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Coast Ride 2014. 375 Miles in 3 days. Epic!

 

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!!

See you at next years Coast Ride!
Ken & Eric

Epic ThirstyBear Cycling Team ride and BBQ celebrating Amgen Tour of California

ThirstyBears ready for the ride out to Mt. Diablo.
ThirstyBears ready for the ride out to Mt. Diablo.
ThirstyBear Cycling plus friends.

 

Max leading the way for the ThirstyBears
Max leading the way for the ThirstyBears

 

Pictures of the race thanks to Ken Gallardo.

Christina – “Wired – but Not Tired”
Christina – “Wired – but Not Tired”
two mountain goats enjoying the view
two mountain goats enjoying the view
Denmark well represented on Mt. Diablo cheering for Michael Moerkov, Brian Vandborg and Johan Aaen.
Denmark well represented on Mt. Diablo cheering for Michael Moerkov, Brian Vandborg and Johan Aaen.
Some enjoyed the ride more than others
Some enjoyed the ride more than others

 

The crew after hammering it up Pinehurst Climb. Piers still smiling after his crash.
The crew after hammering it up Pinehurst Climb. Piers still smiling after his crash.
Christina and Adam after 75 miles with the ThirstyBears. HAppy to see they are still all smiles. Thanks for coming out and sharing the fun with us!
Christina and Adam after 75 miles with the ThirstyBears. HAppy to see they are still all smiles. Thanks for coming out and sharing the fun with us!
Some thirstyMini’s
Some thirstyMini’s

 

John Hughes, awesome job on the BBQ!
John Hughes, awesome job on the BBQ!

A HUGE hanks to Aaron for hosting and organizing an amazing ride and great fun BBQ party with friends and family!! Lets make it a ToC tradition…

Organic Brew from ThirstyBear – Cold beer after a long ride makes for the best sponsors a team can have.

Boys with toys…
Boys with toys…

View the entire photo stream from this epic ride and BBQ:

 

Quick video of today’s Stage of the ATOC at Muir Beach Overlook. Strong support local hero Nate English.

 

The Coast Ride 2013

The adventures of Phipps and ThirstyBears

In one word, the Coast Ride was awesome!

I had known about the “Scotty’s Ride” group doing the Coast Ride for several years, but had always had conflicts with training camp (at Morgan Stanley) or work. This year though, Jan Weissenberger (ZIPz Cycling) booked the rooms and arranged for a ride home for us from his wife Emily (thanks!!!) so all I had to do was show up and pay the $25 fee for the SAG to bring my bag down to the finish each day.

DAY 1. San Francisco to Seaside.

Coast Ride Stage 1
Coast Ride Stage 1

The Coast Ride has mushroomed in popularity over the past few years form around 55 in 2011 to 70 in 2012 to 130 in 2013!

On Saturday, I arrived at the GG Bridge at 7:30 AM and met my 5 ThirstyBear Cycling teammates (Aaron Long, Chris Lundy, Duane Coughlan, Ken Gallardo & Kyle Ashton).  After putting our 1 “small” bag allowed into the SAG van, picking up a few of the donated energy products from Zego, 18 Rabbits, gu & power bar, paying the $25 & signing the waiver we took a group photo and were on the road by 8:05.

The ThirstyBear Cycling riders Ken Gallardo, Chris Lundy, Duane Coughlan, Chris Phipps, Kyle Ashton and Aaron Long.
The ThirstyBear Cycling riders Ken Gallardo, Chris Lundy, Duane Coughlan, Chris Phipps, Kyle Ashton and Aaron Long.

One thing about riding with a group of 140, it’s hard to keep track of your buddies.  I had stopped to pee at the end of the Great Highway then tried to find Jan again and didn’t see him until the lunch stop in Davenport not knowing if he was ahead of me or behind (he was ahead).

