Some truely “Thirsty”Bears after a very long ride!
The Coast Ride is an annual 3-day ride that starts in San Francisco and finishes in Santa Barbara. The ride cruises down the gorgeous California coast pretty much all on highway 1 wherever possible. It takes place on Martin Luther King’s birthday weekend and this year the weather and scenery were once again amazing.
This year we had the largest ThirstyBear group ever: Ken Gallardo, Chris Phipps, Jan Weissenberger, Duane Coughlan, Gardie Jackson, Eric Lagier, Paul Dyrwal, Aaron Long, Richard Bolt, Max Thompson, Chris Lundy and Jenny Wong. Holger Steinbach and Oddvar Kaarboe joined us for the first 90 miles of day 1. We all converged on Sports Basement in the Presidio, which stepped up to offer a start location when the Golden Gate Bridge park rangers said the ride had gotten too big to start there any longer (Hooray for Sports Basement!). Despite a chill in the air (it was January after all!), the clear sky, gorgeous sunrise and promise of a fun weekend of riding had smiles on everyone’s faces. Just before the 8 AM departure, the peloton of over 150 riders gathered on the grass for a group picture and then we were off! Let the adventure begin!
Day 1 starts with a leisurely tour of the San Francisco coastline at Ocean Beach followed by the climb up to Daly City and fast winding descent into Pacifica. From Pacifica we climbed up to the new Devil’s Slide tunnel and slowly ramped up the pace of the group heading into Half Moon Bay. South of Half Moon Bay we enjoyed a nice cross tailwind breeze and more beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean. Max flatted about 10 miles before we reached the lunch stop at Davenport so it was all for one and one for all team time trial before lunch.
After lunch, more rollers and scenic vistas took us into Santa Cruz and then Capitola where Holger and Oddvar split off to head for home while we motored along the back roads into Aptos. The strawberry fields south of Aptos greeted us with their familiar fragrance (in January no less!) and we were all stripped down to shorts and short sleeves and working on our tan lines. Some bumpy roads and a little fun in the crosswinds before we found ourselves back on Highway 1 headed into Moss Landing at 29 MPH. Just south of Moss Landing we got off the highway and onto the bike path for the final 10 miles into Seaside. Once showered and refreshed, we Bears went off in search of food and beverages and, thanks to Jan for his research, enjoyed a nice dinner at the Fishwife Seafood Cafe.
Day 2 rolls out of Seaside at 7 AM since we have the most climbing on tap for today. Once again it was TTT time when Eric flatted about 2 miles into the ride on the bike path. We were actually quite happy with this situation since we liked having the team together and rode with a nice smooth pace through Monterey and Carmel before embarking on the scenic Hwy 1 through Big Sur. Our morning was rudely interrupted by the CHP going by at Warp 12 and we hoped there hadn’t been a Coast Ride related accident. We came upon the scene about 30 minutes later – a car had gone over the guardrail at the Bixby Bridge earlier that morning and dropped over 400 feet to the ocean below. The ocean had nearly swept it away and we found out later than one occupant survived and was flown to San Jose Medical Center.
That was the only sad note of an otherwise spectacular day. There was plenty of suffering through the hills of Big Sur but our pain was quickly forgotten and replaced with memories of incredible vistas, sunshine and smiles. Aaron stole away and was the first to arrive at lunch and Paul, Ken and Gardie snuck into the early break but were reeled in by the team and we rolled into Morro Bay with plenty of time to shower and then watch the 49er playoff game. We even managed to take over the TV room at Dorn’s Original Breakers Cafe when the fools at Rose’s Landing screwed up our reservation. Their loss – we had our own private big screen and a great group of teammates and friends to enjoy the food and drink and 49ers win!
Some serious recovery thanks to Max and his compression pants. They work wonders.!!
The morning of Day 3 we wondered if somehow we’d been transported to Alaska while we slept. The first hour of the ride was absolutely frigid (and once again Eric flatted, in a shady spot no less!) so the toasty warm Black Horse Coffee House in San Luis Obispo was a welcome defrost. We met up with Matt Carinio and a couple other riders here and cruised south into Pismo Beach with them. After our quick stop in the bustling metropolis of Guadalupe (where Jan took the town sign sprint) we continued south into Vandenberg and then lunch in Lompoc (where Gardie thoughtfully found another Subway and ordered sandwiches for everyone!).
The final miles went by fairly quickly once we’d conquered the long fast climb out of Lompoc. From the final KOM it was downhill or mostly flat to the 101 and where we covered the 20 miles of freeway shoulder at a brisk pace. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief to reach the Santa Barbara exit and it was practically a promenade into town where we were greeted by our good friend Randall Tinney, who’d been unable to join us for the whole ride due to illness.
“All smiles” Lundy, Special guest Eduardo, “Smooth rider” Paul, “Powertrain” Ken, “Every city sign is a sprint” Jan, “Big deck” Duane & “Captain Crunch” Phipps.
Showers, beers and mexican food were the reward after today’s ride and then it was time to load up the rental cars and return to the Bay Area. Another Coast Ride in the memory banks and the legs! Looking forward to the next one!
Many thanks to: Susie, Chris & Maciek for great SAG support!
Thanks to our great Coast Ride sponsors:
Achieve Performance Training & Coaching, Chamois Butter, Zealios skincare, GU gels, Hint water, Muscle Milk, Nature’s Bakery Fig bars, Osmo Nutrition, Sports Basement, Strava, ZEGO bars, Zico, Coconut water, 18 Rabbits bars
Special Thanks to: Scott Witthoff for organizing an amazing Coast Ride!!