The Arthritis Foundation's California Coast Classic
The Arthritis Foundation's California Coast Classic Bicycle Tour sponsored by Amgen is a scenic bike ride offering a fabulous 8 day, 525 mile tour from San Francisco to Los Angeles with a 2 day, 150 mile option from Buellton to Los Angeles. The tour is a full-service ride which provides the framework for one of the most incredible experiences of a lifetime. Offering something for both the beginner and the experienced rider, each cyclist will enjoy one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world as they meander alongside famous wineries, majestic lighthouses and quiet beaches.
James Cowan rode AGAIN in 2013
Click here to donate: http://afcabikeclassic.kintera.org/cowan
The ride started September 28th, 2013
2013 California Coast Classic
Day 1: San Francisco to Santa Cruz
It's great to be back, taking this ride for the second year!
Brad and I arrived late last night as traffic was nothing short of a nightmare coming into San Fran.
It was an early start, too early. Our breakfast reception was 5 miles away from the hotel, so all 300 riders had to suit up and hit the road in pitch dark at 6:00am. Of course, this afforded us a generous sunrise over the bay so we hushed our complaints.
At breakfast we were personally thanked by Mia Brees, a 10 year old girl with Juvenile Arthritis (JA), today's honoree. Mia reminded us how important our efforts are and helped us shed a few tears in the process.
Once formalities and group photos were concluded we set out on our first day of riding. Not so quick, 4 of us immediately took a 5 mile detour to hit the Golden Gate Bridge. It's worth it, I love cruising the bridge. Once completed, we were solidly in last place, so we picked up the pace and started winding our way out of San Fran and saw our first glimpses of crashing waves.
The ocean views really do hurt your neck after a while, they are mesmerizing, not like the breaks we have in LA.
We took the ride at an easy pace, no showing off today, well just on the climbs, and the descents. We were blessed with whales at our ocean view halfway point. Bonus huh?
The freshly tilled farms enveloped us in an earthy atmosphere as we moved out of San Mateo and into Santa Cruz. The farms are switching gears as fall rapidly approaches, from crops over to pumpkin patches.
We are now resting before dinner at the campground, reminiscing about all the beauty we saw today.
We officially hit the one million dollar mark last night, thank you to each of you.
Day 2: Santa Cruz to Monterey
After a well deserved rest we headed to the campground for breakfast. Sausages were on my mind, and I was in luck. 6 sausages, roasted potatoes and a Starbucks VIA and I was juiced up for the day.
One of my riding buddies from last year, Israel, was here but escorting his nephew, Leon, who had NEVER been on a road bike. Absolutely no training. To my amazement, Leon completed the 1st day, but after sitting in the saddle for just 1 mile today he had to throw in the towel, his rear was in too much pain. Sorry Leon, but now I had my riding buddy back. But first Israel had to take Leon back to camp. I told him I'd wait for him at the first rest stop.
Today was a short and relatively flat day. The Monterey Bay Academy, nestled in strawberry fields and overlooking the ocean, was our first rest stop. I don't think any of us actually needed a rest at 20 miles, so we took some photos and chatted with friends.
As we left the rest stop, now with Israel, a new wheel sucker named Scott, Brad, Erin and Richard, we said we'd pick the pace up to 22. Hmmm, why does 22 seem so slow, as we meandered through lettuce, brussel sprouts, strawberry and cabbage farms we ratcheted the speed up to 28-30. Now we're having fun. Israel and I finally got to stretch our legs, pushing on the small inclines then powering down the backside. I told Israel the only reason I ride fast is so I can stop and take photos without losing my place, we had a good chuckle at that.
Once we regrouped we hopped on the bike path for the remaining 20 miles. With cruise control set, we pushed hard, very hard, with every curse I heard behind me I went faster. Oh they love it! I led the pack, or what was left, to the outskirts of Monterey.
