Lots of guys not only from To Be Determined, but racers in NYC in general, find ways to make it out to the West Coast for a spate of riding in the California sun in the winter and early part of the racing season. Finally, my turn came for a bit of Best Coast goodness last week.
Taking advantage of a work trip to the Bay Area and the Easter Holiday, I was able to string together four days of riding in San Francisco. The rains from the prior week had passed, and I lucked out with clear blue skies, temperatures in the mid 60s, and some of the most picturesque riding not only this country, but the world, has to offer. One of my favorites routes heads north from San Francisco, through Marin County and up to Point Reyes National Seashore. The first half traces a route through ancient redwood forests, rolling farmland and expansive reservoirs. The return leg is even more picturesque, as the road back to San Francisco follows Highway 1, also known - for visually apparent reasons - as Shoreline Highway. From the sinuous road a few hundred feet above the water you can drink in breathtaking views of the Pacific's rocky shore.
While only an 80-mile loop, the sort of terrain involved takes far more out of the legs than any 80-miler we do around NYC. It's not only a matter of the climbing that's done, but the steepness of the climbs in the area that makes the difference. My legs definitely took a flogging.
All in all, it was great to be out there, and great to experience the easy camaraderie that binds us all as cyclists. Toward the end of my ride, just before reaching the Golden Gate Bridge, a guy rode up beside me. "This is a lot better than Central Park, eh?", he joked. It turned out he was a Bostonian transplant and was familiar with the team from the big regional races like Tour of the Battenkill and Green Mountain Stage Race. As for his comment, with all due respect for NYC's beloved urban oasis, I can't help but agree with him.