PCH Tour: Big Climbs in Big Sur with the California Coastal Classic

Big Sur Pacific Ocean Blue

Day 51 – It was drier than I expected when I woke up in Kirk Creek. There was some fog out there, but the ocean was visible. I packed up and got ready to ride into Gorda to grab some food before the last big climbs of Big Sur. It was a relatively easy ride. I went out ahead of Michael so I could get started on some work. The Whale Cafe was the only place in town. I ordered a coffee and did some typing. Michael showed up, along with Brian and Kate. I ate some sausage, eggs, toast and hash browns. Then followed that up with a brownie. The place was expensive, but they kinda have you trapped out there on the coast.

From there we hit the first of the big climbs for the day. On the way up I started noticing riders from the California Coastal Classic bike ride. They were speeding up the mountain on their light bikes. A few guys pulled up next to me and asked where I was going. It was fun to be in the midst of a big group. The energy from all of the riders helped make the climb fun. There were plenty of great vista points near the top. I snapped as many photos as I could, knowing I was almost through Big Sur.

After a speedy ride down it was time for the last climb of Big Sur. A nice 1000 footer. I really enjoyed the climb and talked to more CCC riders on the way up. I even managed to pass a few slower ones, which felt good on a loaded touring bike. Coming down the other side we stopped at Ragged point for some snacks. After zooming down the rest of the mountain, everything got flat. There was a massive tail wind, which made it easy to keep a pace of 20mph. I enjoyed blasting through the country side.

Bicycles in Big Sur

After several miles, we came upon beaches full of elephant seals. We stopped for some pictures and listened to them snort at each other. Another mile down the road, we could see the Hearst Castle perched on a mountain in the distance. It came closer and closer into view as we approached San Simeon. There was a little town, but the only store had just closed. I was starving and needed something fast. The only other option was the visitor center for the castle. I got a cheaply made sandwich and chips for the cost of a nice meal. I didn’t want to pay it, but the lady at the other place said the next stop was 8 miles away.

Only a mile down the road we came into the “real” town center of San Simeon, which had a bunch of stores and places to eat. I spent all that money for nothing. Oh well. Too late. We went and grabbed some supplies for the night and had a beer on a table outside of the market. It was only a couple of miles to the San Simeon State Park. When we got there, our German friends were already set up. They came over to inform us that the showers in the camp were locked to conserve water. Two nights without showers. I was starting to get a bit stinky.

We all took turns bathing in the drinking water faucet. Luckily the water was warm. That night we met Liam, a Brit traveling the coast and raising money for charity. We also ran into two more Germans, who just crossed the country from New York to Los Angeles. Now they were on their way up to San Francisco. We all chatted into the night. Eventually I crawled into bed, still not feeling totally clean. Big Sur was behind me. SoCal ahead. I Couldn’t believe how close to home I was getting.

(Repost of my 2014 Pacific Coast Tour Instagrams)

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