Approaching Monterey is spectacular. The bluffs over the bay have commanding views and we spent more time off the bike than on for the last 3 miles.
Fish and chips with an IPA for lunch and that was it.
Riding fast makes for a quick day.
We're showered and ready to explore Monterey now, it's very hot and sunny with clear blue skies.
Day 3: Monterey to Big Sur
After walking through Cannery Row and experiencing all Monterey has to offer, we headed up to the campground for dinner. We quickly learned that Roni, a 2nd year rider and friend, had crashed just five miles shy of camp. Roni is banged up with a few stitches, but her spirits are high. She'll take a day or so off to recover.
At dinner, two of our longstanding riders (9 consecutive years each), Dwight and Maria, were celebrating their 29th anniversary and shared their story about how they lost their ten year old girl to arthritis. We were all on the edge of crying into our spaghetti bolognese dinner, when somebody asked why they chose to spend their dinner here with us and not in Monterey. The response "you are our family now" took all 300 riders down like the big hills we face tomorrow. This is such a great group of people, from all walks of life, and they each say thank you for your donation.
Breakfast was solid, more sausages in the tank. Today we rode for Livia Telli, age 5, her father Matteo, a fellow rider will tell us her story at dinner tonight.
We rolled out of Monterey under clear blue skies and immediately hit the brakes to take in the majestic views of crashing waves reaching over the jagged rocks of Pebble Beach. I think we took more photos than pedal strokes. The beach and bike route was sunny, but just inland was a captivating fog layer that created a dramatic effect over one of the world's top golf courses.
Pebble Beach rolled into Carmel where the trees curled over the streets casting dramatic shadows. Ooops, more photos :)
Before I even cracked a sweat we were at the halfway checkpoint. Hmm, nobody fast around, Israel was stuck with Leon who was now back in the saddle, so that left me and my shadow. Off we went, embracing a tail wind and pushed well into the 30's. There's nothing quite like riding very fast along quiet roads surrounded by the country we live in. It takes you back a notch and you can truly relax and embrace the moment (lots of training helps too).
The redwoods of Big Sur announce your arrival, throwing you from bright sunny ocean views into almost complete darkness, not to mention the overwhelming cool alpine aroma. The essential guide to the CCC says the post-ride place to be is in the river at the River Inn, sitting in an adirondack chair, feet dipped in the river with a craft beer. Sign me up! Done!
We're about to go for dinner tonight with the promise of some big riding tomorrow.
Day 4: Big Sur to San Simeon
After a great buffet dinner at the Big Sur Lodge I retreated to rest my legs in preparation for Day 4. Last year I had heard about this guy named Troy, who did the 2 big climbs twice on Day 4.... Was it folk lore or did he really double back for more punishment?
I woke from a deep log cabin sleep under a starry sky at 4:15, heart racing and ready to ride, to ride the double.
Typically I'd want to eat everything in sight before a big ride, but as a 2nd year rider I knew there was a 1,000 foot climb immediately leaving the start point. I had to limit myself to ten strips of bacon, two sausage patties and home fries.
It was a relatively cold start, around 45 degrees, I was probably the only person to not wear arm or leg warmers, I planned on starting my own little fire, plus I knew we had clear blue skies and 75 degrees ahead of us. Off we went, Brad, Joe and myself. Crushing the climb out of Big Sur and leaving the redwoods behind, we were once again riding along pristine roads hugging the cliffs overlooking crashing waves. Too many photos, but who can resist.
At around 20 miles I ran into Troy. He was real. In fact, he tells me, he actually did the 2 big climbs 3 times a few years back. Damn, should have had more bacon! Anyway, not on the cards this year is what he said.
I rode with Troy and Joe for a while, then dropped my head, picked up the pace and moved into 'attack' position.
In reality the 2 big climbs are more scenic than challenging, again training helps. I cruised through the climbs and relished the long downhill into Ragged Point, our checkpoint for the day. After loading up on liquids I pulled out of the rest stop and started backtracking, Joe in tow, Troy not present.
