I don’t know how to describe today, Dear Reader. It was the most interesting and yet the most frustrating of days. The ride itself, of what we accomplished, was absolutely amazing. Edwin and his human joined us for the first 35 miles…that is always fun. The road stayed flat and fast (TTTTAAAIIIILWINDS!) for 50 miles and I almost felt like I had a real human engine, not my super slow human.
The road then started to pick up. No worries. The human and I did train up and down and up and down and up…all those hills back home. And the gradients weren’t really that bad. We were toodling along, stopping every 10 minutes to drink electrolytes and eat a bit of salty sweets “just in case”, enjoying the scenery….oh, the scenery….steep cliff covered in pine…following a river….rocky outcroppings….big waterfalls with pullouts and sight seers…little water falls down the rock faces right next to the road that cooled us off and sprayed a little water as we passed. It was great.
And then…..wham…the human did that cramping up thing….quads, hamstrings, calf muscles…even glutes and back. Not a pretty sight. But, as a good and helpful bicycle I carry things just for this event (the human is, alas, quite good at doing the human equivalent of taco-ing a wheel….without ever hitting a bump). So…we pumped her full of magnesium, calcium, salt, more electroyte drink and more salty sweets. So, did we ride then? Sigh, no. Then we walked. Oh, the indignity of being a most reliable and trustworthy bicycle to be walked along the roadside. Oh, sure, we got to really see Jones Falls as we walked by, but….sigh….to walk?
After a quarter mile, the human tried to ride….slow….(yeah…really slow), but we managed to ride into lunch. The lunch crew convinced us to sag in. Sigh…..it is only day two. But, you know, the lunch crew are fun (Edwin’s human was on that crew) and we had a great time. We sat and waited for the last riders at a gorgeous pullout. Chatting. Chilling. And then, around 4:30 we started to head off the mountain. We’d be home in 45 minutes, right?
Ha! Remember that heat dome, Dear Reader? Know what happens when this area of the country gets dry and…oh….lightening hits? Yep. Fire on the mountain. Two of them. And they feared that one was headed toward the roadway. Fire crews were out cutting a firebreak. This shut down the roadway. We waited for almost 45 minutes while the fire crews worked. It was a long wait, but it could have been worse…we could have had to turn around, pick up the riders still on the road and go back to the town we started from Still…frustrating as waiting was, it was fascinating to watch the action….helicopters ferrying water, the fire crews on the road and lets not forget the people in their cars, out of their cars, running up the road, down the road…as if that would make it go any faster. <chuckle />
Best ending of the day, tho. It is Sunday and we’re a little out of town…so pizza was delivered and waiting….the human is munching down…and I am resting….as a clothes rack. Yep….the human let me down today….I carried that human…I suffered the indignity of the walk and the van….and now? Now I am a clothes line…..sigh….tomorrow will be another day.
Details: 74.7 miles (out of 126), 3337 feet of climbing (out of 8000), 18.8 strain
Reading List Gathering Moss Robin Wall Kimmerer We’ve been saving this book for the trip….and what a better day to learn about moss than when viewing it on the rocks and the trees….ahh…