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Touroica 2023, April 3-7 - God willing and the creek don't rise

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Touroica 2023, April 3-7 - God willing and the creek don't rise

Old 03-28-23, 07:30 PM
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Touroica 2023, April 3-7 - God willing and the creek don't rise


pic courtesy of mgopack42, slightly edited for BF's family friendly rules

Nearly 6 months ago I sent out an email to the usual suspects to see if there was any interest in doing a self-supported, Eroica type event in early April, starting from Paso Robles like Eroica California used to be (now it's September and is based out of Cambria). Not only that, but to reprise a tour from the Bay Area that has been done a few times. I usually yield about 50% takers from the askees, so several people that I've toured with in the past were on distribution. To my surprise, I now have a dozen takers, plus a few to harbor pilots to send us off on Day 1. One of those earlier tours down the coast was documented here.

Starting in the Bay Area, the plan was to cross over the coastal range to Highway 1, then keep the Pacific Ocean to our right as the only necessary directions until we got to Cambria. For those keeping weather score this winter and spring, Northern and Central California have been getting slammed with rain for the past few months, and much of Hwy 1 south of Big Sur is either covered with landslides or has fallen into the Pacific, making one think of the old song about buying land inland to tie up the boat in Idaho.

Acting as Capo, I have some wonderful consiglieri to help me plan a more inland route past Monterey. Finding interesting roads that aren't flooded or torn up has been a challenge, and a few local Bay Area peeps have taken time from their weekend to scout out alternate routes (thanks @bikingshearer and @cinelliguy!) Today and tomorrow it appears the last of the "atmospheric river" events is passing through, so assuming the creek really don't rise too much...here's the route (subject to tweaks):




5 days, about 300 miles total. Most everyone will be on a vintage bike. We'll have beds and roofs over our heads every night, and a Grand Palazzo in Atascadero as our destination for the weekend for what we're calling Fauxroica

Epic sh**?

You bet.
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Old 03-28-23, 07:58 PM
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Don't let gugie fool you folks, he is the irreplaceable one. He has put in a sh*tload or work (wording in keeping with the bar plug above) to make sure we roads to ride on, places to sleep that have roofs and running water, culinary establishments apropos of our standards (?) and generally making this happen. The rest of us are riding in his draft, metaphorically speaking. (I personally expect to be riding in his draft, more literally speaking, for as many of the upcoming miles as I can manage.)
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Old 03-28-23, 09:35 PM
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Sounds like fun.
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Old 03-29-23, 06:15 AM
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Im looking forward to the tour coverage. My plan to join at weeks end has been usurped by family duties but I dream of a day when SoCal forces simultaneously attack Paso Robles from the South.
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Old 03-29-23, 11:31 AM
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Our dream was highway 1 down to Cambria, then partial Eroica route over to Paso. Wild and unusually wet California winter scotched that plan with major land slides. Cudo's to Gugie and others who've scrambled to put together an epic route nonetheless. Like the idea of a SoCal force riding up so we meet in beautiful Central Coast environs. A future thought that is.

Weather still uncertain with another Bomb Cyclone hitting NoCal in the next day or two, hoping for a weather shift over the weekend - nlerner is on board making that outcome probable. Yet fenders are mounted, rain gear packed, watch out for our peloton!


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Old 03-29-23, 01:00 PM
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A peloton like this one might be more the mark.


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Old 03-29-23, 03:56 PM
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Who are these clowns?

After seeing the post from @Spaghetti Legs, I couldn't resist.

I think it's pretty clear that a long winter will make a touring cyclist jump at the first chance to hit the road. I'm a bit shocked, defintely humbled, and a bit anxious that so many BFer's would trust me in putting this together. The original route took us down Hwy 1 through Big Sur and Ragged Point, which really should be on every cyclist's bucket list. I first did it in 1977, and have dreamed about it often since. Of course, this year's record rains shut down that idea, so we quickly came up with a more inland route.

