2014 Year in Review – Riding home from afar

Vegas / Joshua Tree / OC 600k, then the ride home to Solana Beach 

From a smoky casino on the Vegas strip to my front door, and all 445 miles in between. Well, except for the 10 miles I was shuttled over I-10 at 3 AM in a ferocious windstorm. From the sheer desert beauty and utter remoteness of the Mohave National Preserve, to a desperate battle against sleep as I rolled through Joshua Tree, to the struggle to keep hold of my bike from absurd blasts as I walked up the shoulder of I-10 up the pass, like a CNN hurricane reporter without the camera. Then, the 200 more familiar miles, through Orange County, down the coast, and to my front door.

This was the second time I’ve ridden back from Vegas, both as part of a brevet organized by Willie from PCH Randos. Heading southwest in the desert is generally a questionable idea…as it will more often than not involve lots of headwinds. This year was not a disappointment. But the sheer scope and breadth of the ride, the palpable feeling of the oft-overused “epic”, the joy of rolling up to home after spending countless hours suffering through the travails of the desert. Incomparable.


SLO to SOL – Red Eye Return

It’s long been a goal of mine to ride from my family’s home in the bay area back down to San Diego. The logistics have always made it challenging to pull off. But getting to San Luis Obispo is only a matter of an 8 hour train ride. Only problem: it arrives in SLO at 9 PM. But I like the night, right? Packed with lights, calories, and water, I embarked from the SLO train station into the long night. The beautiful central coast terrain passed by unseen, and I began to struggle to stay awake in the early hours of the morning. I used an upcoming Ventura Starbucks as a carrot – I knew it would be 5 AM by the time I got there and coffee and warm food would be readily available. With concerted effort I was able to pull through. Caffeine and the dawn were all I needed to pull me through the remaining 150 miles. The sunrise came as I headed down the beautiful rocky coastline toward Malibu – and all that remained was the neverending slog through LA, followed by the familiar coastal cruise through Orange County, North SD County and back home.