Day 1 of 52

Trip Start Jun 04, 2011
Trip End Jul 26, 2011

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Where I stayed
Howard Johnson Vallejo

Flag of United States  , California
Sunday, June 5, 2011

If the rest of this trip is anything like the first day, it's going to be the best trip of my life. There was so much excitement, variety, beauty and fun packed into this single day of travel that the thought of this morning literally seems like it was days ago.

I was up at 5:15 today for breakfast at the hotel. We took our group picture at 6:00 on the hotel staircase (I'll try to track down a copy of this photo). By 6:30 we had said our goodbyes to Mom and Sarah, and were hitting the dusty trail towards New Hampshire. We started riding with temps in the 50 and a threat of rain, which fortunately, held off the entire day - despite a forecast of 60%.

Before we even had the chance to get warmed up, were were murdered by the biggest climb of the day - a mile long, steep hill that wound up through a neighborhood such that we never knew when it was going to end. After a little more effort, we were able to ride from our hotel on the bay up to a point above the San Andreas fault where we had our first glimpse of the Pacific.

We bombed back down the hills to the Golden Gate Beach, dipped our wheels in the Pacific and took some happy looking pictures. Meanwhile, there was both a massive organized bike ride for AIDS and the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon taking place in the same general place and time. We passed hundreds if not thousands of AIDS riders traveling in the other direction, and then hustled like crazy on more than one occasion to cross roads actively being raced on for the triathlon. 

The most excitement of the morning came when Mark "powerhouse" Collins snapped a crank arm off his brand new bicycle heading up the hills from the beach to the Presidio. Fortunately for all of us, he managed to avoid a crash, despite the fact that he broke his crank off mid-ride. This was 18 miles into a 4000 mile trip, and my dad managed to break a solid piece of metal straight off of a new bike. Luckily we're traveling on a supported tour where a mechanic was just a phone call away. He responded quickly, gave my dad his own personal bike to ride, and then took my dad's busted bike to a bike shop and had it fixed by the time we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge. Amazing. This guy is good. 

Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge was awesome. I wasn't really that excited about it before I came out for this trip, but once I experienced it in person, I understood why it is so famous and so popular. It's really an incredible structure and I'm so thankful that it was a part of this trip.

The rest of the day was more or less uneventful. We put in another 40 miles or so and made our way up to Vallejo. The first half of the day was more difficult, but the last 20 miles were on a highway, which I definitely am not a fan of. It is sort of a necessary evil in order to get where you're going; however, riding alongside rumble-strips, blown out truck tires, and cars going 4 times your speed just isn't fun. Despite this, overall California seems to be very bike friendly.

Be sure to look through the pictures (and videos?) I've posted.

Distance: 73.72 mi
Time: 5:43:26
Elevation Gain: 4,414 ft
Av. Speed: 12.9 mph
Av. HR: 135 bpm
Calories: 5,232
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