On Sunday morning, I woke up so groggy that I felt like I was under water, but I'd already made plans to ride with a new friend, Jan. I'd already bailed on Jan once before, so I made myself rally to Windy Hill in the late morning. We motored up to Skyline Ridge on a lung-searingly steep fire road while being baked by the April sun (literally. I always have that one spring ride where I forget sunscreen and come home the color of a cherry tomato. Then I slather multiple layers of SPF 50 on myself for the rest of the year, and my skin never attains any real hint of color.) We kept a mellow pace but our ride was five hours long. Still, I did feel better after this longer ride than I have in a while. As a woman, I often can't tell whether my slumps are mostly hormonal, or if they're rooted in a deeper physical problem. I've decided to blame the former, because adventure is calling with a siren song I can't ignore.
Ever since the Moots came into my life, I've been struck by a strong desire to set out on bike-splorations, at a level I haven't experienced in a couple of years. I've got a big one coming at the end of the month, the Stagecoach 400. I wanted to do a shakedown ride with my new bike anyway, and I thought — why not counter that hot ride across the Southern California desert with a cool, wet tour along the Central California coast? I've lived in California for a year and yet I've seen so little of this state. Inspired by the recent Condor Ride, I mapped out a route that rolls through the Santa Cruz Mountains, snakes along a series of dirt roads that the Condors scouted, cuts down Highway 1 beside the coastal cliffs, wends around Morro Bay and through Montana de Oro State Park, then cuts southeast toward the Santa Barbara Mountains where Beat is racing the Santa Barbara 100 on Friday. The route is about 350 miles and probably somewhere between 60 and 80 miles of dirt — and likely a lot of climbing. I'm planning to leave Wednesday morning and hopefully finish late Friday evening, or perhaps early Saturday. It's ambitious and the weather is likely going to be cold, wet and difficult — but I can't seem to talk myself out of it. I figure I can at least set out on Wednesday and see how day one goes. If I feel strongly like I need a nap after two hours of riding, I can always cut my tour short and ride back home via Santa Cruz. But if day one goes well, why not go for broke?
I don't really know what to expect, and I can assure you I'm not doing this for training. Actually, I think it's a bad idea for training, but too intriguing from an adventure standpoint to resist. I spent much of this past winter pretending I was still a resident of Alaska. Now I'm finally going to see some of this big, beautiful state in which I reside.
Update, mainly for my mother: I'm carrying the SPOT on my tour this weekend. View my shared tracking page here.