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It was May 12, 2012. (Strava map) Got up and out of the hotel in Carpinteria at 7:30 am. Had a pretty easy go of it to Ventura since I got a nice night's sleep. Had a meh breakfast in Oxnard Shores and then caught my second flat of the trip in Port Hueneme. Met up with Colin near the Rock at Point Mugu and we shot some great vid of me coming down the coast past the Rock. Truly a dream come true to have footage of me going past that landmark. Slowly made my way through Malibu and met my Strava hero Brian Perkins who was mashing away on his mountain bike when I met up with him near County Line. Split off from him at Point Dume to say hi to Steve Silver and I had a rest in the Malibu Bluffs park. I was trying to time my arrival home to 3:30 since there was a welcome home party waiting for me. Dropped in on Dean Makovske at Will Rogers State Beach and also took a break at the 5 mile out mark. As previously agreed upon I let Colin know when I was 5 minutes out so people could get ready. I rounded 2nd from Ashland and saw a few dozen folks out in the street in front of my house whooping it up. I rode by everyone and said I was heading to San Diego. Rounded the block for my 2nd arrival and from then on it was one long party that lasted to midnight. Such a great time. Had so many good wishes. I never even got out of my kit. Took me a long while to even get my riding shoes off. Daniel Sokolow had a few homemade beers with labels dedicated to my ride. What a cool thing to do for me. Found out the next day that we raised over 10K (40 kids' lives) thanks to a very generous old friend from Colorado. So proud to have done this ride. I have found that philanthropic work gives me the greatest happiness.

Smile Ride Notes Day 6 of 7

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Day 6 - Friday, May 11. Lompoc to Carpinteria. (Strava map) Had a great breakfast at the Embassy Suites. Left at 9:00 am ish. The ride through the Lompoc Valley past Jalama was gorgeous. I was worried about the climb up to 1000' before the 101 tunnel but it turned out to be not so bad. Met some cyclists who I've seen on the road alongside me at the Gaviota rest stop. Had a tail wind to El Capitan State Beach and I caught a break there while catching up with my parents who both communicated to me how proud they were. I was feeling great as I got back on the highway but as soon as I got up there I got my first flat of the ride. Changed it out very quickly and soon I was back on the road finding my way into Santa Barbara. Got a little lost but eventually made it to Steams Wharf where I ate my packed Subway lunch that I bought way back in Lompoc since there are no services between there and SB. I can't believe at one point I thought I could make it to Ventura by the end of the day. The road was longer than I thought and I didn't make Carpinteria until almost 5 pm where Colin had us set up for the night. CB's friend Evita came up from Ventura to visit with us and we had a wonderful dinner at Sly's Steak House on Linden Avenue. What an incredible meal. We had cocktails, (me - Belvedere martini, Colin - a Corpse Reviver # 2, Evita - a Sazerac) abalone, dragon kale, ripini, osso bucco, linguini ala vongara, sand dabs, a steamed choke, and a creme brûlée. Wow. Colin picked up the tab which was very kind and generous. I've raised 9K and I'm hoping on my last day to somehow get to 10K. Highlight: Making the Lompoc pass and thinking nothing of it - my last major climb of the trip! Lowpoint: Noticing after 58K that I had my bib shorts inside out. Doh!

The fundraising page is @ http://crowdrise.com/smileride

Smile Ride notes part deux

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Day 4 - Wednesday, May 9. Cambria to Pismo Beach. (Strava map) Got a very late start. Left at 10:30 am knowing I had a relatively short 47 mile day. Little did I know I would be hitting head winds almost the whole way so the day of riding was more difficult than I had imagined. Rode through Harmony and Cayucos. All mostly flat. Had lunch in Morro Bay where a seagull lurked the whole time wanting. Found my way to San Luis Obispo and had a blast riding on Turri road that meandered through open fields and hills with zero traffic for over 15 miles. Had a nice wide shoulder and the sun was out. Brought the winter layers and a shoulder bag for storage. Dropped into Pismo Beach around 3:30 where Colin had us staying at the North Pismo Beach State Campgrounds. It was a gorgeous spot. We jumped in the cold surf with Dan the Dog admiring us and I did some much needed yoga. Colin spent his time on the beach yelling into his phone. I hand-washed my Rapha kit while Colin prepped carne asada tacos which are my favorite things in the world. We set up camp (tent went up in just over a minute - with practice we'll have it to under 30 seconds), cooked, ate, tried to fall asleep. Highlight: Turri Road. Low Point: My GoPro battery going dead so fast! Fecker.


