|Miles travelled: ||100 (492 total) ||Average speed: ||12.5 MPH |
|Time on bike: ||8:00 ||Top speed: ||37.7 MPH |
I got an early start this morning, getting camp packed up as I boiled water for my oatmeal, and some extra to fill my empty water bottles. I made sure to eat a full breakfast this morning as I was contemplating doing two days worth of riding in one. In reading through Cycling the Pacific Coast, I saw the hills were relatively light for what it had routed as the next two days, and each day was around 45 miles long. Could I manage 90+ miles in a day? Maybe, but I needed to get rolling ASAP. I was out of camp by 9am, but not before discovering thimbleberry bushes near the bathroom on the way out. I saw one solitary, ripe berry that was my dessert for the morning… hopefully a good omen.
the morning fog
Through Orick and back on 101 I was on a tear, averaging at least 13MPH for the first couple of hours. I was on pace to make it to Eureka by 12:30 or 1pm, which I wouldn’t have believed the day before. What a difference a day makes! I’m discovering that knowing where you’re up against, being able to mentally prepare yourself for that next hill, etc is very important in the psychological challenge that is long-distance cycling.
As I passed Arcata there was a Pacific Coast Bike Route sign directing me away from 101. I decided to follow it despite knowing that 101 was probably a more direct route, as often times these alternate bike routes provide a break from the traffic and some nice scenery. This time unfortunately, the scenery was farmland and cows. I grew up in Montana, a state where cows outnumber people – I’ve seen enough cows in my day, thank you very much. The only cow I wanted to see at this point was on a bun on my plate, and could have done without the lengthy detour that eventually routed me to a dead end at a lumberyard. (The extra distance did get me to the 100 mile mark though at the end of the day, so there’s that.)
stopping to harvest some blackberries on the side of Highway 101
I got back on 101 and proceeded onward to Eureka and lunch – I was starving. Then about five miles outside of town, I looked down and saw my bike computer was reading 0 MPH, while I was still rolling… something was wrong. I checked the magnet and the sensor on the fork but it wasn’t the problem. Turns out I had the cord wrapped around the bike too much, which was causing it to pull and led to it fraying and failing. Not having my bike computer working is a problem – it’s not only what I use to keep track of my speed and stats, it’s also how I know when to take a break (based on miles ridden, time of day, etc). My pace slowed as I pushed through the last five miles to Eureka and my lunch.
I grabbed some lunch at Burger King and charged up some devices, lamenting the lack of WiFi or cell phone signal. (I would end up going with virtually no cell phone access for several days through this stretch of 101/Highway 1. If you haven’t heard from me, that’s why. :) I found a local bike shop that carried the model of bike computer I had and picked up a replacement cable. I also picked up a great multi-tool that would fit the nooks and crannies so I could fix my kickstand.
my bike computer was getting inaccurate readings from the faulty cable – I only go above 100MPH on my road bike
Bike computer fixed, stomach satisfied, legs feeling good, and looking alright time-wise, I decided to go for it and push onward through the Avenue of the Giants to the Burlington campground.
The riding was fairly uneventful until Rio Dell, where they had been grinding up the pavement to resurface the road.
uneven pavement… you don’t say?
I had to ride over this bone-jarring crap for FIVE MILES. Not pleasant, especially after riding all day. Worse than a gravel road, but there was no escaping it, so I pushed onward.
I continued through the Avenue of the Giants, getting closer and closer to the campground site. The last few miles as the sun set and the road darkened were spent looking for the campsite around every corner, and paranoia in the back of my mind thinking I somehow missed it and passed it by. I definitely didn’t have the legs to go much further at this point; I needed to find this campground. It turned out to be a couple miles further down the road than I expected (the mileage counts in the cycling book aren’t the most accurate I’ve found), and eventually made it to the campground.
Once again I was rolling into the camp in the dark. Burlington has two hiker/biker areas, the first I passed on my way to the second, which was full of people. I was surprised to discover someone else setting up a hammock like mine (the first one I’d seen on the trip), and it was the guy from the three Seattle cyclists I’d met going into North Bend! They had a rest day yesterday and had actually stayed at Patrick’s Point, which was where I was going to stay yesterday but didn’t make it. I didn’t think I’d see them again since they were moving at such a fast pace.
Due to limited tree hitching space in that area, I ended up setting up in the other hiker/biker spot, which was much less populated (and quieter)… just a couple who turned out to also be from Portland. I hurried to cook up my dinner and get cleaned up by the 10pm quiet time deadline, and had no problem falling asleep that night.
Most Exciting Moment
Riding through the Avenue of the Giants was fantastic. I’d been through here in the past, but on a bike with the time to appreciate the scenery you’re passing through, breathing in the air… pretty incredible. (I had made a video of some of this, but the batteries in the camera died on me. shucks.)
the Hulk bike resting on a stump
- a large dragonfly
- a duck
- garage door opener
- a mammalian tail, 6” long