Here's the current list of characters signed up to ride down the coast, with backstories:
@gugie (me) - cause I'm the crazy guy on a bike organizing these things
@nlerner - I think I've done 7-8 of these types of events with Neal now. Among other things, he's famous for being a good luck weather charm. His powers will be tested on this ride. Neal is flying in from Boston
@Spaghetti Legs - He's a real live medical doctor, so we just call him Dr. Ferrari. He handles our blood doping schedules and EPO injections. As I've always been far behind him on climbs, I'm starting to think he's been giving me a placebo.
@bikingshearer - On my last Touroica ride down the coast, the final day was a short ride from Ragged Point to Cambria. Rich and many others had ridden up from Cambria that morning to Ragged Point and turned around just as we were saddling up to head south. We rode next to each other much of the way, and I detected a bit of jealousy, so of course he got invited this year. He's a lawyer, so if/when we get into trouble I'm hoping he can writ our way out of trouble. He's also been obsessing about the re-route, to the point that he volunteered to drive down over much of it last Sunday to see if our plan is indeed doable. The Readers Digest version of his report was that the road closures along the way were somewhat exaggerated, and he noticed some "just in case" short detours if needed. He's from the People's Republic of Berkeley.
@VRJAKE - John lives on the other side of the Willamette River from me in Portland, so we get together to ride from time to time. He was on our Seattle trip late last October, as well as our Spring Training in Tucson last year. He knows the Central Coast well, having lived in San Luis Obispo for awhile.
@mgopack42 - Mark lives a few hours from the Bay Area, and joined up on Touroica 2021. I think it was his first bike tour. One of the clues is he was carrying 5 water bottles and an 8 pound telephoto lens and camera. He never got dehydrated, and he took great pictures. I think he's got the touring bug.
[b @davester [/b]- Dave is from the People's Republic of Berkeley (PRB). He signed up for the Touroica 2021, but crashed at Cino earlier in the year and broke his collar bone. Just about as soon as it mended he joined myself and others for my annual TdMIL. We were rained on heavily the 2nd day of that tour, so I know he won't mind some precipitation this time around. He also came back the next spring to ride down the coast in 2022 with a few others prior to last year's Eroica California.
non-BFers:
Bob Freeman - If you don't know who Bob Freeman is, you're probably a newby in this whole vintage bike thing. Bob and Bill Davidson (the framebuilder) co-owned Elliot Bay Cycles in Seattle for 31 years. He owns over 100 bicycles, so if your significant other says you have too many...I've ridden on a couple of short tours through the Willamette Valley with him. In 1976 he organized and led about 20 cycling across the United State on the original Bikecentenial route. I watched him field strip and rebuild a long cage Campy NR rear derailleur on the side of a gravel road during Cino 2019 using just two rocks, a Swiss army knife, and a few drops of automatic transmission fluid borrowed from a passing pickup. Whatever he rides it'll be a concours quality bike, because that's the only kind he has in his collection.
Andy Speier - I met Andy years ago at one of Jan Heine's un-meetings. He was wearing the Hard Men of the PNW blue and white jersey of the Seattle International Randonneurs. I found out that he'd done PBP not once, but twice. He's the only person I know who has ridden up next to @northbend, chatted him up, found that Matt wasn't responding in English sentences and took off to look for another victim. He's also a semi-retired fire chief and teaches a lot of first aid classes, so Dr. Ferrari will have an assistant for the evening blood doping extravaganza. He's originally from New York, and was in the same junior high class as Bob Minsky (see below), but they didn't know each other back then. Small world!
James Rozelle - The first Touroica (ride down the coast to Eroica from SF Bay Area) was done by James and his uncle Ron. Here's how I met him: a few years ago he posted on the CR list that he was looking for someone to drive his car from the Bay Area to Cambria so he could ride down the coast and drive back. About the same time I posted on BF looking for a ride from the Bay Area to Cambria. @mech986 saw both posts and played matchmaker. James told his wife he had someone to drive his car down. She asked if he knew this person (me). No, he said. How do you know you can trust this person, she asked. He's a bike person, of course I can trust him! Last time I rode down the coast to Eroica he organized it, then broke his wrist three days before depature by riding into a bollard. He's been covered in bubble wrap the last few weeks, so he should be good to go.
Ben Ngan - Ben is a neighbor of @VRJAKE's and rode with several of us on our 3 day summer tour of the Willamette Valley. He also kept me company riding up Cypress at Eroica California last year. His brother-in-law is @mech986, so the interwoven connectios
Bob Minsky - See the guy with the Santa Clause beard wearing a blue Bianchi jersey in this video? That's Bob, except they spelled his name wrong in the video. Bob met James at an earlier Eroica. He's been to a lot of them worldwide, enough so that the Italians that run the show have adopted him and invite him to all the pre and post-parties that only the cool kids get invited to. He's a somewhat quiet and unassuming guy that everyone wants to be friends with. As noted above, he went to Junior High with Andy many moons ago in New York City. James got to meet him at an earlier Eroica and invited him on the Touroica 2021 ride, where I met him.

