Wednesday, August 20, 2014

DAY 25: Samual P Taylor to Home

Sorry for the delay on this final blog post. I was too busy being at home watching TV and petting my dog last night to get in to that. So in case you missed all other outlets of social media from myself and others involved in this trip... we made it back to SF! We got up at our normal time yesterday morning and ate our breakfast / packed up at an unusually prompt pace. We tried our best to consume the last of our food before rolling out to crush our last leg of our journey.

We had camped that night with a dude named eric (who I had mentioned in my previous post I believe) who was doing this ride on a fully loaded fixed gear. He decided to ride with us up to the bridge. The ride itself was pretty uneventful. It was a ride that most of us had done many times and it was mostly through marin suburban areas. Some of it on bike paths, most of it on established biking roads. It was pretty much a cake walk and everyone was all business about getting home.

We tore through marin all the way to the bridge and stopped to get a group photo before traveling through tourist hell back to the san francisco side. Now we were in super familiar territory as most of us were close to home. We grouped up once more at the conservatory of flowers in golden gate park to say our goodbyes to sabah, matt, and jan before the rest of us headed in to the mission. It is still unbelievable to me that we just ran in to jan at an IGA outside of seaside and asked him if he wanted to have lunch with us and then he ended up becoming part of the crew all the way back to san francisco.

All in all, the trip was a raging success. No one got injured or sick. There were a surprisingly low number of mechanical issues with the bikes and the ones that came up were handled accordingly and no one got stranded. This trip was quite a bit different than any of the other non-supported tours I have been on completely based on the size of our group. It turned out that none of the problems that I was really worried about were problems at all (gear breaking, sickness, injury, personality clashes, difficulty finding places to camp...). All in all, rolling with the large group proved to be a really positive experience. Everyone got along. If someone was bugging you, it was easy to just talk to someone else until any hard feelings passed. Every night was basically a party. Rolling with so many people made us much more visible on the road and worked to our advantage when crossing sketchy areas like bridges and tunnels. We also ended up receiving lots of notoriety among other cyclists doing the route. Apparently people were talking about "the large rowdy group" around distant campfires haha.

However, just for anyone who was wondering what challenges we did face as a large group, I'll throw some out there in case you were planning to do a similar thing yourself. The biggest challenge that I saw had to do with time management. I intentionally kept mileage low (around 50-60 a day) on purpose to keep things relaxed and fun, but it turns out when you add a bunch of people to a group that time not spent biking gets sucked up really easily. Instead of two people stopping to use the restroom or get food somewhere, you are a traveling potty line. Every time you stop the forward pace of the group you can expect to sit there for 20 minutes to an hour. It is inevitable that someone has to take a 15 minute shit, or just wants to run in to a store and grab something, which leads to 6 other people doing the same... basically, in the future if I were to plan a trip for a large group again I would probably shoot for something more along the lines of a 40 miles a day. That was actually the only real challenge of the group. Small things that would typically come up once every few days that take up time for a one or two person group come up every day (sometimes multiple times a day) with a large group and before you know it 4pm rolls around and you still have 20 to 30 miles to ride for the day. Also, all of that starting and stopping really wears everyone out. Every time you get off the bike and back on, your legs feel like that want to burst off of your body.

So yeah, this is it for this portion of the deadly rigs saga. I have to say, this was probably the funnest bike tour I have a ever done and I owe it all to matt, pat, george, tod, jan, jessica, sabah, julia, charlie, jason, and joel. You guys really made this trip a blast.  This tour was one of the more physically challenging tours I have done as well. I'm not sure if that is because I am over 30 years old now, or if it really was just ridiculous amounts of climbing. Either way, it was pretty tough.

Just to throw these tidbits out there... my favorite parts were definitely the lost coast (even though it was brutally hard to ride), the southern oregon coast, and the avenue of the giants. These parts were the shit. Washington was generally my least favorite along with anywhere near charleston oregon. That shit was just weak.

So this is it! Final post of the trip. I'll holler atchu all next time this blog comes to life!

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