Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Beyond Words!!!

I really don't know how to put the last 3 days into words. I just don't think I can properly explain the experience, the landscape, the friendships, the memories....or well, the pain. I also don't want the memories to remain in my head without at least attempting to share them. So here we have it....and we start with DAY 1
SAN FRANCISCO- SEASIDE: 130 Miles (well 125, except that Beth and I had a rough start...)

So the directions said we were going to roll out from the Golden Gate Bridge. We knew this meant the downtown city side, but seeing as though Beth and I were the only two who were both not from San Fran, and had not done the ride before, we didn't know exactly where this "well known" spot was. We saw the bridge- but the group wasn't in sight!
So we circuled, rode back and forth and rode up and down for several miles. Eventually, we (and our 50lb back packs!!!) made it with 10minutes to spare. A quick meet and greet and we were rolling.
 One of the coolest moments of the trip was what happened next. I ran into a teammate of mine from 10 years back. We rowed our way to a few gold medals many summers ago (the medal and pic still remains on my wall to remind me of what an unbelievable summer that was), and now we were about to roll down the coast together. We were both shocked! and elated to see each other and catch up! She was a bad ass rower, and now is a bad ass cyclist!!! Small world...
Anyways, it was good by San Francisco. I had no idea what really was in store for me over the next 3 days.
Life can't be too bad when you have the ocean to your right for 3 days straight!
After the first climb we all realized we were over dressed. To say the weather was on our side would be an understatement. Last year they did this ride through the rain and froze. Only blue skies and sunshine this time around!
It didn't take long to realize how strong this group of riders was. The only 3 triathletes were those of us that came from San Diego. Beth, Katya and I had to represent. Katya didn't struggle with that in Day 1. She was blazing the trail from up front!
I am tucked in the group trying to stay out of the wind. Not knowing my way, and having to rely on a map was ample motivation to hang on. However, no mercy was shown to those who couldn't sustain the tempo set up front.
Anytime I had the chance to look up I tried hard to take in the views, and enjoy a bit of small talk with my new riding mates and friends. This was a killer group of people and I was stoked to be attempting to ride up to their caliber.
Finally we made it to our first lunch stop. An espresso drink (sadly they didn't sell Starbucks double shots at this local hangout) was in order.
Not a good shot, but it kinda shows that we were all still smiling and enjoying the ride!
The second part of the day took us through Santa Cruz. The pace finally slowed enough so I could snap a few pics. Sorry they aren't straight...but if I took too long I surely would of been dropped.  (notice the gap already forming as I tried to snap this one)

After weaving our way through the busy beach streets it was time to fight fight fight again. By mile 110 the headwind was taking its toll and I was excited to reach Seaside!
 I thought we should get a few pictures of us actually riding. Beth was quick to let me know there was no time for this! Her face is half smiling and have telling me to put the camera away and pull back to the group so we didn't have to sleep in the fields on night 1.
Eventually we made it! I watched my computer tick away the miles and was beyond happy to see it finally reach 130! Seaside Holiday Inn Express....so happy to see you!
 Day 1 was in the books....Good night, and stay tuned. Day 2 was epic!!!!!
Day 1 recap: 130 miles, av. pace: 18.6mph, 5600ft of climbing (thank you Garmin Edge 500)