The Daybreak Wind Jacket
1 Day, 1 Jacket, Varying Temperatures
5:55 am: Alarm goes off. I don't reach for the snooze button. For some reason it's always easy for me to wake up in a hotel bed. We're in Santa Cruz and I can see through the cracks in the blinds that it's grey. I immediately feel a chill creep in, though I'm still wrapped in a fluffy comforter I anticipate the misty chill which I know will greet me as soon as I step outside. Shelby's up and coffee's on in the tiny coffeemaker atop the mini fridge. Thank god she brought the good stuff.
6:20 am: We meet the other girls outside the hotel, jackets zipped up to our chins to keep out the morning chill. We don't talk much as everyone is still sleepy, but Jenn briefs us on the route we decided last night. "We'll hop on the 1 and head 30 miles North and hit Pescadero for lunch. There are a few roads to check out along the way, and depending on how we're feeling we might hit those first. Cool?" The consensus is affirmative and we click click click, clip in and get into a comfortable pace.
6:30 am: Ten minutes into the ride and i'm still chilly so I pull my scarf out of the zippered pocket of my jacket. Super handy because I figured I'd need it right away.
7:00 am: We hit our stride. A double paceline keeps us together and I'm glad we have a few bright coral jackets in our group to make us visible to cars in the morning mist. The grey sky and ocean seem to melt into one when I look West towards the horizon; today there's no sunrise in sight.
9:00 am: The sun finally emerges and we ride through some patches of warmth. When we do someone inevitably shouts, "Yes! There's the sun!" I feel my core heating up and I start to sweat, but I'm still not hot or sticky. You know how some jackets start to stick to your arms the minute you start to sweat? I hate that. Today the jacket stays dry and breathable even as the temp kicks up. I ditch the scarf again but I leave a little corner peeking out of my pocket because I really like it as an addition to my whole kit look.
10:30 am: Pit stop! We split up the rice bars I've been carrying and Liz shares her banana. Jenn and Tracy ride off to find a water refill spot. Some of the girls have already stripped off their layers but I've been hesitant until this point. I've been super careful blending my tanlines this summer and I don't want the next few hours to ruin all my hard work! I figure a bit of time in the sun won't hurt and it feels so good on my skin. Jacket comes off, rolls up tiny and into the center pocket of my jersey. I always put the bigger items in the middle.
10:40 am: Hankey's the one to get everyone moving again after the break. "Let's roll" she says, already clipped in and soft pedaling back to the road. We shove our wrappers into our pockets and follow suit.
12:15 pm: Lunch in Pescadero is as picturesque as Tracy promised it would be, complete with country singer and picnic tables. Liz posts up for an after lunch nap listening to a local sing her favorite song. "This jacket could easily be a pillow. Maybe that's next for Machines, portable camping pillows?" Her eyes are closed but she's singing along.
2:15 pm: We realize our leisurely lunch got a little too leisurely as we still have a few hours of riding ahead of us. Plus Tracy wants to detour and do a bit of climbing so we better get a move on!
3:00 pm: Climbing means heating up quickly plus the afternoon sun is golden-hued and warm. With my jacket in my pocket I even unzip my jersey for a bit! I wear the MVP with my jersey and feel perfectly comfortable. Hankey wears the Endurance Bibs and keeps her jacket on.
4:15 pm: We descend and hit the PCH again. Now the sky has cleared and the ocean is pure blue. Heading South along the coast in the afternoon means more wind than in the morning. I reach for my jacket, drifting to the back of the group before lifting my hands off the bars and letting it glide over my shoulders.
5:00 pm: We're close to Santa Cruz again when Tracy suggests we keep South a bit further to find a sunset spot. Late lunch still in our bellies we all agree it's a good idea. After heading down a few false paths off the highway we find one with a path that leads right to the ocean cliffs.
6:15 pm: Epic sunset. It's freezing now and we huddle together, taking pictures and thinking about what's for dinner. I pull my hands up into my sleeves and wish I brought my gloves. The Northern California coast is one of the best views you can get to on a bike but it's definitely harder to dress for than back in LA.
9:15 pm: I stuffed my face with all the carbs I could (pasta, bread and beer) and I'm back in my comfy hotel bed. I have an extra pair of bibs for tomorrow but the jacket I just hang up and air out. No one will notice right?