|Miles travelled: ||85 (622 total) ||Average speed: ||13.2 MPH |
|Time on bike: ||6:25 ||Top speed: ||40.6 MPH |
I was up early this morning, as were the rest of the Seattle gang. We were wanting to get going and tackle that Leggett hill. We were out of camp before 9am.
I met up with the Seattle gang at the cafe across the street as they fueled up on caffeine, and then headed out first to tackle the hill. I knew they’d be climbing faster than me (I’m carrying about twice as much gear as they are), so I wanted the head start. I took the turn onto Highway 1, rode past Leggett, and started my ascent.
Sure enough they passed me one by one about halfway up, and I met up with them again at the top. In total it took me somewhere around 40 minutes to get up the hill… but I made it. We had conquered the highest hill on the Pacific Coast bike route.
our celebratory Matrix “bullet time” poses at the top of Leggett hill
We cruised down a fun and winding descent, working our way to the second big climb, which seemed to be harder than the first for some reason. After that we were back at the coast for some phenomenal views and some relatively easy riding. We stopped at the grocery store in Westport for a snack break, and then headed on our way to Fort Bragg.
I lost the rest of the pack on some hills, but kept on riding knowing we’d be meeting at North Coast Brewery. I figured they would beat me there by 20 minutes or more. As I got closer to Fort Bragg, I saw a Pacific Coast Bicycle Route sign… I contemplated following it, and remembered my cow ordeal outside of Eureka. I skipped it and stayed on 101.
As I arrived in Fort Bragg I looked back and wouldn’t you know it, the Seattle three pulled up right behind me! They had followed the Pacific Coast Bicycle Route signs and ended up on a “scenic” detour that was mostly a waste of time for them. Lesson learned – those signs (at least in California) are crap.
At North Coast we grabbed lunch and the Seattle riders enjoyed savoring some of their favorite beers, trying to keep the drinking under control as we had another 40+ miles to go. (I’d taken a pledge not to drink until I made it to San Diego, which was not easy to keep to during this meal… North Coast has some great brews.)
can’t say enough about the scenery… seems to get better every day
Onto the second half of our route – we were cramming two 40-mile days into one. We headed out and it wasn’t long until I’d lost sight of them again, as they were driven by alcohol-numbed limbs and I was slowed by lethargic pastrami.
Between Albion and Elk was a struggle, with tough climbs, windy roads, and intense crosswinds. At one climb I had to stop when the headwinds gusted up and wait for it to pass before I could proceed. Another section the wind was kicking dirt and sand in my face like some beach bully. I managed to hang onto my lunch money, however. And not get run over by a car on the twisty, shoulder-less roads.
I stopped in Elk for a mocha and to rest my legs. That mocha, despite being about as good as you’d expect from a town of 200 people (I don’t think they stirred it – all the chocolate goodness was at the bottom), energized me like spinach to Popeye. I hit the road re-energized, on my way to KOA for tonight’s camp. (We planned on “splurging” this evening to stay at the KOA because they had a hot tub. I thought about that hot tub a lot as I rode that day.)
the cafe in Elk where I powered up on mocha… they had quite the garden and ocean view around back
A mile or two out of Elk is the steepest climb of the Pacific Coast route, a truly nasty hill that winds back and forth a few times. This is the only time I’ve used the Hulk bike’s granny gear, and it did the trick. I stopped periodically as I climbed up and soon was on my way.
Elk from the other side of the steep climb
The remainder of the ride was rolling hills that I was able to flex my weight down the hills to cruise up the climbs on the other side. Before I knew it I was at KOA, which looked kind of strange for some reason. I didn’t see a sign of the Seattle riders either. I approached the office and the person behind the desk exclaimed “BORGIE!!!” or something like that (I didn’t understand him at all) and gave me a note. The Seattle gang thought the KOA was Kreepy with a capital K and decided to head to Manchester State Beach instead, which was just down the road. I made it out of the KOA camp before someone could drool on me.
Manchester was nice if primitive (no showers or hot water), but quickly turned cold from the strong coastal wind. I hitched my hammock on some trees outside the hiker/biker area as there was limited options there, scavenged grub from other bikers, and tucked inside my sleeping bag for a nice night’s sleep. I stayed warm inside the hammock thanks to my sleeping pad… would have been a cold night without it.
The biggest hill, the steepest hill, 85 miles – an epic day!
Most Exciting Moment
The downhill off of Leggett hill was lightning fast, with crazy bends and turns… great fun.