Day 1: “Long and Winding Road” Beatles

San Diego to Alpine

35 Miles

2700 ft elevation climb

7-9% grade

For the title of my blog each day – I am going to attempt to use a song title that helps to define the day.  Remember – sometimes it is only the song title – not the lyrics. Today I give a shout out to the Long and Winding Road.  A great  fit for the start of a cross country journey.

First thought of the morning was a toss up between “Ready or not hear I come”, and who the hell is texting me at 4:00 in the morning?   I did sleep a bit – so that was good – as I was increadibly anxious – about well, most everything.  My first anxiety to overcome was that my luggage was well below the 50 pound maxium.  We are allowed 2 bags not to exceed 50 pounds, each bag not to exceed 30.   Ever the overachieving Girl Scout – I like to “Be Prepared” .  Phew, no public castigation.

Thank you to my send off team (again, you will tire of me saying it – but I will not be able to ever voice my gratitude enough.)……I have the best Village!!!  3000 miles away from home and from places in between, I had a hugging, cheering and picture snapping crew.  Thanks to Bryce, Dan, Matt, Teri, Brenda and Andy!  I thought I would be weepy – but was so intent on getting started – that after the ceremonial tire dip, photo, sand removal from feet, pictures  and hugs – I rolled out 568 days after I signed up for this trip!

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Getting out of San Diego – the first 10 miles or so was what you would expect navigating through a busy urban area.  San Diego is “bike friendly” with designated bike lanes. BUT that doesn’t mean it is easy to get through.  Busy traffic, lots of left hand turns, and lanes collapsing – we had to pay close attention.  Plus I am sure we looked like quite a sight – a gaggle of cycling geese in a single file pattern flocking East!   For those familiar with San Diego – we left from Dog Beach, and headed out right past the San Diego Charger stadium.

The group started to separate after the first climb out of  San Diego.  And that was for me a bit of a wake up call – There be climbing to do to get to Alpine and beyond!    All the training that I did to prepare me absolutely helped, but I felt quite a bit rusty not being able to  get out and ride my bike during our snowy winter.  I am not a fan of climbing – as a matter of fact it is my weakest and least favorite portion of cycling.  Which is a very tactful way for me to say – it sucks, big time.  I get to the top, slow and steady – but it is work.   I was part of a small group of 6-8 and we pedaled along and enjoyed getting to know one another when we had the chance.

The last turn on the cue sheet before entering the hotel – was not a welcomed one!  Take right on Alpine Road for 3.5 miles of steady climb.  UGH – Although it was only 35 miles today – relatively short all things considered – it was my first day out and I was beat. Climbing for another  3.5 miles was not something I would relish.  For those that know me well know that on occasion I have a penchant to drop  an “F” Bomb.  You all would be proud of me – I did not drop a single one.  (foreshadowing: I saved them for Day 2).


The final climb found our group shrunk to 4 then 3 then 2.  We worked together to stay positive. Resting, pedaling, drinking water.  It was a mile to mile kind of climb.  And if necessary, it would (will) be a mail box to mail box kind of climb.

The two of us made it to the hotel  together. Yay.  And that was when my second major anxiety (of the trip, not just the day) was overcome.  We were the last of the geese to trickle in – last.  And Nothing happened to me.  Huge moment for me.  I wil not lie – and when I got to my room, I did weep a bit then.

Most would suggest that I am a very confident person – and that is mostly true. But there is a big hole in that theory — when it comes down to it – I am very confident in what I know, what I do, what I am familiar with.   My confidence wavers greatly when I am trying new things that I don’t know if I am good at, or what the hell is going on!  I want to be good at it, I want to look like I know what I am doing, god forbid I look stupid.  But today, well, today, was the first of what I hope to be more of breaking down those fears and anxieties.

I was last today, And nothing happened to me.  Well, something happened and it was good.



26 thoughts on “Day 1: “Long and Winding Road” Beatles

    • Thanks guys! Up and ready for the day. 49 uphill. I keep looking for that lower gear and realize I am already in it! Great excuse to get off the bike and take a picture and climb back on.

