Today's 94 mile ride started with another legendary climb--up the Evil Twins about ten miles from the start. The road was our path back over the mountains to the coast. The landscape through rolling hills was a great plus, as it serves as a wonderful distraction from the climb itself. And since I'm not really moving that fast, I can easily let my gaze wander.
At the top of the second twin, we stopped to take photos next to a sign that said "half way to L.A." People were lined up at least 25 deep at each sign to hoist their bikes over their heads in triumph for getting there. I had the unfortunate experience of climbing up on the boulder and raising my bike over my head 4 times because my camera malfunctioned. Luckily we did get it working.
On a clear day, I was told that point is an amazing vista out to the coast and the ocean. This morning the fog was low and creeping around a bend in the road. Our reward, aside from the photo op, was to ride down through the fog on a very long hill with a nice wide shoulder.
Overall, it was a pretty jovial day. Most of the rest of the day was pretty easy riding. The fog wasn't quite as dense once we got on Hwy. 1. Gilligan's crew must've thought they were on an island, as it appears they were stuck at a rest stop. The roadies there did a great job with the costumes and props including a old-style multiband radio.
We rode back inland a bit before lunch, past a set of peaks known locally as the "Seven Sisters." They surrounded the college we stopped at to eat. Then we had to ride through a military base, where they told us "stay in the group, no stopping and no pictures." Okay. Like a crew of ALC riders have any interest in the base beyond getting back to the road.
While riding in that area, a lone woman was sitting next to her van on a wide shoulder. When each rider went past, she yelled, "thank you for riding for me." Whew.
There were other subtle and not so subtle signs that people along the route were paying attention to the ride. People on the street would clap occasionally or yell supportive comments, a man dressed in riding gear was offering different power bars, Advil, and goo than what we usually see from the trunk of his car, and kids were all around in the towns, especially near schools cheering and yelling greetings.
This report wouldn't be complete without commenting on the bad joke of the day. I had heard there was one more "short" hill to contend with around mile 80. Every time we hit rollers, I wondered if that was it. But no. I rounded a curve and looked up at a very steep hill about 3 blocks long. From a couple of blocks away, it looked like many people were walking. When I set off on this ride, I determined that I want to ride every last mile of the ride. I dropped into granny gear--hooray for granny gear--and powered on up. I learned this evening that the road has a 21 percent grade. I know that's about the steepest hill I've ever ridden. That felt great!
Tomorrow is "red dress" day and only 67 miles. Ahhh.