The forecast high for today was 85. The morning low was 52. I farted around adjusting my seat, adjusting the brakes, the derailler, etc.. Finally got out of the hotel at 9:30. Briefly thought about taking arm warmers because it is much cooler at the top of the mountain. Very comfortable starting out for the 15 mile ride out to the start of Figueroa Mountain, where 1000' is gained. The grape vines look far different from March, now having leaves and these round purple and green things hanging from them.
I noticed it was getting warmer as I got farther away from the coast and into the valley canyon. Stopped at the base of the climb to eat an energy bar and take a couple of gulps of fluid. As is typical, soon another cyclist came along and he too stopped. Good guy from San Lois Obispo and obviously a strong rider. I was anxious for him to start first so I would not fall prey to the tendency to work harder to stay ahead. He took off, I waited a minute then I took off.
Gosh, it was hot and seemed warmer than low 80's. Note where once it was green, now it is brown. I hit the lower slopes hard because I wanted to break my best time. Eventually reached the 1 mile dirt and rock section and it was so dry, my back wheel slipped quite often. A couple of cars came down and rose huge clouds of dust. Finally broke over the saddle and coasted down, losing 500' before bottoming into a shady area with numerous creek crossings and there was the Obispo guy, having stopped for a refresher break, which I thought odd, emerging from the shade. I stayed about 50 yards behind him up a very long straight stretch of ramps and false flats. Close to the top of this section, Obispo pulled off again to rest. I was sweating profusely and not feeling so good so I stopped too. First time, after 10-12 times up the mountain I had stopped. I asked him what the temp was and he said at the bottom it was 101 and now it was 94!!!!!! A big UH OH went through my wind. Worse, I was down to half a bottle of fluids. I could not stop sweating and my eyes were filling with sweat and burning. Plus, some type of damn fly kept swarming me and lingering on my back to sting or bite. In a word I was freakin MISERABLE.
After climbing for around 8 miles I was down to a couple of swallows of fluid and began thinking I should turn around and coast to the bottom but there was that dirt section to navigate down hill and then the 15 miles back to civilization or, keep going, reach the top and coast a couple of miles to the ranger station. I kept going. I stopped again and then, trying to conserve the fluids, BEGAN PUSHING MY FREAKIN BIKE. Stopping for a rest is one thing but pushing my bike up the hill?!?!?! I was bummed. Reached a flatter section and rode some more then stopped and rested and enjoyed finally a cooling breeze. I should have taken images of my frantic face, which would have looked like death warmed over. Finally, after 10 miles and around 4000" of climbing/pushing, I reached the top.
Rather than stop under the lone pine tree for a break as I normally do, I kept going because I was out of fluid. I reached the ranger station and they opened two bottles of water and filled my bottles while good naturedly complaining about the lack of a good forest fire to put out. I asked what the temp was and they confirmed low 90's, this 3000' above the mountain floor. Obispo and I coasted down the black ribbon of newly paved road which also radiated heat and as we drew closer to the bottom, the wind was like a blast furnace. Passed Jackson's Neverland Ranch where people had stopped to look at the gates. What would they expect to see, Michael's ghost? Arrived in Los Olivos and the market there and absolutely drained a Monster and then another drink. Legs felt terrible and I was slurring my speech (more than normal). Late afternoon, I jumped in the car and noted the temp was 80, then 4 miles away up a canyon, it was 86. Need to rearrange my plans I guess. Oh one more thing, the harvest of fruits and veggies from CA are delayed because of unusually cool weather. I don't get it. There is a city 25 miles away where the high was 70 today. Huge variance depending on proximity to the ocean and canyons surrounding the mountains.
Visited Dr. J's bike shop and of course got a jersey. Cool place.