s a combination of the endorphins that are released with exercise as well as the feeling that I’m actually doing something and not sitting around being a slug)

As I click in to the pedals and make the first rotations, it’s almost a physical sensation as I feel the stress falling away. Not unlike dropping a heavy backpack after a full days hiking.
Today was no different except that I was riding with a friend of mine that hadn’t ridden in a while. He too was having a rough week and so we decided to meet out at Cull Canyon after work to bury ourselves in a session of “rotational therapy” (yep, another new phrase I made up – feel free to borrow it)

Cull Canyon is a great little 13 mile out and back with very little traffic. It’s a dead end so there’s no reason to go out there unless you live there. The first time I rode this about 4 years back, you’d be lucky to see a single car. This time though it felt like rush hour and we saw 5 cars...I know, crazy crowded.

The nice parts about this route are that, with daylight savings time in effect now you can do an out and back and still be done before dark, there’s a good chance you’ll see deer or pigs or some sort of wildlife and lastly, since there’s very little traffic you can ride 2 across and talk almost the entire way out and back.

Since my buddy hasn’t been riding much, we started out nice and easy getting in a groove with a moderate pace and just concentrating on making circles and letting the day fall away. It was really relaxing to just cruise and it felt like the further into the canyon we got, the more distance I put between me and the real world.

Eventually we got to the end and turned around for the trip back. One other little note about Cull Canyon is that it’s ever so slightly uphill on the way out and ever so slightly downhill on the way back. This being the case, the pace on the return flight was just a tad more aggressive as we headed back to the real world.

Normally when I’ve had a rough day, my session of rotational therapy consists of riding as hard as I can, trying to tear the legs off anyone near me and basically killing myself to the point that I’m too exhausted to be cranky. Today though, even our “fast” pace was not so fast that we couldn’t talk and ride at the same time.
As a result, during our ride, I’m pretty sure we solved all the problems of the world, the economy and the places we work. The result being that even without beating myslef into exhaustion, I wound up in a better place and with a better attitude. Oh yeah...and we saw a bunch of deer which was very cool...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Giro D' Vino...

This ride is one of the funner (yeah, I know it’s not a real word) organized rides we do every year. This was our third year for this ride and we had our largest group yet.

Bob and Leticia and Bill and Gail were representing the tandem contingent, I of the single speed variety and Jerry, JoAnn, JoAnn’s friend, Lynn, Jim, Greg, Al, Maria and Dwight with their 3 friends and Eldred and his wife were all on road bikes with gears...harrumph

HARRUMPH - intransitive verb clear one's throat, esp. in a studied, pompous way protest or complain in a pompous or self-righteous way

Last year, we saw rain in the distance all day long, but never actually had it hit in our area while we were riding. This year we had exceptional weather. With sunny skies and cool but not cold weather, shirtsleeves would be the rule of the day.

There’s nothing spectacular about this ride. With less than 500ft of climbing it’s not particularly challenging, the scenery in Lodi is all vineyards and rural farm/ranch country, and the rest stops are all at small wineries which are nice, but not amazing...the allure of this ride is the fun we have when we get a great group of friends out riding together on a nice day.

It’s a 60 mile ride out through the flatlands of the central valley. This area is becoming fairly well known for its vineyards and if you’re a wine person, which Jim and Lynn are, this is a great way to explore the area.

The pace was relaxed and I’m pretty sure everyone had a great time. (although Jerry and I almost got dropped by this racer guy....)

JoAnn and her friend had to split off at the 30 mile mark since she had to get home to sick kids so Jeff could go to work. The rest of us had a fantastic 60 mile ride that we finished at about 3:00. Since we started about 9ish, this made for roughly a 6 hour ride for an average of about 10mph including stops...not too bad for a nice easy day on the bike.

The day ended with a delicious lunch afterwards and we got to sit and enjoy the live band....there's just something incredibly relaxing about sitting in a park-like setting, eating good food and listening to music after a good's downright therapeutic...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Day 8 - Ventura to Santa Monica 59.8 miles 1713ft of climbing

I woke today with very mixed’s the last day of this amazing adventure and while my butt is sore and I’m really excited about seeing Deb and the girls again, I don’t want this to end. For the past 7 days, my only concern has been to ride my bike. I’ve completely checked out of the world and really have no desire to re-establish my bond with reality...

So, like a kid getting ready for school when he doesn’t really want to go, I shuffled to the coffee pot, I took longer to eat my breakfast, I dilly-dallied getting ready and packing up my gear and I finally mounted the bike excited about the ride, but bummed that this was to be the last day.

The day started off with a nice flat run along Hwy 1 through Ventura, Pt Hueneme, Pt Mugu and out to the Pacific Coast Hwy. We had a couple of issues right off the bat. Tracy flatted and required the assistance of a nurse….Not sure how Jay ended up needing a shot, although he mumbled something about the crowd he had begun running with since the week started…..should we be insulted?

