I was awoken in the middle of the night by the sound of my bike being moved. As I unzipped my tent to take a look I thought I heard foot steps. Was somebody trying to steal my bike? In a panic I leapt half way out of my tent still in my sleeping bag. In a combat situation with a thief being stuck inside a mummy sleeping bag can be a serious disadvantage. I realised the disturbance had been a strong gust of wind so got up to further secure my bike and went back to bed.
Before leaving in the morning I cleaned my chain and dérailleur with the WD40 and a sock given to me by Crazy Joe Galloway a few days earlier. Everybody thought it was hilarious to see me using a 'bum's sock' to clean my drive-train.
The ride began with a 13 mile climb. My knee was still playing up so I was kind of limping, using my other leg to do most of the work. At the top everybody was waiting me and cheering me to the top.
The descent was steep and fast and a gust of wind nearly blew me off my bike.
The next section of the ride was a long stretch of windy freeway. It was exhausting, particularly with my knee problem. I ended up a long way behind everybody else but they thoughtfully waited for me and cheered me up when I finally met them. They could see I was having a tough day and it was great that they were all looking out for me.
We stopped for lunch at a supermarket. I had PBJ burritos in preparation for Mexico.
The five of us stuck together through the challenging city riding leading up to Santa Barbara. Just as we were leaving the city a guy in a BMW pulled up alongside me. He asked if we needed a place to stay for the night. I wasn't sure what to say. I didn't really have a chance to decide if this guy was crazy or not so I thanked him and said we had a place to camp tonight. He sped off. Over the next hill I saw everybody talking to the guy in the BMW who had now pulled over onto the side of the road. He said he'd love to have us over for dinner and we could camp in his garden. We looked at each other and laughed. This was too good an offer to pass up as he seemed like a good guy. He gave us directions to his house and we followed his car as he stopped at every corner and waited. Along the way we discussed what kind of house we thought he'd have. We were not disappointed. It was a beautiful large house, complete with swimming pool and hot tub. Doug and his wife Marian made us feel instantly at home and gave us free run of the house. We were allowed to use their shower which was clean and didn't require the insertion of quarter dollar coins every 2 minutes. As we pitched our tents in the garden Doug came out with a tray of Margaritas. This was not something that normally happened to us. We sat down for an amazing dinner with Doug, Marian, their 15 year old son Ian and other guests, Kim and Brian. I ate and drank better than I had done for months.
After dinner we headed outside for a dip in the pool. It was now quite cold outside and the pool wasn't heated. We all dived in and screamed with the cold. Luckily we were able to jump out of the pool and straight into the warmth of the hot tub. Doug bought out a jug of Mai-Tais for us to drink in the hot tub. It was Brooke's birthday. I don't think she could have hoped for a better way to spend her birthday on this trip. Ian came out and demonstrated some of his impressive surfing skills in the pool before joining us in the hot tub. Luke picked oranges from the tree in the neighbouring garden for us to eat. They were so juicy and fresh, quite unlike the oranges you find in Tesco's back home.
As we went to bed I thanked Doug for his wonderful hospitality. He said he'd had fun and he knew cyclists tended to be good people so he liked to help them out.
This was such an incredible end to a pretty horrible day's riding. I hoped the warm water would have soothed my dodgy knee.