It almost went bad right form the start as I waited for everyone to arrive. With 20 minutes still to go, I decided I just had a feeling I'd better check out Jerry's website to make sure I was at the right spot....um...nope!
I assumed we were doing the Pescadero/Tunitas Creek loop when in fact we were doing the Half Moon Bay/Pescadero loop.
Despite the fact that I now needed to hustle over the hill to the Half Moon Bay starting point, I was somewhat relieved to find out Tunitas Creek wasn't going to destroy me today.
I made it to the correct starting point with time to spare ad met up with the gang. As we headed out through Half Moon Bay I was reminded of all the time the girls and I used to spend here when we were first married and had the mobile home over here....thinking of all the great rides I didn't even know existed.
The ride heads through downtown and up Higgins Purisma road. It's not too long before it angles upward and after a nice warm up of ups and downs and as we made a sharp left turn, Leticia made the comment that "now the climb really begins". and boy she wasn't kidding...I tried valiantly to keep up with Bill as he made smooth, easy circles, but it wasn't long before he was a full turn ahead of me then eventually out of my sight.
I concentrated on trying to spin while at the same time trying to keep my heartrate under control as the climb continued through turn after turn until. It wasn't ridiculously steep although I did see 10 and 11% on my garmin more than a couple of times. Eventually we reached the top and had caught our breath as we waited for the others to catch up.
The best part of any climb is when it ends and in the same way that dessert always follows dinner, a downhill always follows the climb. And this one was beautiful.
From here it was rolling hills and descents as we worked our way to the coast. I was still trying to work through some issues from the previous week and putting my head down and powering the pedals is the best way I know how. As I stood for every climb and hammered on the downhills the rollers the led west worked their magic on both my legs and my psyche.
Eventually we were dumped out onto Hwy 1 and once again I was thankful I hadn't bailed on today's ride. At one point as a few of us stopped to take pictures, someone made the comment about how blessed we were to have this in our backyard when people come from across the country to ride these roads....I couldn't agree more.
As much as I wanted to nap in the sun right there on the back lawn, everone else was ready to get rolling so we headed out. Every time I've done the Pescadero loop, whether from the San Mateo side or this time from the Half Moon Bay side, Stage Rd is always one of my least favorite climbs. I'm sure it has more to do with the fact that we've just spent 30-40 minutes lounging in the sun and stuffing our faces, than it does the elevation gain, but it's still a really tough climb for me.
As with all climbs though, it's followed by a nice downhill before beginning to go up again. This happens again a couple more times before we're dumped back out on Hwy 1 for the slog north. Hwy 1 is a beautiful ride with the ocean guiding us along on the left, the problem is, it's usually windy in the afternoon and the traffic tends to freak me out a bit.
Amazingly enough, I actually felt pretty good and as we motored north, I could again disappear inside my head and spend some time cleaniing and scrubbing out the garbage that had been piling up there all week.
Eventually, we rolled back into Half Moon Bay and as we loaded up our bikes, used the rest room, enjoyed cold drinks from Jerry's ever-present cooler, Bob and Leticia rolled up. Turns out they had decided to head firther south to the lighthouse whereas we had turned inland to hit the lunch spot.
I'm not sure how many bonus miles they picked up, my garmin showed a days total of 43 miles with 3470ft of climbing.