Monday, March 21, 2005

Day 1: Los Gatos to Santa Cruz

A few days ago it started raining. As I watched puddles grow larger by the minute outside my bedroom door, I began to doubt the viability of my trip. I did not want to ride in the rain. The whole trip was becoming a crapshoot. Maybe, I thought, I should just fly down to San Diego and traipse around the beach for a week until my brother's wedding. That way, I would be on time for the wedding, sans sore butt. I would also be well rested and have time to see family and friends.

Bo-ring. As luck would have it, the clouds began to clear on Saturday afternoon. At the spur of the moment, I decided it was time to give the ride a shot. I hastily booked a few hotel rooms (Santa Cruz to start off, then Big Sur, Pismo Beach, and Solvang), grabbed some socks, a change of clothes, tarot cards, gear, and took off. Lucy was kind enough to help me gear up and see me off at Los Gatos. With a dash of bravado, I rode down the gritty trail that leads through Stevens Creek resevoir and up to the roads that connect to Santa Cruz.

Here I was, I thought, free, ready to take on the coastal roads. I imagined 5 days of the wind in my hair, nothing but myself and the coast, a prolonged meditation on life and the art of existing in the moment. Gallantly, I popped in my iPod earbuds. I was ready. I was feeling this.

I promptly pedaled up the wrong hill and ended up at the squat, nondescript entrance to the San Jose Water Plant. Fancying myself nonplussed, I headed back down the hill to find the right road. 10 miles later, there it was, Old Santa Cruz. Now my time had really come. I pedaled uphill, savoring the Eurotunes on my 'pod.

The hill continued. My legs hurt. I glared at the road. It bristled, threw me around a few curves, and steepened. It was then that I realized when you add a 10-pound pack to the back of a normally agile bike, your legs have to work a helluva lot harder to pull your weight. I was slow. The hill had seniority. To prove this, it shook a tree and had it splatter a large bulb of water in my right eye.

I eventually crested the hill. At the top, I found the most peculiar road sign: Holy Road. Nice. I decided that I was going to ride my own Holy Road this week, except mine was Highway 1, a ribbon of asphalt far superior to this bastard spawn of the hill I'd just ridden up.

As the road leveled, I could feel old thoughts and impressions from the past week flow out of my belly. I started to feel my body propel the bike forward on its own accord. The dampness of my breath began to course through my body, cleaning it. My mind slowly began to clear. I grabbed a muffin from the back of my jersey to celebrate my emerging Zen. As I did so, I heard something fall. I stopped the bike and looked back. Nothing, save a large pine cone. Shrugging, I continued on to Santa Cruz.

30-odd miles later, I'd arrived at the almost-quality Hampton Inn on Ocean Street. My first day was done. I was craving Thai food. I walked to the Thai House, an old haunt, and was amused by the curious and sympathetic looks I got from fellow diners who noticed me: girl, eating alone, Saturday night. Odd, to be sure. But the pad thai was stellar.


Blogger kimbalina said...

Pictures! Pictures! Way to go crazy girl. =)

9:03 PM  
Blogger trinity said...

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6:39 AM  

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