It got to a point last week where I had been in town for 17 days in a row. I haven’t been home more than 7 days in a row since before our little Leadville shit show and I was starting to go a little stir crazy. In a moment of genius on Thursday, I put the call out to the facebooks to see if anybody was leaving town for the weekend and would let me and my bike tag along. It went something like this:
Is anybody driving far away from Phoenix this weekend? Can me and my bike tag along? I will pay for a bunch of the gas and I have the way home covered
Within minutes my friend MonaLisa chimed in and said she was driving to San Diego. Well then, I guess we are going to San Diego!
I have always wanted to ride from the ocean to home in one push, and I am really surprised I haven’t done it already. So I threw some 28mm tires on the touring bike and was amazed that it only took me 45 minutes to pack everything I needed. I jumped in the car Saturday morning and we were on our way. When we finally got to the ocean, it was a little later in the afternoon than I expected and I had to slightly alter my plans. I went down to the beach and dipped my toes in the ocean then turned around and started my trek inland.
My old friend The Canuk met me at Ocean beach and guided me to the little slice of heaven known as Stone Brewery. This visit lasted well into the night and officially postponed my trip by a day. It was totally worth it. Good beer is good.
Rolling east out of Escondido the next day, I headed up the mountains towards the town of Julian. A punchy little 7 mile climb kept me warm even as I ascended into the rain and cold. When I reached town, I got myself a couple slices of their notorious pie and a couple cups of coffee for motivation then headed back out into the weather. I was told that it would be all downhill for 15 miles out of town and it would eventually put me back on the desert floor(where I belong). Since I neglected to pack any kind of long pants or even knee warmers for this trip I really couldn’t get to the desert fast enough. Up to this point, I had done all the riding in shorts using DZ-nuts on my knees as a makeshift embrocation. The road went screaming fast downhill as promised. In about 1 hour and 20 miles later, I went from my teeth chattering in the cold to 70 degrees and bluebird skies in the desert.
Once back down in the desert, the miles just melted away. I was gifted with the most insane tailwind and it felt like I had a motor. I covered a good amout of ground and called it a day just west of the Imperial sand dunes. I woke up Monday moring feeling pretty damn fantastic and had my coffee overlooking some very impressive sand dunes and a little company from Mother Nature.
I was pretty excited to have the same tailwind as the previous day, but unfortunately the terrain on this day was a little more hilly. Roller coaster roads meandering through sand dunes and craggy mountains. It seemed like the entire day was spent pedaling down the the side of one hill as fast as I could and then try to coast up the next incline as far as possible before you had to pedal again. As if I were riding up, over, and down a giant Sine wave through the desert. It was a good game to help pass the time. Just as the sun was setting I passed a sign that said it was only 32 miles to Blythe, CA. That was the border with Arizona and I made it my point to keep riding until I crossed the Colorado river. I stopped to put on lights and to make some food. When I had a little laugh at myself when I realized just how geeked out I am about Titanium gear. Sometimes you find the simplest things funny when you are tired and alone on the road.
I reached the state line around 9pm and was greeted by a vicious sand storm. That tailwind I have had for two days finally turned angry and I was getting my payback. Even though I was feeling good and wanted to push on, I decided it was probably best just to hunker down for the night and wait for the sun.
The next day I was faced with 138 miles of riding along the shoulder of the freeway and frontage roads. Not the most inspiring thought when you already have a couple hundred miles in your legs, but totally attainable. I set out down the road with my packs full of food, water, Cokes and a tallboy. Just as the soreness starts to work it’self out, the rain started to fall. My whole life became miserable and my pace slowed way down. After about 40 miles, I realized that I probably wasn’t going to make it all the way home on this day. I sucked up my pride and made the call for extraction. I hate making that call. But my knees were swollen, I was wet, cold, and all the stoke had left my body. 90 miles short of my goal and the ride was over. And so it goes…
Keep it dirty.by