Just prior to starting podiatry school in 2010, myself, Kimber and a buddy, Jeremy Koons, rode down the entire Oregon coast. We did the roughly 400 miles over an enjoyable period of 10 days. We were able to stop and see the sights and relax in the afternoons on the beaches. It was a pleasant trip. I had always hoped that eventually I would be able to do more sections of the west coast but I never really got an opportunity until just recently when the doctor I was working with was going to be out of town for a few days, giving me some time off. Having just matched at a residency program in Seattle Washington (yay!!) I was due for some adventure. Jeremy and I discussed various plans including riding from Oregon to San Francisco, San Francisco to Santa Barbara and I even presented the idea of doing a climb in a the Eastern Sierra's following by a multi-day ride in Owens Valley. Due to weather forecasts and logistical reasons we settled on the SF to SB option a few days before departure. Having only 4 days for the ride meant we were planning to ride roughly 100 miles on day 1, 100 miles on day 2, 120 miles on day 3 and about 100 miles on day 4. Quite ambitious since I had only ever ridden over a 100 miles in a day a few times and Jeremy never had before.
Day #1: San Francisco to Santa Cruz, 93.3 miles, 7.5hrs peddling time, 5,300ft elevation gain.
We caught the BART to the Embarcadero St. station and met up with one of Jeremy's buddies who joined us for a quick tour of SF. Jeremy wanted an iconic start and talked us into peddling up an insanely steep hill allowing us to ride down the famous Lombard Street which has 8 hair pin turns within a one block section. We headed over to the south side of the Golden Gate Bridge and then down through Golden Gate Park on onto Highway 1. It was a beautiful day. We took stops at Half Moon Bay and San Gregorio State Beach and made it to the Santa Cruz New Brighton Beach Campground around 6pm. Hike and Bike campsites are basically awesome; $5 per person, right next to the showers and no need for reservations. Slept like a rock. While there we met a guy who was riding from Montreal Canada to San Diego and then over across to Louisiana. He said he started in freezing temperatures. What an adventure.
Day #2: Santa Cruz to Big Sur State Park, 85.5 miles, 6.5hrs peddling time, 4,700ft elevation gain.
We were on the road by 8:15am. My ischial tuberosity was screaming but would intermittently go numb after being on the bike for about an hour. The route took us inland and we ended up stopping at an awesome fruit stand and loaded up on some avocados, oranges and apples. Tastey! We stopped in Monterey near the Aquarium for lunch and basked in the sun. The second half of the day we traveled around Monterey on the famous 17 Mile Drive which follows some beautiful coast line and through the prestigious Pebble Beach Golf Course ($500 per 18 holes!) We came up through Carmel and then over the hills and into Big Sur. We were spent when we arrived at the Pheiffer Big Sur Campground and set up camp in the redwoods.
Day #3: Big Sur SP to Pismo Beach, 125.3 miles, 10.2 hrs peddling time, 9,200ft elevation gain.
Up at 5:30am and on the bikes with lights flashing at 6:30am (we had to wait a few minutes for it to get light enough to see the road). We started the morning off with one of the bigger climbs of the trip and then up and down along the shear cliffs along the crashing ocean below as the sun came up. It was amazing. Jeremy's knee had been painful the second half of yesterday and was much worse this morning. He was digging deep to keep going. We took things real slow and were constantly considering bail out options. I took the majority of his gear and loaded it on my bike. The plan was to do 120 miles which seemed impossible at lunch when we had only traveled about 40 miles in 5hrs. We talked it over and decided to just keep peddling and see how it went. After lunch we got out of the mountain section and onto some flatter road which was better on Jeremy's knee and allowed us to make up some time. We ended up bending Jeremy's back rim, popping a spoke and having to do some crude roadside spoke work with some pliers to stop the rim from rubbing on the brakes. We rolled into the Pismo Beach area at sunset exhausted and then spent the next hour riding back and forth through town trying to find a hike/bike campsite. We eventually found on, got a hot shower in and hit the sack. Dead. I haven't slept that hard since salmon fishing in Alaska.
|My view for many many hours.|
|Enjoying my daily ration of Nutella and Peanut Butter|
|Roadside trueing session anyone?|
|At mile 100, 25.3 to go, just outside of San Luis Obispo CA|
|Finally found a hiker/biker camp spot.|
Day #4: Pismo Beach to El Capitan Beach (20 miles short of Santa Barbara), 80miles, 6hrs peddling time, 4,000ft elevation gain.
We were on the road by 6:45am in good spirits. We spent the morning peddling through rough farm highways. We even almost got crop dusted by a helicopter. After only a few miles I was really dragging. Even though I was drafting off of Jeremy I could barely keep up. I attributed my lagging to the rough roads and all of the extra gear I was hauling. I pushed on for probably 20 miles and at a quick break discovered that my rear wheel was bent and rubbing on my brake. The combo of the rough roads, heavy weight and my bike not being made for touring did it in. We once again pulled out the pliers and did some spoke work to true the wheel and pushed on. After a big climb we dropped down into Lompoc where we had lunch followed by a final big climb and decent back down to Highway 1. Once we hit the coast things fell apart. Within a 10 miles span we got 3 flat tires. I had a CO2 air pump with enough cartridges to fill two tires and Jeremy had a worthless air pump that only offered us a false sense of security, as it could get the tire pressure high enough to prevent the rim from hitting the ground. The 3rd flat tire in combination our bent rims and we just couldn't make it the last 20 miles!!! We were sunk! Luckily a friend living in Santa Barbara was available to come and pick us up at El Capitan State Park. It was a pretty unrewarding feeling, although relieving, knowing that we made it so close.
|So close but yet so far.....|
4 Day Total
384 miles ridden
30hrs peddling time
23,000ft elevation gain.