The Santa Cruz Tour d'Organics ride yesterday was a good one, definitely easier than the Tour de Max I did a couple of weeks ago. I did the 60-mile route (5300' of climbing) which took me 4.5 hours riding time, but actually afterwards I thought I might have been able to make it on the 100-mile one, although it would certainly have been a challenge. There was also a 40-mile option, and the 100 mile route was just the 40 and 60 mile routes put together.
Here's the bikely route:
The first half of the ride was great, nice roads, good hills. The biggest climb of the day was Felton Empire Rd, which was about halfway through the 60-mile ride. I have to say I got a kick out seeing people's expressions as I passed them climbing and they realized I wasn't on a road bike. I may have some more converts to hybrids yet!
While waiting at the mini-rest stop at the top for my group, a woman driving the other way stopped and started berating us for the cyclists who had gone on ahead riding in the car lane (how dare they!).
One guy started arguing with her but it was futile. I just smiled and waved and called out "Thanks" to her. After she passed, I did give her a different kind of salute, although I don't think she saw me.
Riding on ahead, I had to laugh, as not only was there not a bike lane, there wasn't even a shoulder! And it was major downhills so everyone was going 30-40 mph anyway. Pine Flat Rd and Bonny Doon were a blast, the curves were so open and sweeping, no brakes needed.
After getting off of highway 1, it was mostly flat and a bit of rollers the rest of the way. The second half of the ride was not nearly as nice, as it was either along busy bike paths or busy roads (except for the detour through UCSC for the last rest stop). There was one place where I had to portage my bike across raised railway tracks. There was a lot of dodging of dog walkers and surfers on the paths, and clueless out-of-town drivers on the streets.
At one point while riding on easy flats by the water, my cell phone rang and I answered it, thinking it might have been the rest of my group wondering where I was as I had ridden on ahead. It turned out to be someone else, who I chatted to for a couple of miles. I've never talked on a phone while biking before, it was kind of funny but somehow felt really wrong.
The rest stops were very well stocked, lots of fresh fruit, dried fruit and nuts, peanut butter-banana sandwiches, potatoes and veggies with hummus and pesto, and Clif energy bars, gels, and electrolyte powder, plus a lunch at one of them. They could have had more water handy though, and one of the rest stops had their porta potty mis-delivered so it was about a mile away from the stop. The stops were at organic farms, although I missed one of them, on highway 1, as the signs weren't that great, apparently I wasn't the only one who missed it.
The post-ride meal was not as plentiful as the rest stops, but perhaps that was because my group was among the later crowd. Still, I'm not going to complain, since I'm vegan this was far more food than I would get at a typical ride.
Here's a few photos:
Love Apple Farm (the first rest stop):
Paula (me) and friend Albert at Love Apple Farm:
Julie, Paula and Kwan at the top of Felton Empire Rd:
Ice Cream Grade - no ice cream, but even better, 5.5 miles of sustained twisty 10% downhills ahead (Ice Cream Grade to Pine Flat Rd to Bonny Doon Rd):
Here's a familiar face - this is Barry, Tom (I think) and Tina at the post-ride meal. Tom is our "Bob Roll look-alike" from the Tour de Max. Last time he was on a mountain bike, this time he bought himself a road bike and did the 100-mile ride.