I just completed another 1000-mile ride. Its my second Saddlesore in a month. Needless to say, it’s been a good month. I’ve abandoned documented ride attempts for reasons like poor weather along the route, illness, and even once because of anxiety about the ride (another 1500 in 24-hour attempt with the Kawasaki Voyager). In every case, I spent a lot of time pre-planning the rides to the minute and in every case, something happened that caused the plan to be altered in some way. Last month it was the anticipated traffic on the 395. My goal is to complete one ride according to the plan. It would be nice if it also allowed me to complete it in a record – for me, anyway – time. 1000 miles can be ridden easily in nineteen hours. An efficient ride can be completed in eighteen. Seventeen or less hours can be done legally and safely but almost everything has to go perfectly and traffic has to be light or flowing quickly.
The California weather this spring and early summer has had periods of extremely hot weather but has also had several weeks of very pleasant, sub-90-degree, weather. Mid July was nice. The desert and central valley were hot but the coast continued to be very temperate. I decided on Monday that I would take Friday the 15th off and run the coastal route up the 101 that I cancelled in June at the last minute.
The only attention the bike needed was some modifications to the auxiliary fuel system to eliminate two potential leak areas and a top-off of nitrogen in the tires. I wanted to try a ride under my J-Cruise helmet instead of my modular in order to see if the added visibility of the large face shield and the ability to easily access my mouth for food and drink on the go would be better. Otherwise, I packed some snack food, filled my hydration system and set the alarm clock for 0330.
This ride looked really good on paper. Even the leg between San Jose and the crossing of the Golden Gate Bridge looked, on paper anyway, like I could make really good time. Getting on the road at 0400 would mean no traffic in LA and midday light in San Francisco. My plan was to stop for fuel in San Miguel at 275 miles, then motor up to the turnaround point in Santa Rosa. The trip back would also be done in one stop, this time in San Luis Obispo, with an arrival in Westminster a little after 2100.
I was up at 0330 and at the gas station just before 0400. My release time was 0405 and with the location of the gas station right on the entrance to the 405 north, I was up to speed almost immediately. Something didn’t feel right about my seat, though, and I realized that I had forgotten to grab my sheepskin cover off the workbench. My choices would be to exit the freeway, return home, wake up the household when the dogs barked at me getting back into the garage, or ride on. I figured my ass was tough enough to go all day without my cover and I did not want to spend 30 minutes re-starting my ride, so I rode on. The traffic on the 405 was really light and moving at a fast pace. Even the 101, which can get heavy at any time of the day, was flowing nicely….until I ran into the fog between Thousand Oaks and Camarillo. Traffic came to a stop and flashing emergency lights were twinkling up ahead. I filtered forward between lanes of traffic to the accident site. It looked like a camper trailer that was being pulled down the hill into Camarillo was rear ended by another vehicle. The trailer was on its side and the contents of its back half were scattered over the lanes. There were no ambulances on scene. I hoped no one was injured.
Camarillo came and went and the horizon began to lighten about the time I got to Santa Barbara. The air was cold but I had layered up so it was more refreshing than actually cold. When I rode through this area a few years ago on the Voyager, I hadn’t dressed warmly enough and actually began to get hypothermic. On that ride it was necessary to pull off the highway for 30 minutes to warm up inside a Burger King and drink coffee until my body stopped shivering. Today, though, the cold just felt good.
I passed the rest stop north of Santa Barbara, a potential piss break spot, and pushed through past San Luis Obispo to my first planned stop in San Miguel. I’d stopped here before on the hypothermia ride, and like then, was able to get fueled up and back on the road quickly.
Heading north-east on the 101, the cool coastal air warmed and farms were already working at full speed. I continued ahead of schedule past Camp Bradley. A young soldier on a Victory motorcycle rode up from behind me and waved as he passed me but then exited almost immediately. The camp appeared sleepy and almost no activity was going on. Another lone soldier looked to be setting up targets at a pistol range just west of the freeway.
