It was a cool, sunny morning in Venice, CA on Saturday… May 24th.
Awaking at 6am, we began loading our bicycles for what would be our first fully loaded test-run.
With a goal of 60 miles per day (our estimated average mileage while cycling around the world), we set off from Venice at 7:30am with a destination of Ventura, CA.- exactly 60 miles from our front door. Based on an average of 10 mph, we estimated that the journey would take somewhere between 7-8 hours (including meal stops & breaks).
The first hour of the morning was a quiet, soothing ride along the PCH through Santa Monica and the Pacific Palisades. Traffic was light and our spirits were high. The weight took a bit of getting used to, as neither of us had ever pedaled a bike with a payload of 70+ pounds. However, once we determined the appropriate gearing for such weight, we quickly became accustomed to our new two-wheeled mobile homes.
With the easiest part of the trek behind us, the next few hours would prove to be a true test of both physical ability and sheer will-power. We had underestimated the amount of hills that we’d encounter through Malibu, and we were completely ignorant of the impending headwind that we’d face heading north along the coast.
With frequent stops atop each major hill, it took us approximately 7 hours to reach Point Mugu and begin the Oxnard leg of our journey. Averaging 6.5 mph, we now estimated that the entire trip would take us around 9 hours.
This estimate held true until we entered Oxnard and began riding into a strong and steady headwind that slowed us down to around 4 mph. We were crawling at this point, with our panniers acting as misaligned sails, giving us a feeling of constant braking. The greatest sense of joy came from the sweet scent of passing strawberry fields, an oasis of hope in what seemed like a never-ending ride.
We were exhausted and demoralized, but the end was quickly approaching.
The final stretch was a northern path through neighborhood streets, taking us through the heart of Oxnard and into Ventura. After 10 hours, the sight of the “Ventura” sign triggered one of the most gratifying feelings of our lives. Once in, we stopped at Carl’s Jr., put aside our Vegan, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free diets and each consumed one of the largest hamburgers either of us had ever seen. Zero guilt.
After dinner, we rode the final couple of miles to one of our friend’s homes for some brief conversation and warm showers. With an 11.5 hour journey complete, we then lied down to enjoy what would later be known as the grandest night of sleep to have ever been had.
The next morning we awoke at 5am and were on the road by 6am, concerned that it would be another 11 hour day. With very minimal fatigue and soreness, and with the wind to our backs, we cruised almost effortlessly back home to Venice. Averaging 10 mph while riding, and taking minimal meal/rest stops, we made it back in a very reasonable 8.5 hours. Three total hours faster than the northern journey.
As we pulled up to our front door, wiped the sweat off our faces, and unloaded our bikes, we joyously embraced… mutually acknowledging that we had both just completed one of the greatest achievements of our lives…
… and this was only just the beginning.