[Guest bloggers Lily Abood, Ben Jervey, and Adam Taylor are writing from the road while biking 350 miles to raise awareness of climate change issues. This post is the fifth in the Mother Jones Ride350 Dispatch series.]
Day 4: Jug Handle Creek Farm in Caspar to Salt Point State Park in Plantation
The day began with owl calls, 3-5-0 chants, and a room full of youth with hands raised to the sky—anxious to share their understanding of climate change and what they can do to help. There could not have been a more inspiring start to the day. We’re in good hands with these kids as our future.
9:30: Team 350 enjoys a delicious breakfast at the Mendocino Bakery and Café. Riders make tough decisions between breakfast burritos and cream cheese-filled pastries before hopping on our welcoming saddles for a 70 miler. And we’re off.
10:30: One by one, riders follow a sweeping left on Hwy 1. Off to the right, two cypress trees frame a misty picture of the Mendocino Coast line and waves crash playfully on gum drop rock formations. It’s breathtaking. Riders hoot and holler—we are fast, we are flying, we are alive.
11:00: Our biggest hill of the day. Short in length, but so steep that it takes four sweeping switch backs to make the climb. Out of our saddles, eyeing each curve, riders breathe heavily and send encouraging forecasts down the line—”almost there, keep it up.” Keep in mind these legs have three days on them.
1:00: Curious cows graze to our right, forested hillsides rise up to our left, hawks fly effortlessly along overhead. With dreamy tailwinds blowing us down the coast line, Ride 350 effortlessly overshoots its lunch destination at Manchester State Beach. On to Point Arena to check out the swells.
1:30: Ride 350 arrives at Point Arena to an abundant lunch spread, thanks to Lily and Toby, and an entertaining view of 10-12 ft overhead surf. The local kids run to the end of the pier to see who is catching rides and who is getting pummeled—our team is not far behind. And then the short board emerges from our very own van, along with a wetsuit. It’s a double sport day for Zach and our team couldn’t be more proud as we watch him paddle out. Sweaty and salty, we’re all a little jealous of this makeshift shower.
3:00: We eat up miles in the afternoon. 500-person town after 500-person town whizzes by so quickly that one rider takes a moment to explore a beach just south of Sea Ranch. This meditative moment is followed by comfort food at a local convenience store—a great way to connect with the locals. The rest of the team rides on, pastoral landscape turning to pine forests. You can smell the needles, and it takes me back home. We ride together, we ride solo. One pedal at a time, we’re quickly approaching the 70 miler marker.
4:00: Adam was right, Gualala is awesome. It’s beautiful to see the connection that he, his dad, and Zach have to this place. What an amazing experience to share. We all feel blessed to be part of this team.
4:45: Who knew that Salt Point State Park was so large. 72 miles turns to 74, and then 78. We all feel accomplished. This is the longest ride for some. Jules notes that it’s rare to feel so accomplished in a typical day. Peter explains that riding this length of distance opens up his perception of biking to a whole new world of possibility. Day 4 is magical. —Amelia Spilger
Adam Taylor is a green building consultant in San Francisco. While a bicycle enthusiast, he has never done anything like Ride350 before in his life—you can tell by looking at his legs. Ben Jervey is a journalist, activist, world traveler, great wedding dancer, and looks great in spandex. Lily Abood has worked with nonprofits in the Bay Area for 10 years (including her current role as Mother Jones’ Major Gifts Officer). She plans to hug a lot of CA redwoods while she’s on this adventure. For more information about the entire Ride350 team, check out the rider profiles here.