Friday, July 11, 2014

California Part 2: Enjoy the Ride!

The good 'ol bucket list... What's on yours? 

While California has not been a top priority destination for me, I have never been to the west coast of the US and THAT has been on my list. During our trip to Cali, I had two major goals in mind: witness a west coast ocean sunset and check out the pacific coast highway. 

After our 23 hr travel day and long run up Mt. Lee, I was very much in need of some horizontal time to rest and refuel...and while that lasted for a while, I did not want to waste an opportunity to check off the first item on my list! We grabbed dinner to-go and headed to the ocean just as the sun was beginning to fade. Family time, good food and a stellar sunset really makes for a great evening! We found a perfect spot in Laguna Beach and I enjoyed each breath of that ocean infused air!

We found a PERFECT viewing location!
First time on the US west coast!
Couldn't resist :)!
Sunday was a busy but great day! I had hoped to fit in my run workout, but honestly it was low on the priority list next to rest/sleeping in, church, my father-in-law's 60th birthday and the wedding we attended in the late afternoon evening. I managed to get in a quick 20 min shake out run and that was more than enough at the moment for my tired legs...

Monday was our last day (quick trip!) in Cali and also our most flexible day. I woke up early to complete my run workout and then we enjoyed some delicious pancakes before dropping off my brother-in-law and sis-in-law at the airport.  The day was beautiful as can be and we had planned to make our way back to the beach for some good 'ol R & R. BUT Kristen can only sit still for so long...and what I truly and dearly wanted was to get in my long ride!!  I had packed my cycling clothes, shoes and even my pedals in my suitcase (yes, there was perhaps some pre-planning involved ;-) All I needed was a BIKE and helmet. The cool thing that I learned about Cali is that cycling is a pretty big deal and bike rentals are fairly commonplace/easy to come by. I had researched a few places prior to our trip but hesitated to actually rent one ahead of time since I did not know our exact plans. Anyway, Monday morning, after essentially having begged the husband the entire trip thus far, I finally made some phone calls. An hour later, I was at the beach with a shiny red bike in hand to ride... yes, it was that easy! 
Dana Point Harbor
I started from Dana Point Harbor and road south along the Pacific Coast Highway. I was very impressed by the roads and felt very safe. The roads were very wide plus had designated bike lines, and in some areas the bike lanes were divided by a concrete wall for added safety. I didn't really know where I was going, so for a while I followed another triathlete that happened to pass by :) A few miles later, I jumped off the PCH onto a "cycling" path right along the ocean. It was pretty, but not as "bike-friendly" as I thought because it involved hard packed dirt, a max "speed limit" of 10 mph (which I didn't adhere to...ooops) and I spent my time weaving in and out of people walking. At one point, I had to dismount and walk across a quarter mile long bridge ($250 fine if I did not!)

Heading south towards San Clemente. Can't beat the view!
In San Clemente the path came to a sudden dead end and I got a bit turned around in some neighborhoods trying to get back to the PCH. Again, I'm thankful for my phone GPS for sending me in the right direction. I rode the PCH through the town of San Clemente and there was a fair amount of car traffic and lights, but then again, with my own bike lane I had the fastest way through town!

My route: ~ 30 miles and 2hrs moving time.

I made my way north again towards Laguna Beach, which was my intended final destination. I reach LB much faster than intended though, and so continued northbound toward Newport Beach. The stretch north of LB was my favorite part: rolling with even wider roads and more beautiful stretches of coast, much less traffic and lights than I encountered in the earlier portions of the ride... exactly what I was in search of!

Does "no stopping" apply to cyclist too?!

My favorite lookout: Crystal Cove State Park, just north of Laguna Beach.
I made my second turn around just south of Newport Beach and made my way back to LB to meet the hubby for lunch. I was met by some delicious pizza I and a few east coast friends who just so happened to be in California too! Next was some beach time! I have to say, though I'm not a fan of cold water, the chilly waves of the Pacific felt wonderful after my hot and sunny ride. The waves and rip current current were much too strong for swimming, but I enjoyed a low-key dip in the water followed by a nap in the sand. The MOST perfect way to recover after a longish ride and from a busy few days of travel.

The view from the beach ! I just love the rocks and cliffs.
Hello Mr. Seagull!
Keeping up with training while traveling can be difficult and stressful, but getting in this ride was not! Instead, I chose to look at it as an opportunity to enjoy the journey (wise words from coach a few weeks ago :), explore and experience new things. It was maybe not the most productive ride, but I certainly enjoyed each moment!

This Sunday I am racing finally... it will be my first international distance triathlon in 5 years! While I don't have any specific goals in mind, I'm pretty excited to get out there and see what I can do and EnJoY tHe RiDe!!

p.s. Also wear sunscreen :)

A little "souvenir" from my ride. It's a bit sunny in California!

HaPpY FrIdAy tO yOu!!

1 comment:

  1. That looks like an amazing ride! I miss the beach... Have a great race this weekend!


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