 


After another pee stop in Pacifica with Aaron, we rode together and spent the next 15 miles bridging up to a large group we caught in Half Moon Bay just as Ken and Kyle were stopping for water. The large group we caught was paced by Optum Pro http://www.optumprocycling.com/  riders Ken Hanson (US Pro Criterium Champion) and Tom Soladay.  Now this was the train to be on for most of the way down the coast.  These 2 guys were more than happy to pull about 75% of the time at a steady effort (guessing 250W to 300W) for long periods of time with no surging on the hills or sprinting for signs, so for the rest of us in this group it was a nice moderate effort & we could just talk to the person next to us and take in the beautiful scenery.

 

 

 

 

After a lunch stop in Davenport and half a chicken tostada (thanks Alex!), we were rolling in a smaller group with the Thirsty Bear group, Jan, Jacob (Mike’s Bikes) and Tanya for the trip through Santa Cruz, Capitola and down to Seaside.

After motel check-in, waiting for the SAG to arrive with our bags then a shower, we headed out for dinner.  We completely took over the local Thai restaurant and thanks to Scotty’s planning had dinner served within a few minutes of our arrival.

 

DAY 2. Seaside to Morro Bay

 

Just a quick breakfast at the Holiday Inn Express and we were rolling out at 7AM on another cold, but clear and beautiful day.  The day 2 route is definitely the highlight of the ride and one of if not the most beautiful ride in the state.  If you haven’t done this ride before you need to!  The ride was very relaxed to Big Sur (32 miles in) where we stopped for water and then the 10 minute climb out of Big Sur (the biggest climb of the 3 days).  I pushed this climb a bit to catch up to a small group of mostly Fusion riders, then just sat on & took in the incredible scenery as I waited for the larger group to catch us.


A quick lunch stop for a sandwich and we were on our way again to Morro Bay.  We had a pretty good head/cross wind coming in, but again the Optum guys were at the front most of the time.

We were pretty famished upon arrival and after a quick stop in the motel to watch the end of the Niners game the group the group proceeded to take over the local taqueria, then the pizza place, then the Fosters Freeze.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 DAY 3. Morro Bay to Santa Barbara (FLAT!)

Coast Ride Stage 3
Coast Ride Stage 3

And by flat, I wasn’t referring to the terrain, though it wasn’t very hilly.  For me, the highlight of the final day was burning lots of kJs chasing back on.  Around 20 miles into the ride I discovered my rear tire had a slow leak.  A quick stop at the SAG for some air, and a SAG paced chase back onto the group (thanks Chris!) was the first hard effort of the day. Shortly after I caught back on Jacob flatted, so I stopped with Alex from Fusion and the 3 of us chased back in the slipstream of the SAG van, but after around 20 minutes chasing and just as we were about to catch the SAG, Alex flatted.  We spent the final 20 minutes to the next rest stop in Guadalupe chasing.  My rear tire was going flat again, so I got a new tire & tube from the SAG but had to start around 2 min behind the group, so I got a nice 20 min ITT (no SAG pacing) effort in.

Everything was then going great for the next 30 miles or so until a crash on the fast descent into Lompoc where 3 riders went down & at least 2 of them had to go to the hospital.  I have no idea how it happened.  I think Lynden McLaughlan (friend of Ron & Corey from Pleasanton) took the worst of it with a few cracked ribs & a punctured lung (wishing him the best for a speedy recovery).

 

A lunch stop and regrouping in Lompoc was followed by the final 50 mile slog into Santa Barbara.  Unfortunately, this was the worst part of the route (until we got into Goleta and exited) since we were on the shoulder of the freeway & it was covered with gravel & debris.  A minor wheel touch by a rider in front of Ken sent Ken and Chris down with a few scrapes & some blood, but we were able to bridge back to the group quickly, unfortunately, Ken double flatted just as we were getting back on.  I stopped & the 2 of us had a nice 2 man TTT effort over the final 50K.

Would like to thank Scotty and everyone else involved in putting this ride on and the SAG vans were great for providing water, food, flat tire assistance and getting our stuff to each day’s destination.

Overall, the ride was a great experience and I would love to do it again next year with a few more Thirsty Bears!

Chris

 

 

Ken and Phipps after finishing the last stage of Coast Ride 2013</p>
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Ken and Phipps after finishing the last stage of Coast Ride 2013