Thursday, July 26, 2012

The last hill

Last night at the meeting Steve told us to fuel up tomorrow at the store at mile 35. We'll need the food and water to climb a hill from there to mile 50. No services.

Somehow I told myself that Sharps Creek was the last hill of this tour. My legs are a little dead after yesterday. Push them and not much happens. Also, I've been awake since 3am when a freight train roared through camp. In fact the tracks run right next to camp, but sound like they go straight through my tent.

On days like this, SuperTour gets you on your bike before 8am.

Heading toward the ugly commercial strip near I-5, we have a little group in tow. The pace is a bit frenzied. Like galloping horses, the riders affect each other by proximity. Four of us, Mike, Jeff, Jeff, and me, stick together for the gradual climb along the Umpqua. We take turns at the front to help balance the effort. The pace is 18-20mph. For about 90 minutes.

At the Tiller Store (mile 35), we fuel up on whatever they have. A hot day calls for a spicy hot V8 and a stick of beef jerky. Need some sugar as well. Try two soft oatmeal cookies glued together with marshmallow creme. The cookie sandwich is a bargain at 99 cents, if only I could gag it down. All that matters now is the next 15 miles, the hill.

For 5 miles it's 18-20mph with Jeff and his buddy. Then I just let the two of them go.
Helping Chuck is a welcome break from climbing.
The last 3 miles get steeper. Jeff-the-GPS-guy is right behind me and we keep the same pace to the top. Pushing so hard my upper body is shaking. Jeff's vintage KISS cycling shorts would cheer up anyone. In fact, his whole outfit screams late 70's. He must keep that in a Ziploc bag at home to protect the elastic!
Looking back for the first time in 11 days.
Next stop, lunch.

Down and away, toward the tiny crossroads of Trail, Oregon.

It's early so we ride a few miles the wrong way to lunch in Shady Cove. No shoulder on the road. It's freakin' hot and the town offers neither shade nor cove. What it does offer are burgers and fries and Cobb salad and beer and AC at the Smokehouse.
Six of us enjoy some happy camaraderie at the table. We stopped thinking about tents, mosquitoes, schedules, laundry, or where to ride tomorrow. When we finally get to camp people want to know if we got lost.

Yeah in a way, we kind of did.

1 comment :

  1. Glad to hear you got "saved" at Two Pines. :) The line about the cookie made me laugh!
    V8 is magic stuff. I did Marin this weekend, and was grateful all over again for it.