Thursday, May 30, 2013

Two hard days led me here

The last two days were some of the hardest I've ever cycled. Hills and headwinds were slowing me to a crawl and throwing my bike from side to side. Trying to cover 70miles a day is easy on paper, but it takes me 10 hours to do so. I really wanted to throw in the towel yesterday and take the train to San Francisco, letting the southbound prevailing winds push me forward instead of back. Instead, I will carry on, but ride fewer miles each day. The winds also seem calm in the mornings, so starting at 5am instead of 7 should help me cover more ground.

Despite the headwinds, yesterday was a beautiful ride. I had made it to Lompoc the night before, and a big climb out of town took me high into the hills and pine trees. I got to coast 3 miles down the far side. 

The day before took me through the UC Santa Barbara campus, but then onto the shoulder of Highway 101 for several miles. Not the most pleasant ride. I also passed a wildfire I could see burning from Carpenteria. Look at the photo behind the silhouetted bike and you can see the rising smoke at sunset.

I rolled into San Luis Obispo yesterday afternoon, and I'm going to rest here for one day. My body is feeling strong, and my knee pain is much less of an issue now. It seems the wrapping and ibuprofen did the trick. I also found a more comfortable seat position. I think I strained my knees badly the first two days of riding with my seat too far forward on its post. It was like doing lunges with improper form, several thousand times in a row. Eventually, the joints became extremely painful.

I'm pressing on north after some down time. I think I'll actually go farther than Monterey and hit Santa Cruz before going east to the valley and eventually the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

One final note - I made some 'improvements' to my helmet to keep the sun off of me. A 12-pack of Sam Adams and duct tape have saved the day! The looks and comments crack me up. I feel like the love child of Shredder and the Rocketeer, but it keeps me from getting burned.


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