Making Friends and Bombing Hills
There's nothing more magical than being lulled to sleep and awoken by the sound of surf. We pitched our tent at Half Moon Bay hiker/biker camp site all alone under a tree, sheltered from the wind that makes fauna grow sideways here. Woke up, ate pb &j tortillas with granola, broke down the tent and got the heck outta Dodge by 10.30, a vast improvement over yesterday. Our route would take us about 50 mi to Santa Cruz, with roughly the same amount of climbing as yesterday. Fortunately, the first few miles were on a bike path and GLORIOUSLY FLAT! The path petered out pretty quickly, so we were back along the shoulder of highway one, where the intermittent traffic was largely incredibly considerate.
We decided yesterday it was important to stop roughly every hour for a small snack and water break to keep our muscles happy, and were holding to it. By 1.30, with everything sore, I was begging to stop for lunch. We crossed the road to shelter from the sun in some large trees that somehow had sprung up a breeze only around and between themselves. Side note, I never once took off my long sleeves today. Forecast said 80, but breeze said cold for most of our ride. Anyway, more tortillas, and realizing we were covering loads of ground. The rolling hills came, but they were actually rolling, and pretty pleasant, with amazing views all along the side, and more importantly, slingshots! It's amazing (and scary) to tuck down a hill so hard, you can make it halfway or more up the next slope.
At the top of one of these rollers, we met another cyclist, Nico, from France! He’s been on the road ten months already, and is planning on six more. Makes us seem much less crazy in comparison. We continued the rollers, stopping once for a roadside parking lot selling incredible berries and baby avocadoes- five for a dollar. Yes, please.
As we continued downhill, Nico was clocking speeds, and we were flying at over 70kph on some descents.
Our ride wasn't staying along the water though, and had long been meandering through farmland on both sides. Suddenly, a bicycle path appeared, running parallel to us. We knew we had passed the 11mi marker, but this was a sign of hope for sure. We found the next entrance and gave it a SCUL sticker. Photographs were taken; Nico had a large, very nice camera on his handlebars. We stopped again not long after at the Santa Cruz city limits sign for more pictures. It was all cruising from there into town. We stopped loads along the water heading towards the pier, as this is Nico’s last day oceanside before he heads inland.
The next priority, which we had been discussing all day, was ice cream. After the Hagen Dasz debacle, this was nearly a requirement. We asked some locals for a recommendation, and Mary Ann's did not disappoint. We split two scoops, chocolate Mandarin and banana almond fudge, but they had so many flavors it was difficult to decide.
From here, Nico was headed in a different direction from us, so we parted ways, with an invitation for him to visit Boston after he reaches NY. We had seven more miles to go, and they were easily the most brutal of the day. Another Parkour coach, Dustin, lives in Scotts Valley, just north of SC. Did I mention it was up a HILL? We rounded a corner and it was like hitting a wall, my thighs cramped up and quit. So Nick indulged me, stopping in a driveway and swerving into every one after that, as we navigated 200 ft of ascension in short distance. And then continued up more gradually. We showed up at the gym where Dustin teaches and trains in time to stretch and go to class. Well, Nick participated, but my knees are shot. After warm up, there was an awesome Ninja Warrior style course, and we shot some footage of Nick, being awesome. I won't detail getting back to Dustin’s, suffice to say there was another hill.
Dinner was at a place called Saturn Cafe, an all vegetarian/vegan/ largely gluten free kitchen. Hooray! After two days of mostly tortillas, it was nice to have lots of greens and not need to think about cooking.
We had been promised a whale to sleep in, but that wasn't forthcoming, so we ended up in a bed! The horror. Our bed was in an in-law apartment located in a barn that was a hoarders Paradise, containing a Miata, a Firebird, four Jaguars, and various other large military type vehicles and motor bikes. That plus we are promised an auto show in the morning adds up to automotive dreams. They'll come quickly, as we covered 60+ mi and hundreds of feet of elevation.
Check out Nico's travel log here: