August 18 – 60 miles, 1,280 feet
Data is approximate because I now have 2 malfunctioning Garmins. The recent one wouldn’t charge and only registered “Acquiring satellites” and I couldn’t even turn it off. I hope that when the battery finally fully dies that I will be able to reset it. I do miss the data.
On the other hand, not having any data means the I don’t know how far I have gone while I am riding so that I can’t calculate how many miles remain to finish the ride. Since that is usually one of my most frequent pass times, I now have to find other ways to occupy myself. Maybe that just leaves me more time to check in on how various body parts are feeling, whether I should change my position and, if so, how, what the road is like, what debris I need to avoid and whether the traffic is bothering me. Unfortunately, I can’t honestly say that I engage in any deep philosophical contemplations during all of the hours I spend on the bike. Too bad, because with all of the time I have, I should come up with numerous profound thoughts and ideas. Instead you get this.
More beautiful weather, both for riding and for the numerous beach goers I have seen who have taken advantage of it. Since I have been told how dumb we were to have ridden through the desert of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas during the summer in 2016 because of the certainty of debilitating heat and humidity, maybe I should get some credit for the consistently good weather I have experienced on this ride. Just as I am due blame for the near crippling weather on the route I chose for Laura’s Ride 2016, shouldn’t I get credit for the great weather on the route I chose for Laura’s Ride West Coast? It only seems fair.
I also have to mention how the riding conditions have been overwhelmingly good since Santa Monica. Not coincidentally, the pain in my back is continuing to improve. There have been numerous well surfaced bike trails that have avoided major traffic and the roads I have ridden on have usually had ok shoulders, bike lanes or the opportunity to claim a lane for myself. Today’s ride certainly fit that pattern. Included was a stretch of about 10 miles of a very bike friendly route along the coast within Fort Pendleton, a marine base. That ride was made more fun because after having passed numerous people on bikes, another cyclist raced by me while I was doing some stretching on the bike. That got some juices flowing and I had to catch up, which I finally did shortly before I was directed to the on ramp for US Highway 5. That felt good.
I can’t even complain about the 5+ miles I spent on US 5 and the hundreds, if not thousands, of vehicles going by at 65+ mph because there was a very wide shoulder that was more smoothly surfaced than the highway itself. The conditions were such that those miles went by faster than I had expected (remember, I didn’t have an odometer to keep track of the miles).
Not too far before I entered Fort Pendleton, I was riding through what I believe was downtown San Clemente. I noticed a bike that was obviously loaded for a long ride leaning up against a building to my right with someone standing nearby. I naturally had to look closer and I was surprised to see Marcus McKee. I stopped and we talked for a bit, comparing some notes about the conditions we had encountered, including the annoying volume of traffic. Marcus is the rider I first met at a C-store just before the biggest 2 climbs on the ride to Cambria. He is also going Vancouver to the border but he won’t cross since he didn’t have a current passport. But he is doing the ride the hard way, being totally self supported. It was great to see him again and I wish him the best on these last few miles. I call them “few” because that makes me feel better since we obviously have about the same distance to go.
Oh, yes, today was also good because I didn’t have any flats. After having had a pretty good start to this ride, over a couple of days the number reached 6. I realized that they became so frequent that I stopped mentioning them. I guess my ride across the country without getting even 1 flat on Laura’s Ride North wasn’t due to my superior skill. Unless, of course, that skill has diminished significantly over the last 2 years. Unfortunately, given other deteriorations I have experienced over the past few years, that may not be so far fetched.
Today wasn’t so good to the extent that the coffin again flew open (after having done so at the start of the 2016 Ride), resulting in the loss of rain clothes and an extra helmet that were up there. My spare tubes, cartridges and some parts managed to survive. It was my fault because I had mistakenly thought that I had pulled the top down all the way the last time I had to get a tube and cartridge. It took a lot of miles before I was proven wrong.
Since this also serves as a bit of a diary and I want to remember such details, I will mention that Google had me confused when it sent me down a street marked “No Outlet” that led to a train station and then told me to turn where there was no apparent place to turn. I turned around to leave that street and then got repeated messages of “turn left in 600 feet,” “turn right in 400 feet” and other contradictory and inconsistent directions. When I rode a ways but still couldn’t find any other way to get to the next street Google was trying to get me to, I turned around to repeat the route that had me turning where there was no apparent place to turn. This time I noticed a down staircase. That took me under the train tracks that had blocked my access to the road I wanted to reach. Problem solved, after probably 30 or so minutes, a distance I had no way to measure but was well more than a mile and, more annoying, a fair amount of frustration.
Tomorrow I ride to San Diego to stay with my best friends from law school, Ken Klayman and his wife Marianne. I am greatly looking forward to seeing them for the first time in way too many years.
With a $100 pledge today, we are getting closer to the $10,000 goal. Only $220 to go. I am sure we should be able to make that with your help.