Abby Watson's avatar

Abby Watson

Portland, OR // Riding bikes, playing outside, Z dogs, painting my nails, eating good food and drinking too much coffee.

500’ into today’s ride, I should have called it quits.

Rapha TOC day 7

This photo shows more than I could say in a little paragraph about day 7. It was hard, we did it, and it felt so good to be done! We started and finished at the capital building in downtown Sacramento and rode 119 miles. Some roads were awesome and others were tedious, but it was a great day. I surprised myself on this trip; my body didn’t break down, and I finished feeling stronger than when I started. Today, I can honestly say that it feels a little weird not to be riding, and while I know I need the rest, I’m not broken and I want to ride more. I’m encouraged both by myself and by the women I rode with, and I think this adventure will be a catalyst for the 7 of us and hopefully those of you who have been following along. Do a little more than you’re comfortable with, stay adaptable, encourage others, get outside.

Rapha TOC Day 6

Day 6 for us is day 2 for the actual TOC route since we’re riding the stages in reverse order. As a group, we were exhausted and this was the longest and hardest day. The forecast of rain did little to encourage us as we rolled out under grey skies through San Jose. The first 10 miles were slow due to navigating city streets and waiting at stop lights. Before we knew it, it was 10 a.m. and we weren’t even at the base of Mt Hamilton. Not encouraging. Our group shrunk to 4 and started the almost 20 mile climb up Hamilton into the fog and rain. It was a weird climb that rolled through valleys and seemed to zigzag all over the place. I never saw the peak, but after what was probably over 2 hours of climbing, we reached the top and jumped in the van to stay warm. The day proceeded like this for a while, in and out of the rain, the group growing progressively smaller, and us making very slow time. The rain got worse, we got cold, and after about 80 miles we decided to call it a day. There was no way we would have been able to make it to the top of Mt Diablo before dark, and the prospect of a 12 hour day in the rain at this point in the week would have killed our spirits and put us in a bigger hole for the 120 mile final day. Pulling the plug on the stage was the right call, and one we were all confident with. I just have some personal revenge to get on this stage, but will save that for a sunny day when I’m a little better rested.

"This donut is too healthy" @krasniakjulie

On that note, #raphatoc is complete and I ate 3 donuts today!

@mmcyclist showing off the aftermath of fluke knee warmer mechanical. Wearing white is hazardous

Fueling for the final 50 or so miles of #raphatoc

I didn’t take a single photo today, so this one is curtesy of @rapha_n_america. The day didn’t go exactly as expected, but the 75 or so miles we rode were awesome despite the rain, fog and cold. Tomorrow is our last day of #raphatoc and it’s a big one, 120 miles starting and finishing in Sacramento. Huge thank you to the women I’m riding with and those who have been supporting us along the way.

Rapha TOC day 5

We were all braced for the worst today. The thought was that we’d be fighting a headwind the full 105 miles from Cambria to Monterey. Much to our collective relief, the wind was calm. It was there, but not in the oppressive soul crushing style of yesterday’s wind. In fact, it even shifted into a bit of tailwind for the last 15 miles. In short, today was awesome. I’ve never had an easier 100 mile day on the bike, the scenery was unreal, and the group worked together really well. We needed this day and the moral boost. Now for tomorrow… It’s supposed to rain, and we’re climbing Hamilton and Diablo. Suffice to say, I’m nervous.

These guys make long days on the bike so much better

Day 5 of #raphatoc was pretty simple; keep the ocean on your left and don’t forget to enjoy the views

Here goes #raphatoc day 5, Cambria to Monterey. I’m dreading the headwind, but excited for the views

Rapha TOC Day 4

Today was tough. I’ll put it out there - my dog died this morning; I got a frantic call from Greg, who had just been there with Zeppo as he died, and proceeded to more or less cry for the hour plus drive to Santa Barbra. I watched the other women get excited about the day, the weather, the sun, the ocean, their coffee; I went through the motions of getting kitted up and getting on my bike all while feeling vacant and crying behind the safety of my sunglasses.

We got on our bikes and I sat in the back. I basically thought that was going to be what I did all day: check out, move my legs, get lost in thought, grieve. Then we hit the first climb and I knew I want to work fucking hard and to feel pain that I was in complete control of. It helped that the climb was fun, and that Julie went with me. We punched it, and it felt good. That effort helped me focus, and I was able to control my emotions and engage with the group (all of whom road awesome today). I got through the day, the terrible headwind, and the sketchy roads, but I’m sad, and I miss my buddy, and it’s hard to be away from home.

#raphatoc day 4 is finally in the books. 100+ miles into a headwind wasn’t ideal, but this group is strong.