The other issue was mainly mine, although I later heard Matt would have helped me lead a rebellion had I started one, but when we stopped to fix the flat, someone mentioned we’d be hitting a Starbucks for real coffee...unfortunately, every opportunity I called out was met with absolutely no response from the group. And, since we were riding as a group in a pretty good line, I didn’t want to mess everyone else up just to fuel my addiction. (again, had I known Matt was on my side, I may have attempted a coup d’etat )

Eventually though, we came to the first rest area which was at Point Mugu. We were met by a fireman standing at the top of the ladder truck ringing a bell and pulled in to grab some snacks and check out the really cool selection of missiles and rockets on display. Unfortunately they didn’t have any that were portable enough to mount on a bicycle so we would be forced to deal with the LA traffic unarmed. (evidently you can’t just show up and buy a rocket either….go figure)

Once on the Pacific Coast Hwy, we picked up a few more riders and the pace increased accordingly. (note to self, do not slow down to look at the dolphins or you’ll NEVER catch up again) Eventually we came to the next rest area where we regrouped and then immediately stopped at the next Starbucks (FINALLY)

From here the road roller coasted up and down and since this was John’s training ground, he set a good pace that kept me hanging on. (and falling off occasionally) Just when I was pretty sure it was going to kill me John would pick it up again. Towards the end, we were riding down the highway, alongside parked cars and through residential areas at a pace that I thought was craziness. I sat on the wheel in front of me, pedaling like crazy, watching for opening doors, people walking, traffic merging, etc, etc and realized I was having the time of my life...(there are no pictures of this section since everyone was totally focused on the pace and staying alive)

Too soon we had to stop and dismount to walk down some stairs, through a tunnel and up the other side across the highway. And, in keeping with the nice little surprise endings we’d experienced on previous days, faced yet another hill top finish.

The organizers had us gathering at a park overlooking Santa Monica Beach so that we could ride through town en masse – and what an experience it was. 200+ riders taking both lanes riding through quiet residential areas and headed for the final meeting place.

Motorcycle Larry was amazing riding ahead, stopping traffic at intersections and keeping us all safe and grouped up like some sort of motorized cattle dog.
As we rolled down the street to the ending point, I immediately saw my grandson sitting on my son in laws shoulders (he’s 6’6” so add in a 3 year old he’s literally head and shoulders above the crowd) right after that I saw my wife and my daughters waving and yelling and holding up signs of encouragement.

After chatting with everyone, introducing my new riding friends to my entourage and finally saying my goodbyes, the family and I headed for the hotel, a LONG hot shower and some dinner.
The next day we wandered around the downtown shopping area in Santa Monica before making our way home and finalizing my re-entry into society……WHAT A RIDE!!!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Day 7 Beullton to Ventura – 86.1 miles 4085ft of Climbing

It’s cold and grey this morning as I climb out of my tent and go in search of coffee. Once again, I’m up at 5am and when the sky finally lightens up, I’m pretty well caffeinated and very well fed.

As we start out, I keep hoping its going to warm up. Once we start up the hill into the town of Solvang – this hill was more fun yesterday when we were going down – my legs finally wake up and I’m almost ready to start the ride when we pull in for a coffee and Danish at the Bulldog Cafe.

This place was recommended by someone last night as a place that likes and supports cyclists and once we get inside we see that to be true. There are pictures of just about every famous racer on the walls.
As we begin to enjoy our coffee (again, not complaining about the caterer’s coffee, this is just SO much better) the owner comes over and starts talking to us. After chatting for a bit she asks us how far we’re going. When we reply Ventura, she says “that’s it?” IS 86 miles away you know...
Turns out she hosts several of the racers during the Tour of California and from the team’s spring training camps so she’s used to real racer type cyclists that probably log hundreds of miles in the surrounding countryside. Ok, so we’re not as bad-assed as we thought...imagine that...

Too soon we need to leave the comfort of the coffee shop and get the day started for real. We pedal out of town on Alisal Rd and alongside the golf course before the climbing begins. I feel pretty good and as we get to the top we catch up to Gail and Bill on the tandem and the rest of the gang. I’ve never ridden a tandem, and I can’t imagine pedaling one of those things up any type of major hill, yet they do it and make it look fairly easy.

The roads outside of town are what seem to be old farm roads. They’re in pretty good shape and have hardly any traffic at all. This continues for a while until we come to Hwy 101. It’s here that the ride goes from laid back to very intense as we jump onto Hwy 101 and begin racing cars and trucks downhill at freeway speeds. At one point I get blown a little off course and get to experience the stay-awake bumps CalTrans has carved into the edge of the highway. In a car, they’re annoying, on a bike…well, I’m pretty sure my fillings came loose.

We follow Hwy 101 for a good part of the day and once again, the guys are keeping a pace that is above my comfort level (I really need to find slower friends) and I spend the day hanging on. They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and I’m not sure which option I’m hoping for...

As we come down into Santa Barbara we stop and eat at a little place right on the beach. The most amazing tacos I’ve had in a long time. (again, could be a result of having been on the bike all day)

From here we ride along the beach for a ways, then cross the freeway and turn south down through Santa Barbara and into Carpinteria where we stop for an ice cream at a Fosters Freeze. I haven’t had Foster’s Freeze since I was a kid and it’s every bit as good as I remember.

From Carpinteria it’s back over to the coast where we ride along the beach for quite a ways, eventually ending up on a multi-use path that takes us to our camp for the evening.

After dinner, we head across the street to the Marriott where several in the group are staying - evidently the lure of a hot shower and a real bed was too much to bear – at the Marriott we relax in the bar, drink beer and recount the adventures of the week...tomorrow is the last day and the final push into Santa Monica.