Monday, April 27, 2009

Riding in SLO

My friend Steve organized a weekend stay in San Luis Obispo and invited us to go. Several folks on the trips are also our regular cycling buddies and told us to bring our bikes. On Friday, we met up with two other friends in our house in berkeley, loaded up the car and drove south.

SLO is about 4 hours from Berkeley. The traffic wasn't too horrible, but with a late start and dinner on the road, we didn't get to Cayucos--a sleepy beach town near SLO--until close to midnight. Everyone besides us has already arrived and were playing games and hanging out. Rinaldi told us about some of the possible routes we can ride this weekend.

We woke up next morning, grabbed some breakfast and gather people who were riding together before heading out. Some of the people are beginning riders and Rinaldi planned a flat ride for the day. We headed out from our rental house and headed toward HWY 1. Bicycles are explicitly directed onto HWY CA-1 near Cayucos. The shoulders are wide, clean and have good pavements. The vista of Moro Rock greeted the riders as we rode toward Moro Bay. We enjoyed the tailwind going south on the coast. We got off the highway at the intersection of HWY CA-41 and rode on backcountry roads near coastal wetlands toward Los Oso Baywood Park. We saw many cyclists along the road, although even more were probably slightly inland as saturday was the day of the wildflower century in SLO.

We turned around at the 12-mile mark--not quite to the park. The riding going back was tough, especially for beginning riders on HWY 1 going north. The helping tailwind on our way south is now the punishing head wind. I struggled to maintain 15 mph on this extremely flat stretch. Despite of this all of us made it back--where a nice vegan sushi lunch awaited--and enjoyed the ride.

We relaxed in the afternoon hanging around the house and went out for walks on the beach. After an amazing italian vegan dinner, M. and I decided to go out for a short evening ride as M. didn't get to ride in the morning. Rinaldi gave us some direction to ride on Old Creek Road and we took off. The weather is now windy and a little nippy. Wearing a full-zip cycling jacket I didn't feel too hot, even on the climb. The road goes up to the Whale Rock reservoir, descends, then starts another slow and winding climb to the peak. There are flowers, avocado trees, and eucalyptus trees along the road and a very fragrant but natural scent in the air. We turned around after about 7.5 miles and turned back as it was getting dark. It was a very pleasant ride that requires some effort--perfect as a sunset ride.

We went back to the house, cleaned up a bit and went to bed so we can wake up early morning and do it again.

The next morning, Rinaldi, M., and I went on the same route on Old Creek Road but we want to go further. The climb after descending from the Reservoir turned out to be a fairly difficult one. It winds and has several deep pitches, and it's about 5 miles long. When we get to the top, we had a choice of continue riding on the same road going northwest to eventually join HWY 1 and come back, but since neither of us has done the ride before, we weren't sure how much more climbing was involved. Instead, we turned back and traced our steps back to HWY 1 near Cayucos.

We then rode north on the shoulder of HWY 1 all the way to Cambria, which is about 12 miles away. It was sunny and breezy, and we ate up this flat scenic section along the California coast in a relatively short amount of time. Rinaldi was flying ahead on his steel/carbon guru, while M. and I decided to draft each other. I have the heaviest set-up and combined rider/bike weight--my Kogswell is fendered, front-racked, and carries a Ostrich handlebar bag, I was also riding with platform pedals with no cage. However, I was able to maintain a good pace--16-24 mph, depending on wind and rolling conditions--on it without going to the big chain ring. It was such as pleasant ride, too.

We got back to Cayucos, packed up and came back to the Bay Area, concluding a wonderful, relaxing weekend with some great riding.
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