Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Coast Ride take 2

Best trip in America on two wheels
I know its been nearly a week since the two wheeled trek from San Francisco to Santa Barbara, but I've been BUSY & sick (much more on the "busy" later, but good things happening!)

After a solid night's sleep Chez Blanco in San Francisco, we rode to the Golden Gate Bridge Saturday morning to meet the Coast Ride crew. This involved the weekend's only truly terrifying experience as Katya and I attempted to navigate San Francisco (hilly!) streets with backpacks larger than ourselves. No photographic evidence unfortunately, as a camera attempt would have definitely resulted in disaster.

Shockingly, we made it to the bridge without incident, said hello to friends we hadn't seen in a year, and got ready to ride. Scotty & co. have the trip wired (thank you a million times over for the best adventure in the USA!) and we were able to drop our bags with the SAG vehicle and set off for Day 1.

2012 crew
Last year, I remember being terrified as we descended from San Francisco through Pacifica. I was riding tri bike and was NOT a fan on descending in a group. Right away, I realized that this year was going to be different. I cruised down the hills easily and with confidence on my new SuperSix....Soon we hit a big climb near Half Moon Bay. Last year, I recall being popped off the back and then riding many miles alone until lunch. This year, I was riding that hill instead of the other way around, quickly starting to realize that my fall miles with Pete, James, HJ, wattie, Nestor & Katya are paying off. BIG TIME. Thanks guys :)

I'm not going to go into the details of the ride each day and all that because it is just overload! It can easily be abbreviated like this: We rode 125-130 miles down California Hwy 1 overlooking the ocean and climbing through the redwoods for 3 days. The weather was epic for January- super chilly (LOW 40s) in the a.m., but warming up to 60s by the afternoon. Sunshine all over the place and tailwinds for the final day into Santa Barbara. Throughout the entire trip, I was whispering sweet nothings to my bike as I'm totally in love. The ride is SO comfortable, so smooth, so "responsive" (yeah, cliche, but there is no other word!). I am now officially pissed at all y'all that told me that the bike doesn't make that much of the difference when I was riding around my old clunker road bike I got when I learned to clip-in in 2007. LIARS! All that "it's the rider blah blah blah" is CRAP.

Anyway, back to the ride. We'd finish on our bikes by around 2pm (ride time was  6 to 6 and a half hours each day....yeah- not such a leisurely pace when you figure in 19k of climbing over 3 days) and then hit the food and a beer or 2 while telling bad jokes and wearing the same outfit every night with our Coast Ride buddies. Each night finishes with ice cream, my favorite Coast ride "tradition".
Can't say "No" to tradition! 

The friends I've made on this trip over the past two years are pretty awesome and we may be an unlikely match. As Bethany said to the guys on Day 2, "Well, the odds are good, but the goods are odd!" (that's the quote of the trip!) No, in all truth, There is a nice group of more mature ;) (happily married) gentlemen from Santa Barbara & san Francisco that keep their eyes out for my girlfriends & I and help us along. When the going gets tough, they remind me to hang in there, give me a push up the hill, and I even had an escort or two bring me back to the group....
The odds are good, but the goods are odd! 

Friends and fun aside, this trip is also about training and I have to admit I really surprised myself. I know that my cycling has improved in the last year, but this trip gave me some really tangible things to look at to see how far I've come. I climbed with people I couldn't even suck wheel with last year, I stayed within myself while riding strong, and couldn't wipe the realization from my mind that every (traumatizing) memory from 2011 was being rewritten in 2012. I had a lot of check-ins with myself realizing that I was not a sham on the ride this year: I was no longer pretending to fit in with the roadies (the SuperSix vs. tri bike helped ;), getting shot off the back, resigning myself to riding solo, and experiencing more pain than is probably healthy.

