Old Creek Road - Winterlude 2020 - CycleBlaze

December 7, 2020

Old Creek Road

A long day today, a longer one tomorrow.  We need to get to bed early tonight and get up early in the morning for the 400+ mile drive to Boulder City, our next base.  There.  I’ve spilled the beans, and you know what’s next for Team Anderson.

And besides that I seem to have thrown out my back a bit - at the moment it seems the worst I’ve done this for a long time.  I don’t know what triggered it, but maybe I was careless shuffling our baggage around in our rushed evacuation two nights back.  How well do you think that will pair with a 400 mile drive tomorrow?  Not so well, is my guess.

So, besides being tired I don’t feel great and am out of sorts.   Poor me. On the upside though: no fever, cough, or other Covid symptoms (other than a lack of sense of smell, but I never had one anyway).  So I’m probably going to be uncomfortable for a while, but hopefully not leave the planet quite yet.

All of which means, as you’d expect, a slapdash post.

Rachael’s day

We went our separate ways today, taking a last chance at social distancing from each other before Rachael is stuck in the car with me for eight hours straight tomorrow.  It’s the right time for this anyway - it’s very windy today, and Rachael would rather walk than bike in these conditions.  She went on an epic hike - 13 and 1/2 miles, with 2,000+ feet of climbing - and came back quite worn out.  She took a trek south of town up into the hills east of a Morro Bay State Park.  Constant up and down, she complained/ bragged when we met up at day’s end.

I’m envious.  I was tempted at the last minute to join her, but I would have just held her up - no way could I do a hike like that myself right now - and I had my own plans I was excited about anyway.

Morro Bay, from the Black Hill Trail. I like this and the following pictures because they give a good perspective on the bay and the spit that shelters it.
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Morro Bay Sand Spit, now a protected natural reserve.
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Morro Bay estuary. Beyond it, the town of Los Osos. I’m not certain, but I imagine that high point at the right end of the ridge beyond it is Valencia Peak.
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The coastal hills south of Morro Bay.
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Hiking in the hills south of Morro Bay.
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Hiking in the hills south of Morro Bay.
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Scott’s day

We briefly discussed who had the toughest day when we met up at the motel in late afternoon.  We called it a draw, agreeing that we’re both awesomely tough but old enough that we should have known better.

I took the ride I was considering yesterday: a hilly loop that climbs inland from Cayucos up Old Creek Road to its end at highway 46 and then drops back along Santa Rosa Creek Road to the coast at Cambria.  Starting from home as I did, those two roads plus the stretches on Highway 1 that connect them, add up to over 50 miles with over 5,000’ of climbing.  For me, a full day.  Biking my age in kilometers, as it happens.

And not the easiest climbing either.  The ride summits out at almost 1,900’ and includes several long stretches at about 10%.  And I was going the easy way, counterclockwise.  The reverse direction, climbing up Santa Rosa, is significantly stiffer.  The final two miles of the climb, a section the local riders affectionally call The Wall, climbs a thousand feet up an irregular slope with some stretches that must be in the 20% range.  On an uneven surface, it was challenging enough riding down this stretch.  I was glad I got my bike in for servicing and a brake adjustment back in Chico.

Oh, and there was the wind.  Predominantly from the northeast, it was 10+ mph when I left early this AM, and 20+ by days end.  Some gusts were strong enough that they nearly stopped me in my tracks, and left me struggling for control a bit.  Frustratingly, the winds on the final 20 miles down the coast from Cambria were very erratic.  I’d encouraged myself through the hills with the thought that I’d get blown down the coast at the end, but it was much more challenging than I’d been planning for.

Really though, it wasn’t that bad.  I just like to whine and feel sorry for myself.  A beautiful route, and I managed to ride the whole thing - except for the final third of a mile to the summit, which stiffened to maybe the 15% range.  I considered powering through, but then remembered my physician’s advice to remember that I’m not a young lad of 60 any more, and not push myself too far.

It seems disrespectful not to heed professional advice like that, especially now.  It seems sort of like refusing to wear a mask, don’t you think?  Much smarter to walk that teeny bit and feel virtuous about it.

