Itinerary:  October 11 – Santa Cruz to Monterey – 45 miles (gain/loss 2,300’)From Santa Cruz to the Monterey Peninsula the coastal route weaves through farmland (watch for artichokes!) and along scenic dune areas with long stretches on bike paths. With the shorter mileage today, you’ll have plenty of time in the afternoon to explore the historic Monterey Peninsula, including the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Cannery Row, made famous by John Steinbeck.
Accommodations: Monterey Bay Lodge, 55 Camino Aguajito Monterey

Day 2 – Santa Cruz to Monterey

I woke at around 4.30 am, after 6 hours sleep, which wasn’t too bad, but also not too great either.  We met for a nice breakfast in the lobby of the hotel around 7 ish and then met John an hour later for the usual check  the bikes and briefing.  There didn’t seem to be anything wrong with my bike, just a bit of grit in it, which I had cleaned out beforehand anyway.

We set off about 8.45 am..  We had a good giggle as everyone got back on their bikes and  ‘ooohed and aaaahed’  at the discomfort of various parts of our bodies. It was pretty hilarious as you can imagine. We were all complaining saying that our legs were stiff and that it was going to take us a good half an hour to an hour to get our legs warmed up, which it kind of proved to be right.

Today we cycled through some pretty, varied farmland.  The vegetation in the fields were strawberries, artichokes, cabbages and cauliflowers.  The fields were absolutely massive and some looked like lakes reflecting in the sunshine as they were covered with some kind of cellophane to protect the vegetation.

There was no big shakes on the terrain today which was pretty flat – only a few ‘ups’.

The ride was pretty uneventful, apart from everyone’s aches and pains.  There was only one puncture, which was on Keith’s bike.  We had to call John to repair it because he had had a puncture yesterday and John said if it went again he would need a different inner tube.  When we called John, he wasn’t far away and came and spent a bit of time sorting the tyre out. This was about a third of the way through the ride and we stopped for mid-morning break.

We weren’t really going very fast at all today and we all stayed together for most of the ride.  There were no break-away or slow groups and everyone was just taking it easy.  In fact we were all looking forward to getting some rest when we got to Monterey.

We stopped about half-way, around 23 miles, in a place called Castroville where we saw a nice Bohemian style tea shop but John was waiting for us at another tea shop further down the road that sadly didn’t look as nice.

As we arrived a little later than planned, the coffee and cake turned into an early lunch. I am not sure if the lady in the restaurant was usually rude and short with her customers, but amusingly she was with us!

Castroville – Lunch at Moss Landing
The Bikes

The ride carried on after lunch fairly normally and we eventually got to Monterey at 2.30/2.45pm.  Everyone gave out a loud cheer when we arrived and Alan said “oh….so this is what it’s like to finish a day of a ride!!!”.  A very amusing moment for us.

We didn’t see much of the coast at all today and it seemed we were cutting inland across through the farmland.  The last 13 miles or so was on a special cycle track, which was nice to get off the hard shoulders of the roads. However, I must say the hard shoulders have been a lot better than I thought it was going to be and the surfaces have been ok. That’s probably put the bockers on it now – let’s hope not.

We all got our rooms at the hotel/motel, which is a two storey building – and can you believe where our rooms were? Yes, on the first floor.  So we all had to shlep our bikes up the stairs to put them in the room and then the same with the luggage.  It felt like I wasn’t going to damage myself cycling, I certainly might have pulled a muscle or done my back in shlepping the stuff up the stairs!!!

The aches and pains list:

Me – The usual aches in the legs and twinges in the back.

Around 6 of us were suffering with a mild headache today, even though we were drinking loads.  Possibly a combination of tiredness and our bodies kicking up a bit of a fuss.

Most unexpectedly, my right wrist is sore from leaning forward and putting pressure on it from the normal cycling position and also my arms are surprisingly stiff.

David Black seems to be flying and doing very well.

Alan was much better today and coped really well, especially as there weren’t any big hills.  Also now that Alan has had his back gear cassette changed on his bike this should make a difference for him.

Everyone elses aches and pains are to be expected and nothing too major yet – thankfully!

Oh…….and maybe I shouldn’t mention this, but our under-carriages are a little bit sore and I suppose this is par for the course! Hopefully this will harden off over the next few days!!!

Only 338 miles to go!

All-in-all, a very successful day for all.

The stats for today were:

Distance – 46 miles,

Speed average: 11.2 mph

Time: 4 hours

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