Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ride the West - Day 17, Carmel Valley California to King City California

How is this still possible? We are 1,000 miles south of where we started in Astoria Oregon, and we still have cool, foggy mornings, giving way for a warm afternoon. I am still having to wear 3 layers at the beginning, only to wish I only had 1 layer by the end of the ride. I expect that is about to change though, as we are now getting more inland than before. The days should start to be warm from the very start.

Leaving Carmel Valley

Today was a shorter, 55 mile ride, that still had about 3700 feet of climbing. Right out of the gate, we had a 20 mile gradual ascent, with a interim section of about 10% grade for a couple of miles. I rode the climb alone as I wanted to do it quickly. Along the way I saw a coyote by the road's edge, but by the time I yanked out my camera to get a photo, it had taken off. I also saw several turkeys and a family of deer that just stood in front of me in the middle of the road. I guess these are the benefits of being the first cyclist in the pack. The road was a relatively unused country road that had no traffic, so the wildlife was more prevalent.

Typical countryside

After the climbs were mostly done, we had a long downhill descent that had many turns in it. It was fun, but the frequency of these turns made it difficult to sustain any real speed. The scenery was beautiful among the hills and valleys.

About to descend into the valley

By this time, Joe and I were riding together and we caught up to Toronto Mark and Gary. Toronto Mark's wife, “The Duchess”, is not riding these days due to injuries. That gives us a chance to ride as “The Geldings” once again. Today was one of those days, at least the last half was. Baltimore Mark is not feeling so well, so it was Toronto Mark, Joe and I that rode in together. We made excellent time, which was a great reminder of the old days from 2 years ago.

Cliff faces overlooking the valley

Along the way, we passed through part of the agricultural area of the central valley. The fields were growing grapes (for wine), broccoli, onions, garlic and a few other things we didn't recognize. The garlic and onions were quite fragrant.

Fields of various types of vegetables

Part of the route took us along the hillsides of the valley, giving us a great view as we climbed and descended along the edges of the hills. A train passed by us and headed through a tunnel that was carved from one of the hills. We rode over the tunnel as we climbed once again.

Vegetables growing beside the railway

We arrived in King City, just in time for Toronto Mark to ride over a piece of glass and get a flat. After a quick change, we made our way to the hotel in this small town.

Let's see what tomorrow brings.

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