Today's ride had me a bit worried. 74 miles with 7,140 feet of climbing and 6,800 feet of steep descent. But all in all in turned out to be a spectacular day for all. Best day so far.
We started off with a heart healthy breakfast in Don and Andreas cottage and some excellent espresso thanks to Sean Maloney and his fabulous Nespresso machine.
We then talked about safety. 2 cyclists die in the USA every day due to cycling accidents. Considering that most riders only ride 1-2 hours a week, the fact that we are out riding 8+ hours a day, puts us at risk. We reviewed best practices and talked about clear communication. It paid off.
Now sorely missing John who headed back last night but welcoming Jose, who will ride with us to San Diego, we all rode off together at 8:15. We rode at a very comfortable pace. The 18 mph tail wind did not hurt either. In fact it got us to our first SAG wagon meeting point at 25 miles about 15 minutes ahead of the SAG wagon. But no one complained. We found a nice spot with good coffee and the film crew that made it there shortly after us had water. Just as we were getting ready to leave, the SAG wagon pulled up and we were thrilled. We filled our pockets with snacks and topped our water off with electrolytes and headed off.
The next 25 miles were sweet. Lots of climbing and sometimes a difficult time negotiating the 6" bike lane that disappeared at bridges and cliff overhangs but the scenery made up for it. Just as the hunger and bonk pangs started to sound we spotted the SAG wagon and were treated to great sandwiches and salty potato chips thanks to Dedi and Andrea's shopping trip to Safeway.
I don't think I've ever had a better sandwich. Of course thousands of feet of climbing and beautiful scenery makes everything look good. But it was a good sandwich!
After lunch we continued our journey and the scenery was unbelievable. We kept a moderate pace and even when the wind shifted to a head wind we simply enjoyed the cooling breeze.
Highlights included watching Derek fly by us on a big uphill, carrying momentum from a previous descent. It left a few of us dumbfounded. Derek is a big guy but climbs like an antelope!
Randy had his fun on climb or two, and Don and I both enjoyed a few flying descents.
Let's see, Lee Cannon took over as bike photographer. It was a nice break for me, and Lee did a great job. Some of his photos are included below.
We arrived at our hotel around 3pm which is about as good as it gets. We all met at 5:30 for some of the classic Best Energy Electrolyte Replacement System and then had dinner at 7:00. It was a great meal with lots of laughter, emotion, and camaraderie. Andrea, who was navigating the SAG vehicle and passed us after lunch commented on how great it was to see the 7 of us riding together so cohesively in a straight line.
The evening ended with Derek inviting us to join him for a last beer. Jose blindly said yes but the rest of us passed on the opportunity despite Derek pleading, you "Can't just leave a Mexican and a Paddy alone drinking a beer!" We were all in stitches. I hope Jose survives the evening.
So here we are. We had a big day with great sights and no mishaps. Sean did great. Held his line the whole way and did a reasonably good job of staying hydrated.
So enough rambling...here are some photos that capture some of the day.