Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Quite Possibly the Hardest Bike Ride of My Life

I'm in my tent and I hear crickets in the distance. Those may actually be frogs. Whatever it is, it's soothing, and soothing is nice after the day we had.

This morning we left charming, historic Ferndale and headed for the Lost Coast. We knew there would be *four* significant hills to climb, logger trucks passing by, and some dicey road conditions.

It was all of these and then some. The first and longest hill had a 1,600-foot elevation, and it was STEEP. Even though my bike is light, I had trouble with the steepest parts, and for some reason I couldn't shift into my easiest gear. Some of us ended up walking up parts of the hill.

The scenery made up for it, though. Beautiful, rolling golden hills, hundreds of thousands of evergreens, Spanish moss, and eventually we made it to the ocean, where big rocks jutted out from the waves.

The descent down hill #1 was a bit treacherous. The road was torn to bits with potholes and ruts and the occasional cattle crossing, and there were many switchbacks. My fingers hurt from breaking so hard.

There wasn't much downtime before the second hill. It seemed even steeper that the first. Ugh! Brian's chain was feeling the strain, so in the heat of the moment he threw up his thumb to hitchhike. This friendly dude immediately pulled his truck over and drove us up the hill. I climbed in the back seat next to a giant chainsaw and two 18-can boxes of Budweiser. We smiled and waved at our friends as they slowly climbed up the hill. It was awesome.

We eventually all met up at an incredibly scenic lunch spot along the Lost Coast. The sand was made of tiny black rocks. After eating and resting, there were still two hills to deal with. Both had steep bits that I ended up walking, but we slowly chipped away at them.

Tonight's campsite is pretty nice. There's a little river nearby (no swimming, algae alert) and it's not as cold or foggy as precious nights. Eel River Amber Ale and rice, corn, beans and avocado are on the dinner menu. The campfire is roaring.

Tomorrow, Joel arrives to join the tour, and Hardy and I will drive his car back to SF. Todd also drops off to drive up to Oregon. I would like to continue biking, but there is an even longer hill up next, and I can't say I'm bummed to be missing that. I'm also excited to get back to Lemmy and my comfy bed.

Very impressed that these guys have been at it for nearly three weeks. Enjoy the ride back to SF, gang!

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