Day 5 - Thursday, May 10. Pismo to Lompoc (Stava map) Up at 6:00 am since I wasn't really sleeping. Foggy, rainy, 50 degrees. Tried to make espresso but failed after many attempts. I was on the road by 7:30 and miserable the whole morning. Highway 1 between Pismo and Lompoc was mosty Agro-industrial traffic at that time in the morning so I was constantly getting buzzed by trucks and there was no shoulder for many miles. It was horrendous. The worst riding conditions so far. Passing through Guadalupe depressed the shit out of me since it's a town that is in obvious decline. Had a great breakfast in Orkutt at a place called Jack's where a travel writer named Barbara interviewed me and photographed me and my bike. Climbed up Harris Grade Road which was the best cycling of the day since there was very little traffic and it was a perfect winding climb up to about 270 meters. Had a nice descent into Lompoc and I briefly visited the Purisima Mission State Park. Colin got us a room at the Embassy Suites and I spent the afternoon doing laundry, organizing gear, and trying to recover. We had a nice meal at an Italian restaurant down the street called La Botte where I did some serious carbo loading. High point: The climb up Harris Grade Road. Low point: Leaving Pismo cold, wet, and miserable.


Help me raise money for Smile Train: http://crowdrise.com/smileride


Notes from the Smile Ride

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Got a chance to write down some notes on the SF to LA solo bike ride I'm doing as a benefit for Smile Train.

Day 0 - Saturday, May 5. Driving up to Marin. Late start. Left at 11 rather than 9:30. Drove up the 5 with Colin and his elegant Italian Greyhound Dan. A Taco Bell lunch in the Central Valley. Colin had orange Dorito tacos. Stopped at North Beach in SF after almost bypassing the city via the 580 north and got great parking right by the Columbus triangle park. Had a Moretti on draft and some calamari at a lovely place called Pellegrini's where passersby and our waiter had is shocked by how friendly they all were compared to Southern Californians. We rolled out of the city by 6:00 pm and arrived at the Reillys' in Mill Valley around 7 pm. 9 year old Mason barked at Colin on how to properly park his car in the shared driveway. We sighted a couple banana slugs along the way up to their house and found out that the two kids were a couple of energetic firecrackers. Bill and Meghan were most gracious, offering us beer, wine, great food and music all through the night and before I knew it the clock was striking midnight. Had an awesome 1998 Rodney Strong cab along with some other gems. Slept in Farrell's room and woke up the next morning in a hungover state. Highlight: bbq chateau briand with the Rodney Strong. Low Point: Leaving LA so late.

Day 1 - Sunday, May 6. San Francisco to Santa Cruz. (Strava map) Pancake breakfast with the Reillys. Hilarious. HUGE banana slug on the Reilly driveway that Colin shot with his iPhone super 8 mm app (link to come) Got to the north end of the Golden Gate and left around 9:30 am. Colin almost got a ticket for going 8 mph while trying to shoot GoProo video of me. The reason he didn't get a ticket is because the officer was called away to assist in a pedestrian accident that involved yours truly who was waiting for him on the south side in the parking lot. As I was calling Colin on my cell phone to meet up with him, a woman in a large SUV backed into me slowly and I had to yell for her to stop. If she had gone six inches more my newly tuned bike would have been destroyed. One more foot and she would have snapped my right tibia. A bus full of Chinese tourists emptied out and scolded the driver. I was pretty pissed at her as well and a couple officers wanted assurance that I was okay before we both moved on. I found my way south to Ocean Beach not really following my map and soon enough I was trucking my way. Perfect weather. Low 70's and Sunny with a little tail wind from the north that got me to Half Moon Bay before noon - two hours ahead of when I thought I'd get there. Along the way I had a couple nice climbs through Daly City and Pacifica. Met up with Colin and Dan at Sam's in Half Moon Bay where we had a nice lunch and I had a couple beers which was a little too much for me (learned my lesson) - The ride from HMB to Santa Cruz was long and scenic. Got chased by a husky that scared me for a few hundred meters. Pedalled into the Santa Cruz and felt wiped out. My legs locked up right when I crossed the city limits. I had my doubts about making Big Sur on schedule for the end of day 2. I was hiding it from Colin and maybe myself. Recovered as much as I could for a couple hours in a nice room at the Sea Way Inn in downtown Santa Cruz before heading out to a great Chinese dinner at a place that a friend of Colin's recommended called O'mei. I had some great red chili dumplings that were superb and a chicken mu shu. Colin went with shrimp fried rice and a chicken with cashew nuts. Our surly Chinese waitress was a hoot and Colin was in love. Turned in early determined to get up early for Day 2. Never even went out to see the Santa Cruz wharf, its boardwalk or beach. Highlight: Getting underway/crossing the Golden Gate. Lowpoint: My legs cramping up in Santa Cruz.