What a rush passing all of your fellow riders going the wrong way. Every rider had the same look, no matter if it was my uphill or their uphill: what's he doing, he's mad, wait... is he doing a double?... and then the all knowing smile of admiration. Yup, doing the double may have tacked on another 4,000 feet of climbing, but it felt great. I did pass Troy on my 2nd run, so I knew he was going for the double.
I enjoyed a chili cheeseburger with fries overlooking the bluffs at Ragged Point before heading back to the bike. Just as I was clipping in Joe tells me that Troy had just set of for a third run! No! Luckily I was able to use burger as a genuine excuse to avoid the challenge, but it was close.
So, as Brad, Erin, Jason and me, we pulled out of Ragged Point and headed off to San Simeon, 20 miles away, with the promise of taking it easy. We rounded the first corner and felt a whoosh as a friendly 20mph tail wind boosted us well into the mid 30's. I could here Brad asking me to slow it down, which I did try at first, but I just ended up going faster. Jason was on for the chase and so we slogged it out in one giant hammerfest for 20 miles straight. It felt great.
Tonight is wine tasting night, which was super fun last year.
Today I racked up 90 miles with 8,000 feet of climbing, I'm looking forward to hearing how Troy did.... Maybe 12,000 feet?
Today we rode for Lilly Trautwein, age 4, who has Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis.
Day 5: San Simeon to Pismo Beach
After wine tasting last night we were introduced to a very joyful Lilly Trautwein, age 3, our Day 4 honoree. Lilly's father hoisted her onto his shoulders and explained how 10 months ago he and his wife noticed her swollen knees. After seeing a few doctors to no avail, her eyes started swelling too. Drs raced to find the right Arthritis cocktail to limit the progression which results in blindness. Arthritis is the number one cause of blindness in children. Lilly's condition is now improving and we welcome her father as a first year rider.
After a solid nights sleep, a well deserved sleep I might add, I hit the road to breakfast. The fog was so dense and so heavy it clung to me as droplets, yup, this was going to be the cold and windy day I feared.
We left breakfast as: Brad, Jason, Joe, and Erin. Israel was still minding Leon, and their other teammate Esteban was cruising with them. Off we went, into the chill. We stopped in Cambria, got a coffee, and took in the 300 creative scarecrows on display throughout town.
Leaving Cambria we decided on 22mph, and put our heads down and formed a train with me pulling the crew. The wind was brutal, the visibility was brutal, it was tough going, but we managed to arrive at the first rest stop with big grins on our faces. Esteban and Israel saw our cheeky smiles and pawned Leon off on some slower riders.
Off we went, now 6 in the train and so I started upping it as we wound our way along the coast, not that we could see it through the fog. After 20 miles we headed inland, and into clear blue skies. Moving quickly through bone dry rolling hills on quiet backcountry roads, with San Louis Obispo as our next stop. The last drag into SLO is a 10 mile straight road, and today's headwind was a feeble attempt to keep us out. Driving at a constant 23 was especially rewarding when Israel offered to take the lead, held 21.5 for about 100 yards and then quit, saying: "You're crazy man!" Yup, being out front in a strong headwind is something left to the smaller guys who can cut through the wind. We all had so much fun on that section, just grinding away, pushing the limits and achieving something as a team. Smiles abound :)
We pulled into SLO and enjoyed a gourmet burger at Eureka! Burger. Once back on the road we tamed it back and cruised the last 20 or so miles as the ocean fog stole back the sun and pushed the temperature way back down.
Today we rode for Macy Toad, age 6, who has Oligo-Articular Juvenile Arthritis and Uveitis. Her uncle, Bill, is riding for the first time this year.
Day 6: Pismo Beach to Buellton
Crackling campfires warmed us as we shared stories from Day 5. The temperature started dropping and we all hit the hay.
