Day 32, Half Moon Bay to New Brighton Beach State Park, 56 miles
So hard to sleep, the moon shining now, brightly, my excitement over the tour. I’m now over a month in, and fully ready to keep riding. And have a very special friend joining me, next week. So hard to sleep. So why bother, I get up, strike my camp and head over to Peet’s Coffee, but not before poking my head into Sarah’s tent, gloating about my early start. We’ll pass each other down the road, no doubt, as she rides with the Adventure Cycling group.
I spend too much time in the comfort of the coffee shop, almost 2 hours. Not blogging as I’d planned, not getting much done, save charging the batteries and downing some great coffee. Alright, time to roll. I jump ahead of the traffic light, head south down Route 1. Just passing the road to the camp and a cyclist rolls in behind me. Sarah! She laughs at how I left 2 hours earlier, and just got this far? Too funny. We end up riding together, and I pick up my pace. She notices we’re riding much faster than the slowest in her tour. I say it’s because it’s flat, and that I want to impress her. More laughter. But I’m also feeling my legs, strong and ready for a rigorous ride.
The highway climbs out of Half Moon Bay, and Sarah and I keep riding together. I’ve got Cloud Cult blasting on the Bluetooth speaker, a band I’d introduced her to. The sun is shining brightly, winds starting to pick up, at our tails though. Going to be a great day. “What better could it be? Sunshine, cycling the California Coast, Cloud Cult on the radio!” Sarah muses. I add, “Cycling with my BFF Sarah!” We’re flying now, up and over with rolling hills, high above the crashing surf. Such a blue sky! Then the big hill before San Gregorio. Sarah blazes up, and I begin my crawl. We end up playing leapfrog, passing each other several times, as she stops to check messages.
The miles fly, and the hours pass so quickly, effortlessly. Even though I’m pumping lots of effort into my pedals. Sarah rolls up and asks me, “So tell me about your new romantic interest?” “Oh so you want me to blush,” I reply, blushing heavily. Laughing at this delightful ride. At having this moment, to be flying along a highway, with a friend, anticipating next weeks ride, with my lover. Beaming, I’m simply beaming. Sarah passes me again on the long hill after Big Basin. I bear down, climbing steadily.
Over the crest, now I’m flying again, must be a 20 mph tailwind. I pass my favorite spots along the Cabrillo Highway, Pescadero, Bean Hollow, then I see the factory looming, Davenport! And the Whale City Bakery. I look for Sarah, don’t see her there. Could I have passed her again? I’m joined at my table by Bob and Judy, two members of the Santa Cruz Cycling Club, riding with a broom to sweep off the highway shoulders. We share stories, more laughs. Then I jump back on my bike, flying the final ten miles to Santa Cruz. I hit the town, don’t take any detours into the bike lanes, instead stay on Route 1, Mission Street, dodging traffic and continuing my pace.
All the way to the Staff of Life, where at last I stop. So hungry now! I look at the cycling computer, amazed at the pace I’d kept for 50 miles. And my peak speed down a particular windswept descent, over 44 mph. Whoa! I fill a box at their amazing buffet and enjoy a break. Just a few more miles to Capitola and the campground. I cycling the easy distance, then roll up to the park, perched on a bluff high over Monterey Bay. I’m setting up as other cyclists roll in, some I met at Half Moon Bay.
The sun sink over the horizon, the sky is suddenly aflame. I grab a picture and send it off to Jennifer, who gasps in text speak, “!!!!!” Amazing how much can be said with so few words. Ah, the anticipation. I bought her train ticket earlier today. She’s coming down on Tuesday. We are beside ourselves. A new adventure awaits.