Coast Ride

Back in January, Away Message hosted a 4 day, 472 mile journey down the California coast. It was the perfect opportunity for Sarah Sturm, Kate Courtney, Anna Yamauchi, Maude Farrell, Amity Rockwell and Sophie Vitzthum von Eckstadt to get together and share some base miles before their long racing season ahead.

Video by Tobin Merriam

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It seems like forever ago we were pedaling down the coast together. Long days full of gas station snacks, budget hotels, and bad stomachs. Approaching Unbound, it feels like kinda the same thing in a comforting sort of way. Race week shelled up in some budget friendly, pieced together accommodations and bunk beds. Shoveling down as much food as possible, the same limited dining options whether it's Emporia Kansas or Salinas California, and probably some shared tummy aches (although hopefully not norovirus this time..) The racing seems so far away from a 4 day point to point down the coast with a massive group of friends, but at the heart of both of these things is the way bikes continue to bring us all together and convince each other into thinking that the longer ride the better. And when we’re suffering like a dog at hour 12 of Unbound or shitting our brains out on the top of west Camino Cielo rd., hopefully someone is around to share the experience and have a good laugh, because that's exactly why we do it all.

Six pedal queens on coastal parade,
480 miles, bike wheels and lemonade.
Maurten gels, candy bars, and bodega charades.

Norovirus struck, but not the vibe,
Two heroes down, yet comedy did thrive.
Mexican burritos and laughter kept us alive.
— Sophie

Rolling down the coast

A gang of gas station girls

Next time real neck tats
— Kate

We head South, laughing, Friday, cold and dry,

Our chains are lubed, spirits high, tailwind strong,

Santa Bar’bra almost don’t seem so long,

And to Best Western Salinas we fly.

Five neck tats later, and mariachi,

We fall asleep soundly, dreaming big dreams,

Wake up rested and fresh— or so it seems,

Coalinga-bound (Pinnacles has a fee).

First Maude goes pale, Sarah shortly after,

Amity and Sophie look on with despair,

Neck tats are fading and somehow, the air

Fresh’ners only worsen the scenes of disaster.

But yet! To Arroyo Grande we go,

Steadfast in our goals (and no easy way back),

I ride alone, can’t hold onto the pack,

Are Maude and Sarah better? Sadly, No.

But Anna returns, and we are no quitters,

(Cam-Cielo knows horrors of which we won’t speak)

In the end we arrive, to the Drift in SB,

Some on two wheels, and some on the shitter.

And with that, Bodega Run comes to a close,

Some mezcal shots later, ain’t it peculia’,

Burritos and bloating and Zaza Pachulia,

From suffering so many friendships arose.

Here we are, days later, let’s do it again!

Let’s plan another, but please, no more Noro!

At the end of it all, despite many horrors,

I’d give it a solid 11/10.

— Amity