Nice to see another rider traversing the West Coast utilizing a B.O.B. trailer.
Dan Malloy overlooking San Francisco on the #slowisfast trip. Photo by @kanoazimmerman
Taking seven days to ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles by bike. By balancing.
During this trek from San Francisco to Los Angeles, I completed my biggest week of riding ever in terms of mileage and elevation. While I’ve likely been faster and more fit, especially when I was riding competitively, last week is a new kind of physical accomplishment. As I’m resting a case of Achilles Tendonitis this week, I’m enjoying a rehash of the trip by way of the data. Here are the general stats.
|Days||Total Mileage||Daily Average (Miles)||Total Elevation||Daily Average (Feet)|
|7||508 Miles||72.6 Miles||22,391 feet||3,199 feet|
Looking at the information below, I note a couple things. The majority of the elevation gain is in the northern “half” of the route and our average speed increased as the trip progressed. I attribute this increase in average speed partly to less elevation gain, but also to tailwinds. Particularly later in the day, they were notable. I remember thinking to myself on several occasions that I was glad we were headed south. This is one argument for picking what seems to be the predominant direction, north to south, at least during the summer.
I also feel the mileage we chose for each day was about right. It was enough to make good progress in a limited time frame, but no day was monumental and the shorter days afforded us some physical and mental recovery time. I wouldn’t have wanted to add or remove a day. Click on the Strava icon to see complete ride details for each day.
|Day||Segment||Mileage||Elevation||Average Speed||Strava Data|
|1||San Francisco to Santa Cruz||85 mi||4,291 ft||13 mph|
|2||Santa Cruz to Carmel||56 mi||3,002 ft||12.8 mph|
|3||Carmel to Ragged Pt.||
|6,224 ft||12.9 mph|
|4||Ragged Pt. to San Luis Obispo||61 mi||2,070 ft||14.8 mph|
|5||San Luis Obispo to Lompoc||61 mi||2,096 ft||14.3 mph|
|6||Lompoc to Ventura||90 mi||3,081 ft||14.2 mph|
|7||Ventura to Torrance||79 mi||1,627 ft||15.0 mph|
As I mention in my ride report for the first day, it took some time to get in the mode of thinking of this as a tour. For me, touring came to include backing off a gear or two, stopping to take a photo, resting or relaxing, eating a full meal, slowing to chat with fellow riders on the route and the like. Most of my rides at home have a purpose: getting to work, training for an event or simply working to stay fit. There was always, of course, a purpose on this route as well, such as getting to the next lodging stop, but there was also more time to simply experience the present. The only thing we had to do each day was ride and we had the flexibility to take time along the way as we saw fit. I must say the days that involved more stoppage time were generally more memorable and more rich. Thus, I put together one last table to ponder how we spent our time covering and getting acquainted with this space.
|Day||Segment||Mileage||Moving Time||Total Time||Stoppage Time|
|1||San Francisco to Santa Cruz||85 mi||06:23||10:58||04:35|
|2||Santa Cruz to Carmel||56 mi||04:24||05:39||01:15|
|3||Carmel to Ragged Pt.||76 mi||05:56||08:52||02:56|
|4||Ragged Pt. to San Luis Obispo||61 mi||04:07||05:00||00:53|
|5||San Luis Obispo to Lompoc||61 mi||04:17||05:41||01:24|
|6||Lompoc to Ventura||90 mi||06:21||09:23||03:02|
|7||Ventura to Torrance||79 mi||05:18||06:24||01:06|
All this week I’ve been thinking about last week. The Sunday after we finished was the strangest day. I didn’t miss being on the bike, but it was strange to be still. I noted a few disjointed thoughts throughout the week, which I’ve captured below, to take a shot at summing up the experience.
As I wrote before I embarked on this ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles, I chose to carry my gear using a B.O.B. trailer largely because it was equipment I already had. We came across a number of different individuals doing some version of the route we were on heading both north and south. I didn’t see another rider using a trailer. Having never used panniers, I’m not sure if this makes me a maverick or simply uninformed. In any case, the trailer was functionally excellent. Here are a few pros and cons going with this method based on my experience.
Perhaps as a partial celebration, we broke from habit of eating modest fare for our big meal of the day to going a little upscale on our last night on the road. I didn’t think there was a next level after the burrito I ate for lunch at Romanti-Ezer, but we managed to rival or surpass it with dinner at Lure Fish House in Ventura. Being from Colorado, I grew up landlocked many miles from large bodies of water. The only plentiful fish around was trout and I like trout, but I’m definitely a chicken and beef eater. Said another way, I can do fish, but I will always pick the steak if it’s an option. For this meal I chose Arctic Char, as steak was not an option. I was pleasantly surprised. If you like a meatier fish without fishiness, this wriggler could be for you. With a side of roasted brussel sprouts and a quinoa salad, we joked that we were definitely doing it ‘Tour De France’ style for our last dinner.
Being that we had a big day ahead of us, and Lompoc wasn’t conducive to lounging, we were doing our best to get outta Dodge by 7:00 am. I think we managed a time closer to 7:30 am. It was cool, the clouds were low and it was misting - the closest we have come to precipitation the whole trip. After rolling through a few neighborhoods, we were headed up the last big climb of the trip.