We knew it would be a cold start, but 40 degrees is always a shocker, especially in the get-up this sport has you in. We rolled out at 8:00am, and were thankful the sun was out. I lost sensation in my toes and fingers within minutes, but as we entered the first climb I warmed up.
Leaving Oceano behind and moving into farmland, we picked up the pace. The roads were so peaceful, with maybe the occasional windmill or farm tractor, as the crops changed from cabbages to strawberries, and then finally to grapes, yup, we were now in wine country.
Jason, Brad, and myself put the train together and set the wheels in motion through some of the most epic scenery a road biker can happen upon.
Our rest stop was surrounded by dry rolling hills, and the temperature was now well into the 80's with clear blue skies. We loaded up on fuel, grabbed Doug to join the train and set off into the hills. Grapes to your left, trees to your right and friends in tow... This is the time to turn it up, and so we did.
It would be disrespectful to skip all the vineyards, so with 52 miles already completed, we snuck into Fess Parker Winery, only to discover 20 or so fellow riders. After tasting the offerings and sharing stories, we headed off to picturesque Los Olivos for lunch, just 10 miles up the road. The wind was picking up and we started to get blown around. But before long we we found ourselves at Sides Hardware and Shoes in Los Olivos and shared fried brussels sprouts with sherry vinegar & capers and some gourmet bacon burgers. Lovely!
Little did we know the last 15 miles was drumming up an absolute monster of a headwind. Jason and Brad tucked in behind me, and I set the cruise control at 23, revelling in the power the bacon burger was throwing out. Yup, here I was pulling again... Wait! Where did they go, I guess they fell off the train at some point. Shortly thereafter they caught me at a light, and we all rolled into Buellton together.
I'm showered up and heading to dinner. What a day, what beauty, wow, I love riding through wine country. Tomorrow is our biggest day, I'm looking forward to the challenge.
Today we rode for Caitlin Ryan, daughter of fellow rider Dave Ryan.
Day 7: Buellton to Ventura
After beer and wine tasting we were introduced to Caitlin, our Day 6 honoree. Caitlin has had both hips replaced and whilst she appears to be a typical fifteen year-old, she's just started experiencing swelling and extreme pain at her joints. Her mother was in tears sharing her story and a beautiful poem: Dreaming of a Cure, she wrote for Caitlin. The poem can be read on Caitlin's blog
We all took an early night knowing we had 90 miles and 3,500 feet of climbing on the cards for Day 7.
Another very cold start, albeit sunny with the promise of a hot day. We left camp as Joe, Brad, Jason and me. We left via Solvang, an awkward Danish enclave nestled in wine country. Soon we found ourselves on quiet country roads and pushed hard on towards Santa Barbara.
At the first rest stop we caught Israel and Esteban as they were leaving, not so fast! Back of the train. We grabbed our chosen energy drinks, snapped a few photos and headed out. Mitch (on the same bike as me) and George have been eyeing our group and hopped on the train. Now we were 8 in the train. Whistling along the 101 highway at 26-28, we progressively pushed harder and harder towards our destiny: Eureka! Burger in Santa Barbara.
Today's coal for the fire was a marmalade fig bacon burger, onion rings, truffle fries, and a Green Flash IPA. Ok, fire is stoked, Stew hopped on and we set off for the last 20 miles to Ventura.
After 8 miles, the passenger cars each presented their complaints, requesting a slower pace, which I shrugged off and pushed myself into the sweet-spot: 31-33mph along the 101. Esteban hung in there for a few miles, but then fell off the train, just me and my shadow once again. Wow, that's a rush, ocean to the right, home of my mountain biking on the left, and cruising at speeds worthy of a few trophies. After 6 miles of max speed, I left the 101, waited for my team and ratcheted down the speed for the balance of the day.
What a day of riding, seeing the faces of our group, especially when they realized we had averaged 20.4mph over 90 miles!
Tonight is Margarita night! Must say no, must say no.....
