Thursday, September 20, 2012

Ride the West - Day 19, Paso Robles California to Santa Maria California

Last night we had the famous, or should I say “infamous” teeshirt swap. All of the teeshirts were quite nice and we had lots of laughs with the game that was used to determine which shirt one ends up with. Jokes were abundant as the swap went along. Baltimore Mark had the audacity, courage, stupidity, guts, balls (you pick the word you like best) to actually steal (valid in the rules) the “One bike ride away from divorce” shirt that Barb Munk was coveting. Barb is responsible for much of the tour and one would not be wise to be on her wrong side. Then of course, there is Mark. He went ahead and executed the move to get this shirt, only to lose it to Toronto Mark later, but in the process, making Barb a bit perturbed. I figure it's only a matter of time before Mark's luggage doesn't make it to the next hotel. Live on the edge Mark, we applaud you, but wouldn't want to be in your shoes right about now.

Barb and the teeshirt (photo credit Mike Munk)

This was the first day in about 2 weeks, where it wasn't foggy leaving the hotel. I only needed 2 layers to start off as well, much to my pleasure. Mike Munk says that the weather right up to the end of the ride will be, and I quote “perfect cycling weather”. If that is true, then the whole 3 weeks of weather for this adventure will have been incredibly great.

Typical countryside

After leaving Paso Robles, I took my time and cycled with Tim, Gary, Russ and Mose. We didn't try to ride fast, but just had a pleasant time, at least until the 1st climb of the day. At that I point, I rode on ahead and did the multi-mile climb fairly quickly.

View from the road

At the top, we were blessed with a long downhill that I maxed out at 40 mph. The descent was longer than the climb as we were able to cash out some of the “banked” altitude that we did the previous day. Along the descent, the landscape was only so-so, but I did come across a large avocado farm on the way into Morro Bay.

Avocado trees

Morro Bay seems to be a touristy place, with this huge rock located in the basin of the bay. I recall from years ago, when my wife Aila, the kids and I were traveling here, that I was in a store standing next to Barbra Streisand. When I left the store, I saw her husband, James Brolin standing by the car. When Barbra came out, some fans asked to get her autograph, but James and Barbra were rude and chased them away.

Morro Bay rock

Other than the rock in Morro Bay, there didn't seem to be too much else to it, other than the tourist crap that inevitably springs up. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's what I saw.

Oh the indignity!!! Having to rest "The Mistress" against a dumpster

When leaving Morro Bay, I ventured out alone and rode quite quickly, although I wasn't 100% sure I was on the right road. I was in the middle of farmland and horse ranches. After several miles, I saw the ABB white van and Mike Munk taking pictures. This reassured me that I was going in the correct direction. After the next turn, I had a slight tailwind and was able to shoot down the road at about 28 mph, for several miles. It was exhilarating.

Diner made from 2 railway cars

I arrived at the 2nd SAG, after catching up with Baltimore Mark. He and I rode in together the 15 or so miles left before the SAG. He seems to be feeling better, which is always good. I left the SAG with Gary and we soft pedaled allowing time for Mark to catch up. However, the optional steep climb for the day arrived before Mark did, so I ventured off-route to take advantage of it. Mark eventually caught up to Gary, but I was long gone after doing this steep climb.

The optional climb, 15% grade

On the final 20 mile leg into the hotel, I once again had a nice tailwind and was able to cruise along at up to 31 mph for many miles. I passed by Howard and Shirley and zoomed on ahead. Shirley later asked me just how fast I was going when I passed by.

Before the hotel, I caught up with Joe, Toronto Mark, “The Duchess” and Leticia about a mile from the end. “The Duchess” had a blowout and had her husband, Toronto Mark fix it. They seemed to have it under control, right as I was approaching. We rode in together to the hotel.

Let's see what tomorrow brings.

No comments:

Post a Comment