The miracles of my circumstances

Day 31, San Francisco to Half Moon Bay, 25 miles

Three rainy restful days in the city. Or the City. Angelina has said I must be an East Coast’er because only we would call San Francisco “the City”. Hmm. So what if I’m pretentious. Anyway, over the weekend, I stayed at my friend Debra’s house in the Berkeley Hills for a couple days, walking to a breakfast joint, enjoying a bakery or two, a couple farmer’s markets, making pizzas for a Swing-themed party at the neighbors and just in general sleeping and recouping from the push of my non-stop ride down from Arcata. Sunday I caught the BART over from East Bay and met Dan for croissants at Tartine, after waiting in line at least an hour. That evening I stayed with Anisia in the Sunset, just a block from the beach. Good to catch up with my Corvallis friend, but I found myself blushing on more than one occasion as she asked me about my new love. She recalled how jaded about romance I’d been last time we talked. Guess I hadn’t me the right woman yet.

I start out early this morning, knowing it’s a short ride to Half Moon Bay, but also a little leery about my legs. Will they hurt too much, having not used them for three days? To my pleasant surprise, they are up and ready to tackled the hills. I cruise the beach on the Great Highway, Route 1 as it skirts the peninsula. Then I hit the long climb over Daly City, over quickly as my legs have found their full strength again, I descend into Pacifica and stop at the Chit Chat Cafe, a favorite on my tour. I log into the computers back at the restaurant, try to get a bit caught up. I’ve been offline for awhile, not checking in, and to my delight everything seems to be going well. I have a good team managing the shop in my absence.

I ride south, over a low hill, then down to Pacifica Beach, a favorite for surfers. Then the tight narrow climb over the headlands to the Devil’s Slide. The highway is busy, with no shoulder and blind curves all the way. I shift down and muscle up the hill, noticing a couple other cyclists, seem to be touring with no bags. A supported tour maybe? At the crest I opt for the tunnels this year, knowing I’ll be back soon. I’m riding this coastline again next week. Jennifer has decided to join me for the stretch from San Francisco to Los Angeles, her first touring experience. We’re both pretty excited to head out on the road together.

I blast through the tunnel, over a mile long, very high tech, almost Kubrick-esque, something out of a space odyssey. Or a vintage bicycle odyssey. Mostly a descent, the tunnel bypasses the old horrendous passage called the Slide for the very reason it was constantly sliding into the Pacific. I’m out of the tunnel, descending the steep curves along the coast toward San Mateo and Half Moon Bay. The last miles to the park are fast, clear skies and light breezes. A joy to cycle on a day like this.

I get to the camp and set up in the hiker biker, noticing a large group of cyclists also in the main camp, and Adventure Cycling tour. Thought so.  I meet Dave and Alex, spend time laughing and catching up on our rides. Then a walk to the beach. Waves thunder as they crash into the rough sands. I sit above the beach on a tall dune and enjoy a Skype call with Jennifer. Again, so amazing to see her face, looking back from my phone. Video calling, space age come to life. And certainly helps bridge the distance. As do our plans for a tour together. We are giddy. Lingering, not talking as much as gazing at the phone. Emotions welling. I’m getting chills, from the winds that are rising, and from this passion. We finally break away from our call, only to resume texting later.

I walk back to camp and hear someone yelling at me from over at the Adventure Cycling camp “Is that Ocean?” “Yeah, who are you?” “Sarah” “Sarah who?” “Burch” My cycling BFF! We are now laughing and hugging, my friend from a couple years ago, met on a dating site, then following each others blogs. She’d been touring for a few years, then picked up a couple tour leader positions. I never thought she’d end up on the same tour as I was, at this same beach, at this very evening. Serendipity. We hug and laugh, and look forward to riding the next couple days together. Another bicycle touring coincidence. Almost enough to make a this die hard atheist, or optimistic nihilist, believe in destiny. Almost. I retire to my bed with a wide smile, laughing at the miracles of my circumstances.


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