Day 8: Ventura to Santa Monica
The last day was supposed to be easy, a simple flat 60 miles into Santa Monica. But the Santa Ana winds, gusting upwards of 40mph made for a miserable and dangerous day of riding.
We set off from camp at the very back, I guess everybody was worried about the wind, there was no possibility of drafting, so it was each man to himself.
I started working my way from the back, passing rider after rider who seemed to be barely moving forward. Less than ten miles in I started seeing riders on their cell phones calling for support. Yup, this was going to be the day that broke the riders.
As I moved into the open farmland of Ventura, there was nowhere to hide from the wind. Five of us tried to form a diagonal line, maxing out at 17mph, and burning through any energy left after the last week of riding.
As we approached Point Magu, the question of which way the wind was blowing was on everybody's mind. The rest stop just before Point Magu introduced us to what was ahead. As we attempted to hydrate a gust of wind came through, picking up sand along the way and then barreled through the rest stop like a freight train, knocking over every bike, the food stand, the chocolate drink I was holding, and anything else that wasn't bolted down. Not sure what to do, or where to hide, I reluctantly got on my bike and headed off to round Point Magu and face the challenge.
The challenge was absurd. 40mph side winds, head winds, swirling winds. Winds that picked fellow riders off the ground and then threw them down. Cuts, scrapes, people lying on the ground hugging the tarmac for dear life, this was carnage.
I pushed on, and finally after about 15 miles of absolute fear, moved into some calmer, albeit still windy conditions. Once again though, it was just me and my shadow out there.
After 55 miles of the most treacherous riding I arrived at Gladstone's, the designated meeting point. I looked like I'd been mountain biking. Covered in a sweaty dust, face black, with a chocolate drink stained jersey, it finally looked like I was beaten.
Over the next few hours more and more riders arrived, until we were all ready to make our final approach to the finish line together.
220 riders shared that final mile together, stories abound, and blood to back it up.
Thanks for all the support, I believe we finished at $1.1m, not too shabby, and for a great cause.
SEE YOU NEXT YEAR!
2012 California Coast Classic
The 8 day tour began Sunday, September 9, 2012 in San Francisco. The tour shadows the coastline making the Pacific Ocean a familiar companion nearly every day of the ride.CompletePT's Director of Finance, James Cowan completed the 525 mile ride, raising $4,000.
Below is James' daily blog.
Day 1: Santa Cruz
An amazing day, about 90 miles. We left San Francisco at 8am, rode for close to 5 hours. The most unbelievable backdrop with perfect weather.
As we entered the camp, there were cheers and a rewarding horn (Polynesian Pu) being blown for each successful rider. The horn continued to welcome in our group for many hours. Oh! the comfort of knowing you're not last!
Thanks to all of you for your support, that's what makes it possible. Xxxx
Day 2: Monterey
Sleeping was so so, I now know that any incline is a bad idea, my sleeping bag kept slipping down the tent.
We woke to a very damp setting, tents soaked from the cold night air. We were dry, but packing up wet tent gear in 50 degree air is not ideal. Breakfast was a full buffet, 5 sausages, 10 strips of bacon and hash potatoes gave me the boost I needed. They even had homemade bread pudding!
We set off late as a few in our group had some bike issues. It was overcast, windy (headwind) and cold. Luckily it was a short 48 miler today. My toes eventually thawed around mile 35. We meandered through strawberry fields, which provided an amazing aroma, and through the sand dunes overlooking Monterey.
We're at camp now, drying out our gear and getting ready for a fun night.
My legs feel great :)
Day 3: Big Sur
We woke to heavy mist, everything soaked. But not that cold!
I had followed a tip from a fellow rider of putting your riding gear in the sleeping bag with you to keep it dry for the morning. Unbeknownst to me my gear was not 'matching' Marc's so I had to switch. Oh well, it is 9/11 and we all made an effort to sport red and white... Note my socks!