Highway 101 is a lot like the 395 in that it varies a lot. At times it is four lanes and very interstate-like. In other spots it drops down to two lanes and the rider is notified by sign that the freeway ends as it intersects towns or other major roads and begins again after. Inland 20 miles from the coast it is warm, dry and the surroundings a combination of farms and forests. It is so unlike crowded southern California that a rider might believe they’ve crossed the border into another state.
I passed through King City, Greenfield and Soledad, gaining time over my schedule. The weather cooled again in Salinas, located just a few miles from the coastline, but then quickly warmed as I approached Gilroy. The San Martin airport, just west of the 101, was quiet mid-morning. No tarmac traffic was present.
I made my first mistake south of San Jose when I remained on the 101 instead of taking the 85 to the 280 to allow for a more direct shot to the Golden Gate Bridge. The GPS had started giving me problems – problems that would escalate later – and so I plowed forward into the heavy traffic paralleling the west bay shoreline. I was able to split lanes and make decent time, but the time I reached the 380, at San Francisco International, I had lost some of the cushion I earned early in the ride.
The 380 is just a short connector back to the 280, into Daly City and then into San Francisco. Traffic through San Francisco State University was better than I’ve experienced it in the past, but still heavy and it took almost thirty minutes to get to the bridge after exiting the 280 at the 1. I was still ahead of schedule, but not by much. I would still likely be able to reach the turnaround point in time.
Golden Gate Bridge traffic was moving well and the air blowing into the bay was cool. It was the third time I’ve ridden a motorcycle – each time a different one – over the bridge. The wind north of the bridge picked up quite a bit and I got pushed around each time I passed a canyon or mountain channel running east and west as the cool coastal air pushed into the bay area.
Traffic stopped several times for construction and a CHP motor officer and I split lanes in sequence. The longest part of the ride so far was the hour spent heading north after San Francisco. It seemed to take forever and only some of it was actually spent in fifth gear.
I usually use Google Street-View to recon gas stations and restaurants when planning a ride in order to have a picture in my mind of what I’ll be looking for, and I was confident I knew exactly where I was going to exit. The GPS was indicating memory errors and I missed my planned exit when it looked nothing like I expected it to. I kept going north and exited in Healdsburg, about five miles further north than I had planned to go.
Healdsburg offered me a gas station with a Togo’s sandwich shop inside. I pulled up to a fuel pump, put the bike on the center stand, and prepared to fuel the bike. Almost immediately another customer walked over to me. “Sure is a fancy motorcycle you got there,” he said.
I thanked him and said I liked it very much.
“What’s that tank there on the back seat?”
“It’s a fuel tank. I like to do longer rides where the fuel range comes in handy.”
“How does it get fuel to the bike? Is there a pump setup?”
I explained that it was gravity-fed and a pretty simple set-up and that it gave me about 11 gallons total.
“Wow. How many miles is that?”
“Over 400,” I said. “I left Orange County this morning at 4 am.”
“Crazy,” he said.
Then I explained that I was at the turnaround point of a timed ride and that I was on the clock. It was the wrong thing to say because he seemed to take it as my being unwilling to talk with him anymore. He quietly got into his truck and pulled away from the pump. He drove an old Toyota T100 and pulled a landscaping style trailer. The trailer rattled as it drove away. It sounded as if the bushings still in the suspension had deteriorated to nothing. The brakes squeaked loudly when he applied them to stop at the driveway leading out of the gas station.
I really didn’t mean to come across as angry or to hurt his feelings, but he must have taken it that way. I guess a big man, fully geared to look even bigger, has to be extra kind just to be perceived as non-threatening out in the world. On the bike and inside my helmet I’m alone and have one goal – make it safely to the next stop. I’m sure I don’t appear very approachable.
