We started in Santa Clara. I was feeling pretty good considering the last time I rode 90 miles I spent the next day resting. This time I rode 90 miles again. And will again, and again, etc. for 6 days. Good times. The first part of the ride (40 miles or so) was out through farmland. You could smell the strawberry crops, we were all mentioning how we’d like to stop and eat them. No such luck, we pressed on. Though, Damian Stevens stopped to put some in his bike basket and handed them out to a few lucky riders. Oh – the bike basket. Last night Mary presented a plastic girl’s bike basket to the person who pushed the hardest the day before. A former racer and guy who keeps blistering pace (I really think he’s the devil) Damian won it and had to do today’s course with the basket on his handlebars. I think it’s safe to say I will not be wearing the basket this week. I am perfectly happy to sit in, not be off the front.
We had lunch in Carmel and perhaps stopped too long. Once we got rolling again it was almost 4 pm with about 30 miles to go. We hit the coast finally and were on Highway 1 passing over “car commercial bridge” and gorgeous coastline. A bit of an uphill into Big Sur, and I was dog tired again. We are bunking 4 to a room tonight, the cabin place has no WiFi nor real cell signal even. But there was a pool, so we spent some time cooling off out there, inadvertently chasing off a young couple who were probably there for a romantic time. Tough beans, kids. We’re helping cure leukemia here. Get a room.
I took a bit of a survey, and I am the heaviest person on the ride at 222 Lbs. Mick Ebeling has taken to calling me “Triple Deuce.” Mick’s funny. Everyone on the ride is really cool. We’ve got guys from the UK, New Zealand, Hong Kong, New York, Switzerland, Culver City, etc. Those cheeky Brits from the Mill are a very fun bunch. I’m hoping to pick up on some of their lingo during the week. My wife’s quite the Anglophile, so I figure the more I can pickup the better chances I have at some welcome home nookie. “Care for a shag?” (Brilliant? Pathetic?)
We began the day by meeting downstairs at the supply truck. Everyone putting together last-minute details and filling their tires. First wrong emotion: BIKE ENVY. OhmiGod, everyone has sick bikes. There’s enough carbon fiber in our group to build a stealth jet – not kidding. New favorite thing of the day: Starbuck’s “perfect” oatmeal. It is certainly appropriately named.
We rolled over to Goodby Silverstein & Partners for a kickoff breakfast. Rich Silverstein led us out of town through Chinatown and along the wharf to Golden Gate park. Once past the Presidio we were on our own. The rest of the day sort of meandered along the coast, through Monterrey. It seemed we were stopping quite a bit for team photos, regroups, map orientation, etc. All the stopping and starting was a bit of a pain, but we got going finally, worked out the jitters and started trucking towards Santa Cruz.
It was cool to have lots of people at intersections and rest stops asking us what we were doing. Bryan made business cards with information about FirefliesWest and our URL (great idea!) I handed out almost all of mine today.
We got to Santa Cruz around 5: 30 pm or so. Long day! I get crippling headaches after long, hot rides and this time was no exception. I went to the motel’s soda machine and every single variety was sold out except for Full Throttle Energy Drink. My two bucks was already in the machine so I figured I was locked in. It actually worked pretty well! That, and rubbing handfuls of ice across my head put me right as rain within minutes. We hit the pool, and then dinner in town. I ate a HUGE burrito and like 3 bowls of chips at this old-school Mexican restaurant. That’s the good thing about burning 6,000 calories a day — you can eat just about anything you want. Oh yeah — I had ice cream for dessert. With toffee on it.