Colin's Journal

27 January 2006
27 miles
Castroville --> San Juan Bautista
9 miles run, 18 biked

Semi-slept in this morning, until 7:30, then a big breakfast courtesy of Jim's aunt and uncle- Bob Stallard and Anne Wright. Honey Bunches of Oats with bananas, some zucchini bread Anne made last night, toasted with butter, as well as toast and bagels. It started raining while we were eating, and since it was a short day we waited until it dried out before we started riding (or at least until the rain stopped). We entertained ourselves by watching some episodes of "Saved by the Bell: The College Years". Screech was pressured into supplying some "NO" for an illegal party. Good stuff.

After the big breakfast, we started rolling with everyone going pretty short after the past two big days. Corey, Bill and Grant went 5, 3, 5, then I started running on San Juan Grade Road. Grant had said I was doing six miles, then Dave would finish us up, and Dave had rode ahead so that he could stay ahead of me during the climb (it turns out a "grade road" is a big hill). It started out gently rolling through green pastures with the big hills we'd seen yesterday, then the climb started in earnest.

The road, as on many of our climbs, wound its way slowly around the sides of hills, jumping from one to another, so you could often see a section across a valley, though you wouldn't get there for another mile or so. The hills were extremely steep and grassy, though around the curves there were often groves of trees and cool shade. I caught Dave when I figured I'd gone about five miles. I crested the pass of the mountain and told Rogo I'd run to the bottom, so he didn't ruin his knees. Between the pass and the descent was a nice section with great echoes where I walked a little to loosen up before going back downhill.

It was apparently very fun going down the mountain on a bike, alternating being out in the open, leaning over the valley below, where you could see San Juan Bautista, and being sheltered on the inside of a mountain, where there were trees. It was much steeper and more winding than the ascent.

At the bottom we chatted with a photographer from a local newspaper who had taken photos of us on the mountain after waiting for hours for us to come. Dave ran the rest of the way into town, where we met another photographer on the road, and sat with him for lunch at "JJ's Hamburgers". On the menu, for $15.95, was the "JJ's Challenge," a burger with 4 big patties, 2 buns, lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles, special sauce, as well as fries and a shake. The challenge was to finish everything in under 20 minutes, then it is free and you get your picture on the wall. Bill was all over this, despite the big breakfast and two sourdough bread loaves we ate on the short ride. The owner was very nice, although he didn't think Bill would make it. He brought out the challenge burger, along with all of our more reasonable orders (I had some very good garlic fries), and Bill dug in while the rest of us spoke to a reporter from the Hollister Free Lance.

Bill went strong early, but got to 3:00 left with a basket of fries and one patty still to go. With a minute to go, we clarified the rules: he didn't have to swallow everything, he just had to get it all in his mouth: it was gonna be close. So Bill starts stuffing, triying to make room for everything, then it was frantic:
  • the owner calls "time up"
  • Bill stuffs everything else in his mouth, the patty hanging out
  • Bill gives the owner a puppy dog look
  • Bill starts making weird noises
  • The owner says "you got it- it's good"
  • More weird noises: Bill can't swallow or breath
  • Bill spits out the mush in his mouth
  • Bill throws up everything from the last 10 minutes, most of the same consistency
After washing off the floor (we were outside, luckily), Bill signs a picture of himself for the wall of fame and gets a picture taken of him, the owner and the cook.

Next we went and the "Free Lance" photographer took our picture on a section of trail next to the mission in San Juan Bautista. We left our bikes in Denise's office- the San Juan Bautista chamber of commerce, then went to check out the mission. I was very impressed with the interior of the church- it was very peaceful just walking around inside it. It is apparently the largest church of all the 21 California missions

From here we rode to the St. Francis Retreat, three miles away in the hills above SJB. The man who runs the place, Ed DeGroat, showed us our rooms- we get a whole wing of a house with three showers. Denise then picked us up and drove us to a pizza dinner at Off the Chain bike shop in Hollister, thrown by a biker and attended by a lot of interested and interesting people. It was a fun day, and we each get our own room and bed to sleep in tonite.

Day 27

Day 28

Day 28 Journal