But wait, that's not all!

Day one we've got not one, not two, but three harbor pilots who will ride over to the coast with us from Redwood City, spend the night, then ride back the next day.
@BoltBreaker - I've known Andy since college, and have done several tours with him. He's also from the PRB, and keeps my zero bike somewhere in the dusty back of his garage so I don't have to ship one back and forth whenever I want to ride in the Bay Area. Most of my TdMIL rides start from his house. He likes to over-tighten any bolt on his bike. He snapped a bolt on his cantilever brake post just a few weeks before our first tour together. Ed Litton repaired it just before we left. On our second day he decided to snap off a seat post binder bolt. He thinks he's Eddy Merckx, constantly moving his saddle up and down a few microns to account for, what? Discuss.
@SwimmerMike has done harbor pilot duties in the past, notably Touroica and TdMIL. I'm hoping to rope him into one of these full tours soon.
@cinelliguy lives about a half mile from where I used to live in Redwood City. He's been scouting the road conditions of all the classic SF Peninsula climbs. We decided that, with so many riders on Day 1 we could afford to split it into two routes. He'll take his favorite way up and over for the hard men to take, I'll lead the gruppeto on a slightly shorter and easier route.

And even with that, there are others who can't take the week off but want to participate...I rented a fantastic Palazzo in Atascadero (just south of Paso Robles) for the weekend, with enough beds for around 16 people.

@rccardr decided that although he was tied up and couldn't make the entire ride, he's renting a van and meeting up with us on Day 3 and sagging. This was a critical problem solver for us, as the Day 3 and 4 potential routes go long and far between civilization. He's promised a Cino-style lunch for us mid-day on days 3 and 4, and knowing how Doc rolls, it'll be awesome. He'll also be staying in the Palazzo and riding with us on the weekend as we try to emulate the classic Eroica California routes.
@SwimmerMike is driving down for the weekend to partake in the rides.
Thor Riksheim is a college buddy of @davester's, and rode in not only the 2021 version of Touroica, but also the 2022 one. He also made TdMIL 2021 possible by volunteering his off the grid house in northern Sonoma County as a stop, and rode with his for 3 days.
Mickye Adams is a neighbor and friend of @davester's. She's an obstetrician, which won't be any help to us, although some of our beer bellies might be mistaken for 2nd trimester pregnancies. She's done the Markleeville Death Ride with Dave a couple of times. She'll probably kick our butts.

Jeez, I think I covered everyone. If you're within driving distance of the Central Coast, consider joining up with us on weekend rides and generally partying at the Palazzo.
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Old 03-29-23, 03:59 PM
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Speaking of the creek rising... I took this on my drive home a couple of weeks ago.
Note: this are is usally dry as a bone, and frankly I never noticed the creek in the last year that I was commuting here.



With over 50 feet of snow pack in the Sierras, I need to make a late May or early June ride to this spot:

This is from snowmelt after a slightly below average winter snowfall. Stevenson Creek Falls on/through Million Dollar Road, North Fork CA. May 2019
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Old 03-29-23, 11:47 PM
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This is truly epic and I look forward to making it some year soon. Enjoy the miles, hell of a groupetto!
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Old 03-30-23, 09:22 AM
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Hope to see some of you guys later this year at the other ride in this area, until then work has me chained to my desk...

