Centuries & such:
2002 Surf City Century Ride Report
(Sunday, September 15 in Soquel, CA.)
See also my photo album from this
My friend Kristin arrived at my place at around 5:30, and we pulled into
Cabrillo College, the ride start, at just after 6:30 (a detour on Hwy 880
added a little while). While driving south on Hwy 1 towards the college, we
were treated to one of the most spectacular sunrises I have ever seen - shame
my camera was in the back of my car! We checked in without issues, hit the
heads, and rolled at 7"15'ish.
We rode a short, confusing (but very well-marked) loop to catch some ocean
vistas, then headed south on MacGregor. The sunrise, while not quite as
wonderful as it was when I was driving in, was still very lovely, and I had to
concentrate on watching the road rather than the sunrise. A zig and zag or 3
later, and we continued on
Bonita Rd. This was a very nice, and narrow, road
that wound its way long a forested hillside. We turned onto San Andreas Rd.,
and after a foggy,
peaceful stretch, pulled into rest stop #1 at Sunset Beach
(15.4mi). This rest stop had hot coffee (always welcome!), and chai (which
I'd never seen on a ride before), a ton of pastries, some fruit, and Gorp,
which I availaed myself of. Kristin and I soon headed back out after
stretching and relieving ourselves.
We continued on San Andreas Rd. trending south'ish, through pretty farmlands.
After some more zigging and zagging (which was the same route as the 2001 CA AIDS ride), I arrived at Hwy. 1. I'd lost
Kristin a ways back, and decided to wait for her. And wait ... and wait ...
after a few minutes I figured something must have happened, as I wasn't riding
all that much faster, and after a few more minutes, I called her cellphone.
She was actually within sight when I rang her, and it turned out she indeed
had to stop to change a flat (she rides tubulars). We cruised south on Hwy 1,
enjoying the nice scenery and passing the very ugly (but sort of interesting)
power plant at Moss Landing, then turning off on Molera Rd, which took us to
rest stop #2 at Pezzini
Farms (31.4mi). This stop had a doctor theme with
very enthusiastic volunteers - always a fun thing! I briefly talked to a
woman who asked me about my California
Triple Crown windbreaker, then Krisin arrived, and after the usual
routine, we hit the road again.
The route jogged on a few streets, then picked up a bike path. I normally
don't much like bike paths, but this one was virtually empty, so there weren't
the usual hordes of rollerbladers and the like making things difficult and/or
unsafe. The path did, however, go through the town of Marina, and the road
crossings there were very badly designed, as turning traffic couldn't really
see what we were doing. Fortunately this was but a brief stretch, and the path continued,
following Hwy 1 along the lovely dunes before we left it, and had a fun ride
through the abandoned Fort Ord. I stopped to remove my windbreaker, as the
fog had lifted and it was now a nice temperature, and to let Kristin catch up.
I'd never been there before, and it was interesting biking through the mostly
deserted streets, looking at the entirely-deserted all-the-same
government-issue buildings. After a little while, we rode on some
newly-created streets (I imagine they're developing much of the former Fort
Ord land), here and there, and along some nice
fields. I'd pulled a little bit ahead of Kristin by this point, and
she pacelined with 3 other nearby women, who eventually caught up to me, and
the 5 of us motored along at a good clip until we arrived at rest stop #3 in
Salinas (51.8mi). This stop had a "Halfway to Hell" theme, with most
everybody dressed up in satan'ish costumes, which was most amusing. We hung
around for a little bit, enjoying ourselves, when the woman from rest stop #2
who had liked my CTC jersey pulled in. Her name is Naomi, and she proved to
be a most amiable woman. Before too long, Naomi, Kristin, and I pulled out,
my chain immediately fell off, and Kristin's tire exploded! This was
unfortunate for Kristin, as she'd already used her spare tubular tire, and
thus had no way to repair her flat. This marked the end of her ride (at least
it happened right next to a rest stop, where SAG was readily available!), and
Naomi and I headed back out.
After a couple of turns, we arrived at San Juan Grade Rd. Naomi had heard
that this was a 7mi climb, followed by a 7mi descent. That proved to be about
correct - my previous assumption that the 3700' of climbing on this ride being
entirely due to rolling hills was soon proved incorrect as we climbed the
lovely, but warm, poorly-surfaced, and shadeless road. We made good time,
however, and before too awfully long, we crested the real summit (as opposed
to the several false summits we encountered), and started downhill. This
wound up being possibly the worst downhill I have ever ridden with just
horrible pavement, a narrow road, and many blind corners. This would be a
super-fun descent if it was well-paved, however, it was not. It was still very
pretty, though, and we enjoyed it as best we could with our eyes threatening
to bounce out of our skulls. We eventually pulled into the lunch stop at the
Veterans Hall in San Juan Bautista (66.6mi). Lunch was a DIY sandwich affair,
with cookies and strawberries to spice things up. After food, relief, and
some nice long stretching, we hit the road again.
It was only 10 miles to the next rest stop, and, as before, we rode through
pretty farmlands, with the added bonus of an intermittent headwind, a common
occurrence in this area. There was a nice 500' climb along the way, but it
was short enough, and again,
very pretty, so we were
happy. Before too
long, we arrived at the last rest stop in Aromas (75.8mi). This also had DIY
sandwiches, leading us to think that perhaps it was the lunch stop for one of
the other routes. They had a Hawaiian theme here, and we had leis bestowed on
us when we got there. We didn't spend too much time at this stop, since it
was pretty close to the previous one, and after a stretch, we headed out on
the final 25 miles.
I was somewhat familiar with the roads heading from Aromas back to
Watsonville. We rolled along past fields, some
a nursery. We kept a more
leisurely pace, as we were both feeling the effects of our earlier
harder-than-usual efforts. We went through Corralitos, along Freedom Blvd.,
and north through Aptos on Soquel, arriving back at Cabrillo College at around
4:00. They had really tasty tritip strips, pasta salad, caesar salad,
mushrooms, etc at the end - yum! Poor Kristin had been waiting there for a
number of hours, but at least there was good food, a live band, and lots of
folks to talk to. I though it was funny that the Surf City Century never entered the Santa Cruz city limits.
Naomi left after a quick bite, while Kristin and I hung around a little bit
longer before driving home.
This was a fun ride - one I'd definitely do again (all the better that its a
fundraiser for the Santa Cruz AIDS Project!). The route was lovely, and the
support was very good.
||98.8mi (the route sheet said 103.5)