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.
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.
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!)
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!