Day 30: Veterans Memorial Park (Monterey) – Greenfield
Distance: 53.40 miles.
Average Speed: 12.6 mph.
Victory from the jaws of defeat is how I shall categorise today, and I can scarcely believe the recovery myself.
As Route 1 through Big Sur has been closed, due to landslides during the winter, my alternative route takes me inland through King City. This adds 30-40 miles to an already very full itinerary. The inland route is not covered in my book or maps, so the route is a bit of an unknown. Today, I was hoping to do a 60 mile day to King City, then get a motel to recharge some batteries, literal batteries, that is.
First, I was just going to pop a new chain on the bike…
I’d replaced the chain with a ‘Shimano’ one before I set off, so no problem, I thought. But the one I’d been given in the shop was ‘SRAM’ and came with a Master Link to connect it, I was nervous to use it, as I’d struggled to generate enough force to ‘close’ master links in the past. Having difficulty again, I opted to use my trusty chain tool, but struggled in vain, for hours. I eventually realised that because SRAM uses the master link fastener, the tolerances of the chain assembly itself are more exacting and the inelegant chain tool on my multitool was too imprecise. I had to return to using the master link, so I googled the problem, which offered up the answer immediately. I was to loosely fasten the master link by hand, and then stamp on the pedals with all my force, with the brakes on. Click, it worked. I couldn’t believe it, it had sounded a terrible idea! I rolled into Monterey for lunch having spent 4 hours trying to install the chain.
On finishing lunch, my front tyre was flat. I changed the inner tube, but it was now half past three. The idea of returning to last night’s campsite and starting afresh tomorrow was very appealing. But I was close to a bike shop, so I bought two new inner tubes and some bread and headed off into the unknown.
Out of Monterey, and heading inland towards Salinas, the landscape changed completely, it looked like the South of Spain, not a bad place to be when having a terrible day I mused.
Then, when I turned South along the Salinas River, on River Road, I discovered the most amazing tailwind. I was up over 20 mph on the flat, it was a great day for riding. The road was flat and straight for miles and then it started winding its way around vineyards and agricultural land. All backed by a stunning range of green-clad peaks.
The last few miles, I was on the 101, and when I was directed off, before it became a Freeway at Greenfield, I decided to call it a day and find a Motel. 50 miles in 4 hours, I’ll take that after the morning I had.
For dinner, I had a pizza from a nearby takeaway. The manager, Adrian, was amazed by my journey, so amazed, in fact, that he gave me my pizza for free! It was very good, too.