I was almost done packing when Jean, the hotel manager was knocking on my door. She had a danish pastry, coffee, and juice. I ate it while I finished some emails and other business. Once loaded, I had a chance to say goodbye to Jean and some of the other guests I had shared dinner with.
It was a cool, sunny morning, with strong winds coming off the ocean. I knew from my route planning that it was going to be a long roller coaster ride. My starting and end points may have on me been a hundred feet part in elevation, but the total climb for the day ended close to 4,000 feet. The details are at the ride summary here.
In the first 4 miles of riding, I climbed 500 feet. The road followed the contours of the coastline. The better part of the ride was enjoying the overlook from one cliff to the next. Unfortunately, the road would drop to a valley between the cliffs. It seemed like I was either pedaling like mad to do 5 mph, or braking to keep from going over 25 mph around the turns.
I didn’t get far in the first hour. I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the overlooks. I stopped a lot to take pictures. Since today was only 62 miles, I felt I could afford the time. On the rare occasions that the road flattened out, I was catching some tailwind. It was just a beautiful day of riding. Even the climbs didn’t seem as bad. The PUDs didn’t seem as pointless because they often led to another viewpoint.
I was on CA 1 the whole way, except for a couple of side paths. At the first detour, I took a bike path through MacKerricher State Park. The path went by a gray, sandy beach. The ocean was so close, I pushed and lifted Hidalgo for a closer look. Hidalgo did not move easily in the sand.
The other detour was after Mendocino. There was a road for a particularly good overlook. Near there, I met Christian. He was an artist who was capturing the scenery the old fashioned way with oil paints and canvas.
The ride to my hotel in Point Arena had many other incredible views and the steepest switchback I have ever encountered. My biking shoes are meant to clip into Hidalgo’s pedals. They are ok to walk on level surfaces, but are terrible for climbing. At one point on this particular climb, I unclipped from the pedals, so I could walk Hidalgo up the hill. My shoes were sliding and it was all I could do to push the loaded Hidalgo up the incline. Near the top there was a turnout. A young couple from San Francisco was taking pictures. I offered to do one of them together on their camera and they reciprocated for Hidalgo and I.
At this point I was less than 15 miles to the hotel. The sun was getting warm, but the ocean breezes kept me cool and sometimes gave me a push as tailwind. I rode downhill through the main part of Point Arena, then turned west to the ocean. When I got to a pier, I thought the large building nearby was my hotel. There were several restaurants and businesses, but the hotel was up a steep climb at the top of a hill. We walked it.
Tomorrow should be another sunny day. It was so good not to deal with the rain. From a scenery perspective this may have been the best day yet. But there’s always tomorrow!
The Lone Rider