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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Big Sur Trip

Big Sur Trip

I was getting stale, doing the same old pigeon point loop every time I wanted a shakedown cruise. Well, this year, I opted for something different: Big Sur. I've ridden down the coast before, in 1997, but I wanted something that wouldn't take a week. My Western Wheeler friends Dick & Donna had done the Big Sur Loop from Carmel many times before, and since I'd never done it, I thought it was worth doing once, just to see what it was like.

Day 1: 51 miles, 3800': The day started out drizzly and cold. So cold that I had to break out warm jackets and gloves. By lunch time, however, the fog had blown off and we had nice sunny weather. As usual on the tandem, the climbs are much much harder than I remember from my previous ride, but the descents were fast and stable. We arrived at Lucia at 3:00pm, after all the other singles, and had plenty of time to enjoy the wonderful views of the coast and a lovely dinner.

Day 2: 51 miles, 4300': The forecast was for rain today, so I was pleasantly surprised to see clear, beautiful weather when we woke up. After breakfast, we climbed a short hill and descended down along the coast for 5 miles. This part of the coast was gorgeous and dreamy, very very pretty, and I wished we were heading further South, but not today. We climbed Nacimiento Road, a climb estimated at about 7 or 8%, which wound around the hills and gave us gorgeous views of the coast. At the top, we ran into Denise & Larry, a couple who were riding to San Luis Obispo, where they would rent a car and drive back home. Then there was a quick descent into Hunter Liggett military base, where unlike Dick's previous experience, we were quickly let through and had lunch at the snack bar on the base. Then we took the closed old road over to Jolon Road, where a gentle climb greeted us to the summit and then a furiously fast descent. This was, however, followed by a ride into a 30mph gale from King City! This gave us an 8mph speed into the city, where we stayed at the Keefer's Inn, after arriving around 4:00pm.

Day 3: 69 miles, 3000'. The morning started off with another headwind. This wasn't as bad as the day before, but we ended up doing 12mph for 2 hours, before turning into Greenfield and riding into Arroyo Seco, where the Easter weekend brought lots of annoying traffic. Then the turnoff onto Carmel Valley Road, where a gentle climb with a little breeze brought us quickly to within 2 miles of the summit before we got bogged down. Once over the summit, a quick descent (lent some urgency by using up all our water) brought us to Carmel Village, where we had lunch and topped up our water bottles. Then a quick push against a much weakened headwind brought us back to the car at 5:00pm.

My brother also has Web Album up for the trip.

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