California Coast Classic Bike Tour- Day Five

Cambria to Oceano. 56.7 Miles. 1789 Feet of Climbing Elevation

This past September, I completed a charity bike event with the California Coast Classic Bike Tour for the Arthritis Foundation. I rode my bicycle for 8 days from San Francisco, to Los Angeles California; 525 Miles, and climbed 26,278 Feet of Elevation. It was extremely challenging, rewarding, and amazing. I’ll be blogging multiple segments here about my journey.

Wednesday, Day Five. I rolled out onto the road on a bright beautiful morning to ride my bicycle (OK, OK……if I have to!) As I began my adventures “down from the mountains and high cliffs” of Big Sur, I will admit that by day 5, I was feeling comfortable enough with my fitness and daily routines, that I had lost the burning urges to “micro-navigate” the route before me that day. This is odd for me. I don’t profess to be as great as the “legendary, folk-worthy and Saintly” Irishman, Brendan The Navigator, but as a sailor, traveler, and a lover of charts and maps, I can usually access my personal “IGPS;” Internal Global Positioning System and ascertain “some clues” as to my whereabouts. This morning struck me as odd. I was only on my bike for what seemed like 10 minutes and yet I had traveled 13 miles into the small seaside town of Cayucos Beach. Obviously, it was not 10 minutes (Yeah Zulu…..some great IGPS you have there!). Maybe I have Dychronometria?

https://www.howtopronounce.com/dyschronometria

Definition for Dyschronometria; a condition of cerebellar dysfunction in which an individual cannot accurately estimate the amount of time that has passed (i.e., distorted time perception). 

I just learned that word minutes ago……..or was it hours ago??? Damn!! I don’t know.

Anyway, as I rode into Cayucos Beach, I had two thoughts on my mind (as I always seem to). One, it was about 9 AM, and it appeared like I was literally the only person on the planet. As if I was the sole survivor in some Science Fiction, post-apocalyptic movie. Riding down the street all alone when the human race had disappeared. This “oddness” would have been unsettling enough all by itself, but the second thing demanding my attention, or lack thereof was; I had absolutely NO IDEA where I was. No scenic longing, no pop-culture references, no finite semblance of origin or destination. Nothing. “Somewhere along the California Coast.” I was cascading in “gross dereliction of Geography.” (J.M. the Surveyor; is this really a thing?). At the present point in the Tour, all I had to do was follow the yellow signs……..and because I was on vacation and out in the middle of a bike adventure with four challenging days to my credit, I was suddenly content to forget all my responsibilities of employment, the stresses of life, or any desire to navigate obsessively; I just had to concentrate on not falling off my bike, and I really looked forward to more of it.

Despite my recent liberation and celebration of soul and spirit, I had not completely lost my mind. Not seeing “regular people” earlier in the morning is one thing, but I did suspect something was amiss because I should have at least seen a few cyclists. Perhaps I spaced out and missed a turn? As a precaution, I turned around and begin to pedal back through the town strip. Suddenly, in what seemed like out of nowhere, came a rider; none other than Jean Genie. She assured me I was on the proper route and she herself seemed to be slowing down and looking around for “something.”

She told me she was looking for a place she had heard tales of; The Brown Butter Cookie Company.

“Whoop, whoop, whoop………red alert, red alert, all hands man your Battle Stations!!!!”

OK. Alright, calm down. Cookies are not that serious………….Or………………..

Jean told me there was supposed to be some famous cookie place nearby. Suddenly, as if on cue, 15 riders seemed to be present, also out of nowhere, and were just “floating around.” It turns out they were waiting for the opening of the Brown Butter Cookie Company. Did I really need a cookie, so close after breakfast and early in the day? Please!! Who really “needs” cookies at all; that’s not the point. Cookies are fun, and delicious and release gratification endorphins; especially the ones from a small local shop straight out of the oven.

I got the chocolate chip. It was fun to meet the locals as well as compare cookies and reviews with my fellow riders.

It was good to see Jean Genie again. A few days before the end of the tour, I had the chance to ride a few more miles with her; chatting as we went. It was then I told her the story of how she unknowingly provided one of my best laughs for the week. It went like this. One day Jean and I were in the same rest area at the same time. I was walking around hustling Fig Newton’s, and Jean was laid back in a folding beach chair. I envied her. I could never kick back like that in a bike rest area. I’m always concerned that the inactivity will make my body stiff, or even worse, “plant the seed” of utter relaxation, and I won’t want to get up and ride my bike anymore. One of the women Jean was riding with reluctantly got up out of her chair and announced “well, I better go now.” Jean asked out in complete surprise; “Go? Go where?” Everyone in earshot snapped their heads over at Jean in utter shock, who was looking like a Queen on a Throne. Yup, 3 guesses what I did, and the first 2 don’t count; I burst out laughing! Before I could think, I yelled out; “Go where!!!??? She’s going where you’re supposed to be going; to get on your bike to ride to Los Angeles!!!” Hahahahahahahahah!!!! Jean, being a great sport and funny woman, also burst out laughing realizing how “off” her inquiry sounded. Days later as I retold the story, we were both still laughing our heads off.