Day 2 - Monday, May 7. Santa Cruz to Big Sur. (Strava map) I was up at 6:30. Had breakfast at the hotel and was on the road to Big Sur by 7:30. The town was a ghost. Made my way through Soquel, Aptos, and Moss Landing where I took a break and admired a huge colony of sea lions. Beyond Moss Landing on the way to Monterey were large fields of artichokes where I was eating flies every other fifty feet. Got my nasal breathing down there as much as I could. Found my way through Seaside, Sand City, and Monterey. Had to stop many times to refer to my map and ask people for directions. Everyone in Northern Cal seems to be tuned in. SO nice. I met a great truck driver named Manuel while grabbing a breakfast burrito at a taco truck outside Monterey and he gave me some great perspective. Dropped into Carmel by the sea for a rest by the beach and a deli lunch on my own. I was to meet Colin and Dan the dog in Big Sur for a night of camping. On my way from Carmel to Big Sur I had a scary moment with a couple of double trailer earth movers who had me screaming for my own life. Luckily Colin had found us the perfect campsite at the Big Sur Campground right by the Big Sur river where we dove into the chilly waters and sunbathed on a rocky shore. He had out campsite all decked out and ready to go by the time I arrived. A two man pop up tent that you can stand up in. a table decked out with beer, wine, double burner stove, and a Coleman lamp. Colin had a new grill on our fire pit where he cooked up huge baked potatoes, ribeye steaks, garlic asparagus, and flammable whiskey. Colin has turned out to be the most perfect companion and friend for this journey. Recovered well and was in the tent a little after 9 pm. Highpoint: Jumping into the Big Sur River after a tough day of riding. Lowpoint: Getting buzzed by the double trailer earth mover.


Day 3 - Tuesday, May 8. Big Sur to Cambria. (Strava map) Highway One south the whole day. On the road at 8 am. The inimitable Colin Remas Brown stayed behind to pack up our camp. It was foggy and cold along the coast for most of my ride. I could only hear the Ocean. Disappointed since this was supposedly the most dramatically scenic ride of the trip. Ah, well. Wore my arm warmers, leg warmers, a wool jersey, and long fingered gloves. Lost my favorite Craft winter lid that I've had for 8 years. The traffic was far less busy than I thought it would be. I was nervous at the start of the day since I knew I'd be riding south with a pretty narrow shoulder. Had a much needed lunch in Goleta around 11 am and had to climb up to 1000 feet a couple times which drained me big time. Saw sea otters in the wild for the first time. Somewhere along the way I fell more in love with California and its coastal denizens. There was very little trash along the way. Super courteous drivers. Never got brushed aside once. Stopped at Hearst State Beach in San Simeon before riding into Cambria for the night at the Fog Catcher Inn where we've got a fireplace, a spa, and a great view of the sunset. Colin quickly noted that the tourist population in Cambria is exclusively retired. We are quite the outsiders here. After a great al fresco dinner a the Moonstone Grill we toured the beach here and spotted some harbor seals and brush rabbits.  Highlight: The descent from Ragged Point to San Simeon when the sun finally broke out for me and I caught a perfect tailwind to take me home. Low point: Almost taking a little poo in my bib shorts.


The fundraising page is @ http://crowdrise.com/smileride

Rough Smile Ride Route

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A friend of mine at work suggested I post the route I'm taking in case people were interested.

Day 0: Saturday, May 5 - Drive to Marin.  (overnighting @ the Reilly house?)
Day 1: Sunday, May 6 - SF to Santa Cruz - 82 miles (hoteling)
Day 2: Monday, May 7 - Santa Cruz to Big Sur - 82 miles (camping)
Day 3: Tuesday, May 8 - Big Sur to Cambria - 75 miles (hoteling)
Day 4: Wednesday, May 9 - Cambria to Pismo Dunes - 47 miles (camping) 
Day 5: Thursday, May 10 - Pismo Dunes to Solvang via Lompoc - 75 miles (hoteling)
Day 6: Friday, May 11 -  Solvang to Ventura - 76 miles (overnighting @ the Cruts house?)
Day 7: Saturday May 12 - Ventura to Santa Monica - 65 miles 

Would love it if anyone could join me during any of my rides.  Don't forget to support my cause at http://crowdrise.com/smileride

Solvang Century 2012

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Get down down.

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