We left Monterey shrouded in fog and rolled through Pebble Beach golf courses taking too many photos. The wildlife (deer and rabbits) was stunning, the views epic and the sea air smelled fresh.
As we cruised through Carmel the sun finally showed its face. We then climbed towards Big Sur and finally let our legs stretch as we wound ourselves along the coastline at a good pace.
River Bend is a must stop at mile 46 of 48, according to the veteran riders, and so we did. It's a tranquil river bend where you can enjoy your beer with your feet dipped in the cool water.
We're at the camp ground now, setting up for the night, and thinking about Livia, who we rode for today.
Livia Telli, age 4, has Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis.
Day 4: San Simeon
Last night we got a break, the sky was clear and the stars were amazing. We enjoyed a lovely dinner at the Big Sur lodge and tucked in for the night at 8.
We woke to clear skies and dry tents: woohooo!
The first turn out of the camp ground sends you up a 600 foot climb to get things going. A lot of overtaking as I let my legs start the 68 miles in full swing.
The views as we cruised along the coast are nothing short of epic. When you're on a bike you get to see, stop, smell (anise) and share the majestic moments as they unfold. It's breathtaking. So many miles of untouched coastline. We had 2 big climbs, although I crested the first and had to ask some poor chap doubled over in pain if that was 'one' of the hills- it made his day! Classic!
After the climbs we hit the checkpoint where ABBA was blaring, oh this is my kind of trip. We ate some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and started off for the rolling 19 miles back to camp. Something snapped and I dropped my head into race position and rode faster than I probably should have, pushing all the limits. 20, 30, 40mph+ in some sections. Before I knew it the infamous Polynesian Pu horn sounded as I completed the stage and I had to reach for the brakes and call it a day. Wow, 68 miles, 5,500 feet of climbing, and a grin from ear to ear.
Tonight is wine tasting night at our San Simeon campground. Our tents are pitched, we're showered and enjoying the ocean views.
Today we rode for Macy Coad, age 5, with Oligo-Articular Juvenile Arthritis and Uveitis. Macy is why we ride.
Day 5: Pismo Beach
Wine tasting last night was a perfect respite from our camping lifestyle. We were momentarily transported to a sophisticated gathering of cheerful characters donning real stemware. Plenty of wine from Lone Madrone, a great dinner and another early night. Ear plugs inserted by 8:30pm after a long day in the saddle results in the deepest sleep.
Using a porta-potty first thing for a number 2 in the dark is not pleasant, charity, charity, I can do this. It's so important to have everything cleaned before a big day in the saddle too!
Breakfast was great, I'm loving my Starbucks VIA shots in my personal Vespa mug.
We hit the road early and settled into a steady pace for our 58-mile day, meandering our way along the coastline. The marine layer would not back down, and so once again we were cold. Seeing the midway checkpoint, cheering ladies, cowbells ringing and all the energy goodies you could imagine picked us up.
However, we decided to press on in search of sunshine and a minor detour to Marc's Eureka! Burger restaurant in San Louis Obispo. 3 IPA's, and a gourmet fig, marmalade & bacon burger provided me my first lunch in 5 days!
You'd think after lunch and the brewskis I might be fatigued. Not me! Turn it up, attack! We joined up with the pedal pushers and cut the wind like a freight train along the coastline into Pismo.
We're setup, having beers and sharing stories from the day.
Today we rode for a rider who had a crash 5 days before we started. Laef, age 74, had been training heavily for the event and bonked (exhaustion) in his final training ride. Laef had been in critical condition and so his son Josh came to ride in his place on his fathers bike. Laef passed away last night. RIP #201, today was your day.
You are my family and friends, thank you for supporting me and this cause.
Day 6: Buellton
Today was the day. We left camp as Josh, Marc, Claudia, Jim, Robert and me. It was a little cold, but we knew 90 degrees was around the corner so no worries.
