Happy 50th Birthday Grand Tour

Finally an adventure! I’ve been so caught up in working a lot and these other non-adventure projects that I almost didn’t do this one. Phew. I kind of love that feeling when you are getting your stuff ready and the rational part of your brain chimes in and is all, ‘Are you sure this is a good idea? Don’t you think sleeping in your bed would be nice?’

I rolled out of the house at about 930pm heading for Malibu, 30 miles west and north, to the 50th anniversary of the Grand Tour. It’s a city traverse for the first 15 and then 15 up the famous PCH. I was counting the number of Bentleys that I saw and then lost track when I got passed by a Rolls Royce. Oh Southern California why are you so crazy?

Where to sleep? Stupid sprinklers. I climbed over a half broken-down fence (still in spandex, mind you) into a nursery (the kind with trees, not children) and find a little covered area with hay on the ground. Score. I get out my mat and sleeping bag, change into shorts, eat my burritos and am horizontal by 1230am. The plan was to meet up with Brian in the am after he rode up from El Segundo, but my stupid nextel broke the day before and I couldn’t see his call nor his number to call him. I roll out of ‘bed’ around 530 to the sounds of bike shoes clicking in and out, get checked in, hide my bag and am off.

In 2005 I rode the triple century and in 2006 I rode the double with Brian and Jack. It’s a classic route, that I enjoyed this time more than any previous. It meanders up the coast, cuts inland back through Westlake and then over to Ojai before hitting the coast again at Carpinteria where the double heads south.

I thought I was leaving on time, but apparently all those riders I saw were doing the double metric (I was wearing my Paris-Brest-Paris jersey, figuring it was appropriate because I slept outside the night before the ride). I didn’t really see more than a few double riders till about 80 miles in. Then caught some more at lunch, mile 114. Still, I rode alone, which was nice. A double is long enough where I don’t spend much time worrying about all the other stuff I have to do. When I do 20 or 30 miles in the morning during the week, I am always thinking about what I have to do when I get home. Not on a double. It is like a vacation from myself.

I did ride about 10 miles with a 52 year old guy riding a Soma fixed gear. He bike commutes 18 miles each way to work. Total bad ass. The 50 miles down the coast to end the ride were beautiful in the stereotypical sunset coastal breeze California kind of way. After huffing and puffing about there being not a single vegetarian item at the post-ride BBQ (okay, there was plain white bread) I rode the 15 miles into Santa Monica and went to Whole Foods. A good day. I got in 250 miles in 24 hours toward my 1000 miles in 4 weeks goal I set. And I got to sleep outside, which always makes anything you do more fun.

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