Million Dollar Challenge 2011!
Day 6 10/20/11
Santa Monica - Laguna Beach
 
Wow what a day today was.  It was fun,rewarding, hard, painful and educational. My day started out with a ride with my pop.  It was a lot of fun.  He rented a a really nice road bike and in a fashion pioneered by my pop... A giant country western silver plate belt buckle.  He totally pulls it off. We had a great ride along the coast. I was shocked at the pace we kept, rolling along with an average speed well in to the double digits. It was really exciting and surprising that I was able to keep such a speed for so long. We stopped by to make a quick visit to my friend Michelle and family.  It was great to surprise them.  After that we went to the Huntington Beach Fire Department Magnolia Fire Station to thank the guys for their support of my ride.  A special thanks to Bob Dutton for setting that up.  Those guys are really great. 
 
My pop and I continued down the coast to have lunch with Bob, my mom, her friend Kay, Melia and Mike.  It was great to catch up.   My pop and I continued down the coast to Balboa where we crossed the Ferry to Lido Island where we met up with Melia and Mike. My dad and went to the hotel when I knew something was off with my body.  I was sore and ill feeling with a really upset stomach. When I arrived at the hotel  my family was there to meet me. I started shaking uncontrollably. I knew something wasn't right. I went though the checklist of things I need to do when this sort of stuff happens. I narrowed it down to hypothermia which takes forever to warm up from.  It was a really rough night. I think I got colder and colder as my pop and i were riding. Boy, did I learn a good lesson. I recovered 5 hours later thank goodness. And a lighter note, my friend Todd showed up and was ready to ride in through the finished with me tomorrow .  Ok it's sleep time for this ice cube!
Thanks,Sean Simonson
 
Day 5 10/19/11Santa Barbara to Santa Monica
Oh what a day!  needless to say.... Yesterday's hilly day caught up with me today.  My body was killing me this morning. I think it was angry at me for what I am doing to it. The fun part of the day was to meet up with my friend Marc and ride the day with him.  It was fun to hear the heckling of a fellow Handcycist as I wrench up steep grades. Thanks Marc!!  another highlight of today's ride was the massage pit crew that raced up to me on the side of the road.  It's true!  A van pulled up in front of me and I was expecting to be abducted. Out jumped 5 massage therapists from our event and began an on scene rub down worthy of a king!  Marc, Mike and I journeyed south from Santa Barbara to the last exit in Carpinteria, Bates Road.  this is where I hit "the wall.". My arms decided that I was no longer going to make forward progress today.  So, after several attempts to convince my body to move.... I got out of the bike and laid on the grass to take a nap until the put crew came to get me. It was quite relaxing!!  We made it to the hotel well after dark and skipped dinner and went to bed.  Big Sean was wiped out.. I keep saying that!  I did get to see my great friend Sarah Reinertsen. Such a cool person!  Anyhow,  off to bed for me. Tomorrow I'm off to ride with my pop!
 
Day 4 10/18/11Pismo Beach to Santa Barbara
It was so foggy this morning that it felt like rain!!for breakfast we were able to meet up with my great friends Randall and Stacie. It was a great way to start the ride,  With a bunch of laughter!!  The weather started to clear as we neared my al mater UC Santa Barbara. We rode through the college town visiting all of my old haunts.  We rode the bike path through the main campus and it felt like rush hour on a Los Angeles freeway. It was fun. Today was a lot of climbing.....ALOT OF CLIMBING. we rode through this really neat dedicated bike path for miles and miles. Al sorts of flowers and fruit in bloom. The scent was unreal. Rolling down the hill in to Santa Barbara City was a great feeling and I was pretty wiped out when we crossed the finish line. We ate dinner from my favorite restaurant in Santa Barbara called Palazzios. It was the bomb!!  Ok I'm not able to keep my eyes open any more.  Tomorrow is a big day.  Stay tuned!!
 
Day 3 10/17/11Big Sur to Pismo Beach
The weather today was chaotic. It started off foggy and really cold in Big Sur and once we reached San Simeon (where the famous Hearst Castle is perched) it was super hot and sunny.  Just 10 short miles later it was ridiculously cold again.  We made a few stops in Cayucos (a small beach down north of San Luis Obispo).  First was to the Brown Butter Cookie Company. After all.... Who doesn't love a cookie?! 
 
We then did the traditional ride on the pier and then journeyed to a smoke house for some fish tacos.  Sadly, we were not done yet.  Another 15 miles away we felt the need to stop for pizza. I felt it was an appropriate choice being sponsored by a pie company. My riding today was good and then great. I had a tough time getting started but near the end of the ride I was really hammering the pedals. I rode with a pack from Cayucos to Morro Bay that really pushed me hard. I felt like I was really moving. We rolled in to the hotel at about dinner time with a remarkable view of the ocean. I somehow charmed my was past the 2 hour waiting list and got a massage tonight. Boy, that was great!!  We listened to a great talk from some pro cyclist. They live an interesting life to say the least!  Now, I am tired and will be chewing on my pillow shorty!  Good night!
 