I had a sandwich from Togo’s made and ate it at the bike while a hippie couple about my age tried to fix inoperative turn signals on their 1971 Volkswagen Bus. I thought about offering help, but the man pulled a new turn signal switch out of a box and appeared to know what he was doing. I got on the road fifteen minutes later than the plan – the sandwich was a bit dry and didn’t go down easily – and attempted to get back on schedule. The large cushion that I was so happy about in the morning was gone.
I headed south in good shape. My back and neck weren’t sore and my butt was doing well in spite of the missing sheepskin. I spotted the Shell Station I’d missed coming north.
During my stop in Healdsburg I’d tried to figure out what was happening with my GPS. It is an older 60CSX Garmin but has always worked really well for me. It has the latest firmware available for it and new maps on a 8gb memory card but still locked up when loading a route and then gave an out of memory prompt. I deleted my route, all waypoints and tracks in an attempt to gain back memory but each time I tried to load a new destination, this time my house, it would attempt to load and then lock up. I knew the way home and didn’t absolutely have to have it but did like having some of the smaller details it would provide during the ride. I tried my home address again and this time it worked.
Traffic was lighter going south and I reached the Golden Gate again in less than an hour. The GPS was working again, for now, and I remembered that the turnoff for the Highway 1 connector road happened soon after exiting the bridge near the Presidio. The GPS froze again before exiting the bridge, causing me to miss the turn to the Presidio and I ended up turning right on Divisadero Street with the thought that I was only a few blocks east and could make my way back to SFSU.
Divisadero Street is steep. And long. It summits above much of the city and would provide a pretty view if I had planned to stop and enjoy views. Instead, it put me into the middle of the city and early Friday afternoon traffic was building. After climbing, Divisadero descends steeply, then continues into an endless chain of traffic lights. San Francisco appears to punish drivers by synching as few lights as possible. My thought is that it’s done in order to “encourage” use of public transportation.
In any event, I ended up in the Castro. Fortunately, there were no events going on and while foot traffic was heavy, street traffic was light. It didn’t matter, though, because I rarely got through more than a single traffic light and literally crept forward foot by foot. The Castro is clean, very clean, and the sense of community is high. People walked holding hands and smiled when talking to each other. The banners on the buildings and the stripes painted on the crosswalks indicate a sense of pride, togetherness, and fellowship that seems to be lost in much of urban America. The fact that this predominantly gay neighborhood has that made me feel good. The residents here appear to have banded together and appear to function as a unit with happiness as a common goal. Whether or not they would like to be compared to it, the Castro appears much more like a small mid-western town than it does a city neighborhood. While the politics of both groups would likely be at odds, the motivations that drive both seem similar. They are more alike than different.
I knew I needed to move to the west, but no large streets seemed to go that way. I attempted to stop and use my phone as a GPS but San Francisco traffic lights worked against me again. The traffic lights that caused me to stop every block also didn’t last long enough for me to remove gloves, check the map on my phone and get my bearings. I finally had to pull over, out of traffic, to be able to read my phone and figure out a plan to get back to a freeway, any freeway. Unfortunately, that didn’t come easy.
I continued south, south-west without a freeway in sight when I noticed a CBR250 that was shadowing me. At a stop sign I motioned him next to me and flipped up my shield. He did the same and I yelled over to him, “Where’s the nearest freeway?”
“The 280. You gotta go to your left. You’re not too far. Ten blocks or something like that,” he said.
“Nice CBR. How do you like it?” I asked.
“It’s no Goldwing,” he said. With that, he turned right and disappeared into traffic.
I did eventually find the 280 and headed south. Traffic between the city and San Jose was relatively light but the traffic mix was beginning to build in the wrong way. In this area I expected to see Lexus’ and Acuras and BMWs. I saw some Teslas, which makes sense, but I also saw SUVs loaded up with families and a building number of RVs. I made the same mistake going south that I did coming north. The 85 exit passed behind me and I was committed to head through downtown San Jose on the 280 before again meeting up with the 101. Traffic in San Jose in the mid-afternoon was heavy and I split lanes the whole way. While I moved faster than car traffic, I was losing time again.
