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Why Cycling Up the PCH Has Been Worth Every Gust and Climb


The battle to keep my tires running straight rages on as I push up another incline on the road. For the last 60 miles, we have been faced with constant rises and falls along the cliffs of the California coastline. A cyclist yesterday told us the route we chose would have us gaining over 10,000 feet of elevation today.

It feels like more.

The wind is fierce and unrelenting. With red eyes streaming tears, I stare back as the stick holding my American flag snaps from the tension. My rain jacket flaps as though I just jumped out of a plane. It doesn’t help matters that the gear I carry makes me one of the least aerodynamic entities on the road: flat panniers on my front rack serve to catch more air than they deflect and my guitar’s neck wobbles as it snags the breeze and acts like a parachute.

Cyclists on the road tells us we are insane for biking the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) north, against the prevailing winds.

To be fair, I feel insane. Gusts blast me in the face while rounding every hillside corner. As Suzie and I reach another peak and drop down, we howl like wolves and break out into fits of hysterical laughter. As a deer crosses a quiet babbling creek, it’s peace is violently interrupted by our effort to hit the last high note of A-ha’s “Take On Me,” which we try with every vocal cord to hit.

We miss the mark by several octaves.

There is nothing now that can be done to get me down. Big Sur is something out of a dream: the perfect blend of rocky coastline, pristine beaches, turquoise water, and mystical mountains. I’ve never smiled for a longer period of time in my life. Around every bend is a new, majestic sight to behold. With wind whipping against my chapped face, I stare off to the right and into the epic mountainside canyons, and then glance left to see a waterfall crashing down onto a white sand beach. The next minute, a surfer bro yells out of his SUV, “you’re killing it, maaan!”

You are damn right I’m killing it!

After the trials Suzie and I faced “training” in the Andes and against the headwinds that destroyed us in the high desert of Argentina, we are ready for this challenge. I have never considered myself to be athletic, but this is the closest I’ve been; my legs seem to act like pistons and almost without effort as I rise up to each hill and push through each gust of wind.

This is not meant to come off as bragging in anyway, but more of a testament of relief. It’s so good to love the road and truly be able to enjoy each challenge that it throws at us as we head up the coast.

When you traverse the hills on this coast into a strong headwind laughing the entire time… I think it’s safe to say you are winning the war on the wind.

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