2697 ft of Climbing
Today was going to be the toughest day of the entire trip, but a last minute alternate route shaved 5 miles off the projected miles, in exchange for an extremely long (maybe 1.5 – 2 mile), super steep climb with grades hovering in the 11-15% range. It was painful, while I was stuck in the moment, but totally worth it. Then for most of the rest of the day, I enjoyed a nice tailwind–a sure sign that I have been living right, don’t you think?
The day started with a quick stop at a Ralph’s grocery store, to pick up a couple of items I forgot at my last resupply stop. Then, when I pulled out on the road to begin riding, Steve Mason, one of the two fellas I camped next to, last night, was just a little ways up the road from me. So I pushed myself and caught up with him. He’s a pretty strong rider, so I’m thinking he must have slowed down a little to have someone to ride with, for the day. It really was nice having someone to chat with, for a change, and for once, the road seemed to have a wide shoulder, so we could ride side-by-side most of the way.
I taught him some of my time passing techniques, and he beat me on my favorite, which is how long you can keep an M&M in your mouth, without finishing it off. My previous record was 22 minutes, and he went over 25 minutes. These are important skills to perfect, when your brain has too much idle time on its hands.
Sorry, but while I was enjoying myself, I wasn’t paying as much attention, as I usually do, to the sights. Some highlights were passing through the Valley of the Bears, where the only bear I saw was a statue.
Oceano was another sand dunes town, but what really struck me the most was the zoning. It was so sad to see a historic Tudor mansion surrounded by a mobile home park. The Planning and Zoning staff would be fired, if it were my town.When we crossed over into Santa Barbara County, we knew we were making progress on the day and toward the finish of the ride.Hunger was setting in, when we hit Guadalupe, and I haven’t had Mexican food yet, on this trip. So we scoped out a restaurant that served up a delicious meal and some of the best ever pork green chili with its salsa. Let me tell you, I would love to go back to that place again.Today’s route was mostly inland, so the predominant scenery was miles and miles and miles of strawberry fields and other fertile farmland. This is the second place I have seen farm workers actually out in the fields working on the individual plants, and that field had a gazillion plants for them to use their personal touch on.
I arrived my digs for the night with enough time to pick up a few more groceries, do a load of laundry, work on the blog, and get a good night’s rest.
A side note: I have been looking forward to spending a couple of days riding between Carpinteria and Long Beach, and possibly south from Long Beach, with a cycling enthusiast and friend, Steve Moss. Today, he had a head on collision with another cyclist; broke and/or crushed several bones in his pelvis, back and femur; and will probably be in the hospital thru the end of my ride. I was enjoying having someone to talk to so much, today, that I was planning to get online this evening to order up a pair of Cardo radios, so we could talk while we rode. That will wait for another day. In the mean time, please include Steve in your prayers. He has surgery and a long road to recovery ahead of him.