We stopped off at one of the many roadside tourist attractions along the 101, bigfoot’s house. I was itching to pedal. I didn’t even go inside to look. I don’t know what’s happened to me but all I want to do is get into my rhythm and spend the day riding. Wow! Apparently I have a rhythm!
All of my cycling friends told me that on a big ride like this, “you just need to find your rhythm and stick with it.” This wisdom made no sense to me. How can I keep at my own pace when I have to keep up with these other two guys? Now I guess I get it. There’s a some serious ebb and flow on a ride like this. You don’t all hang out and ride together all the time and you don’t need to match pedal for pedal your buddies speed. Sometimes a narrow shoulder forces you into a long drawn out single file. Sometimes two of the guys are riding side by side talking and one guy is ahead or behind on his own. The unspoken rule of thumb is just stay on the road if something goes wrong. That way the others will see you and help you out if need be.
Today I think I found my rhythm or pace or whatever. It’s funny because I’ve been riding with the guys for only seven days and already I feel completely different on my bike. I feel so much stronger and no climb or distance or time in the saddle intimidates me anymore.
We headed out this morning from Garberville and rode the last chunk of highway 101. We pretty much got that over as fast as we could. When we hit the split to the 1 at Legget, CA things got much quieter and WAY windier. The road started climbing and twisting. Like I said, I was feeling it today so and up out of the saddle I went. I soon put some space between Nick and Sandy and kept on pushing. The road continued to climb and climb. I passed a few other touring people laboring up the pass and all I could feel was my breathing. The weather felt perfect and I was barely sweating but not cold. I just kept climbing. I reached a peak and thought about waiting for them to catch up but felt too good to stop.
At this point I’d have to say it hit me that it is weird doing this whole trip with no map, no computer and generally no idea where we are going. We never know if we have a climb ahead of us or if the next town will have a hotel, or food. For instance, we had no idea we’d face one of the biggest climbs of the trip today.
The descent down was unreal. The road was still winding all over the place but heavily banked. This was one of those times I wished I had a computer on my bike because i’m curious how fast I was going. Must have been about 200 MPH! Well, it felt like it anyway. After a long while things flattened back out and then started into another big climb. I felt too good to stop pedaling and so this became a bit of the trip just for me. My legs still felt strong and so I just stood up and kept cranking up the mountain.
Another amazing long descent went by and I blasted out of the trees and into the blazing sun looking at the ocean. From there I followed the ocean along on more rolling roads into Westport. I finally felt bad for leaving the dudes so far behind and stopped at the only store in town. On the porch were two locals having beers and swapping stories about mafia hits and murders in the neighborhood. I ordered a sandwich and popped open a beer to listen. The stories they told were crazy. Meth, weed growers, guns… You’d think I was in a COPS show. Actually I was in a town with a population of like 40. Sandwich done, beer gone Nick and Sandy finally arrived. After they recharged on coffee and water we struck out for Fort Bragg. Again my legs wanted to party and so Nick and I took off at warp speed. This was the first part of the ride with rolling hills that you could actually maintain speed up the next hill. It was awesome and possibly the fastest pace of the entire trip. Sandy’s photog eye lured him off to shoot photos here and there and so Nick and I waited for him just off the road inside the town of Fort Bragg.
In Fort Bragg we found a not very nice, not very cheap hotel. Next door is a Safeway and some questionable noodle type food is currently being cooked in the rooms microwave. I will pick this back up tomorrow. We reckon we have only two more days till our goal in SF.