That was the longest 30 miles of my life.
Video by Nick, words by Jay.
Normally, this distance takes me just under two hours. Total moving time today: 5 hr 33 mins. The view was so worth it. Okay, back up. We were told several times this week, about SF Bicycle Coalitions Bike to Work day, which happened this morning. We went looking for bells, and found spoke lights and an amazing supply of snacks as well. There were stations all over the city, so we visited 4, collecting swag along the way. At the last stop, I handed my bike to a mechanic over a wiggle in the back wheel and he told us every single one of my rear spokes was loose. Ugh! That means under load, my wheel is liable to fall to pieces. We went across the street to the LBS where he works and bought a spoke wrench, figuring that we would do what we could, and when we return to the city, we can switch it out at Yellow Bike if it didn't hold true.
Back to Paris’ with a stop at the neighborhood mercado for fresh tortillas for the next few days. We repacked everything in our panniers, now more full with snacks. Fortunately, my carry on has been the top of my Osprey 60L, which converts to a day pack, and fits super securely on top of my rack. Nick fixed my wheel, I made pb&banana&jelly tacos. We pretended to stretch. At 1.30, we hit the road.
The same person who convinced us that California was warm apparently also informed us that it was all downhill from SF to SC. The map had a few peaks- 2000ft elevation over 30+mi. I'm never complaining about a 100ft gain again. Yesterday we rode without gear and were slow uphill, today was a struggle.. We climbed up, up, up through Daly City, stopping at a park for snacks, about an hour in and ⅓ of the way done. Then there was more. Forty pounds of gear makes a big difference, as any hiker knows. Nick's bike has lower gears than mine, and I might be regretting it now. But them we crested the rise, and saw the Pacific sparkling off to the left and FLEW down then other side. Cruising along the water in Pacifica was gorgeous, if windy, and the trail took us through Mori Point Park, with rising cliffs as a backdrop. The worst was yet to come. Leaving the beach behind, there was a series of switchbacks up and down leading to the only route through the coastal ridges; highway 1. Who decided I didn't want shoulders? With vehicles whizzing by at 45 or 50 mile an hour, we ploughed through a blistering segment clinging to the side of the road, balancing on the lip of a shallow culvert. Signs for a tunnel gave us both a sense of impending doom until the road split and we entered Devil's Slide Trail. That sounded more comforting. It's pedestrian only former railway segment with equally terrifying downhill grade. I'm still releasing my hands from their death grip on the brake levers. About to rejoin highway 1, we noticed a former bunker that the cliff had eroded around, leaving a pillar of stone supporting a graffiti-decked concrete embattlement. It screamed to be scaled and stickered.
While we had already made several snack stops, lunch was such a distant memory for Nick, he asked for a repeat. We debated snacking there, or down the next descent at grey whale cove. I was in favor pushing through the remaining 9 mostly flat miles. Seeing the signs for Half Moon Bay, we hollered with relief, Nick used his largest chainring for the first time all day. There was a pier just into town where we became acquainted with a friendly and talkative seal, and sent us on our way via bike paths to the campground. We have seen so many breathtaking vistas today, I'm losing absorption capacity, but these lush, green and flowering trails were almost the best thing all day. Aside from the blissfully empty hiker/biker campsite where our tent is pitched under a tree. Time now for more tacos and some James Bond. Going to bed before midnight will be a new record for this trip, and some extra sleep sounds luxurious. If everything is sore now, tomorrow, we have roughly the same distance and elevation in store. Anyone have a spare foam roller?