A few miles later, Rosemary, A.K. A. “The Magic Roundabout” popped out from behind a car in the middle of nowhere………..I mean nowhere. It was funny because several times during this week, the same thing would happen. Rosemary would just appear out of nowhere. It turned out that it wasn’t so much magic as she would stop her bike to get a picture of “something.” A Kindred Spirit! Rosemary originally being from England, stopped to take a picture of a British Mini Cooper. They seemed suited for each other. By the way, I did compliment her and told her how proud and impressed I was of her that “we” didn’t “lose” her to the touristy English Pub, complete with a red double-decker bus in the front yard a few miles back. Of course, I also told her that if I had ridden by the bus, and she was hanging out of the upper deck with a pint in each hand, I would also be impressed and proud of her! As we spoke, a woman driving a very large SUV slowly rolled past us and gave us some weird look. Moments later, the truck stopped and began to back up somewhat erratically. “Rosemary, let’s get behind this car, and also get ready to throw yourself in the ditch,” I said. The vehicle, after nearly side-swiping the Mini, came to a stop. The woman spoke up; “could you tell me how to get to route 501 (or wherever we were)? “Ah………see that tree over there? Drive up to the stop sign at the tree. 501 goes North to the right and South to the left. ” Well, which way should I go?” she said. Suddenly the lyrics to one of Rhode Island’s most loved and absurd bands came to mind; “Should I go to college, or should I join the service? Thinking about my future makes me nervous; It’s a complex world!” I opted out of telling her about “The Young Adults,” and just said “ahhhhhh, I’m not sure. North goes to San Francisco and South goes to Los Angeles.” She seemed annoyed that we didn’t know where she wanted to go. Yeah. We waited a few minutes after she disappeared at the intersection before we left the perceived safety of the Mini Cooper, hoping to put some time and distance between Us and her.

Soon we turned inland, and the temperature instantly increased. I packed away the yellow jacket and enjoyed the rolling farmland. That night in the pool, another one of the British guys recalled the day’s ride as he said, “suddenly we were out there in the middle of Wales.” I have never been to that area of the United Kingdom, but I knew the exact stretch of the earth in California he was talking about. It also made another of my favorite pictures.

Wales …….on the California Coast.

Soon, we got to ride through the beautiful town of San Luis Obispo. My brother-in-Law “The Hill Meister,” had gone to school here, and not only did I now have some context to his stories, but I could also stop calling the town “Saint Louis Of I-bis-bo.” I rode up on a young guy who happened to be going to school in the town. He was also riding his bike and was very excited to hear about our ride, and our eventual destination to his hometown; Los Angeles. We exchanged admiration for each other’s bikes and it was also here that I once again got the idea from people of how impressed they were with our adventure. More and more each day, I also had the self-realization that I wasn’t just an average guy out riding his bike around the neighborhood. I was in a very unique group with some major accomplishments. It felt good.

San Luis Obispo

My final stretch of riding had two milestones. The first was I got to ride side by side with Jerry Davis. Jerry is a long-time rider and consistently one of the major fundraisers for the Arthritis Foundation. Jerry and his teams have raised thousands and thousands of dollars for the cause. His ability to ride year in and out would be impressive enough, but the financial commitment he has spearheaded is exceptionally admirable, kind, and noble. Thanks, Jerry!

Today was the day I decided I was going to finally stop for some Mt. Dew, and a piece of chocolate at the end (OK, OK……….that’s also “almost” how I started the day as well!). It not only tasted good, but it’s fun to stop in “someplace new” on the road and reward yourself with some sugar. I can say without bragging; I earned it.

We all did.

6 thoughts on “California Coast Classic Bike Tour- Day Five

  1. Oh, to be a young adult (again)….. “g-dog” – of course that’s a thing, and not one typically exhibited by someone who is part of a “unique group with major accomplishments”. You’re forgiven, this time. Frankly, having been out riding my bike this past week after a winter layoff, you had me breathless before the first word: an ‘average’ day of 56 miles and 1750′ of climbing? Are you kidding? I would have stayed in a beach chair, awaiting chocolate chip cookie deliveries and transport to the finish line…. Unbelievable accomplishment Zulu!

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  2. Hi 98!! Another great blog about the CCC. Loved all the Brit humor – esp the part about Rosemary with two pints in her hand. The initial eerie stillness of Cayucas is spot on. When you’re riding with 200 people and not a soul is around, it’s pretty creepy. You begin to wonder: am I dreaming? dead? drugged? abducted and dropped on the coast of Australia by an Alien? Nope. Just late to the Cookie Bar. Hugs from 102.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Geri,
      As usual, thanks so much for reading. Luckily, nobody has written back ” Hey Zulu, where the hell were you riding? I don’t recognize this blog at all!!” Hahahahahah

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