South of San Jose the traffic didn’t get much better. At one point I was able to make good time but the experience was stressful and tiring.
I split lanes on the 101 south, creeping my way forward. If traffic was stopped I moved at 10 mph. If traffic was moving I sped up enough so that I was overtaking vehicles but wasn’t taking any chances. If my way was pinched closed, I let up on the throttle and waited for an opening. I cycled between using my low beams, high beams and the Clearwater lamps to let people know I was coming and in most cases they would move over to allow me through. A few drivers would make eye contact with me, smile, and pull closer to the traffic beside them, blocking my way.
It was after one of these encounters that I looked in my rear view mirror and noticed a bike splitting lanes with what looked like another bike behind it. The front bike had a round headlamp and high bars. When it got closer I confirmed it was a Harley Davidson. The second bike was, too, and based on their progress through traffic, they looked like the perfect blockers for the much bigger, wider Goldwing. I moved over to the left and allowed them both to pass me and then immediately jumped back into line and stayed as close as I could to the second rider.
Rider 1 worked his way up to narrow traffic and immediately pulled in his clutch and revved his engine, noise barking from his straight pipes. People in the car pool lane moved left. People in the number two lane moved right. I followed in what felt like a boat wake as traffic was pushed to the sides by the rider in front. We ate up miles and very quickly moved through traffic at 45 mph. They pulled away from me at times but I was always able to reel them back in. At one point I looked back using my mirrors and noticed another rider had latched onto my tail.
Approaching Morgan Hill I saw yet another rider on a faired and bagged Harley splitting lanes between the number 2 and number 3 lanes. The bike reached us, then passed us, and then the rider moved over to jump into our lane between the number one and number two rider. The rider was female, petite, and was wearing a full face helmet and some type of ‘cut’ vest. The wording on the back said “Cycko Gals” (I think, I later searched that term and didn’t come up with anything).
She, and the number one rider, pulled away from us. The rider in front of me tried to keep up but couldn’t and he and I backed off and split lanes on our own at a much slower pace. The rider behind me continued behind me for an exit or two and then got off the 101.
This time the San Martin Airport had a single Piper Arrow turning at the threshold and he began his acceleration for takeoff just before I reached the runway. His flaps weren’t extended and his roll was long before finally taking to the air. By the time he was airborne he was moving across the ground faster than me and I got to watch him retract his gear and climb away from me. I had a chance to fly an Arrow once. The flight was similar to the ones I took in a 172RG. The 172RG flew just like a standard 172, maybe a little heavier and more stable. The Arrow was the same way in comparison to a fixed gear Cherokee derivative. Neither flew that much faster but both included that cool gear configuration lever.
It was hot and I had not been drinking enough to fend off dehydration so I started to feel symptoms of it. At the same time, I was doing the math in my head and realized that with my Healdsburg turnaround point and the unplanned detour in San Francisco I was going to go too far between documented stops and my ride would be disqualified if I went all the way to San Luis Obispo before stopping again.
The IBA requires stops less than 300 miles apart for a rider to document the ride. Most bikes without auxiliary fuel can’t exceed that number and gaining receipts at each gas stop keeps a rider in compliance with this rule. The rule exists for a number of reasons but safety is atop the list of reasons why. Forcing a rider to make stops to document where they are and when also force to rider to break up the monotony of travelling in the saddle with eyes scanning the road ahead. Doing anything else – stopping for fuel, eating, drinking, peeing – helps the rider stay alert.
The IBA also needs to have a detailed and accurate picture of where the rider’s been and at what times in order to reconstruct the ride on paper and verify that he or she has actually performed the ride. If a ride is circular or square in nature, verification is needed to establish the extreme points in the ride to eliminate possible short cuts that would shorten the ride to below the minimum threshold in miles.
