Wednesday’s Ride – The Big One

| July 30, 2021 | 0 Comments

Wednesday’s ride was the toughest day of the whole Seattle to San Diego ride. It was from Carmel to Cambria, 100 miles with 8,000 feet of climbing over Big Sur. Full disclosure: I didn’t ride the whole way. I rode the beginning and the end, skipping the middle part involving riding over multiple huge hills with literally no shoulder on the road. As they say in New Jersey, “fuggedaboudit!”

In the vernacular of cycling, this was a ball buster. The night before, even very experienced riders were anxious. I thought about the famous picture of Eisenhower visiting the troops on the eve of D-Day. I wondered what those troops were thinking. What did they talk about? Our crew taking in quiet tones about climbs, elevation, road grade, wind speed and the weather forecast. Knowing I was going to forgo the hard part, I felt like one of the guys who got to stay on the ship off the coast of Normandy. The guilt of not joining the poor bastards in the LVs who would hit the beaches was offset by the knowledge they would likely be alive at the end of the day.

Because of the long day, we started early, lights on at 4:30 am and on the road by 6:00 am. The first 25 miles, which I rode, had a few hills, was pretty pleasant. The weather was very foggy, which persisted until the last leg after Big Sur. So, there was not a lot of sightseeing. I did try to get some landscape shots at the second rest top, which was by the ocean (picture below).

Going over Big Sur I had no regrets about riding the van. The hills were long and steep and the riding treacherous. The downhills are especially scary with no shoulder because the rider has to “take the road.” Cars are bound by law to give way to bikers. Some crazy bikers do down at speed of up to 45 mph. I’m on the brakes all the way down. And, if a car pulls up behind you, all you can think of is road rage and what he might do to get around you. And what he might do on the way by. In a previous ride, a guy actually pulled into our rest stop to berate me for not getting far enough to the right, where there was sand and a steep cliff. Nope! Not doin’ that!

I also road the last 20 miles, which were a delight. Mostly by the beach, mostly flat and the fog had lifted. I went by San Simeon, the Hearst mansion and some elephant seals.

The people who road the whole way all said it wasn’t as bad as they expected. Yeah, right. But they all made it to the church. And I didn’t feel guilty at all.

Tomorrow, 70 miles to Santa Maria.

Iconic Bixby Bridge Leading into Big Sur
I was told these elephant seals are exhausted from swimming from Alaska


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