Ramble Update – Arroyo Grande, California

Ramble Day 16. Miles cycled: 153

Coming to the end of my third night in Arroyo Grande. New Year’s Day and the following day were my first back-to-back days riding.  It was clear I needed a recovery day when I got into Arroyo, and after checking in, and looking at the state of “Lemuel’s Ramble” and other things, I decided to take two of them to catch up on other things.

The ride on New Year’s Day was a challenge.  There was about a 500 foot climb over a mile and a half within the first 5 miles of the ride.  The shoulder of the road was super narrow in spots, and the traffic was moderately heavy (or seemed so).  The need to generate enough speed not to swerve when cars were passing was exhausting for me on the steepest grades.  I stopped at least 10 times over that 1.5 miles.

But, I figured, a couple hundred yards at a time if necessary.  I knew it was pretty smooth sailing on the other side of the mountain… which it was.  Just about all downhill from the summit to Morro Bay. I got in with about an hour of daylight to spare for my first night in the tent.

I’d put off camping several times due to weather and/or lack of campgrounds.  When I got to Morro Bay State Park Campground, I couldn’t have picked a better night for the first time. 

I rolled up to the kiosk, and was given a bike-in space with no problem. The weather was beautiful (if a bit cold). I took my time setting up camp.  The tent was easy to pitch.  The Exped mattress had an issue with the one way inflation valve… but thankfully, there are two separate chambers, and only one side had the issue.

At any rate, I set camp up with relatively little pain, and was happy to find Door Dashers around to bring me some Taco Bell. The previous campers had left wood, so I lit a fire and sat there for a while before retiring early.

Sleep wasn’t fabulous. The pad and down quilt kept everything warm, but my hand, which I always sleep with outstretched (sleeping on my side), was freezing, and kept waking me up. Various efforts to keep it warm mainly led to different forms of discomfort. I haven’t been a tent camper for some time.  It’s going to take some getting used to.

I’d anticipated an easy 26.2 (an unplanned marathon) mile, relatively flat ride the following day.  In truth, I wouldn’t say it was insanely hard, but it was definitely more of a slog than I’d imagined it would be. A moderate headwind for much of it didn’t help, and “relatively flat” was fairly hilly for someone in my condition.  Tack on the fact that it was the second leg of my first back-to-back days, and very little sleep… about 7 miles from the hotel, I was on fumes.  Thankfully, it was a beautiful day, and the views from the bluff over Avila and Pismo beaches made the final few miles bearable.

The knees are holding up.  They aren’t great, and it’s still as painful to walk as it was before I left.  But the cycling doesn’t seem to be affecting them much one way or the other.  So, I’m going to go for 3 days in a row starting tomorrow with a short, 20 mile ride to Santa Maria.  Hoping to make Santa Barbara by the night of the 7th.

Stay tuned…

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