Mark’s SF-to-LA 500 mile bicycle ride

Posted Mar 7, 2013 2:19:00 PM

Watch a fast version of Mark's 2012 ride in "500 miles in 5 minutes," and follow this year's route on Instagram by following @markdwight

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Day 5 Recap: finale!

Friday, February 22, 2013. Greetings from Newport Beach -- the end of the line for my 2013 SF-LA ride. I covered 112 miles from Ventura to Newport Beach today, making my 5-day total 523 miles. The weather today was clear and sunny -- again -- making Tuesday’s 4-hour rain dance a distant memory. I averaged 14.0 mph, and spent 7:59 hours on the saddle -- that’s a full 8-hour work day on my bicycle.

For the five days this week, I sat on my bicycle seat for 7-1/2 hours per day, covering 105 miles per day at an average speed of 14 mph. It was a great trip this year. Aside from four solid hours in the rain on Tuesday, the weather was great -- and I had no flats or mechanical problems.

Here in Newport Beach, I’m staying at the lovely Balboa Bay Club and Resort -- by far my fanciest accommodations this week -- enjoying the restorative powers of luxury. They have a deluxe Jacuzzi, which I’m taking full advantage of -- and an excellent restaurant. Newport Harbor is the largest recreational boat harbor on the U.S. west coast, and this affluent coastal town is all about boats and beach houses.

Okay, now for the really important numbers:

FUNDRAISING UPDATE: As of this writing, total donations to my "I Think I Can" campaign for homeless youth have exceeded my goal and stand at $16,825 from 105 donations -- absolutely fantastic!! Thank you to everyone who has donated -- the folks at ATC are absolutely thrilled with the results. Together, we're making an important contribution to improving the lives of homeless teenagers who face heartbreaking challenges everyday.

As always, thanks for reading.

Cheers! -Mark

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Day 4 Recap:

Tomorrow is my daughter Alexandra’s 19th birthday. She’s a freshman at UC Santa Barbara, which happens to be right on my bicycle route. I had the special pleasure of seeing her today. Happy Birthday Ali!

Greetings from Ventura -- one of those quintessential Southern California beach towns that immediately inspires your brain to strike-up a Beach Boys soundtrack. This is "California Dreamin'" at its finest. Ventura is the birthplace of the Sunkist Orange Growers Association (take that, Florida), and the headquarters of the Patagonia company. The stretch of Highway 1/101 in these parts is called the "Ventura Highway" -- which is familiar to anyone old enough to remember the 1972 hit song by America. By the way, "alligator lizards in the air" refers to cloud formations -- no doubt viewed in some “altered” state.

I covered 86 miles today from Lompoc to Ventura. After my morning hill climb to “The Drop Zone” (aka Gaviota Peak, the summit of a 7-1/2 percent grade), and the raucous downhill descent to the coast (averaging 30 mph over five glorious miles of freshly paved freeway), I spent the day cruising along the Pacific Coast Highway, with golden mountains to my left and sandy beaches to my right. It was all fun-in-the-sun along the Great Highway today, and my average speed was 14.5 mph.

I rolled into Ventura at 4:30 this afternoon, and checked-in to the Best Western Hotel -- which has a hot tub. After a soothing spa, I strolled over to Main Street for dinner at Chicago Ribs and More. I had a hearty meal of beef ribs, baked beans, sweet potato fries, Caesar salad and a chocolate sundae. I am completely re-fueled for tomorrow’s final run to LA.

So far, I've covered 411 miles in four days. Tomorrow I will pedal 107 miles to Newport Beach.

FUNDRAISING UPDATE: As of today, we have raised $13,505. Special thanks to everyone who has donated so far. We need less than $2,000 to best last year’s total of $15,367.

DONATE: If you'd like to learn a little more about my ride and make a donation, it's super easy -- just follow this link: http://atthecrossroads.org/campaign/markdwight4.

Every donation -- no matter the amount -- fuels this important effort to help prevent homeless teenagers from becoming chronically homeless. If you're a parent, sibling, aunt or uncle, just take a second to ponder the combination of those two words -- “homeless” and “teenager”. It’s heartbreaking, and At The Crossroads is doing vital work to help these kids.

That’s all for now. Stay tuned for the Day 5 wrap-up. Thanks for reading.

Cheers! -Mark

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DAY 3 RECAP:

Greetings from Lompoc, "The City of Arts and Flowers", and "flower seed capital of the world". It's a little early for the flowers, but it's a great place to clean-up, fuel-up and rest-up for the next leg of my journey. I'm staying at the Motel 6 -- clean, quiet and just $50 per night -- plus $2.99 for Internet
access. And, they have coin-operated laundry so I can refresh my riding gear.

Today was a nice, fast ride under clear sunny skies -- a welcomed change from yesterday’s wet weather. I departed Cayucos at 8:50am, and cranked out 50 miles to Guadalupe, a small farm town in the Santa Maria Valley -- 300 miles south of SF. I have been stopping here for lunch at the Siete Luminarias Mexican Food restaurant for the past four years.

After my lunch of chips and salsa, carne asada tacos, rice and beans, I was ready for the final 29 mile stretch to Lompoc -- which features several gruelling hill climbs. For the last 15 miles I alternated between long uphill grinds, and speedy descents. I arrived at the motel at 4:00.