Enjoy i'm very jelly, perhaps jelly legs are appropriate...
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Old 03-30-23, 06:14 PM
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Sounds like a great adventure. Some of my fondest memories were created on self-contained trips, mainly in the northeast. We camped with the occasional hotel stop to recharge. One of our group always pulled a Bob so he always made the beer and firewood run.
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Old 03-30-23, 07:15 PM
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Originally Posted by gugie
He's a real live medical doctor, so we just call him Dr. Ferrari. He handles our blood doping schedules and EPO injections.
Wow. You guys take the authenticity to a whole 'nother level!
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Old 03-30-23, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by RCMoeur
Wow. You guys take the authenticity to a whole 'nother level!
Nah, if we were truly classic and vintage, it would be cocaine and methamphetamine like Eddy did! And booze and cigarettes too!
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Old 03-30-23, 08:30 PM
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I'm sad I'm not yet retired, and am vacation-low, and so can't join the Day1 Harbor Pilots.
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Old 03-30-23, 11:24 PM
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Originally Posted by tgot
I'm sad I'm not yet retired, and am vacation-low, and so can't join the Day1 Harbor Pilots.
Well dang, woulda been nice to meet! Just to let you know, it's a slippery slope from harbor pilot to co-conspirator...
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Old 03-30-23, 11:28 PM
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Originally Posted by retlaw53
Sounds like a great adventure. Some of my fondest memories were created on self-contained trips, mainly in the northeast. We camped with the occasional hotel stop to recharge. One of our group always pulled a Bob so he always made the beer and firewood run.
Same here! Except it was in California...

At our advanced age, sleeping in a bed every night is very appealing.
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Old 03-31-23, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by gugie
Just to let you know, it's a slippery slope from harbor pilot to co-conspirator...
I'm counting on it!

I need to motivate myself so I'd be able to keep up. I only made the one SF Peninsula ride, and it's in my back yard.
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Old 04-01-23, 09:23 AM
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Weather update - and a note to always invite Neal Lerner on a tour...

Once again, @nlerner has come through on the weather. This year's record rains threw a wrench in our original plans to cycle right down Hwy 1 all the way to Cambria/Cayucas before turning inland to our Palazzo in Atascadero. We rerouted, then rerouted again as roads were closed. At one point the only way to cross the Pajaro River in Watsonville (a levee broke and flooded much of the area) was to hop on Hwy 1 where it's still a freeway for 1.7 miles and play some Judas Priest.
With the road south of Big Sur closed indefinitely due to landslides, we mapped a route to punch through the Coastal range inland. Actually, we had two separate routes, then tweaked these several times to avoid road closures. I'd bet that most of the Touroici at one time or another wondered if it was wise or even possible to complete this ride.

Enter Neal Lerner.

Just his presence on a tour guarantees good weather.

The 'scaderos are bookends on this ride, so those are good proxies for the weather at the beginning and end of the tour.

Pescadero

We're riding through the tiny coastal town of Pescadero Day 1. California coastal towns almost never get hot

Atascadero

Atascadero is our inland destination. A mere dozen miles from the Pacific Ocean, it can be cool at the coast and hot inland. We'll get there Friday, Sat-Sun is reserved for Fauxroica rides and hanging around the Palazzo pool

And for those worried about the windy conditions on Monday, the winds will becoming from the NW, as is generally the case in coastal California, which lines up nicely at our backs for the direction we're headed.
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Old 04-01-23, 09:37 AM
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It is famously said that an army travels on it's stomach. With such a large group it was decided to make reservations for every evening, and found excellent restaurants along the way. Check out Buona Tavola in Paso Robles, for example.

Our destination in Atascadero (just south of Paso Robles) is truly a Palazzo. Pics or it aint?




Every tour I've ever done with @Spaghetti Legs he's always asked "does it have a hot tub?" This one's for you, Hugh


Saturday night we plan on grillin'


For those burnt on on riding, we've got options
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Old 04-01-23, 10:15 AM
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Do these restaurants know the kind of group that is descending upon them? If not, for God's sake, don't tell them in advance.
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Old 04-01-23, 10:44 AM
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Hmm, should we be rethinking the fendered-look or will that guarantee rain?
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Old 04-01-23, 11:18 AM
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Oh, I'm counting on you guys to ward off rain, so by all means, install the fenders.
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Old 04-01-23, 11:38 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by nlerner
Hmm, should we be rethinking the fendered-look or will that guarantee rain?
Originally Posted by bikingshearer
Oh, I'm counting on you guys to ward off rain, so by all means, install the fenders.
Gametime decision.

Fatter tire or fenders?
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Old 04-01-23, 11:42 AM
  #24  
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As a weekend-only rider, I shall be ripping off the fenders and leaving them behind.
Good riddance!
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Old 04-01-23, 12:12 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by gugie
At one point the only way to cross the Pajaro River in Watsonville (a levee broke and flooded much of the area) was to hop on Hwy 1 where it's still a freeway for 1.7 miles and play some Judas Priest. Judas Priest
If that doesn't get you through, you can queue this as a backup:

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