Saturday, May 25, 2013

2013 Memorial Day Ride day 3: San Simeon to San Luis Obispo

Day 3 of the Memorial Day Tour is a traditional recovery day, and while some chose to flaunt that tradition by climbing the challenging west side of Santa Rosa Creek Road, I prefer to embrace it and instead focus on the highlight of the day, the descending contest.

We rode south on 1 back to Cambria where we stopped at various places for breakfast. Most stop at a cafe serving the usual breakfast goods, but Kerry, Paul, and I went to Medusa's Real Mexican. Anytime I see "real" in front of "Mexican" I get excited, because really there's no better food in the world. Both Kerry and I skipped over the breakfast menu and went straight to the lunch menu, I getting tacos, she a burrito, while her husband Paul went with some more typically breakfast thing. My tacos really were quite good, perhaps not King City good, but better than the ones I'd had in San Simeon. That made tacos four days in succession (after Burrito Barn in Campbell) and I wasn't close to tired of them.

Breakfast done, we went to the traditional cafe and there I chatted with some people there. I'd lost sight of Kerry and Paul, didn't see Janine and Mike's tandem, so thought perhaps they'd left. I thus decided to set off at a nice easy pace down the cost.

A tailwind pushed me along until I stopped to pick up a discarded innertube left behind by someone. If it was good, fine, but if not I'd discard it properly. After stopping I pulled out my route sheet to check distances, when the tandem group was approaching. They hadn't left after all. I got on my bike again but they were past by the time I was moving. I let them go: I was taking it easy.

The only rest stop of the ride wasn't much further, and the lead group was there waiting for the food van to arrive. I went to pee at the traditional peeing tree at the stop, then joined them. We chatted a bit and then the van came. My tacos had been a light breakfast relative to what many of the others had eaten, so I was ready for food even if others weren't. Bananas, dried fruit, and almond butter did nicely. But they were ready to go when I was still munching, so I decided to wait for the next group, which had just recently arrived.

After some more time enjoying the bluff where the rest stop was located this big group was ready to ride, and I joined them. We rode at a recover-compliant pace down the road, finally arriving at the turn-off on S Bay Blvd just past Morrow Bay which would take us to the descending contest. S Bay Blvd has a bike lane, but the extremely heavy car traffic makes it unpleasant. Cars impinge on the bike lane, making riding on the outside half of the lane disconcerting. It's surprising the volume of car traffic on a Saturday, but I suppose people were driving to a day at the beach.

Turri road, in contrast, had much lighter vehicle traffic: just 4-5 cars passed us our whole time there. It has a nice climb which would be good for intervals, but I took is at a relaxed pace with the others. Then it was time for the descening contest.

Greg Ferry arrived from the opposite direction just as we were setting up: he'd not been in our group before then. He's the founder of the descending contest. At regular intervals, riders were sent off. They get one push of the pedals, then must coast as far as possible. It's brilliant: a rider can almost make it to the end of the road, but never quite. My roommate for the tour, Alan Armstrong, won. I finished in the bottom half. It helps to have some mass behind you, and Alan's a big guy. When in form he's an extremely powerful rider who can pound out impressive speed on flat or rolling terrain.

Then it was on to SLO. We were staying in two hotels, and I was lucky to be in the downtown one, the SLO Travel Lodge. Cambria Bikes (SLO store) for a Deda chainwatcher (no more tossed chains this trip!), Jamba Juice (bad disposable-cup karma), Bliss Cafe (twice, with good drink-from-mason-jar-karma), Barnes and Noble (where I read the first two chapters of Dan Brown's Inferno), and Mission Plaza (where I witnessed a wedding procession with salsa music) made for an enjoyable visit to San Luis Obispo.

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