David Johnson's Travel Blog
Bicycle Trip 1999
Okefenokee 2002
Anza-Borrego 2003
Texas 2003
Road Trip West 2003
Sequoia National Park 2004
Hiking Florida 2005
Nomadic 2005
Bicycle Trip 2009
Bicycle Trip 2010
Nomadic 2010
Little Bicycle Trip 2011
02/07  How I spent my weekend
02/08  Three States and a River
02/11  Welcome to the Desert
02/12  A Cold, Hot, Dry Day
02/13  29 Palms
02/17  Joshua Tree National Park kicked my butt
02/18  Canyons, Farms, and more Desert
02/19  See, this is why I gave up on the van
02/20  It snowed
02/25  Temecula to Oxnard
02/26  Not nearly tough enough
02/27  Solvang and Buellton
03/06  (pictures)
03/12  (pictures)
03/13  (pictures)
03/14  (pictures)
03/19  From Solvang to Lompok
03/20  Nothing to Report
03/22  (pictures)
03/23  (pictures)
03/25  Technical difficulties
03/26  Pleasantly Not Soaked
03/27  Another Shortcut
03/28  (pictures)
03/30  (pictures)
04/01  (pictures)
04/04  (pictures)
04/05  (pictures)
04/08  Toxic Orchards
04/09  Los Gatos Road
04/10  Summits
04/12  CalTrain
04/15  San Francisco
04/16  Almost Car Sick
04/17  Pinnipeds
04/19  (pictures)
04/22  (pictures)
04/22  Terrorists Stole My Jelly
04/23  A Little More Peddling
Wisconsin Bicycle Trip 2011
Bicycle Trip 2011
Nomadic 2011
Kayak Trip 2012
Nomadic 2012
Liverworks Productions
Nomadic 2013
Liverworks Productions
Texas Pig Hunting
Bicycle Trip 2014
Bicycle Trip 2015
Biking West 2015
Chickens and Pheasants 2016
Biking About 2016
New Zealand 2016
Kayak Trip 2017

Not nearly tough enough


tl;dr: After cycling all morning along the California coast I decided to peddle up a mountain. I failed.

At no point today was I far removed from other people. Much of the California coast is laced with bicycle trails, and those trails are heavily used. As are the roads they often parallel.

If you add up every bicycle I saw in every one of my previous trips I doubt if it would reach a number half as large as the number of bicycles I saw today. As expected, most of the bicycles I encountered were racing models with riders in full bicycle-weenie garb. As with every sport I expect many participants to submerge themselves fully into the culture. But cycling thwarts my understanding. Ninety-nine percent of cyclists I meet outside of a direct urban environment are dressed like candy wrappers. Is this some rule? I think I was more bugged by the fact that all of these cyclists with all of their light bikes and friction-free clothing were going down-wind. Certainly, I was passed a few times (as I go very slowly), but nowhere near as often as I statistically should have been. Lazy bicycle weenie hipsters. End rant.

I also came across a few homeless folks. They were drying their gear.

My route brought me from Oxnard through many coastal towns into Santa Barbara. With a head-wind every mile of the way.

In Santa Barbara I stopped for a few minutes near the beach to admire the tourists. Though it never rained (for once) and was actually sunny it was still kind of cold and windy. It was amazing how many people were out and about. And then I turned inland and was more amazed. I followed State street for a couple of miles through tourists and fancy shops and stop lights.

My goal was to head out of Santa Barbara into Rattlesnake Canyon Park on Gibraltar Road which would take me onto a loop that would point toward Solvang come morning. I am so silly.

Gibraltar Road starts off going pretty much straight up. After a while it gets steeper. I thumped along for several hours in granny gears pushing up and around loops and being periodically passed by cyclists with substantially less weight than myself. One guy was especially pleased with my endeavor, yelling "You're the man! Yeah!" as he passed me going up-hill. Later, on his return, all I heard was "Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!" as he zoomed by at forty miles an hour.

Around 1800 feet I took a break and calculated that even as tired as I was I could reach the summit before dark; giving me enough time to quickly scoot down the other side to find a warm place to camp. Around 2200 feet I found myself taking more frequent breaks. Around 2400 feet I was putting on all of my layers to battle against the cold and had used half of my water. By 2600 feet I was pushing my bicycle. By 2800 feet, even that was hard. Round about 3000 feet it started to snow. Actually it was more like hail. It was too cold to be a wet snow, so I was pelted by frozen pea-sized balls of ice. That's when I gave up. I knew I was not tough enough to get to the top. I had another 900 feet at least, and even after that it wasn't all down-hill.

Having lost my will and my gloves (a few days earlier), I wrapped my hands in socks still wet from yesterday and turned around. It took me hours to get up this mountain. It took minutes to get back down. Very very cold minutes. When I dropped to above-freezing, I sat on a rock and shivered until I built up enough heat to go on again.

I had planned to camp, but that was before I back-tracked to Santa Barbara. Here's an obvious piece of knowledge: Hotels in Santa Barbara are expensive on the weekend. Still, I was exhausted and frozen, so I paid the price.

I had no idea how much energy I had exerted trying to climb that mountain until I wandered across the street to the market. As I was shopping for food I suddenly found myself weak, had a hard time focusing, and almost felt like I wanted to pass out. Suddenly that expensive hotel room didn't seem so bad.

Maybe after a couple more months of tackling these mountains I will be able to do better.

near Oxnard CA

big Californian snail

oil platforms

Toro Canyon Creek

Santa Barbara beach

homeless people have more stuff than me

no kidding?

view from Gibralter Road

Gibralter Road -- I started off at that pier in upper-right corner



contact me at le@liverworks.com
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