So, with San Luis Obispo too far off and a need to cool down and generate a receipt, I stopped in Gilroy at a Carl’s Jr and bought a soda. It was about 1600 and late enough in the day that I wanted to start introducing caffeine into my system to stay awake and alert for the rest of the ride. When I hopped off the bike I noticed two men in a pickup truck looking at me and talking. I worry about theft when I leave the bike unattended and even through the GPS has a locking mount, it would not be hard to break and steal it. I covered the GPS with my gloves and helmet.
I walked in, bought a soda and made sure the receipt had the complete address and date and time stamp on it. It did. I walked to the window and checked – both guys still in the truck, both still looking at the bike, both still talking. I used the bathroom and came out and checked again. One of the men was out of the truck and walking over to the bike. The air conditioned break now over, I walked out and met him at the Goldwing.
He was a little guy, maybe 5’8” at most, and he didn’t get closer than a few feet away from the bike. He noticed me walking over and took another step backwards.
“My buddy and I both ride and were wondering about that tank on the back of your bike. Is it for fuel?”
I explained that it was and it added almost five gallons to my fuel total.
“What kind of range does that give you?” he asked.
“About 400 miles or so.”
“Does it have a pump?”
He asked a few more questions and I realized that not only was he harmless, he was a good dude. We talked about distance riding and the weather along the 101. While it was 90 degrees here in Gilroy, 20 miles ahead in Salinas it would be 15 degrees cooler.
I told him, as politely as I could, that I had to get going, and he smiled, put his hand out for a shake and then walked back to the truck. I looked to the right and saw that the 101 was moving slowly to the south. I put on my helmet and gloves and rode back to the freeway. It was only backed up for a couple miles. Most of the traffic was turning east at the 152 and after that things sped up significantly.
Salinas didn’t disappoint. As I rolled down the hill into the township, the air cooled and the traffic slowed. I knew it would only last a few miles as the 101 turned southeast and away from the coast once I got out of town, but I enjoyed the cool down while I had it.
I had entered the heart of coastal valley farming and passed one large industrial farm after another. Chualar, Soledad, Greenfield and King City came and went. The sun crept towards the horizon. This stretch was the first one that I could begin to make up the time that I had lost in the early afternoon. My speed was up but not so fast that I’d stand out. I waited to prey on rabbits. Hunting was good.
The first car was a white Mazda being driven by two young males. They passed me doing about 90 miles per hour and were followed by a blue Ford Fusion with Colorado plates. I allowed them to get about ½ mile ahead of me and then I increased my cruise control to pace them from a comfortable distance. This went on for about ten miles. The white Mazda was about 100 yards ahead of the Fusion when it crested a small hill and lit up the brake lights. The Fusion slowed, too, and a few seconds later I cancelled the cruise control.
A CHP cruiser that was hiding just beyond the rise was in pursuit of the white Mazda and pulled them over at the next exit. The blue Fusion was now the lead car and, again, I let him get about a half mile ahead of me. His speed increased and so did mine.
Let me take a minute and explain that shadowing a rabbit is one technique to avoid tickets but it is not without risk. On a clear day the CHP has aircraft patrolling remote sections of highways and they are almost impossible to detect. The pilot will look for traffic that stands out or that is obviously travelling over the speed limit and radio down to a cruiser to do the dirty work. The only safety against airplanes is a low deck. If the cloud cover is down to 1000 feet or so they won’t usually be up. If the skies are broken or clear, and it’s daytime, it’s best to assume the plane is airborne.
Some cruisers will hang back far enough not to be noticed and wait for someone to stand out. It’s extremely important to check traffic in the mirrors and get familiar with the headlamp and grille setup of the current fleet of CHP vehicles. The new Explorers are tough to spot in the mirrors because they look just like the civilian Sport models.