I covered 79 miles today -- 5:34 on the bike, and 7 hours door to door. Total mileage so far, 325 miles. Two more days and 180 more miles to go. My goal tomorrow is 85 miles to Ventura -- the famous surfing town, and headquarters of the Patagonia company.

That’s it for today. Ciao Velo!

FUNDRAISING UPDATE: As of today, we have raised $12,500! A huge thank you to all 71 generous donors so far. We need just $3,000 more to best last year’s total of $15,367.

DONATE: If you'd like to learn a little more about my ride and make a
donation, it's super easy -- just follow this link: http://atthecrossroads.org/campaign/markdwight4.

While I’m riding, every donation -- no matter the amount -- spurs me on -- even on sunny days! Every dollar makes a difference for this
important organization. The number of donors is as inspiring as the number of dollars, so please don’t hesitate to make a donation of any amount.

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading.

Cheers! -Mark

day-2-recap

DAY 2 RECAP:

Wet, Windy, Cold, Slow. In a word, Brutal!

Greetings from the Shoreline Inn in Cayucos, a quaint little seaside town, just north of Morro Bay (famous for “The Rock” -- a 576 foot high volcanic outcropping just off the shoreline).

I arrived at 6:40 pm, 11 hours after leaving Seaside this morning. I rode 118 miles today, and my saddle time was 9:32 (ouch!). I road the last 20 miles from Cambria to Cayucos in the dark, but the shoulder on this stretch of Highway 1 is wide and smooth, and I have lights, front and rear. So far, in the first two days, I have covered 246 miles -- nearly halfway to LA. Tomorrow I’m dialing it back a little -- 82 miles to Lompoc.

Today was challenging. Cold, wet, windy and slow. For the first 80 miles I averaged just 11 mph, and spent much of the time climbing hills at a pedestrian pace of 5-6 mph. I felt like I was clawing my way through every single mile. It rained constantly from 11am to 3:30pm -- more than 4 hours, and nearly 50 miles from Big Sur to Ragged Point -- and the temperature was in the high 40’s. With the wind chill factor on my bike (even at slow speeds), my hands and feet were numb, and my knees were stiff and sore. Beyond Ragged Point, the final 37 miles to Cayucos were much faster -- about 16 mph -- but still gruelling, as I was pretty ragged at that point.

Today, I only stopped a few times for photos, and twice for a bottle of orange juice. No lunch stop today, as I had a hearty breakfast at the Embassy Suites, and I just couldn’t bear stopping for too long. I was wet inside-out and outside-in. When I stop, within five minutes I’m shivering cold, and it takes about 30 minutes on the bike to warm back up. Better to just press on.

So, unlike yesterday, today was not such a great day for a long bike ride. Regardless, on the bright side, I made it with no flats -- and, according to the weather forecast, there’s no rain in store for tomorrow.

Ciao Velo!

FUNDRAISING UPDATE: As of today, we have raised $11,875! Another $1,000 today. A huge thank you to all 63 generous donors so far. We are on our way to exceeding last year’s total of $15,367 from 102 donors.

DONATE: If you'd like to learn a little more about my ride and make a donation, it's super easy -- just follow this link: http://atthecrossroads.org/campaign/markdwight4.

While I’m riding, every donation -- no matter the amount -- spurs me on -- seriously. Every dollar makes a difference for this important organization. The number of donors is as inspiring as the number of dollars, so please don’t hesitate to make a donation of any amount.

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading.

Cheers! -Mark

day-1-recap

DAY 1 RECAP:

Greetings from Seaside, just north of Monterey, 128 miles from SF. The weather today was cloudy and cool, with a light breeze from the north. No sun, no rain, cool temp, light tailwind. and light (holiday) traffic -- perfect conditions for a 128 mile bike ride! And, no flats! I started from mid-span of the Golden Gate Bridge at 7:40am, and arrived at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Seaside at 6:10pm. With my 45 minute lunch break at the Whale City Bakery in Davenport (Mile 75), and a few stops for photos, I was on the road for 10-1/2 hours, and on the bike for 9:02 hours. I’m a little saddle-sore, but otherwise feeling good.

FUNDRAISING UPDATE: As of today, we have raised $10,780! A huge thank you to all 54 generous donors so far. So, I have exceeded my $10K goal -- and it’s just Day 1! Last year I raised $15,367 from 102 donors. At this rate, we could eclipse last year’s record -- and that’s my goal.

DONATE: If you'd like to learn a little more about my ride and make a donation, it's super easy -- just follow this link: http://atthecrossroads.org/campaign/markdwight4.

While I’m riding, every donation -- no matter the amount -- spurs me on -- seriously. Tomorrow (Day 2) is another big mileage day -- 120 miles to Cayucos (Morro Bay) -- and it will be even more exhausting after today’s big mileage. My saddle will definitely NOT be comfortable tomorrow morning.

Furthermore, every dollar makes a difference for this important organization. The number of donors is as inspiring as the number of dollars, so please don’t hesitate to make a donation of any amount.

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading.

Cheers! -Mark

Filed under: At The Crossroads, touring ride, 500 miles