Big Sur to San Simeon, CA
September 10, 2018
Distance: 60.9 miles
Elevation: 5807 feet
Moving Time: 6 hours 36 minutes
Conditions: Start — Sunny, 71 degrees F. End — sunny, 74 degrees
Today’s Takeaway: Hills are the bane of my existence.
Two years ago, my sister-in-law, Stephanie and I were biking a mile-long hill near our Arizona home. She was struggling, as most new cyclists do on a steep climb. Especially when her loaner bike was an old, heavy hybrid that was far from being conducive to mastering hills.
On that sunny day, I sensed she needed some friendly motivation, so I dropped back, smiled and told her that none of the cyclists in our family ever walk up hills.
“I want you to shout with me, ‘I’m not getting off this damn bike!'” I bellowed. She followed my suggestion — three times in fact. And she made it to the top without walking. To this day, when she and I discuss riding hills, we laugh at that ride and our silly phrase of determination.
Personally, I have never been good at climbing hills. And I never will. That’s why today’s 60-mile ride along the Pacific Coast Highway was such a challenge. I knew I was in trouble when I looked at the elevation charts on a map of the course this morning. The map showed two long, steep hills. One at the five-mile mark and the other 40 miles in.
Both were two- to three-miles long with consistent grades of approximately eight percent. That’s pretty serious stuff for an old cyclist like me.
I wanted to get off my bike and walk more than once today. But when the thought poisoned my approach to tackling the challenges of riding those hills, I could hear Stephanie scream, “You’re not getting off that damn bike, Joe!”
So I didn’t.
Today’s ride was long, steep, hot and windy. But, on the positive side, there was less traffic than the past couple of days. I burned almost 4,200 calories during the six hours it took me to complete the 60-mile course. But I finished, and I loved the experience.
And, as I have since I began my tour a few days ago, I met so many nice people who were riding scenic Highway 1.
Tomorrow’s ride toward Morro Bay should be much easier. Can’t wait to see how many memories I can make.