The rooftops were frosty but the sun was shining brightly, so Christie and I kitted up snugly (4 layers) and rolled out to Templeton park to meet some folks for a 9am ride start set up by Bill McBride, one of my fellow SLOBC ride leaders.
Years and years ago, I used to participate religiously in the “holiday” ride out of Manhattan Beach CA. It started at 8am on every major holiday and generally appealed to a younger demographic of riders than my current chronological situation. Also, being that most of the riders came from Manhattan Beach and the surrounding upscale and expensive beach communities, there were many type A folks joining in to duke it out when it reached the transition location where the social portion of the ride changed to a slugfest up a several mile long narrow defile called Mandeville Canyon. Generally there were anywhere from 50-100+ riders participating, depending on the particular holiday.
Today, here in north San Luis Obispo County, most active riders are retirees, and a few years beyond the desire to get up early on a chilly Christmas morning for a bike ride. Personally, I’m still willing and I’m rationalizing by thinking about all the high-calorie meals I am consuming over the course of the holidays.
Only five riders showed – my gal Christie and me, Jarry and his wife Brenda, and the ride leader Bill. He took us from Templeton Park over to the vineyards on the east side of the Salinas River for a roughly 25 mile loop including an out-and-back on a section of Almond Lane I have never seen. It’s a couple of miles each way and includes a bit of dirt near the end where we turned around. It was mostly smooth, rolling pavement and beautiful views over vineyards to distant hills, as well as an alpaca ranch with at least 30 of the animals milling about in their shaggy warm coats.
We just took it easy, enjoying the scenery and bright sunshine. When we got back to my place, Christie and I rewarded ourselves with a cup of TJ’s piñon coffee and a slice of homemade apple pie she conjured yesterday. Yumbalicious!