Doing it all the hard way...

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Peloton of Discovery ..Coast Trip 2010

Enjoying the ride

In answer to an intentionally vague invitation; five foolhardy souls departed Seattle on the last day of July via a southbound train for an unsupported bicycle trip. We arrived, mid morning, in Kelso, Washington, and attached bags to our bikes and set off to the west.

Our destination for the day was Astoria, Oregon. Along the way we visited a museum in Stella, Washington, where we viewed this spin bike from the last century.

Spin bike circa 1900..

As we approached Cathlamet, Kevin broke from the line and sprinted for the city limit sign. There was an unspoken, but highly competitive, race for every town sign on this trip.

We were delighted to turn off highway 4, and crossed the Columbia by a tiny ferry into Oregon and made our way to Astoria getting off of highway 30 wherever we could. We found our hotel and with military precision we set about multi-tasking. One person showered while another strung up a make shift clothesline and a third washed his cycling clothes. When the second person showered someone bought chips and drinks from the local store. In no time we were clean, clothes were drying, and we were on the hunt for dinner. This post ride routine was repeated every night.

Wise words

The next morning we had a breakfast appropriate for riding eighty plus miles. A bowl of oatmeal the size of my head and magic waffles sold only on weekends. Sam apparently is powered by some kind of bio-fuel as he had biscuits and gravy with sausage and bacon.

Ask about Waffles...

Leaving Astoria we began our journey on the Oregon Coast Bike Route (OCBR). The sun started playing peek-a-boo and we were delighted to be rolling along. We hit Cannon Beach where Sam had his clicking pedal diagnosed. Ignore it until you get home was Mike’s advice. Not long after this Marc forgot how strong he was and snapped the spring on his pedal requiring a quick return to Mikes Bikes in Cannon Beach for a replacement.

Pausing to frolic on the beach..

Further along we stopped in Manzanita and enjoyed a sandwich and picked up some carrots from a fruit stand.

Vitamins are critical to riding success

Along the coast we had some intense climbs and a race through a tunnel that was intimidating enough without a downshifting log truck pretending to be a Saturn Five rocket scaring the biscuits out of us. We descended into Tillamook with Sam leading a breakaway for the sprint points. Over the course of the trip we all took turns bonking and recovering and this afternoon it was Marc’s turn. After a salty afternoon snack we began the Three Capes Loop off of 101. Sam took to the front and battled a fierce headwind nearly all the way to the point. At the point we turned left and began a steep climb on horrible pavement in a dark forest. On and on we rode. We strung out as we accumulated feet and put distance behind us. After what seemed like thirty minutes of hard, out of the saddle climbing in our lowest gears, we spotted a mile marker with the number one on it. Profanity broke the silence in the forest as one by one we labored past the foreboding sign. Matthew alone seemed unaffected by gravity on this trip and he took the KOM jersey early and never relinquished it.


Someone suggested I carry a lucky rock….

Eventually the climb leveled out and after a quick descent we had a final steep climb that was the sting in the tail. On this climb Evo went from the front of the train to the back. Soon we were in Oceanside where we found a room, swam in the Pacific and enjoyed an excellent meal. We covered eighty plus miles on the day. Climbs, sprints and full panniers made it a hard ride.

Invigorated cyclists..

Ready to roll

Monday we departed Oceanside knowing we would have a long day in the saddle. Near a lighthouse beeps signaled phone reception and we stopped to register for Starcrossed.

Starcrossed sign up....

We continued south and took a diversion on highway 229. Although it added miles on an already long day, it was a beautiful ride along a river and we were pacelining at 24 miles an hour on flat roads. It wasn’t actually a paceline because Marc never moved off the front. It was, I guess, a Marcline. Evo just tucked in and hung on. We stopped in Siletz and refueled. Down to Newport it was Kevin’s turn to bring in some reality. It didn’t take long for Kevin to recover and claim even more sprint points to tighten his grip on the green jersey.

Behind the Marcline. Go baby go !

Past Newport we blazed along 101 on rollers with a tailwind coming from our right and traffic on our left. The clouds were moving back in and the temperature felt like it had dropped ten degrees. Despite having over a hundred miles in our legs on the day, upon seeing the Waldsport sign on the bridge into town our sprinters contested the final points on the day. Ten minutes later we found a hotel with room for us.

Waldsport sprint

We went looking for good food and ended up just finding food. There was a slight drizzle in the evening, but we were too tired to care. As it happened our room had handicapped rails in the bathroom. We were tired and were glad they were there. We slept like furniture.

Good Morning. It's wet.

Tuesday morning we awoke to wet ground and drizzle. We made our way to the recommended breakfast spot. We visited with the locals and got as much information as we could about our route options for the day. Like Dad always said, “When in doubt, listen to the man with the chicken on his head.” I pulled out my camera for this podium shot.

What can I say ?

Despite some ominous warnings we rolled the forty miles into Alsea without incident. Following our hundred plus mile day, most of us agreed eighty was a good daily distance. My legs didn’t feel okay until thirty five miles into the days ride. Just before Alsea we came across this covered bridge. Matthew was feeling the effects of too many Luna bars as he made sure I included the wild flowers in my bridge picture. It had taken thirty miles to break free of the clouds and fog and we were in pure sunshine.

Evo in the Sun

Covered bridge near Alsea

I had heard that you should never eat prepared food from a store that sells bait. Sam apparently did not share this belief and demonstrated once more that he runs on a different fuel as he had two pieces of pizza from the Alsea grocery store.

We left Alsea and found a road with fresh pavement that wound through a quiet forest to Alsea falls. This was the stuff of bicycle touring brochures. Perfect temperatures, filtered sunlight, and great companions; it was a day to be remembered.

Kev and Sam climbing to Alsea Falls

We paused at the falls to chill our bodies and scare women.

Don’t look !

After swimming a woman came to ask if the water was cold. Without saying a word she turned and left, her question apparently answered.

The descent from the falls brought us to the central valley and we found a quiet route to Eugene along River Road. We enjoyed some victory drinks as we approached the end of our odyssey.

Like riding into Paris..

We ended with eighty-eight miles on the day and three-hundred and forty for the four days of riding. Kevin was a tad grumpy because Edith apparently stole Kevin’s swimsuit while we were at the Sweet Shop enjoying pecan rolls and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Maillot Jaune - Sam
Maillot Vert - Kevin
Maillot Blanc - Marc
King of the Mountain Matthew
Maillot Gris - Davo

Mentally refreshed, physically exhaused

1 comment:

bikelovejones said...

I just found your blog after you commented at mine. I apprenticed at a bike shop that used to be in Waldport back in 1994. Your photos brought back some big memories for me. And if you turned inland at Eugene you missed some of the best part of the Oregon coast. Be sure to go back and hit Bandon, Coos Bay and Brookings!