My Pacific Coast journey is complete! I’m in Ventura, Ca. Rode 85 miles and 3000 ft of climbing, from Lompoc to Santa Barbara on the final leg. 1324 Total miles covered. It has been a busy couple of days to complete this journey, which is why I’ve missed the last couple days of blogging.
I’ll begin with the end. To my great surprise, my mom and sister, Lynne, and her partner, Rick, came to congratulate me in Ventura. I am so appreciative of their support. They both cheered me on via my blog the entire way down the coast. I am looking forward to having a glass of wine–great choice, Lynne–and eating the basket of wonderful treats, they brought me. If you look closely, you’ll see Lynne and I share a love of pink–her shoes and shirt, and my socks. We must be related!
It was a long day, 85 miles, and we were blessed with a fantastic tail wind–15 to 20 mph– most of the way. The ride from Lompoc to Santa Barbara starts with a 16 mile climb over the coastal range.
It wasn’t a tough climb, but it felt like a big hurdle to get behind us. Once at the top, we entered onto Highway 101, South, near Gaviota. This is one of the few places in Ca, that bicyclists are allowed on the highway. There are no frontage roads, so bikes on the freeway are OK. It was 17 miles of fairly nice riding, but lots and lots of high speed traffic. We had a wide shoulder and a rumble strip and that tail wind. Nonetheless, when a large semi, or double semi would pass, the winds would push us all over the shoulder. Yikes. It was hold on stead time.
We exited the freeway just north of Santa Barbara and traveled through the University, UCSB. All the roads were very familiar to me as I grew up in SB, and attended UCSB for a couple of years, mostly majoring in beach and partying. I left UCSB after a couple of years and transferred to Cal State, Chico–another party school–but buckled down and completed my degree in engineering away from the distraction of the ocean lifestyle. It was reminiscent to travel the bike paths of the university. And, also helpful to Robin and I, as it is a maze of confusing ever intersecting paths to cross the campus.
It was really nostalgic to travel the routes I knew so well. When I was a teenager, and had my first 10 speed bike, a friend and I would ride what I realize, now, was the start of my long distance cycling career. We did one of two routes. The first, from Goleta north to El Capitan beach, on Highway 101, a round trip of about 25 miles, and the second from Goleta to Carpenteria, a round trip of 40 miles. I traveled these exact roads, on the ride to Ventura.
I didn’t take many pictures through out the day, because the mileage was long, and we really needed to keep moving. We arrived in Ventura near 4pm. And, as I shared, above, my mom and Lynne and her partner, Rick, were there to greet me.
So, the Pacific Coast cycling adventure has come to a close. Cycling down the Pacific Coast has been my dream for the past 8 years, when I started riding cross country. This is the trip I really wanted to do, but didn’t feel I was physically strong enough to tackle all the climbing of the route. But, now I am strong enough and completed the adventure. It was hard, challenging, fun and my dream.
So, what have I learned and re-learned, as this is my 4th US cross country trip?
Here is the re-learn category:
- ANYTHING is possible, especially the really hard stuff, one pedal stroke at a time. KEEP GOING. Stop and rest if you need to, but KEEP GOING.
- And, of course, START. You can’t finish if you don’t start.
- Don’t do the hill before you get there. This also relates to don’t do tomorrow before today. You have to be prepared and do the foot work and prepare for tomorrow, but fretting about tomorrow, what might happen, what is coming up wastes the present. All we have is the present, Don’t waste it!
- Have a GREAT traveling companion, someone you can count on through the good and the hard–Robin that is you! I don’t have words to express the companionship, fun, safety, ease, and utter joy of riding with Robin. I thank my luck stars we met in 2009 and continue to cycle across this planet, together.
In the new learning category, I have the opportunity to create new opportunities and goals for myself. This journey has been like cleaning out the closet of my mind and I haven’t figure out, yet, what I intend to put back. I’ve been in the bike bubble for 5 weeks and my days and nights have been very simple–but not always easy. My focus has been riding my bike and being safe. I have had minimal possessions with me, which has taught me I don’t need much–and, in fact, I realize, I have too much stuff. I intend to simplify when I get home.
I’m going to take my time and figure out my next big goals. I’ve been working on my fluency in Spanish–for years–which I will continue, and I have been flirting with writing my memoir–this blog has been a bit of a “give it a go”.
And lastly, the next cycling adventure starts the end of April 2018, Route 66, Chicago and Santa Monica. I’ll be back with my blog, then.
Be safe, keep you eyes on the road, and may you have tailwinds for your journeys. Thanks for coming along. Susan