It's been a week since this 1000 miles riding from L.A. to SFO and back. First off I had to wash away all the crud.
Number one, I have to compliment this bike. Although I had done a thorough prep job, anything can happen on the road. However on this ride I had absolutely no incidences. The bike performed flawlessly. If I had one change to the bike I think I would have foregone some fuel economy and went with a 16T front sprocket as I'm running a 17T front 44T rear.
The weather was the big wrinkle on this trip. I was fortunate that the rain came in waves and I was able to skirt most of it. But having to wait it out on my departure day put me 4 hours behind. And I couldn't quite make that time up. What the weather and the delays cost me was having the time to camp out along the way. I caught light misting the first night and chose not to set up camp in the misting rains. And the other camping opportunity on the way back was sacrificed when I had a misroute and ran out of daylight.
The other ripple in my trip from constantly being behind schedule was my attempt to photography and post the trip live. In fact the constant stopping for taking pics contributed to more delays. And as I continued to run out of daylight, there were many great photo opportunities missed, especially the Cholame Valley and Parkfield Grade. I'm hoping I'll get another chance at these locations. Also missing out on the Pinnacle Peaks National Monument was another let down due to delays and miscalculations.
I actually brought my IPad to download and post photos from my Nikon J1 and was simply too tired at night until the last evening of the trip.
With all of this in mind, I could have simply left all of my gear at home other then my Iphone and it wouldn't have impacted the trip. But I'd much rather be overly prepared then the later.
The routes I chose were the culmination of high recommendations from advrider inmates, Butler, Atlas and Garmin. I programmed my northerly routes into my GPS and freestyled most of my southerly route. I wish I wold have programmed the entire trip, as I would have not passed up the Pinnacles.
The event to see Pyn at Piston&Chain was great, I just wish I had more energy to have hung out and bothered Lyndon for more of his insight and knowledge after the event.
As far as my gear, I couldn't have been more happy with my choices. I chose the new Fly Racing Patrol water resistent jacket and pants ( luckily I didn't have to find out how resistent). I added CE knee shin pockets and along with my Nike ACG fully padded MTB cool johns... and ASTARS compression jacket I was covered for any minor get offs ( which fortunately didn't materialize). My FR 70L hydration pack was never empty and always cool. And I brought FR waterproof gloves which worked great in the misty cold along with ASTARS MX gloves for the warm afternoons.
And finally... the pros and cons of riding solo.
The pros being that I like to cover ground, stop seldom and press on late into the night if I have to. This schedule might not work for others. And there were a few forks in the road during routes that the GPS simply didn't have answers for. I had to make significant decisions like while in the Carrizo Plains and at the back end of Clear Creek. Distractions in decisions at these points could have been costly in time or worse going down a bad trail on a heavy bike. There were a few times where I pushed too long between food stops and this could have been intense for others. And I was able to make the Pyn event without being held back by traveling in a group, which naturally happens and could have defeated the purpose of the trip all together.
The cons... Not having anyone to share in the pure joy of the routes, scenery and remarkable terrain covered during the trip. Had I ridden with someone who had a higher level of energy I could have been pushed to a quicker time.
It would have been great to have had another person taking photos and a better habit for picture taking.
Overall it was a fantastic trip and one I'd gladly do again preferrably with more notice from my work schedule.
And a shout out to all of those who helped me with the planning and logistics. I owe you all a big thanks.