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Dec 25

Merry Christmas from San Diego!

Merry Christmas!!! I hope and trust everyone is enjoying their Christmas, or lack thereof, wherever in the world they are!  I am in San Diego! That’s right I made it!  I’ve been greatly enjoying my first morning in almost two weeks not on the bike, celebrating of course, with a cup of coffee.  I’ll be off the bike here for at least a few days getting ready for the next stage of the adventure, but today?  It’s Christmas.  I fought to be here so I plan to enjoy it.

The Race to Christmas

I rolled into my sister’s driveway yesterday afternoon, and an hour later found myself in the hot tub (that’s right her house has a hot tub) slurping on a beer, reminiscing about the 1059.7 km of road between here and San Francisco.  It had been a pretty grueling 11 day journey with no rest days, but it got me “home” for Christmas.

The last four days from Lompoc were pretty tough on the body – 470.5 km in 4 days will do that – but for the most part I just put on cruise control, let Tony do all the work for me, and watched the kilometers fly by.  You might think that the hardest day would have been the longest – the epic 145 km day from Malibu, through LA, to Dana Point – but you would be mistaken.  No, the most difficult day was THE DAY OF WIND from Carpinteria, through Ventura and Oxnard, to Malibu.

It was meant to be an “easy” day for me, just a little over 100 km, most of it very very flat, but the winds changed all that.  That day the term “head-wind” was redefined for me.

Old Definition: head wind – A wind blowing directly against the course of a moving bicycle.

New Definition: head wind – An unyielding and impenetrable wall of climatological fury, comprising of an immense physical force that is only surpassed by its infinite powers of demoralisation.

Riding out of Oxnard I found myself facing straight into a strong easterly wind on a 10 km stretch of farm road.  By all accounts this road looked innocent enough – it was a perfectly flat, perfectly straight stretch of unbroken tarmac passing between sunny strawberry fields and a blue cloudless sky – but it was hell.  It took over an hour of hammering away at a gear that is usually reserved for long steep climbs for me to traverse the short distance.  It was supremely demoralising.  Every inch was a battle, and every gust an added insult.  Every smiling person driving past me in their comfy climate-controlled motor vehicle was laughing at me, mocking me for my indubitable impotence, giggling over my pathetic glacial crawl towards hysteria.  Eventually though, with a flurry of spanish curses and a tantrum of pistonics, I arrived at the end of the road and triumphantly rounded the corner.

And then it got worst.

Back on the curving coastal road, riding around Point Mugu was actually a little scary.   Going around each bend I would be smacked with a wall of air that would very nearly knock me off the bike.  Then I would be hit again from the other side and bombarded with a deluge of skin tearing sand and stinging sea spray.  My front panniers became sails, and my boat was veering all over the shoulder.  This went on for kilometer after kilometer after kilometer.  In the words of piglet, it was a blustery day.

After THE DAY OF WIND, the next two days were a breeze.  It was simply a matter of putting in the hours on the bike, eating enough food, and sleeping for 11 hours each night.

So now I am in San Diego, it’s Christmas Day and the sister and I are off to our aunt and uncle’s house for Christmas lunch/dinner.

Perfect timing.  Because I am starving.

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