Road Blog – Day Three, Paso Robles, CA, Riding a Super 7 in Hell
by Michael Morris
Matt, a twenty something rider from Santa Monica is riding a Schwinn Super Seven. If you are not familiar with this bike, think about a bike your great-grandparents might have ridden across town or a few miles out into the country.
At 10am today Matt pulled into pit stop two, about thirty miles out of King City, and the temperature was around 90. I asked Matt how he was doing. He looked at me, stretched in that cool way surfers might do when asked if they want another beer. He answered, "Yeah."
Matt and the rest of the 700+ riders faced not only the "Quadbuster" hill today, but also at least 107 degrees F (one rider checked the surface temterature if the pavement at 115).
The 74.9 miles we rode today were immensely more difficult than the 104 yesterday - orders of magnitude worse. I am happy to report that I made the entire ride even though my hands and feet fell asleep every twenty minutes or so, slowing my pace a bit. I started at 7:15am and finished at 2:50pm and averaged 10 mph. Not bad for riding through hell.
The ride took us through rolling chaparral, quite lovely, but very dry. There were lush pockets of trees logically huddled close to the scant pockets of water. Flying in and out of view were the ever-present barn swallows. If not for the heat, I’m sure I would have enjoyed today. For decent coverage of the ride visit AIDS Project Los Angeles.
The so-called Quadbuster Hill is twenty miles south of King City. It has a gradual (2 or 3 miles) 200 foot climb to a steeper climb (about a mile long) to 900 feet. Fortunately I met this hill by 9am, so it was still cool enough to push over this hill if you geared down sufficiently enough. Yours truly made it with one stop half-way up to remove an outer garment. At the crest we were met with wooohooos galore and super water guns.
To show the damaging effect of the heat, two riders, Dan and Josh apparantly driven insane from the brain-baking, rode this hill three times. It was cool-ish that early, but really lads, no need to show off! In fairness they were helping people over the hill, so hats off guys, well done!
I have heard that there were two 24’ buses loaded with Medical SAGs (support and gear – basically anyone who cannot finish the ride due to the poor health of themselves or their bikes). Each of these buses will hold approximately 50 people. The heat wore down many, but at 6:21PM I still see some brave riders coming into our camp at the Mid-State Paso Robles Fairgrounds. It is a western theme fair with a "historic" main street made complete with buildings made from "genuine logs".
My hands and feet keep falling asleep so I visited the camp chiropractor and later I have a massage (they think of everything). Chiropractic Services leader Angela Davidson, D.C., told me to ride with no socks to avoid intensifying the heat which contributes to swelling (I’m taking in a lot of salt so I can retain water) which squeezes my nerves, which … you get the idea. I lost my gloves on day one, so I’ll be buying new ones at the camp merchandise tent (I told you they think of everything!)
Day three is over. Tomorrow promises "two hills on Hwy 46 that love to challenge riders". Oh joy.