In the morning in the hotel I read that heading into SF on the twisty, windy, mountainous and shoulderless highway 1 during evening rush hour was about the worst thing you could do, so that’s exactly what we did.
We left Bodega Bay without really finding any food other then a few scraps left over from the small hotel breakfast. Right outside Bodega the shoulder opened up and the riding was nice. The shoreline highway 1 takes a decent deviation inland at this point and the temperature got very warm. Nick, who’s straight outta’ Liverpool ( and knows the Beatles), was having a hard time with it. After so long on the cool and refreshing coast the heat and sun seemed super intense but it was no where near Austin summer heat. It occurred to me that it was the first time on the entire trip I’d heard Nick complain about anything, “it’s bloody fuckan’ hot it is ya’ bugga'” or something like that in my terrible Texan’s impersonation of an English accent. Since he’d pulled me through so many rough spots on the trip and listened to me complain about every hill since Portland I did my best to pull him through the ride.
I fixed another broken nipple… So this is why wheel builders tell you to use spoke prep!
We charged ahead to get this part over with and lost Sandy when he stopped off to pick up acorns or something. The road went through some rolling farm land with some moderate climbing and temperatures continued to climb. Nick and I stopped at the first convenience store (or if you’re from Michigan like me, Party Store) we found. We were dying for something cold to drink and wanted to wait for Sandy. We found a little shade and downed a few gatorades. I had some cell service and discovered we were way off course and well into Petaluma. I called Sandy and he reported being lost too. He was a ways behind us and was going to double back to pick up the unmarked turn off to the highway 1. Nick and I were so far ahead it made sense for us to continue on and take a more inland route back to the 1. Sandy could meet us there.
Getting back to the 1 from Petaluma turned out to be a pretty big undertaking. Nice roads but a whole lot of big climbs. I’m certain that if we had those elevation computers on our bikes today would have been the biggest climbing day by far… Maybe that first day out of Portland was bigger, but today was in the heat. It was about 15 miles back to the coast and we met Sandy up in Point Reyes Station. Having done some 50 miles with no food the decent burritos we found there seemed like the best things ever. While hanging around eating we discovered that Sandy didn’t have a pump with him and that his wearing rear tire was now showing threads of the casing almost all the way around. It was lucky he didn’t get a flat out on his own with no way to fix it in the heat of the inland.
In Point Reyes Station we noticed there were a lot of cyclists racing around and that number would grow the closer we got to SF. We headed out again and then shoreline highway finally started to bring us closer to the actual coast and it’s cool breezes. When we hit the coast the climbing started for real. Big winding climbs snaking up the cliffs along the ocean. I noticed how as big and daunting as the climbs were my legs could just keep pedaling up anything. Infact all of us were now seasoned tourers and could just keep pedaling through anything that got in our way.
But getting in SF wasn’t going to be easy. Up and down we went on increasingly narrow, twisty mountain roads. Of course, as I mentioned earlier we were getting closer to the city at just about 5 o’clock rush hour so traffic picked up greatly. In all honestly though the traffic really wasn’t an issue. There was a lot of cars going past us and no shoulder but they all seemed to have encountered cyclists before and managed to not threaten us too much. On the downhills we were faster then cars and having to ride the brakes some. On one steep decent where we had some open road Sandy and I let it fly and were racing down with Sandy a bit ahead of me. Suddenly with a loud clack he hit a eight foot long 4 inch diameter PVC pipe that was laying across the road and sent it skipping towards me. Disc brakes howling I managed to swerve around it and somehow Sandy, who was all tucked for aero speed and never even saw it just monster trucked right over and kept going.
Pine cones, dream catcher and Scottish Lycra lover, Mr Carson.
At the bottom of our last descent we could tell we were just outside the city. Traffic was raging and everything was built up. A quick stop at a bike shop we stumbled upon directed us to the bike route that would take us to the Golden Gate Bridge. In a few miles we rolled up our last small climb (which would have been big back when we started the ride) and to the start of the bridge.
We made it! Raised some money for some cats, saw a whole lot of amazing things, and all survived. Our bikes all made it too and even Sandy’s thread worn tire never needed to be replaced. Somewhere along I discovered I was capable of riding all day and up mountains and became a “road biker”.
Alan, Nick and Sandy have a toast in San Francisco.
I’m going to have to let this all sink in and process for a while before I can report back exactly how I feel about the trip. Right now I’m just glad to have a day off the bike and be resting. The trip was full of amazing adventures and every hill top was a feat of personal accomplishment. The friends were exceptionally good to me and my body seems to have held up just fine. How soon I’ll want to launch out on another big ride I’m not sure. Sandy seems to have planned about 4 more while on this ride… He kept mentioning doing a European one to help launch Fairdale over there so we’ll keep you updated.
Sandy and Nick racked up 1135 miles on their ride for Seattle to San Francisco.
I clocked in 853 from Portland to SF.
Once I get back to Austin I’ll go back through and add some maps of each days ride along with some technical notes. Then we’ll start a “field trip” section on the website for reference in case we’ve inspired anyone else to take a trip AND to house all the future trips we have coming up.