I got up in time to say goodbye to Katie. She had a busy day at school awaiting her. Henry and Eric were up later. I wanted to be ready for the pancakes Eric had promised the night before. We had some great conversations about parenting, career, and school over our pancakes and coffee. Soon, Eric and Henry were out the door and I made my final preparations for a relaxed ride around the Monterey bay shoreline.
I hardly broke 10 mph as I made my way on 17 mile drive. I didn’t ride all 17 miles, but what I saw was gorgeous. There were plenty of other people out in cars, bikes, and others were running along the shore. It was never so crowded to interfere with the beautiful surroundings. The early part of the ride took me past the famous Pebble Beach golf course. I have many friends who are passionate about golf. I feel the same way about tennis. However I’ve always had an attitude about the sport of golf. For me, golf is what you do when you can’t play tennis any more. After riding around the shoreline and views of Pebble Beach, I might be convinced to take a second look at golf.
At each stop, there was a new perspective on the coast and its interesting features. They also had a stop called Seal Rock. I had trouble seeing the seals, but I could hear their barking. Near the end of my ride around the loop, I got a great view of the famous Lone Cypress tree. A little farther down, was the golf clubhouse and a climb to a road leading to Carmel by the Sea. I knew once I left Carmel, there was not going to be a place for food or water until I reached Big Sur. I had not got on the bike until after 10 this morning. Between my leisurely pace and frequent photo ops, it was nearly noon when I stopped for a burger and a beer. I talked to some people at adjacent tables about my ride, did my toilet stop, then made my way to Big Sur.
Even as I was leaving Carmel, I was hit with several photo ops as I crossed high bridges that gave me excellent views of the coves near Point Logos. Being on a bike, I could stop at pull off the road at places that cars could not. I was able to take advantage of that at lots of places along today’s ride and the entire trip.
It was only another 25 miles from Carmel Highlands and Big Sur, but there was so much to see. Every few miles brought new views or a closer perspective on the same spectacular scenery. I’m not certain, but I believe it was around Bixby Creek Bridge that I had the hardest climb of the day. Over several shorter climbs and descents I think I had to overcome another 1000 feet total climb. There was one section that just kept going and going and going to a high peak where I earned a photo op. Even though I only went 37 miles today, I still had over 2,200 feet of climbing. Take a look at the climbing profile and ride summary here. Most of the final 4 miles into the Big Sur campground was downhill. It may be a campground, but make no mistake. I am not camping. I am in a real room with a bed and shower.
The cancellation of my stay in Plaskett turned out to be a blessing in disguise. As Becky had suggested, making a shorter ride today allowed me to more fully enjoy what might be one of the most beautiful sections of the ride. It also leaves me fresher for all the climbing this area will demand. Yet another incident where an accident turns into a miracle.
The Lone Rider