August 3 – 18 miles, 1,300 feet, 1,100 calories
I started the day uncomfortable. I had heard that the ride out of Willits was not bike friendly and that was all too consistent with a number of the miles I have already ridden and that had worn on me. My apprehension was exacerbated when I started a startlingly wobble while going down a steep hill on 101 with a fair amount of traffic. It reminded me of having seen David Waal start wobbling while going down Taylor Blvd. and that was scary, though thankfully he pulled out of it. For me, the worst part wasn’t just the wobble, but that I felt as though I caused it, or at least contributed to it, because my body was feeling shaky. That did nothing to help my self confidence. And a lack of confidence is what doomed today’s ride.
I actually enjoyed much of the ride. Fairly soon out of Garberville I was directed off of 101 onto Benbow Blvd. which turned out to be 8 miles of back roads with virtually no cars or trucks. I enjoyed that even though the road had a number of rough, even bouncy, portions. The lack of traffic was worth it.
I then rejoined 101. The first part was better than I expected, with usually wide shoulders, albeit with lots of fast moving traffic. That was tolerable, even the way I was feeling today.
That lasted a while with a number of climbs and descents. In fact, the 1,300 feet I climbed wasn’t due to any big hills so much as a lot of ups and downs though I didn’t enjoy the descents as I would have liked since I was riding my brakes due to the fast moving traffic. It is as though I think I am less likely to get hit if I am going slow than if I am going faster. Or maybe I just feel more in control at the slower speed, especially with the wind of passing vehicles on one side and the prospect of natural gusts on the other. Plus, I am slower than most when descending, but this was more than just that.
101 went from being a 4, or even 6, lane highway to 2 lanes, albeit with about the same volume of traffic. That was tolerable when the shoulders were decent but not so much so when they disappeared, especially with curves in the road and trees along the side so that drivers’ views ahead of them were limited.
I have ridden numerous comparable miles in the past but my mind wasn’t cooperating today. When approaching one curve that was preceded by warning signs and a narrow shoulder, I pulled over onto a wide spot and stopped to contemplate going ahead. I hadn’t quite made up my mind when Ale pulled up behind me. That made the decision for me and I decided to call it a day.
Part of me feels like I wimped out because I know numerous cyclists ride that route and keep on going. Well, maybe not just part of me. But after seeing the rest of the route from the truck, there were enough sketchy stretches that I wasn’t sorry I had opted out, at least the way I was feeling today. It is like stopping a workout early because your body just doesn’t feel right. Well, today it was both my body and mind that didn’t feel right. I am feeling better now and am optimistic about tomorrow. Plus, as I told Alejandra, my 2 raw spots seem better and I am sure the short ride helped.
So, here is to more miles and, hopefully, fewer nerves.
I expect to be in Orinda Tuesday. It will be great to see Sandi and the menagerie before continuing on. Possibly some one will join me for a bit.