The blue Fusion only held back for a mile or so before speeding up again. He climbed to 85 mph and settled at that speed. I noticed movement in my mirrors and saw a vehicle gaining on us. It didn’t look like a CHP vehicle but it was definitely gaining on me. I slowed a little and allowed it to pass me. It was a Toyota Sienna minivan filled with an entire family. The driver appeared to be focused on driving fast but not necessarily driving smart. Just before entering Paso Robles, he got nailed.
A CHP cruiser must have lit him up on radar but the Sienna brake lights never illuminated. He blew past the police vehicle in the center median. The driver never turned his head. One of the kids in the back seat did, though. The lights turned on and the cruiser pulled him over on the side of the road.
The blue Fusion was finally pulled over between San Luis Obispo and Pismo Beach. He and the trooper exited the freeway for his ticket to be written.
Without another candidate to play rabbit for me, I slowed down and kept my speed just above the limit until I reached Pismo Beach. A few years ago when I rode my VStrom down from San Francisco after purchase, I stopped in Pismo Beach for fuel. The stock seat on the VStrom was torture and by the time I had reached Pismo I was in agony. I stopped at the same Chevron station as I had on that trip. The difference this time was that I had a Russell seat on the Goldwing and I was feeling no pain. I did notice, however, that without having my sheepskin between my pants and the vinyl seat, I was starting to develop a rash on the back of my legs. It wasn’t bad, but was beginning to burn.
The Chevron had a Jack-In-The-Box restaurant attached to it and I tried to avoid eating something from there. The convenience store cooler did not have any appealing looking sandwiches, though, so I ended up getting a burger and a coffee. While I stood at the bike eating my dinner, I saw a young woman with two passengers in her Toyota 4-Runner pull up to a nearby pump. She got out of the vehicle and the man, older than her, probably her father, went in to use the restroom. She paid for fuel and went back to her truck.
In the meantime, two older women in a sedan parked right next to me in front of the store. The driver exited, looked down at my hydration system and said, “Oh that cooler thingy is just the cutest thing ever.”
“Thanks,” was all I could say. Cutest?
She smiled, walked past and disappeared into the store. The young woman in the 4-Runner had finished filling her gas tank and hopped back into driver’s seat and began to drive away. The nozzle was still engaged with the fuel tank and she moved about four feet before a loud “Pop!” rang out. She stopped, got out and put her hands to her mouth. Her father exited the right front door and ran around the rear of the 4-Runner and checked the condition of the truck first. The daughter, meanwhile, picked up the dispenser end of the hose and stood speechless. No fuel leaked.
The father tried to put the hose back in place but was unable to and they stood and talked for a moment about what to do. I was half way between them and the cashier. I looked over my shoulder to see if the cashier had noticed what happened. It didn’t look like he knew yet.
The father placed the nozzle on top of the pump and they both got back in the truck. At first I thought they were going to run for it, but they ended up parking near me on the other side of the “cutest thing ever” sedan.
They walked in and explained what happened to the cashier. He said it was fairly common for that to happen and it would cost $150 to repair. The father tried to argue but quickly realized that he wasn’t in a position to do anything other than pay for the repair. He handed the cashier his credit card.
I, meanwhile, had finished my burger and went back inside for a refill on the coffee to drink on the way to Santa Barbara. I also purchased a Five Hour Energy for the receipt – the gas pump receipt was missing some information and I decided not to take a chance – and drank it. I wouldn’t be falling asleep on the bike tonight.
I put my gear on and started the Goldwing for the last leg to Westminster. The days in mid-July are still long and the sun was just beginning to set when I left Pismo Beach. Traffic was light and I was making good time. I found a new rabbit in a Toyota Land Cruiser that was travelling a lot faster than I would in a lifted four-wheel-drive vehicle. I stayed about ½ mile behind him and cruised about 80 mph.
