On Saturday I was up at 4:30 am and on the road by 5:00 am to head off to Davenport for a training ride along the beautiful California coast. Last year I didn't do the Zen Mother ride (for reasons I can not remember) so I definitely did not want to miss it this year! Earlier in the week I had emailed the organizer to say that I would be joining them and then looked at the meet up time... 7:15 am. Oh man! That meant that I needed to hit the road early since it was a 2 hour drive. It was definitely worth the drive, the ride was amazing.
After making my way through San Francisco, I got on Highway 1 at Pacifica. Before I got to Half Moon Bay I had pulled over to get a photo of the beach and to stretch my legs for a minute.
I made it down to the meet up at the dirt parking lot across the road from the Whale City Bakery in Davenport at around 7:00 am. As I was getting my gear together and preparing for the days ride, I watched as car after car pulled into the lot. I was glad I got there early because we quickly filled up the lot.
We soon gathered for announcements, route review, stretches, safety speech and a blessing from the Zen Mama herself. We hit the route ready to go at 8:00 am. Since Jamie didn't have to do sweep duty at all that day we were able to ride full speed the entire day. That was a nice change of pace being able to stay towards the front of the pack instead of at the back.
The first 14 miles were along the coast on Highway 1. We blazed (no pun intended) past riders and headed towards the front of the group. We made our first turn onto Gazos Creek Road and headed towards Butano State Park. This road was only a lane and a half wide and there were hardly any cars, which made for a nice peaceful ride. We made our way toward our first rest stop at Arcangeli Bakery in Pescadero.
After the rest stop we headed north on Stage Road and encountered our first two hills on the way towards San Gregorio. The hills were not very steep so it was a relatively easy climb. I don't mind the gradual inclines, even though I still climb them at a slower speed. I dropped behind the group a little on the climb, but the guys waited for me at the top of the first hill.
Almost to the top of the first hill.
There was a nice downhill before we got to the next hill. The road wasn't too windy but it was a tar & chip surface, so I didn't take it too fast. The last thing I want to do is to take a spill with ALC being less than 30 days away.
The start of our next climb. It is amazingly peaceful riding on roads like theses.
Really lets you clear your mind.
At the top of the hill you could see the ocean off in the distance.
The guys weren't waiting for me at the top, but I didn't mind. I didn't realized at the time, but I had climbed these hills almost a year ago when I did the Tour de Cure. I thought that the second hill seemed familiar, but I couldn't place it.
I was pretty much on my own the rest of the way to lunch. A few times I managed to catch up with some other riders. As we made the turn onto La Honda Road, one of the other cyclists pointed out that we were following the Tsunami Evacuation Route. That isn't a sign you see everyday.
About 2 miles from the rest stop I saw another rider stopped ahead and decided to stop as well. I was glad I did because he was taking photos of these neat metal sculptures. I snapped a couple photos myself.
We had our lunch stop at the Country Market in La Honda. After eating and refilling the water bottles we were on our way. Since we had one last big hill right after lunch, I got dropped again by the guys. No worries, I just took my time and went my own pace up the hill. The guys told me that they tried to wait for me at the top, but when they started to get cold (it was a bit cooler that day) they decided to keep moving. The ride back to our rest stop in Pescadero was nice because it was mostly downhill. The only part that got difficult was when I thought that I only had a mile left, and that obviously wasn't the case. I was ready to get to the rest stop and regroup with my friends. However, my mileage was off and there were actually 2 more miles before I got to the rest stop. Our rest stop was at the same bakery we stopped at earlier in the day.
After a short rest, we were on our way. We headed out towards Highway 1 and headed south towards Davenport. There were a little over 20 miles to go along the coast. Thankfully we had a little bit of a tail wind on this last stretch. I was able to keep speed with my friends pretty well and we were coasting along between 20-25 mph. I just watched as my average speed for the day went from about 13 mph up to 15 mph. Our little group had spread out a bit, but we regrouped and took a little break.
These are the awesome guys that I rode most of the day with. (Michael, me, Scott, Jamie & Marc. Photo taken by Michael...yes, another Michael)
There was one good descent that I wasn't even expecting, but tried to make the most of it. I geared up and pedaled until it didn't make a difference anymore. There were some cars parked in the bike lane ahead, but luckily there weren't cars coming up behind me so I was able to safely get out around the parked cars. After I made it to the bottom of the hill I looked at my Garmin and to my surprise, I saw that I reached a new max speed... 48.5 mph!!! I was so excited! That is 5 mph more than my previous max speed. I know that is a crazy speed to reach, but I only go for speed when I know that the hill is rather straight (no crazy hairpin turns) and the road is in good condition (no potholes or loose gravel).
I made it back to the car at 2:30 pm. I was one of the first 10 people back. There is nothing wrong with coming in at the back of the pack, but man it was good to come in early! I hung out afterwards with the guys as we waited for more riders to get in.
Several of them were going to be camping that night at Camp Zen. I don't remember why I decided not to go camping with everyone, but I wish I had. Oh well, there will be plenty of camping going on during ALC.
It was a great ride and I was very happy with how I did. So happy I did the Zen Mother ride this year!