August 13 – 51 miles, 1,887 feet, 2,564 calories
We are at $9,430 for Laura’s Ride West Coast, a mere $570 short of the $10,000 goal. Why $10,000? For a couple of reasons. First, it is a nice round number that seemed within the realm of possibility. More importantly, when I finish this ride, I will have ridden more than 10,000 miles on the 4 Laura’s Rides. It would be great to reach $10,000 in commendation of both that and of Laura.
I have been posting my miles, climbing and calories without saying that they are Google numbers because when I was home I found one of my old Garmins and have been using that. It works, but it isn’t as good as the one I started with. Oh, wait. “It works.” That makes it better than the one I started with because that one isn’t working.
It would be difficult to find a 50 mile ride with roads that are better for a bicyclist than were today’s roads. They all had good shoulders or riding lanes and most were pretty smooth and the climbs were less than what the riders back home did today, though for some reason the feet on this trip have almost always felt like more than the same number of feet at home. Ale suggested that it might be because I am riding by myself here, which is a possibility.
(Some pictures from earlier in the week.)
As good as the roads were, I still told Ale at the end of my ride that it is probably a good thing that this is my last cross country ride. There was a stretch of Highway 1 through the mountains with a headwind/crosswind and lots of traffic that reaffirmed that I am not as good at this as I was. Or at least not as comfortable as I once was. The shoulder was plenty wide but I still felt somewhat uncomfortable, all the time telling myself that that was pretty silly because the conditions really were pretty good. However, despite telling myself that, and even knowing that it was true, I was still uncomfortable enough that I went downhill much slower than even I knew was necessary.
I have included a picture of Frank of Santa Maria who I met today. Google had directed me to turn on a dirt path for a mile that didn’t look necessary to me. I saw someone coming the opposite direction on the path on a mountain bike and waited for him to reach me. When he did, he confirmed that the path remained unpaved to the road that Google had me turning on. I asked Frank, the rider of that mountain bike, if there was a better way to get to that road than by the path. He gave me directions that were indeed better. In fact, he not only gave me directions, but he rode with me to where I needed to make the first turn. I learned that Frank used to race mountain bikes until he had a couple of heart attacks that made him slow down. Thank you for the help, Frank, and keep on riding.
The photo of my bike shows the versatility of my bicycle rack because it also serves as a bike stand for working on the bike. Well, I don’t know how to actually work on it, but I do use the rack to oil the chain and to clean up the bike.
Why are my legs tired after this ride? I don’t know, but at least that stabbing pain in my back was not as constant or extreme today as it has been and that made for a much more enjoyable ride. I did notice, however, that it got worse on that stretch of Hwy. 1 that I mentioned above, no doubt because I was tense then but hadn’t been before. As with so many things, life is easier if you can just relax. The problem is being able to relax.
Santa Barbara tomorrow then just 6 more ride days. This ride is only about half as long as was the ride 2 years ago and, as Ale said, it has also been easier even if my body hasn’t always acted like it.
Good night for now.