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Whale Rock Reservoir, a bit inland from Cayucos on Old Creek Road. These first few miles were especially tough - an easy 500’ climb at about 5%, that I struggled up in my lowest gear at about 5 mph because the wind was so bad. I briefly considered turning back here.
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Patrick O'HaraYou biked well over your age in kms! Congrats.
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Patrick O'HaraThanks! A good first effort, but that 74 miler is still in the plan also.
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1 month ago
Beak to the wind, this hawk was really struggling to hold his position, his tail feathers wildly whipping about.
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Jen GrumbyVery considerate of him to hold his position for your photo!
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyHe seemed really focused on the wind. Usually they fly off well before I can get this close. I should have thought to take a video of him.
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1 month ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesExtra nice photos today. Being crabby, and a broken back must steady your hand.
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Steve Miller/GrampiesThanks, Steve. The wind was no help here, that’s for sure. I’m surprised this shot came out as clear as it did.
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1 month ago
Looking back to the sea across Whale Rock Reservoir.
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Climbing up Old Creek Road. A pretty climb, but fairly brutal in today’s headwind.
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So what might this crop be? Avocados?
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Bill ShaneyfeltLeaves look like avocados that my brother in Hawaii has.
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1 month ago
This looks sort of like a dried sunflower, but it’s small - maybe two inches across. Some type of thistle?
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Bill ShaneyfeltIt does look like some kind of thistle with those thorns.
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1 month ago
Still climbing Old Creek Road. Conditions are improving as I climb, as my direction bends more to the north.
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We’re past Highway 46 now, and onto the top end of Santa Rosa Creek Road. After climbing for most of the last six or seven miles there’s a respite before the final push.
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So many wild turkeys in this country. This is one of a flock of at least 100, and later a flock of another fifty will fly across the road right in front of me. What about the color of this one though? I didn’t know wild turkeys came in Oreo.
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A brief teaser of a downhill before the final pusher.
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I didn’t know vultures aired their wings like this. It reminds me of a cormorant. Or an orchestra conductor.
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James FitchOn cold mornings in the Napa Valley, I've seen rows of buzzards like this, each on it's own fence post, warming their wings in the sun.
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1 month ago
Bill ShaneyfeltTo James FitchGood to see someone else chiming in with nature info! Helps keep me honest...
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1 month ago
Buckeye?
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Bill ShaneyfeltCorrect!

California buckeye, to be picky... :-) Hulls of the buckeyes here in Ohio (and most everywhere else) are thicker and have thorn like projections.

http://plantid.net/RptOutput/California%20Buckeye%20(Aesculus%20californica)132519108496734399.pdf
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Bill ShaneyfeltActually, I think I knew that, but was on lazy or rushed to look it up. I remember it from the Heritage Tree Quest. It’s nice to see one that’s bearing.
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1 month ago
Lunch break, at the final summit.
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Going down, fast. We drop 1,000’ in the next two miles. A bit tricky on this rough surface with erratic strong winds.
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This is the infamous wall, I imagine. An interesting, steep serpentine.
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So what is this red stuff, anyway?
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James FitchLooks like fire retardant, a familiar sight to those of us in Napa County.
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1 month ago
Bill ShaneyfeltCorrect.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_retardant
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo James FitchYes, that makes sense - it looked sprayed on. I’ve probably seen this in the past but my ancient brain forgot it.
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1 month ago
We saw this tractor in Rachael’s video yesterday. An interesting feature you can’t see from the photograph is the radiator fan - it’s spinning fairly rapidly from the wind.
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Once I neared Cambria I didn’t stop for the final 20 miles. We’ve seen it already anyway, and I just wanted to get it done. Except for this shot, of the waves piling up and blowing in the wind at Cayucos.
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It was a hassle moving upstairs in such a rush (and I may have thrown my back out in doing it), but our new quarters do come with advantages.
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Patrick O'HaraKudos. An impressive ride.
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1 month ago

Ride stats today: 51 miles, 5,100’ (Scott, solo); for the tour: 629 miles, 21,600’

Today's ride: 51 miles (82 km)
Total: 627 miles (1,009 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 6
Comment on this entry Comment 2
Suzanne GibsonThe walk and the ride - both stunning!
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1 month ago
Bruce LellmanBeautiful photos. It's quite impressive that you did this ride at all but in such wind is even more impressive.
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1 month ago