Monday, January 6, 2014

Cali Coast Road Trip Part 4: San Francisco to Salt Lake City

After drinking a bit too much the previous night with newfound friends, I found walking (hiking) around San Francisco to be quite the chore. Even this tunnel was on a grade. Interestingly, there was another road on top of this tunnel!

I decided to stop in Chinatown for lunch on my way through. Not bad.

Had a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge from this high point.

Alcatraz sits behind the American Flag here. 'Merica!

Some day I'll have to try swimming from there. The Escape from Alcatraz triathlon is on my list.

An old battleship still sits in the bay here by the Fisherman's Wharf. With all the delicious seafood around this area, I will make certain to eat here next time and skip out on a Chinatown lunch.
Leaving San Francisco took quite awhile. In fact, I got so frustrated with sitting in traffic, I stopped in the town of Davis to eat and run (literally, a 4 mile run). I was impressed. While not as many bike lanes and multi-use paths as the larger city of Boulder, I have never seen more people on bikes. It didn't matter that there wasn't a bike lane in some areas, as I saw a whole entire road with hundreds of bikes passing by and maybe 3 cars over a half hour span. I am quite certain more people ride bikes here than cars. It was quite the town.
Once I finally arrived at my buddies in Meadow Vista, who originally pulled me down the coast two years ago, I was sick of driving for a bit. Luckily, the trail race we planned on was right down the road. Called the Switchback Challenge, it involved three big climbs over 6.5 miles of tough trail. While I couldn't keep up with the leaders up any of the hills, I definitely made up time with some good, recklessly fast downhill running. By this point, fitness had come back some from the last two weeks of intense running, cycling, and hiking, and I was able to nail a sub hour finish by 6 minutes to not only nab an age group prize but also score a large, liter beer mug that included free beer and food at the town's Octoberfest later that night (given out to everyone under an hour). And another bonus: got to meet Gordy Ainsleigh, the founder of modern ultrarunning in the US, who lives and trains in the area, before the race start. Definitely one of my favorite running races to date.

Found this gorgeous spot on the rocks in Sand Harbor to watch the sunset over Lake Tahoe. By this point, I was mostly worn out and after a failed attempt to swim in the crystal clear lake due to extreme cold (even with a  wetsuit, I had a splitting headache after a minute), I decided to spend these last couple of days resting up and enjoying the scenery.

While I stayed in Kings Beach on the California side, this beautiful spot was in Sand Harbor on the Nevada side.
On my way back to Colorado, I stayed overnight in Nevada, where I ate an enormous 5 course meal with a large filet mignon and bottle of wine for less than $30 (or rather attempted to eat) at an old hotel in the town of Winnemucca. The next day was a beautiful run in Salt Lake City around Sugar House Park.
Which would be a nice place to play a ballgame!
Always amazed at how beautiful Utah is. Here you can see the moon positioned between the mountains at sunset as I leave the SLC area.

And of course the drive back thru Colorado is always nothing short of spectacular. Can't wait to do this trip again for some hiking in the Sierra Nevadas!

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