Sunday, January 23, 2011

Romero Canyon

The day began with the usual homemade breakfast buffet. I had quinoa with blueberries and maple syrup, chicken, green smoothie and sweet potato. Then Matt P and I hopped in the car for the drive up the PCH towards Santa Barbara, checking out the surfers ripping on the way. Peter's mtb was still in the shop, so he was off to ride the Gibraltor climb on a solo five hour road bike mission (which ended up taking him even less than five hours despite a mad headwind).

Matt and I parked in the foothills and then started up the Romero Canyon climb. It was Sunday, so there were lots of folks hiking. I guess there's some animosity between hikers and bikers around here -- apparently the riders are a little aggressive? I dunno, we didn't see many other riders, but I did notice that sometimes when I said hello to those on foot, I was slow to get a response (if at all). Also apparently you're supposed to have a turkey-bell attached to your saddle so they can hear you coming ... whoops.

Anyway, the pitch was great for our day's work. We were able to keep a pretty steady pace all the way up, interrupted only a couple times, most notably by a rock slide that resulted in a little hike-a-bike. The other stops were all photography related. We met a nice local who told Matt about yet more mtb trails in the area and she explained that actually January is the best time to come to Cali because this is the time they're at their greenest tree-wise (before everything gets crispy in the summer sun) and the mountain biking is the best for climate and vegetation. Good to know!

At the top, we took in another amazing view and then it was back to scary-ass single track descending. Not as terrifying as yesterday, but still death-defying in a few places. Some of the trail was eroding off the sides in an odd mixture of shale, dirt and what seemed like wood chips. It was slippery regardless. That was the top half. The bottom half of the descent featured some amazing rock gardens, stream crossings and tacky dirt. So awesome. I was able to get back some confidence and clear some stuff I was unsure of. Always a good feeling.

Back at the car all too soon, we changed and then headed down to Santa Barbara to meet up with Peter for coffee, shopping and dinner. The drive into town through Montecito and then the outskirts of SB was eye-opening. Apparently the median price for a home in Montecito is about $2.8 million. And you can easily see why. Every estate has perfectly manicured landscaping featuring cacti and palms with colourful blooms. The houses were beautiful with that red clay roofing I love. Amazing drive, full of day dreaming.

In SB, we had coffee at the Santa Barbara Roasting Co, a local favourite for good reason. That set us up perfectly to walk up State Street. Peter got a sick new blazer and I found a couple sparklies between coffees, window shopping and people watching. We checked out the Arbor snow shop, this cool bike shop, and had Indian for dinner. Then it was back home to Oxnard and bed to get ready for the last day of riding: Backbone Trail. Santa Barbara is officially on my "come back again" list.

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