Day 2 10/16/11Santa Cruz to Big Sur
 
This morning started out perfect!  The weather was great and the whole hotel was a buzzz.  we rode 17 mile drive today in Monterey passing all of the famous golf courses and lavish houses. Melia rode with me and mike would drive ahead and ride back to us to checkout the scenery. It was a perfect 75 degrees sunny and lots of jovial CAF Athletes. I was riding considerably better today. I beat my last time by tons of minutes!  Really stoked!!  I have discovered the wonders of coconut water.  Wow. I love that stuff. It was nice to arrive at the rest stop in Carmel during the day time.  I met the woman who started "Action Wipes" for athletes. Such an interesting woman. I broke my shifter clean off yesterday and this morning I woke up and the trip mechanics had repaired everything perfectly. They are like the bike fairies. I am loving this ride. Tomorrow.... Big sur to pismo beach with a rest stop at the Butter Cookie Company. Lovin me some butter cookies!!
Good night!!
 
Day 1 10/15/11SF to Santa Cruz
This morning started out very early in San Francisco. A 5am alarm is nobody's friend. We were up and out the door and ready to line up by 6:45. We all lined up for pictures and the singing of the national anthem in the middle of the street by the incredible Samuel. Sherpa duties today were in the hands of Mary while SAG van crew members Melia and Mike drove in the van. The gun went off sharply at 7:30 in the morning and a police escort led the pack thru the twisty and more than hilly streets of San Francisco. The pack was a spunky bunch, well from what I gathered in the brief time I peddled with them before they dropped me. This morning also started off a running event for CAF mirroring the bike ride but in non-stop fashion. It's expected that the runners will finish before the cyclists. They are crazy people!
 
This morning started out very early in San Francisco. A 5am alarm is nobody's friend. We were up and out the door and ready to line up by 6:45. We all lined up for pictures and the singing of the national anthem in the middle of the street by the incredible Samuel. Sherpa duties today were in the hands of Mary while SAG van crew members Melia and Mike drove in the van. The gun went off sharply at 7:30 in the morning and a police escort led the pack thru the twisty and more than hilly streets of San Francisco. The pack was a spunky bunch, well from what I gathered in the brief time I peddled with them before they dropped me. This morning also started off a running event for CAF mirroring the bike ride but in non-stop fashion. It's expected that the runners will finish before the cyclists. They are crazy people!
 
The ride thru Santa Cruz warmed up and in typical Sean fashion, I hit a bump and snapped my shift lever off completely rendering me the use of only two gears for the rest of today's ride. It made climbing hills challenging but then again when are they not? We got to see the Santa Cruz Wharf, Natural Bridges, and a ride past the surfing museum.  For the first time ever, I made it to the hotel before dark. In the shower I went to prepare for my presentation to the athletes this evening. After dinner, I was honored with the opportunity to tell my story to the athletes. It held greater meaning because the accident that got me here occurred just a few miles away. I also think its important to note that on this evening I thanked my sponsor, the J & L Pie Company... That's right, the chubby quadriplegic has an athletic sponsorship with a pie company. This evening I met so many wonderful new friends and reacquainted with so many old ones. It was also great to see my friend Maz and Stacy with their family here at the event.
 
It's late and I have 17 mile drive to ride tomorrow so I am going to bed.
 
Thanks,
Sean Simonson
 
 
 
Pre-ride 10/14/11San Francisco
We have arrived. we got all packed up & Mary & I got to sf to the start of this great ride. We pulled up to fisherman's wharf at 7:00 at night and it was a balmy 70 degrees. A rarity for sf this late at night.
 
Introductions of all the participants and challenged athletes were made to a crowd of over 100 people. It was great to see several familiar faces and even more new ones. We parked our bikes in the bike corral and scurried over for a late dinner. We spent time mingling with veteran riders Mike Jennings and the event coach. Then it was off to our rooms where we broke down our bunks for a 5 am curtain call. Stay tuned for details. Good night and sleep well.
 
Tomorrow am, San Francisco to Santa Cruz...
 
This picture shows us all at the start of the ride - I'm in the bottom right of the picture.
San Francisco
We have arrived. we got all packed up & Mary & I got to sf to the start of this great ride. We pulled up to fisherman's wharf at 7:00 at night and it was a balmy 70 degrees. A rarity for sf this late at night.
 
Introductions of all the participants and challenged athletes were made to a crowd of over 100 people. It was great to see several familiar faces and even more new ones. We parked our bikes in the bike corral and scurried over for a late dinner. We spent time mingling with veteran riders Mike Jennings and the event coach. Then it was off to our rooms where we broke down our bunks for a 5 am curtain call. Stay tuned for details. Good night and sleep well.
 
Tomorrow am, San Francisco to Santa Cruz...
 
This picture shows us all at the start of the ride - I'm in the bottom right of the picture.
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