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This is Just Practice

By | June 21, 2012

Thursday, June 21, 2012
Refugio Beach State Park to Santa Barbara
20 miles

The only way I knew for sure it was Thursday today is that I talked on the phone to my friend Charlie last night, just after he got home from bike polo, which I know he plays on Wednesdays. Ahhh, traveling.

We might have gone further today, but we had friends lined up to stay with. And after yesterday’s long day, that was extra fine.

Neither Sadie nor I slept in as late as we thought we would this morning. Since we were up, we got to see off Michael and Ian, two guys camped in the hike and bike. They were heading north up the coast, which is steeper and against the wind, as well as towing a trailer with their 45-pound dog. As they said, they were in their twenties and had time on their hands. Michael also had a broken spoke, so they were basically off to limp to the next bike shop, up the two mile, seven percent grade we had just come down.

Since we were leaving at a reasonable hour, Nick decided to accompany us on the way to Santa Barbara. He needed to be there by 2:00, and we weren’t moving that slowly. Though he did have to reduce his normal pace considerably to hang with us. After a bit, he decided to go ahead, find a place for us all to lunch together, and call us with the location. He didn’t make it past the first Jack in the Box. We picked him up there and continued on to the UCSB campus, which is actually in Goleta, where we found a fast Indian food place.

Since we had gone 12 miles on only a PB&J, and my body was still demanding to be fed from yesterday’s 75 mile trek, I was a bit light headed when we stopped and then proceeded to eat too much. But there was Boba tea! And rice pudding!

Nick left us after lunch.

Bye, Nick!

He’s from London, and is very personable. He got to stay in the Pismo Beach campground we were turned away from because he arrived after dark and just set up his tent. He’s riding from Canada to Mexico raising money for cancer research. You can donate to his project at, or follow him on Facebook. We like his photos! Also, San Diego friends, he would like to learn to surf.

We continued across Santa Barbara to Ed and Mary’s house. They are the parents of Sadie’s friend Al, who she knows from when she worked on Kwajelin Island. Ed has worked there in the past as well, and they have many friends in common. Mary was unfortunately in bed recovering from an illness, but Ed was a gracious and energetic host who gave us the run of the house. We spent some time talking about bike traveling when we first arrived. His son is gearing up for a trip, which he has been nervous about, but I think we made him feel better about it.

I found a yoga class to attend in the afternoon, and Ed offered to let me take the car, which was just the thing! I knew it was going to be a core focused class, but it was serious. I may not have made it if I’d biked there and back. After 75 miles yesterday, you know.

The class, with Ryan at Yasa Yoga, was really phenomenal! The workout was balanced and intense. We worked on some stabilizer muscles I didn’t know I had. I have some new moves to take back to Chicago. It’s easy to let your core go in long distance cycling. I tend to get a little more sway-backed than I already am. This put me back into alignment. Also, for such a kick-ass workout, Ryan was really careful to be non-judgemental, to offer many levels of modification, and to remind everyone that we are only practicing. In fact, he described practice as the balance between pursuing your goals and letting go, something I will be chewing on for a while. I love learning from new yoga teachers, and I wish I had more time to practice with Ryan!

The only problem with class that, even though at least two hours had gone by since I’d eaten that huge meal, I felt like I was going to throw up through most of the class. Good thing I’ve been practicing yogic breathing for a long time. Oh, and we did a small amount of quad and hamstring work, from which I had to refrain. My legs simply said no. Maybe another day.

Also, the studio was gorgeous. Airy, stucco, exposed beams, high, rounded ceilings. May have been an old Spanish-style church, actually. Am I advertising for them now? I really loved it! If you’re in Santa Barbara, you should go.

When we got back, Ed made us dinner! I am so grateful for people who take such good care of travelers like us. We also had a great conversation. One of Ed’s favorite topics, like mine, is, in short, how the world is going to hell in a hand basket. Let’s talk about specifics here, he said, so we listed a few. Nuclear proliferation, water, and the like. How he remains so positive, motivated and energetic in the face of this very pessimistic world view is a lesson to me. At the same time, I feel like I’ve been seeing hopeful signs lately, while he thinks most things are too little, too late.

We all agreed that we’re not perfect either. There are things we do, too, that we know we shouldn’t. (Like go to CVS by myself while on a bike trip. I came back with a bag full of obnoxiously unhealthy and over packaged snacks. They were on sale!) Then we happily ate frozen yogurt and drank tea for dessert. The end.

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