Itinerary for October 12 – Monterey to Big Sur – 45 miles (gain/loss 3,200’)

Today’s ride begins with a side trip out to scenic 17 Mile Drive to experience the storied golf courses of Pebble Beach. We’ll continue through Carmel, enjoying its white sandy beach and beautiful mission. South of Carmel, we enter the fabled Big Sur coastline and ride some big hills with the Pacific Ocean crashing well below us (watch for sea otters!) before finishing our day among the redwoods in Big Sur.
Accommodations: Big Sur Lodge, 47225 Highway One, Big Sur

Route for Day 3 – Monterey to Big Sur

Well all I can say at the end of Day 3 is ‘What an amazing day, wow,wow,wow – fab,fab,fab!

Here is the story of the day:

When I woke up at 5.30am after a reasonable nights sleep I felt fairly refreshed and ready to start my day.

We began our ride at 8 am by cycling through Monterey along a cycle track. This was a good way to start the day as it was a relatively slow ride. There was quite a bit of traffic at times but the views of the cliffs going down to the edge of the beach and the houses were beautiful.

We made our way to a very famous 17 mile drive through the Pebble Beach complex of golf courses.  The houses were spectacular and the views amazing.

After 10 miles (at 9.15am) we arrived at Pebble Beach Golf Clubhouse overlooking one of the first tees.  We sat outside, as it had warmed up a bit to eat a great breakfast.  The restaurant was really lovely with excellent food and the scenery was stunning.

Lovely Smoked Salmon, Egg and Fruit Breakfast – mmmm!

We left Pebble Beach at 10.45 am, after a very relaxing breakfast, with the knowledge that we only had 35 miles left to go.

We continued around the coast, taking our time to see breathtaking scenery.  We had beaches on our right and cliffs on our left, both merging in some places.  The waves were crashing – it was spectacular.  The houses on our left, just 10m away from the beach were beautiful.

After around 20 miles we got to highway 1, which is where the harder cycling started.  The weather was good and we had just our cycling shirts and shorts on as there was no need for any other layers. There was a lot of heavy traffic flashing past us so we stayed on the hard shoulder or cycle lane on the right in single file.  We managed to do this quite well and it wasn’t too much of a problem.  Even though we were on the highway, the scenery continued to be spectacular.

We didn’t stop for lunch as we had had the big, late breakfast and we topped up with fruit and energy bars.

Alan found that his new rear gearing really helped.

I was thinking a few times during the day that it felt like I was on an actual cycling holiday (a proper holiday) looking at all the  scenery and taking it all in and apart from the really big hill, the cycling wasn’t too strenuous at all.  It was just so enjoyable. It was nice to have a bit of a relaxing day.  It feels like we are all acclimatising quite well.

I am feeling ok and the legs are coping.  It is hard up the hills, but that was always going to be the way.  My biggest concern at the moment is my back, which is giving me a few twinges after around 45 miles, but they seem to go off after a while and I shall keep my eye on that in case it worsens.   I shall do a bit of extra stretching and maybe try and adjust my riding style so I am not so bent over and keep a bit more curvature in my back, which may help.

After around 35 miles, we came to the really big challenge of the day, which we had been talking about ever since we started.  This was the first extra-big hill (even though John said it wasn’t as steep as previous hills, just longer!)  and was around a mile long, just a relentless climb.  The only way I can describe it is,  for anyone who has been to a spin class, that there is a resistance of 18 or 20 for one mile, taking around 5-7 minutes to get up the hill.  It was a really satisfying climb, a lot of burn in the legs, but eminently do-able and we all managed to get up to the top.

Top of Hurricane Point – The first big climb!

Once again, from the top, the views were gorgeous. Wide open vistas, sea crashing and the stunning hills as usual.  It was a clear, sunny day and everyone was pretty euphoric.  We stopped to take pictures and whilst we were doing this, there were a couple of ladies who wanted to have their photos taken with us, which was quite funny.  Wherever we stop, we have people asking us, ‘What are we doing?, Where are we going? and Where have we come from?’ and they are all very nice and encouraging .  We all seem to be loving the experience, which is great.

All of us at Hurricane Point – we had made it!

After the climb, the reward was that there was a lovely long, long drop down.  What was funny was that the road sign said 25mph maximum and my speed was 28/30mph without pedalling.  So, I was in fact – speeding!  I think this was a first for me on my bike so that was fun.  Once we got into the next valley we had another climb out of it and although it was a lot shorter in miles, it felt an awful lot steeper than the last one and that hurt quite a bit more for me, especially as my legs had relaxed during the downhill bit.

After the valley the cycling was much easier all the way to Big Sur .  As an aside, the name Big Sur came about when Monterey was the capital of California when the Spanish were in the USA years ago and Big Sur was originally called the Big Country to the South and over the years it has got shortened.

Carmel
End of Day 3

We arrived at our lovely Lodges – wooden chalets, in the middle of a picturesque redwood forest, where we all showered and stretched and felt a lot better for that ( I did try to book a massage for my legs and back, but sadly they were all booked up).

Deer at Big Sur Lodge
Richard R at Big Sur Lodge

Info on today:

  • I forgot at one point to take both cleats out from my pedals and managed to keel over onto my left-hand side. I felt a complete idiot falling over again, but fortunately didn’t hurt myself.
  • Near the end of the day I was pushing my trip computer to see what all the stats were for the day and it didn’t seem to be working so I kept pressing it. What had happened was that my light had swivelled round over the top of the counter and it wasn’t releasing, so each time I pressed it, it was clearing instead of moving round the screens. So, I unfortunately cleared everything for the day and all the cumulative data aswell.  This is not the end of the world, but, as an accountant, I do like to know what is going on with numbers!!!
  • A landmark number was that I passed 2000 miles on my bike, which is quite satisfying to know that I have achieved that.
How Many?!

The sleeping arrangements for the night are a little different than before as the chalets take up to 4 beds in each.  Before, the sharing arrangements were:

  • Richard P and Lewis
  • David and Keith
  • Richard R and Daren
  • Craig and Stuart
  • Neil and Alan

Tonight Alan and I are sharing with Richard P and Lewis, Craig and Stuart are still together – aaah! – and Richard R, Daren, Keith and David are altogether too.

We ate supper at the restaurant in The Lodge as we couldn’t be bothered to venture out to find anywhere else.

The weather has changed a bit with a bit of light rain, but nothing too bad.

We have been briefed a bit by John about Day 4 and we think this will be the hardest day at around 80 miles with two big climbs – so watch this space!

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