Matt O'Donnell
Pacific Coast
San Francisco, CA to Monterey, CA I managed to pull into Pt. Reyes right as it got dark, which was great, because the wiggly segment of HWY 1 isn’t a safe place to be in the dark. Unfortunately there’s no immediate campgrounds in Pt. Reyes, so I found a last minute B&B. I wasn’t sure where it was located, so I put the address into my phone. This is when, after riding over 80 miles with 5,600 feet and it’s nearing pitch black, that the laws of the universe dictate that your phone’s map application much screw with you. It took nearly another hour of going back and forth (every time was up a steep little incline) and calling the place twice, but I finally found it. And it was swaaaaank. I quickly cleaned up and dashed back down to town and ate a plate of pasta the size of my head. Plus dessert. When I got back to the B&B, I crashed hard and dreamt of home.

The next day was so chill it was magical. Check out was 11, so that’s about when I left after a good long night’s sleep. Then it was just the 40 miles back to my home in San Francisco. The roads of Marin are my typical cycling destination, so from here on out I knew every inch of road. I cut through Samuel P Taylor Park, which I had hoped to have stayed in the night before, but I just didn’t have the extra ten miles in me to make it a 90+ mile day. Then I cut through Lagunita, Woodacre, and stopped in Fairfax for lunch at the famous Gestalt Haus for a beer and a sausage. There were a few mountain bikers taking lunch breaks from their mid weekday rides. When I hit Larkspur I did actually contemplate taking the ferry from there, but laughed it off and kept on moving. I found crossing the Golden Gate Bridge kind of funny. To so many people riding the PCH it is a monumental moment, but I’ve ridden over it countless times and it just kind of felt like turning onto your street when coming home with groceries.
Once I crossed the bridge I went directly to work and stole a beer from the fridge. Then I wandered down to the Civic Center where I watched the sunset play off of the domed roof of city hall.

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Matt O'Donnell

Gear List

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Matt O'Donnell
  • Genesis moment? A year ago I started a new company with a friend here in San Francisco. It’s been successful and I feel blessed because of that, but the hours were long at times, the stress high and I found that my fitness and riding is what took the biggest hit. I went from regularly riding 200+ miles/week to being lucky if I got in 40. When the holiday season came around I found myself with a week off and a huge amount of excitement to get back on the bike. I went for broke and rode over 300 miles in the six days I was visiting family out in Tucson, AZ. What did I get for my effort? A knee injury, seemingly caused from overuse; meaning I jumped back into the deep end too fast. I should have waded into the kiddy pool, I guess.
    I’ve spent some time in physical therapy and the knee is feeling good. This trip is going to be a great opportunity for me to get reconnected to my functioning body and to allow my head some time and space away from work, to reevaluate priorities, tell some stories, and to just ride bikes and sleep in tents.
  • Have you traveled in the past? My previous experience traveling distance by bike is pretty limited. I’ve done a few overnighters, but this will be my biggest trip BY FAR. I look forward to learning primarily by making mistakes and then trying not to repeat them.
  • Goal for the route? My biggest goal is to find some great characters and stories to share along the way. So much of the fundamental basis of American cycling culture spawned from the West Coast and I know there are going to be great examples of it along the way. In addition to that I hope to keep all my fingers and toes attached to my body.
  • What do you hope to get out of the journey? It sounds hippy-ish, but I’m hoping to come away from this with a bit of perspective. The sort of insight and calm that only many miles, the open road, and no cell phone reception can bring you. I’m also aiming for some real nice, crisp, tan-lines.
  • What's in your bag? #1 my Fallkniven F1 survival knife is my favorite camping knife. Seeing as how it is a fixed blade, I (for legal reasons) don’t want to “conceal” it. I tend to actually mount it right on the bike with zip ties holding the plastic sheath in place. Getting it through customs will be interesting.

    #2 My Coffee & Tea Collective tin mug. This was given to me by a good friend who hails from San Diego for my 30th birthday. I’ve never spent any time in San Diego, but since this route is going to take me right through I figure I should swing by and fill this baby up straight from the source. I will then immediately begin an epic burrito sampling to settle once and for all who has the best, San Diego, or San Francisco.

    #3 my GoPro Hero 4 Black. I have a variety of accessories from mounts, to filters, to nifty time lapse doodads that will allow this camera to do some heavy lifting for the mini documentaries I intend to produce while out on the tour.

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