Thursday, October 18, 2012

Day 22 & 23: San Francisco to Santa Cruz to Monterary

After our rest day in San Francisco, we prepared to leave early on Wednesday morning for the 84.5 mile ride to Santa Cruz, CA.  About half the group decided to take a 20 mile "bump" in order to avoid both the hills and the traffic of a work day in San Francisco. In addition to the traffic, I wanted to avoid a stretch of the California Route 1 known as "Devil's Slide," so named because of the many landslides that have destroyed the steep, narrow, cliff-hugging road. The photo of Devil's Slide to the right comes courtesy of Wikipedia and shows a large area of slope failure marked by unweathered orange rocks and sharp truncations of vegetated areas. Having lived in the Bay Area for a number of years in the mid-1990s, I've experience too many earthquakes not to develop a healthy respect for mother nature. 

During our layover in San Francisco we were visited by a number of WomenTours alumni, including Jan B. who signed up for the ride but cancelled a few weeks before the start in order to care for a friend diagnosed with breast cancer. I met Jan several years ago on a WomenTours ride in Santa Barbara and credit her with teaching me how to shift when climbing hills as well as inspiring me to embrace the challenge of a long distance ride.  In her early 70s, Jan is amazing and my role-model of how to live life to the fullest regardless of age. She drove in from Sacramento and greeted us as we rolled into the hotel in San Francisco and was there to bid us farewell as we departed on Wednesday morning.   

Me and Jan B.

A few miles down from where the van dropped us off.  Several weeks ago I would have cringed at the thought of riding 54 miles, but now the distance almost seems not only doable, but short. 

A glimpse of a white sandy beach more typical of the California coastline.

During our ride into Santa Cruz we rode through a lot of agricultural areas. I know its difficult to tell, but they are harvesting brussels sprouts. 

On the ride into Santa Cruz I spotted at least a dozen hawks.  I wasn't quick enough to activate the zoom on my camera, but there is a red-tail hawk sitting on the middle post. I brought some homa (ground corn) with me and said a prayer for the many Native people suffering from cancer and other chronic diseases. 

A shot of some of the coastline along the ride into Santa Cruz

Waves crashing on rocks at Pomponio State Beach

Counting down the miles until I arrive in Santa Cruz

Perched on a cliff about 50 miles south of San Francisco, the 115-foot Pigeon Point Lighthouse, one of the tallest lighthouses in America, has been guiding mariners since 1872. Its five-wick lard oil lamp, and first-order Fresnel lens, comprised of 1,008 prisms, was first lit at sunset, November 15, 1872. The lens stands 16 feet tall, 6 feet in diameter, and weighs 8,000 pounds. It sits in a lantern room that had been constructed at the Lighthouse Service's general depot in New York before being shipped around the Horn. Although the original Fresnel lens is no longer in use, the lighthouse is still an active U.S. Coast Guard aid to navigation using a 24 inch Aero Beacon. 

Pumpkins for sale in prep for Halloween.

It was a glorious day of riding and although I didn't ride the full 84.5 miles from San Francisco to Santa Cruz, I'm pretty proud of the 59 miles I did ride. The weather was sunny, clear and warm with mid afternoon temps in the high 80s. 

After yesterday's 84.5 mile ride, today's 42.7 mile ride from Santa Cruz to Monterey, CA was a welcome reprieve after so many hours on the bike seat.  Because of the short ride, we got to sleep in and didn't leave the hotel until 8:30 am. I was looking forward to the ride, but about 10 miles out I started to get sharp pains in my right hand. I pressed on for another couple of miles but found that I wasn't able to grip the handle bar and decided it wasn't safe to ride.  I flagged down the van and rode with our guide Cye the rest of the way to Monterey. I was disappointed not to be able to complete today's ride, but with 4 more days of riding ahead I thought it best to give my hand a rest. When we arrived in Monterey I made an appointment for a massage. After an hour massage, the pain was nearly gone. The masseuse showed me a number of stretches to relieve the tension in my forearm and shoulders and suggested I take a couple of ibuprofen to reduce the inflammation. I guess three weeks of riding can take a toll on the body, but I thought it would be my legs that would give me problems. Tonight I'm icing my forearm and hand in the hope that I'm pain-free and able to ride tomorrow.  

Before my massage I rode my bike down Cannery Row (made famous by American author, John Steinbeck). 

Not the most flattering picture, but several folks have asked me to include more photos of myself.  As the one taking the pictures I'm usually behind the camera, but I managed to take this photo with my arm outstretched. In case you're wondering, the black disk protruding from my helmet is a "rear-view" mirror so I can see the traffic behind me.  I know it makes me look like a bug with one antenna, but fashion is secondary to safety. 

A shot of the beautiful Monterey coastline from the bike path that goes along the coast.

Another beautiful view of the Monterey coast.
Below is a map showing our route for the past two days. The California coastline is less mountainous than Oregon so we have been able to enjoy long stretches of flat road with only the occasional hill for a cardio challenge.  

View Larger Map

1 comment:

  1. I hope your hand is all right for the rest of the ride......
    You really took some nice photos of the coastline. I never realized that you had lived in the area.


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