Welcome! I’m Oli, and in August and September of 2013 I’ll be cycling down part of the West Coast of North America, from Vancouver, British Colombia, to just shy of the Mexican border – Imperial Beach, California. I’ll be using this space to plan, and to pass back info, as I go.
Return flight at 10am San Diego time.
Got up at six, cycled up Mount Helix, and watched the sun rise.
Went to bike shop at 10 to pack up George. Spent first hour cleaning him. Not a proper wash, but a reasonable attempt. He has picked up a lot of knocks, which means a fair bit of touch-up paint when I’m back.
The owner Joe has owned the store for 8 years, and before that worked in various other bike stores since he was a teenager. He said there wasn’t really a ,mechanic school, you just sort of learn as you go, but that the majority of repairs are the at the basic end of the spectrum.
Next up comes the wrapping (half hour), and then wrestling with fitting George into the box Joe had provided. Half an hour later, various combinations tried, and still no joy. It seemed to boil down to needing the box to be long enough to accommodate both the inverted frame and the rear wheel. The box I had, at 52″ long couldn’t quite do this.
Thankfully bike boxes vary in size with frame type (road is bigger than mountain) and frame size. I went across the road to Performance cycles and got a box for a 60cm framed bike (big! – 59″ long) and everything slotted in fine. At this point Peggy arrives, worries that it had been 3hrs since she had dropped me off and she had yet to hear from me! With the right sized box everything fitted within it, and it was packed and taped up inside of ten minutes. That included..
2* water bottles (filled with small loose bits),
1* seat post,
2* spare tyres,
3* spare inner tubes,
4* pannier bags, 1* saddle bag, 1* bar bag,
1* roll mat,
1* sleeping bag,
Lunch – ranchos huevos – at the Mission Cafe, run by a friend of Peggy’s. More chat about life. Back to Peggy’s, via postcard shopping. Found out US had won Americas Cup. A quiet evening in.
Took off racks, bottle cages, and mudguards from George, ready for fuller packing tomorrow. Also sorted my stuff into carry-on, checked bag (which I’ll have to pay $100 for), and stuff to go in the bike box.
Played some pickup. Showed Dave+Peggy the game. Pulled my calf.
Takeaway pizza for dinner.
Left around 10am. Cycled out through La Mesa, San Diego, some other places, past the salt plains/mines. Nearer the border it moves from city to ranches, and then empty space.
Salt mines were cool.
Saw a ROADRUNNER! 🙂
And the plant that makes Ricin (a poison) from.
Got to the bike shop about ten minutes before they closed at 6. Chatted to the owner, he said he’d be happy to provide the box and some packing. Peggy said she had some bubble wrap. I’ll be back on Wednesday morning to pack up George, ready for flying on Thursday.
Odometer… 3411 km
Distance… 91.7 km
Time taken… 4hrs 37mins
Climbed… 424 m
Avg speed… 19.8 kph
Avg HR… 105 bpm
Despite getting in at 3.30, Rob, the nutter, got up at 6 to go surfing. I slept in til 8, and got up as he returned.
First thing I realise that day is that the washing is done, in a machine – woohoo! It’s the small things, but so nice to be able to put on properly clean clothes — thanks Jana and Rob!!
Tidied up, hung out with Rob and chatted about his previous day where he had been watching a League of Legends gamer competition. Despite the strongly geek-leaning audience, it sounded like it was a good spectacle.
Then we headed out to the Naked Cafe for lunch with Jana, Rob and Kristen. Lunch was super tasty – I had their chicken and avocado quesadilla.
Rob drove me to the edge of San Diego, and I biked the last 5 km to meet Peggy. An easy ride, especially with Mr Garmin working again (south of LA he had been very temperamental, complaining of unroutable roads). Along the way I went down a 16% hill, which led into a bowl – ie every way out is a climb, and some bright spark had put a stop at the bottom of the bowl. Gee. Thanks. What a waste of potential energy.
Peg and I met in the old town, outside of the San Diego House Coffee and Tea shop at 3 pm. We sat and chatted, swapping travel stories for about an hour before jumping on the bikes and pedalling the 12 pleasant miles out to La Mesa where she lives. Oh, and I should have said earlier, its been bright sunshine and clear skies all day, a pleasant 27C in the afternoon.
At Peggy and Dave’s we chatted a bit of science, climate change, mitigation, Google, political systems, etc. Interesting stuff, and tasty dinner.
Odometer… 3319 km
Distance… 26.2 km
Climbed… 276 m
Time taken… 1 hrs 19 mins
Avg speed… 19.9 kph
Avg HR… n/a
Did very little.! 🙂 Stayed at Rob’s til mid-avo.
Went for a walk in the hills with his wife Jana (he was off at a gamer get-together in LA) and a friend Kristen.
Dinner was with Jeff+Kristen at Rendezvous, a tasty Chinese. Then back at the house about 10
Rode the 44km into Carlsbad. I rode the first 20km over military bases that skirted the freeway.
Once I was forced/allowed (both, in equal measure), to join it I saw a black 4*4 pulled up king the whole of the shoulder. Grrreat. I was going to have to pull out into the traffic. Move accomplished and thinking of suitable derogatory comment for driver when Lo! turns out it was Victor-the-Ferrari-mechanic from the car repair company I had met outside of Malibu! He was on his way to San Diego, had spotted me and pulled over especially to say hi and wish me luck!
As came through Oceanside a bicycle shop owner spotted me and shouted “nearly there, keep it up!”, and then as I got into Carlsbad I met two guys in their 50s who were riding Santa Cruz — San Diego, credit-card style who were friendly. Another set of the countless examples of the friendly nature and generosity of people out here.
Despite having a taking-it-easy first riding hour I had arrived in Carlsbad early, around 11.15, so grabbed food in a diner. Pumpkin pancakes, with bacon on the side, in honour of Kelley’s big 3-0. Sorry I couldn’t be riding with you to celebrate it pal! Tasty, but slow service, got out of restaurant at 12.
Dashed the 5km up to the pitches (on the top of a hill). And straight on! Then played 1.5hrs of pickup ulti, 3 teams of 7, play 2 points, then switch. Good fun, and seemed to fit in okay, and felt good to be on a pitch again. But about 10mina from the end I got really bad tightness (not full cramping) in my left calf.
Then drove to Rob’s, chatted for an hour or so whilst he showed me round his new baby — Grand Theft Auto 5. Then a quick shower and lots of rolling pin action in that tight thigh before cycling – well, mostly freewheeling! – the 6km downhill to downtown Encinitas.
Nice enough town, rode around, then grabbed a very late lunch (a green veg smoothie, like mum used to have…mistake…yuk!, a slice of cake, a beer, and some nachos) before the ride back up the hill.
Sat and chatted with Rob, his wife Jana, and their business partner. Sounds like exciting times for them, just setting out on the lath of their own business. Risky, but I have a lot of respect for them, and unsurprisingly Rob is reading everything he can to become an expert on it double-quick!
We headed out around 9 and grabbed some dinner at a local mexican place. I finally got around to chimichangas — I’d been loving burritos too much to give one a shot, but glad I did, it was good. Back to the house, and more GTA5, this time me playing. Good immersive game, but I’d rapidly become bored if there weren’t missions to do. I’m so not goal-orientated :p
Odometer… 3293 km
Climbed.. 408 m
Time taken.. 2 hrs 33 mins
Avg speed.. 19.8 kph
Avg HR.. 109 bpm