Sunday, June 26, 2011

Day 30

June 21, 2011

Today I rode from Monterey to Kirk Creek Campground just south of Lucia, CA in Big Sur National Forest. The day ended up being much longer than I expected and I rode with two other guys, which was pretty cool.

The crazy old men were kind of annoying me and I needed to go to the store for breakfast, so I left the campsite really early before eating. I bought some oatmeal at Trader Joes and ate some oatmeal and coffee at a park in town. I had seen on my elevation charts that the day had a pretty challenging climb near the town of Big Sur, so I wanted to get out of town quickly. So I quickly ate, drank and left, giving me my average start time of 9:15.

I had lots of short, steep climbs to start the day, which were tough, but made it to Carmel soon enough. Mike had told me that the Safeway in town was the last real grocery store for a couple days, so I went there and stocked up on food. Typically I only carry one day's worth of lunch and dinner, but this time I'd be carrying more than twice that. It's worth the extra weight to not have to pay for the crappy food at gas stations and convenience stores.

Got out of Carmel and about 5 miles later I saw a guy who looked like he might be on a bike tour resting on the side of the road. His panniers were very small, so I was actually uncertain as to whether he was on a tour or just a day ride. Found out his name is John, he's from the Bay Area, and he's working on a tour from there to LA. He spent a year travelling and got back a couple weeks ago and just decided on a whim to ride down to LA and visit several friends along the way. He didn't look like an experienced cyclist, so I was really surprised when he told me he was averaging 100 mile days! (that's twice my average distance) We decided to ride together for a while. We rode at about the same pace, so it worked out. There wasn't much talking on the road, but we stopped for lunch at Andrew Molera State Park, a few miles north of Big Sur and talked some while we ate. He had several stories of his travels to Europe, Africa, and Asia. After eating a nice big lunch we left and headed toward the big climb for the day. After about a 6 mile warmup, we headed up the climb south of Big Sur. We just took it slowly and stopped halfway because it was quite long and John was having knee pain. I told him about the knee pain I had further north and that a higher cadence and higher seat height helped me, so he took my advice. Throughout the day he asked to stop to give his knee a break. It seemed like it wasn't getting any better.

Just after the descent of the really big hill we climbed, John and I were resting on the side of the road and another loaded cyclist rode up. His name was Matthew and he was originally from New Zealand but lives in the Bay area now. He was a really nice guy and just rode along with us when we finished our rest.

It was pretty different riding with other people. I am so used to riding by myself, I always just ride my own pace and not really think about it. Riding with John and Matthew was pretty different. Whoever was in the front set the pace and when I took my turn leading we took a slower pace due to my passion for enjoying the scenery. I'm apparently relatively out of shape compared to them, oh well. Throughout the rest of the day John kept on needing more and more stops because of his knee, so we made pretty slow progress.

I had hoped to call it a short day and stay in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, but as we rode by there I found out they didn't have camping. Rats. So I just decided to press on to Kirk Creek like Matthew was planning on doing. About 5 miles from the campground our pace slowed to that of a snail. John's knee was killing him and we didn't want him to hurt it more than he already had. After trudging along, we finally made it to the site around 7:30 (super late). Mike was there, so we just setup our stuff near him and enjoyed dinner together before the sun set. As the sun set, we all headed to bed, Me and Mike in our tents, Matthew on his sleeping pad and sleeping bag out in the open, and John in his hammock with nothing but warm clothes to keep him warm. Before going to bed I told him that if it got too cold that he could join me in my 2-man tent. He looked kind of miserable and it was a pretty chilly night, so I wasn't going to be surprised if he joined me.

After sleeping a few hours I heard John outside my tent. “Hey Jon, can I sleep in there.” “Sure, let me get my stuff out of here.” I packed up all my junk into my waterproof panniers and threw it outside. He spent the rest of the night tossing and turning while sleeping on the hard floor of my tent. At least it was better than his hammock out in the drizzly cold.  

No comments:

Post a Comment