Amazing. Really amazing. 600miles. 2 days and one afternoon.

In the San Francisco area, I see people abusing „amazing” and „awesome”. For instance, X says „I’ve been to the SF ZOO last weekend” and, 99% chances are that, Y replies „This is awesome!” or „Wow!” or „I’ve been there last year and it was amazing!”. Come on! this post is about something really amazing. The problem is that only very few actually understand the magnitude of what I did, and those usually aren’t too serious about technology, thus they don’t stay long hours on social networks and they don’t read my blog.

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So, I did 960km (600miles) in 2 days and one afternoon with my roadbike; I went from San Francisco down to San Diego, following the Pacific Coast Bike Trail. Briefly, I did 216km (134miles) Friday afternoon, 380km (235miles) Saturday, 370km (230miles) Sunday. And yes, 960km of the beautiful west coast. Before I write down some stuff about each day, let me explain why I think this is AWESOME/AMAZING:

  1. Very very few of my friends understand how much effort it takes to accomplish this. Also, very very few understand why would somebody do this.
  2. I don’t have a training plan. I don’t train regularly. I have in progress a work schedule that allows me to train 4 hours a day, during the week. Yes, I do spend way too much time in the office.
  3. I never biked so much in 3 consecutive days. I did 340km (215miles) before, but I didn’t bike the next day.
  4. I did the same trip 2 years ago and finished in 4 days and 5 hours.Going from 4.5 days to 2.5 days is very challenging.
  5. I always knew I am going to finish the trip in 2 days, if I get to Monterey after the first half day.
  6. I didn’t take any pictures while riding the bike. I did take a picture when I rented, in San Diego, a convertible to get back to San Francisco.
  7. The bike route passes an US military camp and I had to negotiate with the soldiers to let me go.
  8. Google Maps told me to ride on a street that passes a nuclear power plant. I tried to negotiate with the security guy in the front-office and he closed the deal by saying „are you fucking crazy? this is a nuclear power plant!”. I tried „but, Google Maps tells me to use this street”. „Fuck Google Maps”.

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In this Friday afternoon, I started in San Francisco around 2PM and soon I arrived in Santa Cruz. It’s a ride I did many times before and it went really smooth. There are about 130km that I did in just a bit over 4 hours and I felt really fresh. I knew I shouldn’t stop in Santa Cruz, because there are 90km to ride to Monterey. Just after it got dark, I arrived in Monterey and booked a room in a hotel. I was feeling pretty good, everything went according to the plan. I knew something was wrong, but at that point I didn’t know what. I couldn’t sleep due to the adrenaline I had in the bloodstream. It took me about 3 hours to sleep and I slept 4 hours; the clock had to wake me up at 5 AM, as this would have been the hardest day of the trip. I had to start the day that decided if I’d get to San Diego by Sunday night.

The first half hour of Saturday I wasted on looking for food and drinks; at 5AM there aren’t too many options in Monterey. So I eventually started cycling Big Sur, which is probably the most challenging segment of the trip. I knew there are 200km (120miles) with alot of uphill climb and downhill, and that it’s mostly flat after this. It took me about 9 hours to get from Monterey to Morro Bay (so the average was pretty bad, around 23km/hour). It was about 4PM when I got to San Luis Obispo and I had 190km to go to Santa Barbara. It gets dark around 9PM, so I had around 4 hours of full light and, if I wanna sleep in Santa Barbara, I’d need to bike on dark. I stayed super super super focused those 4 hours of full light and I biked alot. Those were the hardest 4 hours of my entire trip; no surprise, I knew that. I stopped just in Santa Maria and I ate an AMAZING authentic burrito; damn, it was $3 and so well done (as a fact, I also loved the restaurant, it was similar to some low-end restaurants in Romania, in terms of atmosphere and music). Soon it got dark and I was about 50km away from Santa Barbara, about 2 hours of biking. I stayed cool, turned on the lights and by 11AM I was in Santa Barbara. The biggest mistake I did was to stop at a 7eleven; I was freezing and I had hard times warming up (it took me about 5 minutes to be alright again). I took a shower and I slept soon after that.

I woke up Sunday at 7AM, which is a bit late for what I had to do that day: bike from Santa Barbara to San Diego. I ate breakfast at the hotel and then I started working on the first sub-goal: arrive as soon as possible in Los Angeles. The ride is spectacular and the tail wind helps you average 32km/h (20mph). I think that I averaged even more between Oxnard and Santa Monica. Just before Santa Monica, I got a flat. It was 2:00 PM and everything was working great, but this flat almost ruined my ride. I felt weak, dizzy and unable to react. A friend told me „search for solutions, not excuses”, so I started to think how can I solve the flat. The problem is not solving the flat itself, but fixing it such that you can ride as you did before (e.g. you need to put alot of air pressure in the inner tube). I kind of fixed the flat and I stopped at a bike shop in Santa Monica; I used their floor pump and I got back into the game. It was about 3:30 PM and I was still in Santa Monica. San Diego is around 210km (130miles) away. I still had 5 hours of day light and a flat terrain to ride on. I biked on the beaches in Los Angeles, near the ocean, but this simply didn’t scale. It would have been impossible to get to San Diego the same day and bike with kids on the beach. So I switched to the Pacific Coast Highway and the fun just began.

200km and 5 hours of day light, sounds like mission impossible. I was lucky that there was tailwind and I did my best to not stop. At about 8 PM there were 100km to go and I relaxed a little bit; I started to engage in some conversations on social networks and, somebody down to Earth told me: „less facebook, more bike riding” (Romanian „mai putin facebook, mai multa talpa vreau sa vad”). It got dark, but I was 50km away from San Diego and I was pretty relaxed. I negotiated with security from both a nuclear power plant and the US army camp, and eventually go really close to San Diego. 10 PM and I was 30km away; I stopped to eat some spaghetti, and after I finished, on the floor a cockroach was saying hello to the clients. The last 20km were the hardest, I had to climb 200m (660ft) just before San Diego and I almost felt I couldn’t do it. But, I did it! In San Diego it was very cold and I was freezing, so I had to bike in a position where I use more muscles than standing. I ended up not sitting on the saddle for the last 10km and by 1 AM I was in San Diego. I was super tired and I could barely speak. I told the receptionist that I want just to sleep and that I don’t know when I’ll wake up tomorrow. I took a shower but I didn’t use the soap; I couldn’t properly wash myself. Soon I went to sleep and I slept instantly.

That’s it, simple story! I want to work on a work-schedule that allows me to train during the week, so I can improve the time next time I’ll be riding on the Pacific Coast Highway. Once I train regularly, I’ll think about bigger challenges. For now, I’ll focus on balancing work with training.

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Un răspuns to “Amazing. Really amazing. 600miles. 2 days and one afternoon.”

  1. pauldiac Says:

    great motivation ! (‘great’ in the real sense)

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