Friday, March 2, 2012

Ride Day one

Today, I left on my ride from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco down to San Diego Ca. If I make it there then I am heading East as far as I am able to go which is the Atlantic Ocean.
My ride started out smooth. It was kind of cold at 42 with damp air but I soon worked up a sweat and liked the cool air. After riding the BART train from Oakland to San Francisco I rode the short seven miles to the bridge. I had wanted to go on the bridge but the bike traffic was on the south direction side and all I wanted was a pic at pole 69 on the other side. I gave up on the pic and rode over to Seal rock. It took way less time than I thought it would because it was almost all down hill and I hit almost all green lights. From there without stopping I went along Ocean Beach, around the Zoo and then the long hill climb to Pacifica. That was my first real test of hill climbing on this trip. I ran out of steam before I made it to the top and had to rest for about ten minutes before I could continue. Once I crested the hill there was a long downhill run then to my dismay another hill almost as long as the last one.  At least there was shoulder room on these roads but when I left Pacifica to climb up the narrow two lane road to Devil's Slide there was no shoulder at all and the traffic was insanely heavy with lots of trucks and RVs.  I had to peddle in a straight line up the hill or risk getting hit by the vehicles.  It scared the crap out of me. I had to stop when I got tired and then to restart on a hill with no room to weave also scared the crap out of me. I had to wait until there was at least a small break in the line of cars to jump on my bike and get up enough speed to ride in a straight line. It was very difficult to do.
At the top there were fantastic ocean views with rock formations along the coast and crashing waves. I stopped often and took pics and rested. Many sections of Devil's Slide also had no shoulder with the same heavy traffic. When there was some shoulder it would be 10 to 15 inches wide and my bike is wider than that. So again, a beautiful but terrorizing ride. On the downhill parts I had to keep my speed way down because of all the gravel and rocks in the road and along the shoulders. If I messed up there were deadly long drop offs to the ocean and crashing waves to point out that I screwed up.

I made it through the Slide and then the road widened into one or two lanes in each direction and a wide shoulder. The terrain was also much flatter with no killer hills just long slow up and down rolling hills. When I made it to Montara I considered stopping because that was my minimum distance in my plan. I decided to keep going and made it to Half Moon Bay without much trouble. But once I hit the southern edge of town my legs suddenly started to cramp up and I knew today's ride was over.

I stopped and had a coffee at a cafe and talked to a couple of girls that were there. One of them had seen me reading my Adventure Cycling maps and we talked about them. She rode from Seattle Washington down to San Fransisco with her boyfriend a few years ago. We talked about that ride and about my ride from Pacifica through Devil's Slide. She told me very emphatically that she would never attempt the ride I did today because it is suicidal. I had to laugh at that since my hold on the desire to live is rather shaky at the moment.

I had to ride about a mile to the nearest campground. I setup my tent overlooking the beach. I will have the sound of surf pounding the beach to help me sleep tonight. I really don't think I will need much help sleeping tonight. I am tired. More tomorrow if I find a wifi hotspot.