Much of that growth is presumably attributable to #socialmedia... There are so many people that travel from out of town to do this ride these days that have heard others blog, tweet, Facebook and instagram about the ride. It's also presumably because of the amazing January weather we have had in California for the past three years. I know that we really need rain... and we got it in December... but it's really nice to not worry about the weather on a destination ride like this!
In spite of the number of riders, the Coast Ride felt like a small affair for me this year. I rode mostly with Blanco, Beth Gerdes and Luke McKenzie with occasional appearances by Katya Meyers and other groups of folks. Luke has quite the eye for a great photo (and I don't take pictures while hanging on for dear life!) so here are some of his shots from the ride.
|Day 2 - highway 1, Big Sur|
|Day 2 - amazing morning sunlight|
|Blanco, myself, Beth crossing the famous Bixby Bridge|
|Day 3 - early morning rollout on the McKenzie wheel|
|Day 3 - Blanco rolling into Guadalupe|
Why does this ride cause me such stress and lack of confidence? I think in the last few years, as the ride has increased, it's evolved away from mostly triathletes and the pace has quickened dramatically. The number of riders on the road and the large groups also scare me a little... unfortunately there were a couple of accidents during the course of the weekend.
With all that said, I did much better than I expected in terms of ride time, power numbers and how enjoyable the ride was for me. I think it leaves me in a good position of readiness to tackle the Ironman training I have on tap for 2015... Ironman Texas in May and Ironman Los Cabos in October... I'm not fit just yet but I think I have a good foundation of strength and good health from which to start Ironman training, after a season away from the longer distance.
It was also great to spend time with good friends, Beth, Luke and their daughter, that I don't get to see year-round. I met Beth on the Coast Ride 4 years ago and we became fast friends... we make for compatible training buddies on the bike, as well as off the bike! We share similar tastes in wine :) I'm still in this sport after 14 years because of the people and friendships and so I am always psyched to share training and racing adventures with great friends.