  1. Love you Karen! Your doing great….first or last it does not matter. The group I run with are much faster then me. I’ve nicknamed myself the turtle. Turtles gets to enjoy the scenery more, keep that in mind. i have learned it is ok to be a turtle because each time I run I finish! Keep pedaling baby…stay safe!

  2. Day 1 completed! I know you will gain confidence as the ride continues. And you will make great friends along the way as you always do. We have done many hills together and they are never “fun”. But it always a great feeling when you conquer them. I am still jealous! Enjoy every day.

  3. So proud to call you a friend, Karen. Even with just day one behind you it’s taken perseverance. Think about it this way, when will you get the chance to suffer like this again? Embrace the suck! 🙂

    Enjoy day two, stay positive and have an awesome time!

  4. Karen,
    You did it! Now get back out there and do it again… And this time you will find the task that much easier.


  5. Karen, even though you may have rolled in last YOU WON. You faced alpine run an finished it but most of all you faced a fear and conquered it ! Stay strong and enjoy the wonderful personal journey you are on.

  6. You did it! Nothing can take away from that fact or how proud we all are of you! Be proud, be strong and when you are challenged by this climbs think of all of us who are cheering you on in loving support.

  7. This is so much more than just a bike tour. It is a personal journey that most people would not even dream of taking. I am so proud of you. Keep pedaling, walking, crawling, and growing…as you always do!

  8. I wouldn’t say you were last Karen, I would say you are number one in my book! The fact you are out there even following a life’s journey like this is just amazing! You just keep peddling..onward and upward is the only way you are headed.

  9. Great job Karen! Many of us would have not made it to mile 5 let alone 35 miles! My bike would have probably wound up at one of the first taverns you passed! LOL! Keep on trucking and I look forward to your updates! Regards, Loren

  10. Karen– Good luck with your ride. I was one of the 2013 ST riders and was the last one in a lot! I came home to two knee replacements had sometimes wonder how things would have been if I did the knees first then the ride. Tomorrow (Sunday) will be scary for some people because of the infamous 10 mile hill on I-8. Do it! For me it was real highlight of the ride.

    • Thanks, Barbara – having ridden the descent, I can tell you that as of tonight they are calling for sever winds. It will make the descent all the more challenging. I am going to think about it! Initially I was all in, but the winds today were tough blowing one rider off. I had a moment on a down hill that had my adrenaline pumping when I was hit by a gust of wind. We shall see what the day brings, but we are early into the journey and I want to be in St Augustine! Thanks for your note. I hope the hips are well and you are riding strong!

  11. You don’t know me, but I rode the ST in 2013. We started in rain and ended in rain and had every kind of weather in between, but it was the greatest adventure of my life at 66 yrs. of life, and worth every personal struggle. Take it one day at a time, make it your own ride, and it will be life changing for you!

  12. SO proud of you Karen! And not a single F Bomb! Wow! 😉 You go girl!! (So glad Matt made it out to send you off!!) You are such an inspiration ~ Cheering you on from Vancouver and trying to figure out what I’ll do for my 50th 4 years off – GULP!

  13. It doesn’t matter if you come in first, in the middle or last. It only matters that you completed. CONGRATULATIONS!

  14. It will probably take your body 4 or 5 days to adjust to riding after not riding all winter. The word “last” has no relevance within the big picture of the accomplishment you are undertaking !!! Great job on your first day! I thought of you all day

  15. Great job, Karen! Way to go!

    I think the real reason for the tears is that you felt bad for the road – You know you are just going to crush those miles of badass asphalt under your tires 🙂

  16. Way to go, Karen!
    I can totally empathize with struggling with areas you’re not competent in. I impressed with what you’re doing. You have a lot to be proud of.
    I’ve never ridden 35 miles in a day before, so you’re way ahead of me!
    I look forward to hearing more about your journey.

  17. First or last chicka you did it. Day by day!!!! I am in complete awe of you and your endeavor!

    You got this Karen

  18. “Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once though you couldn’t do.” -Rikki Rogers

    Know the spirit of many are riding with you, when you feel the burden of solitude on the pedals.

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