02 September 2009 ~ 0 Comments

Century Day

Day 4

San Simeon to Lompoc
98.5 miles. Average speed: 14.5 mph.

Picture 60
Mapped Route

It’s now been a full week since this day.  It’s getting harder to remember, so I better catch up on all these posts soon!  And I do not understand at all how the elevation diagram works on Map My Ride.  But that’s a different story.  Here we go.

Another good title for this post could have been, “The day it really began to hurt.”  Leaving from San Simeon that morning, around 7:45 or 8, it was super foggy and cold out.  Each day we went out in 2 or 3 groups.  The slowest group would go first, followed a bit later by the faster group(s) so that by lunch we’d all be around the same place.  Being that it wasn’t really a race, I found at times it was nice to be one of the faster in the slow group and relax a little bit more at times.  This morning, however, I left with a middle group cause there was no way I was leaving at like 7 am.

I was wearing leg warmers, arm warmers, and some Oakley’s lent to me by Dan especially for foggy conditions.  I ended up having to take em off cause it was so foggy out that they just kept getting soaked and I couldn’t see a thing!  It didn’t take too long to get out of the fog though, maybe 45 minutes, and we were keeping a comfortable but steady pace for quite a while, maybe around 16-18 mph.  I felt pretty good when we left, but after a bit I started to recognize that all that climbing the day before took more out of me than I had realized.  My legs were starting to feel all that riding and I fell behind a bit a few times, but had a few guys hangin back with me as well.

We eventually ended up in Pismo Beach for lunch and my legs were kinda toast by then.  Lunch was on our own in Pismo, so I left the group and had sandwiches on the beach with Rachel and the kids.  Rachel said to me, “You don’t seem in quite as good of spirits as the last couple of days.”  Yeah.  I hurt.  I didn’t wanna take too long for lunch, knowing that I still had another 50 miles and our longest day ahead of me still.  It was a pretty foggy morning as we ate and I pushed Caleb on swings at the beach, but toward the end of lunch it cleared up, and I rolled out.

I checked out at our check out point in Oceano and I was the last of the “fast” group to leave, and the first group to leave that morning was still doing lunch.  I was about 15 minutes behind them, so I grabbed some Clif bars and Shot Blocs, refilled the water and Gatorade, and I was out!

It was a nice ride through Guadalupe where I kinda wished we had stopped for lunch because the Mexican food smelled amazing.  Just after Guadalupe I joined back up with highway 1 and there is a 8-10 mile stretch with virtually no shoulder and lots of big rigs.  So I tried to book it through this section.  While there, I managed to throw my chain for the fourth time that day.  So i knew I’d need to have Steve (our rocking SAG bike mechanic) take a look at my derailers and adjust em for me that evening or something.  More on that tomorrow.

I spent most of the afternoon in between groups, although I did pass one small group who ended up with one guy having 4 flats that afternoon, and then was passed by 2 others while I was refilling at a SAG vehicle.  I knew what was coming as the day ended.  At right around mile 90 on that pic above you’ll notice a big spike in elevation.  That is Harris Grade.  Harris Grade climbs about 600 ft. in 3 miles.  In comparison to Nasty Grade at Wildflower, not too bad.  Except this one comes after riding 90 miles, not to mention I was in better shape before Wildflower than I was for this.

Well, I saved a final goo for downing right before the grade and took it on.  It actually wasn’t horrible, but it was just a consistent uphill that seemed like it did not stop at all.  So I just went at it slow and steady.  At the top, there was some writing I noticed on the ground that said, “Over the hill club” and “See you in Lompoc!”  From there is was a long fast downhill into Lompoc.  This was the longest day I’d ever ridden.  Before day 3 actually, the longest was a 65 mile day while training for Wildflower.  As I came flying down the other side, I had a moment of being overwhelmed with a sense of accomplishment and recognition of what this week was gonna be for me.  The only thing I can really compare it to was a very similar feeling I had after making it over Nasty Grade at Wildflower.  Seiously, it is one of the most amazing feelings in the world and makes all of this so worth it.  Well, that feeling and the money being raised for the cause of course.

So to end the day, I eventually made it to the hotel where Rachel had already checked in.  Our favorite hotel of the entire ride for us I might add.  Best Western in Lompoc.  Highly recommend it.  It was good to know that what I was informed were the 2 hardest days of the ride were over, and the next day was our recovery day.  More on that day soon!

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