Day 32: Lake Nacimiento Resort – Morro Bay State Park
Distance: 50.84 miles.
Average Speed: 9.4 mph.
I had high hopes for today, and by that, I mean big miles and building strongly towards the end of the journey. But, leaving the campsite, the road was just as tough as yesterday, and the first 2 hours were the slowest of the trip, only covering the 15 miles to Paso Robles. The hills weren’t as steep as they had been last night, but they were relentless, and if anything, it was even hotter than yesterday too. 33 degrees and no breeze to speak of.
I had to get out of the sun, so at Paso Robles I stopped for lunch at a restaurant, Springside, opting for a grilled chicken ciabatta and a very nice toffee/chocolate cheesecake, with 3 pints of Pepsi, of course.
I’d been indoors for an hour and a half but it was still barely tolerable when I stepped back outside. The route skipped under the highway, heading in a loop further inland, before cutting back and heading west.
Turning onto Lupine lane, the road climbed again and I zig-zagged across the road trying to reduce the gradient. When the road did flatten off I couldn’t muster the energy to change gear, and rolled until the road climbed again. I was really suffering in this heat.
Reaching the city of Atascadero, after 32 miles, I stopped again, another hour out of the sun. I didn’t feel right so I couldn’t push on as I’d like, I decided to shorten my day by aiming for Morro Bay, directly west on the coast. Luckily, there was tree cover as the road climbed one final time to 440 metres, then a glorious descent, for 11 miles the road weaved it’s way between the mountains before spilling out onto open flatlands on its way to the coast at Morro Bay.
At the campsite, I embraced the cooler air for a moment, then put on a jacket. A cyclist from London, Mark, ventured over, and we spoke until long after it was dark. He’d just experienced the purgatory of the inland detour as well. It would have been a nice route, I concluded, but why were there so many hills.