Instead, this year i was RIGHT THERE. No, not always in the front group, but never far. And NEVER in the "box" the way I was last year.I feel like I am not putting the right words to this, but it was a huge mental jump for me. I'm not writing this to tell you how awesome I am, I really hope that someone who feels hopeless on the bike (as I did for several years) reads this and sees that the hard work WILL eventually pay off. One day, like me, you will no longer suck! Sure, it took thousands of miles and thousands of hours, but it did pay off. Never give up!

I think the final day captures the moment I'll really remember....Last year,I hitched a ride for about 20 miles to avoid the last huge climb of the ride. I knew in 2011 that I would lose time on the climb, lose more time on the descent, and end up riding the last 40ish miles to Santa Barbara alone in a pity party. Not to mention, I was DESTROYED. I couldn't fathom another hill.

This year, we arrived at the lunch stop before the monster climb and I was feeling great. Quitting never crossed my mind. As we approach the hill after lunch, I knew I was ready for a little redemption. The boys started climbing "easy" and I kept pace, thinking "that's it?" After a while, the pace picked up but I hung in there, knowing this was the LAST big climb. Pretty soon, I looked around, seeing mostly Cat1 & 2 roadie dudes...What was I doing here? Oh yes, I was CLIMBING! When we reached the top, I'm not sure I've ever been so satisfied on a bike. Not that I had hung on and QOM'd the thing, but that I was in SUCH a different place physically and mentally than last year.

Ok, so the Rudy soundtrack stops there, because I totally got dropped on the descent and was alone for about 10 miles until I scooped up/was scooped up by some other stragglers. We hammered to SB with a rippin' tailwind and called it ay.....Until next year!

DAY 1 San Francisco --> Seaside, CA
getting ready to roll

Hot Tub with Bethany!

DAY 2 Seaside --> Morro Bay
Me, Bethany, Jonathan
Big Sur= Big Day 8k of climbing
Hard to focus on the wheel not the view
met a new friend, Daniel, who grew up in my hometown

Aaron,, Bill, Duane, & Randy - some of my "helpers" all in here...

$1 Tecates! Who could say no! 

DAY 3 Morro Bay --> Santa Barbara

Rollin' DEEP (I'm there 2nd wheel white jacket)

Heavy D, Randy, Katya


Beth said...

Love it when big miles pay off!! Glad the ride went so well and MAN are those some beautiful backdrops! :)

daniel m said...

"Instead, this year i was RIGHT THERE. No, not always in the front group, but never far". Yes you were. Smokin! Sweet recap. dm

daniel m said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
GoBigGreen said...

How fun is that, i love epic bike challenges like that and by the last day you are all so pumped but SO wiped. And those early AM starts are chilly but knowing its going to warm up ( and hopefully not rain =rooster tails) you are good to go!
Cool trip Beth!

Jill Costantino said...

You are a MACHINE!

Mac said...

Great times Beth. You are strong as ever and made the road work this year for sure. send a note and I can send orig pic to ya. great riding again . So lucky to have options and friends like this ...spoiled

goSonja said...

This is awesome Beth! I grew up in the Morro Bay area...went to Morro Bay High School for two years. That is like my hood! Hard work does pay off, and I see big things for you and the bike this year. Fun!

Libby said...

so inspiring to see your progress from last year- totally remember last years post and how difficult that ride was. that is so so awesome to see such progress over a year. I SO want to do this ride one day but only if I ever have the legs to hang!!

Beth said...

wow, that is a HUGE difference in just one year. Congrats on putting in all the hard work!

Rhona IntelliTri said...

Looks like an awesome, scenic ride! Just wondering if you would mind doing an interview for our triathlon training site - I think you'd be inspiring for our visitors!

If you'd be interested I'd just email you a few questions - shouldn't take much time, and you can plug your sponsors, your blog etc.

We've just put up an interview with Sarah Haskins so you can have a look at that to see what it would look like

Email me on rhona @ if you'd be happy to do this!

Thanks, and good luck with the training.