What's Cool In Road Cycling

California PEZ: To Go In SLO

I’m told the worst weather hits California in February, and it this holds true every time I visit SLO for a bike race. Today was no different, although unlike last year when the entire morning was heavy-rained out, the sky was just cloudy and threatening this morning, so my planned ride to the Pacific Coast highway to check out the final miles of the stage was a go.

Sure enough, the rain started about 5 minutes into the ride. As most of you who know rain riding will agree, the worst possible time to encounter the liquid sunshine is at the this end of the ride, and next to a long straight road into a storm-front headwind, is about the most motivating thing I can think of when considering reasons to just do something else.

Looking north from Moro Bay, the real ugly rain is up there where the race is… no wonder the stage took over 7 hours.

Fortunately I had company for my misery today, in the form of Chris Wehan of LOOK Cycles who was unwittingly ‘assigned’ as my domestique. You gotta love riding with young bucks like Chris (he’s 26, former collegiate racer, current marathon mtb nut), they’re always up for sitting on the front and hammering – god bless your young souls…

We set out from San Luis Obispo – a very cool college town a few miles from the California coast line – and followed the course route backwards out of town towards Highway 1- perhaps the most beautiful stretch of highway in the US. The road basically follows a valley as it makes it’s way to the coast, and although you know you’re near the Pacific Ocean from the mild air, you can’t actually see the sea until you’re almost there.

Rain or not… I guess we could be riding a desk somewhere instead of LOOK’s 585 Ultra’s…

The area is ranch country, so the spaces around us were open pastures and farm land. The weatherman predicted another big storm arriving from the Pacific sometime today, and as we rode into the first waves of what promises to hit much harder by the time the race arrives, we actually enjoyed the blasting tailwind – a byproduct of the weather system’s approach.

After yesterday’s big climb day over Mt. Hamilton, I was up for a light spin and some chatting pace recovery. The elevation drop as we headed to the coast, the big tailwind, and Chris proved a fine answer, although I suspected the ride back might be a tad more taxing. No matter, the high tempo felt good and I was on a mission to see the Pacific.

Our ride back from the coast rose gently through cattle country… but the blasting headwind made us work for every inch.

Our destination was Moro Bay, a popular tourist destination and site of a gigantic rock that resides in the middle of … (wait for it)… Moro Bay – it’s actually the peak of an ancient volcano left over from the days when the earth spewed hot molten magma across the land. (Thanks to Chris’s girl Melanie for that tidbit – she’s a real life geologist.)

It’s pretty cool – even on the front of a storm – with lots of tasty looking seafood restaurants, plenty of boats, and of course the requisite espresso stops. We pulled into the Rock Espresso Bar and were served two fine cups by the owner Cory. By now the rain had abated, so we caffeined up for the battle back home.

It took about a half block for me to fully realize that my recovery ride was now done, and starting now was an all new, big gear grinder session that would last for the better part of 75 minutes – complete with the aforementioned looonnnng straight disappeared in the horizon type flat stretch straight into the wind that blew us so speedily out to this place. This was however preceded by a not too long ridge that was steep and long enough to remind me just how much acid was still in my legs form yesterday.

Big thanks to Chris – who did the work on the way back (and plenty on eh way out) – even sitting on your wheel was a workout – . God bless ye young bucks – one day it’ll be your turn to enjoy the draft.

The weather is still sketchy for tomorrow- but we’ll be in Solvang for the TT – so stay tuned for and all the wackiness that the faux-Danish village can clog our way.

And thanks to LOOK and Chris who really turned this ‘recovery’ day into another heavy loader… At this rate I’ll be in fine form when I get home (after a long rest of course…)

Like PEZ? Why not subscribe to our weekly newsletter to receive updates and reminders on what's cool in road cycling?

Comments are closed.