Approaching the age of 50 is a daunting prospect and something I wanted to approach by doing something bold. Something that would really challenge me. Call it my mid-life crisis, but I needed to do something… big and on my own, unsupported. A Gran Fondo, if you will, but on my own terms.
So, This past May, I set off on my journey, a ride that would take me 710 miles, across the Golden Gate Bridge, through a grand scenic tour of San Francisco, then down the coast of California, eventually finding my way to San Diego and the Cabrillo National Monument at the top of Point Loma.
Sure, there are many people out on the road trekking across the country; some do it on group rides, where everything is taken care of for you. Others are on solo rides, roughing it, and they are doing it on every type of bike imaginable and traveling in every possible direction (inspiring me all the more).
So why was this one so different? …Well, It wasn’t. But… this was my turn, my chance to challenge myself, an opportunity to face the challenges that came before me, whatever they might be, from riding day after day in places I’d never been, to the mental and physical demands that were sure to come. What would happen? How would I deal with them? I wanted to see for myself, I wanted to try.
And so I did. After spending a great deal of time studying maps, making plans, revising plans, re-revising plans and spending a great deal of time on Google Earth, I settled on my official route: San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Monterey, Big Sur, San Luis Obispo, Lompoc, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles and San Diego.
My bike: a 2011 Scott Speedster S30 that I purchased from A Road Bike 4U a year before. Sure, it is not a touring bike, but I would make it work. I would travel as light as I could, adapt the bike for the journey with a rear rack, panniers and a mere 30 lbs of equipment to get me through.
So, on May 7th, I got on the Amtrak heading north, my bike boxed up and my journey begun. Next stop: San Francisco for the start of my grand adventure.