Tuesday, August 12, 2014

DAY 18: Ferndale to Petrolia

Today was the first day of the lost coast. I think tod summed it up best when he said we were a bit "out of our league." this ride was BRUTAL. I don't know if it was because I was carrying the extra weight of Jessica's stuff (which I have been doing for 4 days already) or if this ride was truly just that brutal, but this was the first time I have ever pushed my bike up a hill and I did it on 4 different hills today.

we woke up and rolled back in to downtown ferndale to hit the grocery one last time before heading in to the lost coast which had no resources for about 32 miles. this means we all needed to carry extra food and extra water. as a side note to those who know nothing about the lost coast, it is the most least inhabited region of the west coast.

right out of the gate we started the first of 4 brutal climbs. this first climb was 1600 ft over 6 miles very steep very rough road. I got maybe a mile in and my legs just gave up. I got off and pushed for nearly the next five miles. this shit took forever. we kept getting to points that we thought must be the top where it would seem to not be able to go any higher, and it would kick us in the teeth and keep going. matt and I actually both broke our chains on this hill. mine was still rideable, but had a bent link. matt broke his clean and did a roadside fix.

once we eventually got to the top of the hill we had some insane views of everything. mountains, forests, the ocean, neighboring small towns... you could see everything. after taking in some views, we began our descent which was one of the gnarliest descents of my life. these roads out here on the lost coast are completely mangled. there are huge pot holes everywhere or broken off pieces of road or sometimes the road looked like it was molded in to a magma ramp. there were a couple of points when the road was just gravel. it was a very difficult game of bob and weave going 30 to 40 mph but you inevitabley would hit some massive bumps or have to cruise over a cow catcher. it was pretty challenging and I was often pretty certain my entire hike might fall apart any minute.

the descent was bitter sweet, because right at the bottom of the hill we started our next 1000 ft climb. at this point my chain was clicking like crazy and ready to snap at any pedal stroke and the hill had just gotten so steep I was getting off to walk my bike when I heard a truck coming up behind me. I just tossed my thumb up to see what would happen and the dude stopped. I asked him to give Jessica and I a ride up the hill with which he nodded his head. he got out and helped us load our bikes in his truck and we were off. he barely said 2 words to us the entire time because he didn't speak English. but he cordially offered me a beer as he drank his while he drove us to the top of the hill. we said hi to our buds as we passed then one by one and chuckled.

our Chaufer didn't understand us when we asked him to drop us at the top of the hill, so he ended up driving us halfway down as well before running in to pat, Julia, and Charlie where we adamantly asked him to stop and he got it finally. they laughed as we hopped out of the truck with an incredible view of the ocean. we descended with the crew down what is know as "the wall" which is a 16% grade hill.

after this descent we perched up on the beach for lunch and I decide I better swap my chain. after a few complications I got my bike sorted and the rest of the crew joined us at the beach to eat.

the next 10 miles or so were really flat along the coast until we hit another 500 ft climb. I pushed up this one for a little bit as well but all in all it wasn't quite as bad. after this climb we descended in to petrolia which has one of the only stores on the lost coast. we stocked up on dinner supplies then went back to it to hit our 4th brutal climb of the day which was 500 ft.

this one was hard as shit, but not as big as the earlier ones. matt broke his new chain again... but we were only a couple of miles from camp so he decided to push up the rest of the hill and try to coast in to camp. unfortunately, camp was like another 3 miles after the hill. the rest of us trucked it to camp and I found a nice cyclist dude to ride back with me in his truck to pick up matt and Sabah.

we are now camped at AW way park which is a pretty nice spot with water and showers. today was our last day riding with tod, jason, and Jessica. they are leaving us in the morning and Joel is joining in their place.

in conclusion: the lost coast is way harder than anyone could describe to you. today was straight grueling, but I would say it paid off. this was definitely one of the best days of the trip scenery wise. it was also awesome how desolate it was and how few cars drove by.

stay tuned for day two of the lost coast. it is supposedly much worse haha.

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