We cruised through farm country, with every farmhand cheering us on. Josh and I broke away from the pack and settled into a nice 25mph for 20 miles. Neither of us ride road (I mountain bike), so for the most part it was plain brute force that pushed us through the winding back roads. There was not one pedal stroke in there that was not for his father Laef. Josh is a wonderful person, and I'd pedal for his loss any day.
When the temperatures hit 90, I was in heaven. Sun, wine country, and open roads allowed us to stretch out the legs and feel for a brief moment like this is where we're meant to be. Seriously, I'm not sure if the speed, stories of children who can't find a Juvenile Arthritis Doctor, Josh's loss, or the sheer joy of riding as team made me cry, but cry I did.
We cruised into Los Olivos, a picturesque wine country village. A local IPA (or 2), chicken salad sandwich and I was ready to tackle the "advanced climbing detour". After a big climb, we were faced with 5 miles of a gradual decline. (I'm a downhiller). Race on, Claudia and Israel gave challenge, but inexperience prevailed. I'm not convinced it was wise to push that hard, but this is the day, this is the ride.
CompletePT Team showed up in full force tonight and provided PT for the weary. Kristy Laing, DPT, Mike Blair, MSPT, and Lindsay Fujinaka, DPT offered desperately needed advice, recommendations and moral support to the riders. Yes, I was the first customer.
150 new riders arrive tonight. This is going to get serious.
Day 7: Ventura
For most, today was the hardest day. 90 miles of hot weather riding from Santa Barbara to Ventura. 20 miles of 101 riding, which is very dangerous. The cops were there to protect us and even closed down a lane on a narrow bridge. Nonetheless, it was hairy, and hot!
We all had to leave early to complete the designated check points in a timely fashion. Claudia, Marc, Robert, Jim and I departed in the damp cold wee hours of the day.
A few mild climbs later and we were immersed in horse farms, quiet roads and a relentless sun.
Eventually we hit the 101, and that's where our day hit a few bumps. The shoulder is littered with rubber, glass and shards of who knows what. Robert blew a tire. We fixed it up in the blazing heat, but within 30 minutes it blew again. No spare tube as Robert is running some fancy carbon rims. After waiting a while the support vehicle came by and gave us a tube. That tube lasted 30 minutes before it gave out! 3 flats in 90 degree heat. Robert got it all squared away at the next rest stop, in Santa Barbara.
Eureka! Burger just opened their latest joint in SB, so 15 of us cruised over for a gourmet burger and beer. SB is 30 miles shy of camp, so we came out of there ready to roll. Well, at least I did. I went into a tuck and stretched the legs one more time. I rolled up on Israel; luckily he was not looking to race and let me breeze on by. Without stopping I made it to camp, and for the last time setup my tent.
It's going to be sad to say goodbye tomorrow to all the new friends I've made.
Day 8: Santa Monica
We woke to a clear sky and a beautiful sunrise. Group photos were taken and then 250 of us started our 60 mile victory ride into Santa Monica.
The heat bore down on us, but we had a good speed going, keeping us cool.
The coast had a different day in order for us. As we came around Point Magu we were faced with a solid wall of dense fog, and his mean brother, the 30 mph headwind. Luckily my small frame was able to hunker down and drive through it. Midway through I rolled up on Josh, and together we destroyed the coast's best efforts to push us back to San Francisco.
Back in the sun, feeling strong, and then Israel was in my sights. We rode together for a while, finally getting to race up the PCH rolling hills. Lovely.
The challenges kept on coming as we approached the finish. Any stored energy was being spent today. We raced all the way to Gladstone's. An IPA later and it truly was a victory ride back to home camp.
Thanks for all the support, this has been an amazing journey.
The final staging area was on Ocean Ave at San Vincente Blvd in Santa Monica. Lynda Huey, the Rehab Honoree for this year's ride, rode in with us from there and gave a talk at the closing ceremonies.