The DIRT Dad Fundo Across America—Day One

Half Moon Bay to Ripon, California

“The best way to start a cross-country bicycle trip is to pretend you’re not doing it. Convince yourself you are embarking on a series of day trips. It will do no good to anticipate the Rockies while still smelling the salt air of the Atlantic, or to think about the East if leaving from the West.“One rest stop to another, one day at a time, one state before the next. That’s the essential mind game. It will all add up to a journey exposing you to staggering landscapes, the kindness of strangers and abilities you didn’t know you had.” — Calvin Woodward, The Associated Press, 2006

Cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Half Moon Bay

Somebody told me that it’s not truly a coast-to-coast ride if I don’t dip my rear wheel in the ocean prior to setting off. It was freezing. I hope this counts!

DIRTs Craig Hou (left) and Jason Long (right). Yup, Craig made the awesome sign himself!

Fellow DIRT mate Craig Hou (left) brought some cronuts and this awesome sign he made to see us off in style. My cousin-in-law DIRT Jason Long and I were overwhelmed by Craig’s sentiments. The cowbell was an awesome touch! Thank you, Craig!

First DIRT Dad Fundo breadcrumb placed at the summit of Tunitas Creek!

The eight-mile climb up Tunitas Creek was a fine way to start the journey. Multiple switchbacks as we winded through majestic redwoods. In the shaded serenity, my thoughts took me to Lance and the other greats crushing the silence as they ripped this climb to shreds at Mach 1 during multiple editions of the Tour of California. I enjoyed the climb!

The most exciting thing about the monotonous drag up and over the Alameda pass was this tractor-trailer that took the curve a bit too hot. The huge wind turbines were cool too! The arid desert landscape was harsh, and the cross-winds added insult to injury. Oh yeah, and the closest I’ve come to getting killed on a bike since the last time I rode outside.

 

Despite being the only other vehicle on the pass with me, the driver of a fully-loaded semi left me about 4” between the raised curb and his 22 wheels screaming by at 75mph. When I collected myself and bled off some of my descending speed to about 30 mph, all I could think was, “That was close, and I hope I got it out of my system.”

Trying to smile, but the legs were screaming. The exhale and an opportunity to re-evaluate your life choices.
Carla and Sam were fun, interesting, and gracious hosts.

The rows of finely pruned vines interlaced between almond trees and manicured landscape were a fitting end to an epic day. Carla and Sam of Dutchman Vineyards in Ripon, CA were great.

About the DIRT Dad Fundo Pledge for Day One—Craig Hou, MD

Craig is a physician from California who races with the DIRTy Rascals.

“DIRT is a great group of riders who are friendly, encouraging, supportive, and sometimes good-humored teasing.  Zwifting is my only form of physical exercise.  It has kept me sane during the pandemic.  DIRT makes Zwifting all the more enjoyable and personally challenging.”

Total Raised to date: $550

Thank you, Craig!

A beautiful morning. Good-bye Dutchman Vineyards, Ripon, CA!

Now off to Groveland, CA, and one of the most beautiful valleys I’ve ever had the privilege to see—Yosemite.

To support Chris in his effort to raise awareness of The DIRT Dad Fund, the non-profit he created to assist members of the worldwide cycling community, check out this link to learn more. 


Find out where you can pledge a donation and subscribe to The ZOMs newsletter to follow along on the journey.

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