Watch the peloton get wicked. When we ride it, you be like “don’t stop, get it get it.”
Long time hashtagging: #SMAT #socialmediaadventureteam #goAHOL #iamgeneralized #buymoreshit #fuckridingabikeijustliketohaveshinystuffandpostup #yoassisabuster #purchasecredibilityoncredit #gearreviewafter1weekofuse, #etc. Finally the California Condor Tour arrived. 5 days planned become 6 days ridden on account of touring is hard, and routes are uncertain.
The route. #bosslevel The planning took literally dozens of taunting emails and backroom conversations about rumors of dirt connectors and singletrack options. Folks said they were in and and then were out. Old injuries, remembered obligations, fucking J.O.B.s, thises and thats, etc.
Past routes have been what they were. Increasingly longer and harder (ex. 2014 saw Carmel CA to Santa Barbara CA), the common theme has been local goodness wherever it is available all day(s) each day(s). We will go out of our way to ride something worth going out of our way to ride. Know I’m sayin? Every day spent riding the secret stashes.
Which is all just staging to say: I didn’t plan the route, so it ain’t mine to share. Suffice to say it was some NorCal like you read about.
All up in yo muthafucking tallcan face. Day 1 we saw a black bear (Ursus americanus californiensis) a couple hours in. Backwoods type Mendo dirt road action. So much climbing. A sunset that lasted and lasted.
Final descent in the dark and not all of us had lights (suckers! dynohubs are the Way.) to a campsite that ended up being closed. 2 days short of opening for the season. We’d passed a private campground on the way, so we went back to that and ended up with party lights and hottt showers. Serendipity.
There is no way to pull off new routes without being willing to deal with setbacks. You just got to roll with it. Would you rather be at home on the couch?
_odd and I swapped dinner cooking duties, as we did last year, and it suits us fine. Breakfast and lunch on your own, it’s nice to have every other night free of dinner planning/execution. It
helps is a must that we like the same type of fresh veggie foodstuffs.
With 6 cats to herd, it is important that mornings happen quickly. The break a dawn and birdsong wake you up and it is out of the bag with a quickness to break down camp and break fasts simultaneously. Keep it moving. Break.
Lots of paceline. Now, me? I love a smooth rotation, and these fellas do not disappoint. Hand signals, laying off a the brakes, clean transitions with no gappy jumps at the front…solid. It takes effort and concentration.
If you stay ready, then you won’t have to get ready. Lots of climbing to be done. So much climbing. Folks were saying what they say about riding thru the heart of outdoor weed growing Cali (and in the Fall, I think it would actually and really for real be an issue) and warning us not to leave the road for water or (especially) camping. You know what? we stopped and adjusted gear or regrouped wherever we felt like doing it and it worked out just fine. Better than fine. 2 separate times we were given generous 1/8s of NorCal’s finest by random stranger landowners. And invited to come back whenever. I’m still surprised and pleased about that.
Q: How many clowns can you stuff in a bike tour?
A: all of them.
Though, I will say that Alder Point CA is the single most backwoods, Deliverance type, methed-out holler I have ever been in. That place was sketch. No smiles to be had there. I reckon the (multiple) burnt-out cars should have been warning enough, and we were only too glad to get out of that hole.
Unfortunately, dark was upon us well before we could get to the next planned spot…
So on the extended climb away, we ended up having to slink off the road at a stream and stealth camp in the trees. Well, you need water. We set our tarps up out of sight, and it was all shades of green, so we figured that we’d be OK as we would roll out from a cold camp and breakfast in the next town. Then we found the irrigation line coming out of the stream below camp. Then we were awoken well before dawn by 6 shots fired from the road above us. Blam…blam…blam blam blam blam.
No sleep after that. I hugged the ground and watched the opening towards the road, but it was just sounds. A car door, then engine noise retreating. I thought someone might have seen our tyre tracks thru the dewy grass in their headlights, but it could have been anything. Scary reminder.
That was an early morning.
Of course we started with a substantial climb. Then we dropped down into the fog. Down and down and down. I stopped at the thrift store (after the diner) and grabbed some $2.75 warm gloves that almost fit, we hit the grocery and
the liquor store and rolled out to the next series of climbs. It is worth noting that at one point, there were 3 12-packs purchased at the same stop. Those boys ain’t skeered, and I especially dig that.
It is also worth noting how easy-going everyone was. With no solid itinerary, that is required. Communication, respect, humor. Roll on.
Q: On the Condor, how do you know there is more climbing to be done?
A: because you’re not as high as you can get, yet.
Climbing. We climbed up into a cold and stiff headwind. At the top, we ran into random biker friends and it was an impromptu party. Even though it was cold enough to wear your sleeping bag …on account of, aside from 12 packs, you got to pack light. Seriously.
In the morning, we stuffed our gear into our buddies’ rig and rode around singletracks for the first half of the day unencumbered (but fully loaded) and then parted ways for our slog/climb (surprise?) out to the Lost Coast…
In the morning? Climbing…
My hoopty. There are (always) changes to be made, but it worked quite well. I like to shout out to Surly, Porcelain Rocket, Swift Industries, Randi Jo Fabrications, and Hamms’ Beer, none of whom sponsor me but all of whom make worthwhile gear that I can tell you actually works.
More could be said of the following days, but I am tired of saying. Eventually, we ended up dirty, hungry, and drunk…so the hardmen went up the road the final 15 miles or so to get the cars while the Party Squad hung out in the bar with their peers.
I’m not a player, I just crush a lot.by