May 26, 2016
San Luis Obispo to Refugio State Beach
90.1 miles, 6:23 in the saddle, 3995 ft of climbing
Total Miles: 1197
Today was a big day, although that wasn’t my plan. My plan was to reach Lompoc, where I had enquired about the city run RV park, and was told that there were hiker/biker campsites available.
I left SLO around 7:45 after coffee, oatmeal, and a cinnamon roll at Peets Coffee. It was a perfect day for riding, and I enjoyed rolling out of SLO.
I stopped just before the route arrived back at the ocean for a quick, well, bathroom break beside the road. As I was doing my business (facing discretely away from the road and into the woods) I heard crashing noises like something big was moving my direction. Suddenly a deer bounded out of the woods just feet behind me, surprised to see me as I was him/her, did a quick u-turn and bounded back into the woods. Had I not already been doing my business I might have peed my pants. But luck was with me I suppose.
I really enjoyed rolling through all the Beaches, Shell, Pismo, Grover, and Oceano. They were neat little touristy towns.
Where the ACA route does a circuitous route outside Oceano, I decided to use a signed alternative that also seemed to be a nice short cut. It was great for the first mile, and then went up an abrupt, shoulder less, and very steep climb up a bluff. I was huffing and puffing up the hill in my granny thinking this maybe wasn’t such a good idea.
But soon enough I was rolling through agricultural lands again. Folks were out picking strawberries.
I found a cool little cafe in Guadalupe to eat my late breakfast. It was spotlessly clean and neat, while obviously well used. The lady serving me was quite nice.
I had the climb over Harris Grade Road to look forward to, and the tail winds picked up so that I was there in no time. Once on Harris Grade Road, I briefly had to fight the wind as it turned but soon it was in the hills and the wind wasn’t a factor.
Once over the hill I had to use caution on the downhill to Lompoc due to the gusty winds. I pulled into the Starbucks about 12:50 pm. I sat and debated going on. The next hiker/biker site is at Refugio, some 33 miles and a big 1000 ft climb over Gaviota Pass. But as I looked at the winds, up to 20 mph, at my back or at worse a quartering tailwind, I thought I could go on.
I needed food though, so I went to the Cajun Kitchen Cafe, a spot I had lunch at on the 3CR in 2014. I ate quickly as I wanted to keep moving while the winds were blowing. After lunch I went to the nearby Big 5 Sporting Goods and got a Freeze Dried meal for my dinner, and a Red Bull, which will give me a good boost if I’m starting to loose energy. I left Lompoc about 2:15 and headed up Hwy 1.
If anything the winds were an even greater help than I imagined. I was cruising up the gentle grades at 13-14 mph without much effort. On the steeper sections I still had the cooling breeze at my back. I arrived at the summit about 3:30. This was a turnaround on the 3CR ride, and the sign is still on the post there.
The descent was fast and over in what seemed just a few minutes. The winds became really gusty as I arrived at Gaviota, becoming severe cross winds that buffeted me about. Fortunately this did not last too long and after a bit of effort I arrived a Refugio about 4:45 pm. Logan had just finished setting up his tent, and was happy to share the wonderful beachside site. The only downside is the stiff breeze, that I thought would die down as darkness arrived, but as type this it seems to have picked back up a bit. The breeze is warm though, and from the north, or land side (the coast here is facing south).
I had no intention of doing such a big day, but it was really an enjoyable day, although a lot of hard effort to capitalize on the wind.