Century #2: Pescadero Loop

MVIMG_20180519_122301.jpgIt was a stunningly beautiful Saturday Ride. Just over 100 miles and 7500 feet of total climbing for this last ride training for AIDS LifeCycle 2018.

We started in San Francisco and hugged the coast riding through Pacifica and Half Moon Bay before arriving in Pescadero. The winds were behind us pushing us forward and keeping the sky clear enough for the stunning ocean vistas. We stopped in  Pescadero (2 miles inland) for a delicious meal and light stretch before turning back around.32883729_1017210975104927_4923802382749401088_n.jpgAbout 10 miles after Pescadero, we turned inland on Tunitas Creek Road for the big climb of the day. It’s 5 miles through a (thankfully) quiet road alongside a creek and under a dense forest canopy. This hill was tough but I was tougher. I’m not a particularly fast climber so I was alone for most of the climb and I welcomed the time to meditate. Fortunately, I was also well hydrated so I had to stop to pee at least 5 or 6 times; I used each pee break as an opportunity to reset and catch my breath. In fact, I was so well hydrated, I also had to stop and pee on the way downhill, breaking my well-earned descent on the other side of the summit! We made another stop in Woodside for another refuel and stretch before riding the last 30 miles home.

Believe it or not, the last 30 miles were the toughest! Heading back home in the other direction those winds turned into headwinds (ugh), the fog had crept up above the hilside, pretty much obstructing any warmth we could get out of the sun that will still out but hiding. And while not nearly as steep or challenging as the hill I’d just completed, my legs and lungs were already completely spent.

This was taken before that big climb – see how cheerful I still look back there?MVIMG_20180519_122423.jpgAs I struggled for these last 30 miles, I went back to my meditative mind and started my gratitude list:

  1. See that bearded guy taking the photo? That’s my friend and team mate, Adam. He rides about twice my speed and is an incredibly strong rider. But, he’s also kind and keeps slower riders like me company, cheerfully carrying conversation and support as needed. He gave me caffeniated gels, played music and kept my pace while I struggled through those 30 miles and through it I was too tired to say thanks. In fact, when we got to SF and was about to part ways, I may even have rushed through our goodbyes – I was afraid if I stopped too long, I might not be able to get back on the bike. But, he’s not alone in this behavior…
  2. See those incredible people on the Pescadero photo above? That’s about 10% of Team ALCAholics. EVERY SINGLE PERSON ON THE TEAM is incredibly strong, kind, compassionate, giving and soooo loving on our rides. I am so inspired to see them taking that same approach to their lives in general and know that it is a privilege to be in their company to get to soak up all that energy up close.
  3. Just the day before this ride, I received a package in the mail and received these very special socks: 33170050_10157441902464829_8624833524857307136_o.jpgIf you didn’t know, that’s my daughter, Kaye’s, face. They happened to be a perfect match to my team colors from last year so I chose that to wear on the ride so I could wear the socks right away. They gave me joy all day everytime I saw them as I bent down to stretch or squatted to pee. I was also definitely still laughing (mostly on the inside) thinking about them on the home stretch.
  4. I ALMOST made it all the way home, but about 102 miles into the ride and 2 miles away from home, I had to make another pit stop. By then, it was just my team mate, Patrick and I so we stopped at a Peet’s for hot cocoa and a wee. When I finally made it to the bathroom I knew that my legs were done and I would not be able to talk myself back on the bike that day… thankfully, McKay (best husband ever) was home and able to come to my rescue. I know just how fortunate I am to have his support while I take away most of our date time 6 months out of the year to go on training rides. It’s even sweeter to know that when he’s in town I also have a ride home if needed. Extra bonus surprise when I fianlly made it home: I had a Hello Kitty Sticker Book waiting for me. That’s true love, folks!

Though on the outside, I really couldn’t express joy or happiness during the last part of this ride, repeating this meditation in my head is what kept me going; without it I might not have finished 100 miles. So, now I’m glad to have this (actually, eventually) happy memory to reflect on so I can go back and tackle Tunitas Creek. again. with less exhaustion. Next year. Maybe.

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