Just before entering Santa Barbara I had an experience unlike any I’ve had on a motorcycle. I was riding with the cruise control on and was very comfortable. The temperature was mild and the flow of cool air through my vented jacket felt great. I was awake, alert and feeling really good. With no warning, I had the sensation that I was holding onto the grips with my palms up instead of palms down like one normally would. I moved my shoulders and arms and had perfect control over them and felt no pain or numbness. I took my hands off the grips and visually checked that they were palms down. They were. I moved my head and neck and felt no odd pops or creaks. I lifted both feet off of the pegs one at a time and everything felt normal. I felt, though, like my hands were palms up even though I could verify that they weren’t. Odd.
Five minutes later the sensation went away and never returned. Weird. They only thing I can think was the amount of caffeine I put into my body in Pismo Beach. I usually will have a single cup of coffee in the morning and sometimes a soda during the day. The amount I took in in one sitting was drastically more than I was used to. Maybe that was it, maybe not.
I lost my rabbit going through Santa Barbara when the Land Cruiser continued at speed and I slowed down because I didn’t think it was safe at 80 mph. It didn’t take long before I picked up another one, this time a two-door Civic driven by a young man who had converted all of the interior lighting to purple LEDs. He sat in a purple pod of light and I wondered if it was distracting for him. He led me through Oxnard and Camarillo. He didn’t get stopped for speeding but eventually exited the freeway.
I was near Calabasas before I found another lead car but by this time the flow of traffic had gotten heavier and faster and having a rabbit wasn’t really necessary anymore. I just flowed with traffic and took advantage of spots here and there to speed up then slow down when it made sense.
I exited the 101 at the 405 south and climbed out of the valley and then descended into the Los Angeles basin. Passing LAX I had a 777 cross directly overhead for landing. Even though I’ve lived here a long time and have had this happen dozens of times, I still get a kick out of it.
It took another forty minutes to travel from LAX to home and thinking back on the ride a couple weeks later, I don’t remember a single thing about that portion of the leg – smooth sailing I guess. I reached the Circle K station I like to start and stop rides at and put $1 worth of gas into the Goldwing to generate a ride-ending receipt. It was 2248.
My ride planner said I should arrive at the San Miguel Chevron at 0747. I got there at 0746. I was still ahead of schedule entering San Francisco but lost a little time when I stayed on the 101 too long. The planned turnaround arrival was estimated to be at 1225 and with a departure at 1255. I actually got to the revised turnaround point at 1235 and departed at 1310. One stop on the way back turned into two and I passed through San Luis Obispo about 1900. My schedule planned for a 1825 stop there. My planned arrival time in Westminster was 2140. I got in 48 minutes later. The actual ride was 24 miles longer than the planned ride. Getting lost in San Francisco really slowed me down.
The ride as planned:
The actual ride:
The ride, in many ways, was the easiest 1000 miler I’ve done. I didn’t feel much fatigue and the typical middle back soreness I usually fight was just barely present. I did have a rash on the backs of my legs but I know it occurred because I forgot my sheepskin and probably because of the pants I wore in this ride. The dye on the denim may have reacted with my skin and the heat and the non-porous vinyl seat material.
I’ve had my GPS for about 10 years. It’s worked without issue many, many times in the past. It survived being pounded into the ground when a friend – who had the GPS in his backpack – was flipped off his dirt bike, sending him over the bars to land on his back, padded by the backpack and my GPS. The scratches on its face are reminders of that crash but even after that, it continued to work perfectly. The only thing I can think of was that the complex and numerous street count in San Francisco was too much for it to handle and used up all of its limited memory. It did work fine through San Francisco on a similar ride in June 2013 but on that ride I was using it pretty much as I received it out of the box. I’d tweaked things recently and may have turned up the detail to a level it couldn’t handle. I don’t think I’ll trust it if I go into an area I’m not familiar with and so I am shopping for its replacement.
I was successful in completing the ride safely. I did not receive a traffic ticket. I didn’t have any major mechanical or equipment breakdowns.
It wasn’t the perfect ride but I’ll keep planning for the perfect ride. One of these times it’ll happen.