Thursday, June 27, 2013

The hilly part of the course

Big Valley, near Adin CA. Photo by Rene Magritte Deb Ford.
From the turn at Canby, 22 miles to Adin. The road is long and mostly empty. Lots of time to think.

Turns out there's a good-sized hill! Maybe no one mentions it because in the scheme of a 1200K, no big deal. About 800 feet of climbing. Not huge but somehow front and center this morning. Must be tired...

Adin is the only place with services until Susanville. So it's the first potential spot to intersect with Bill. The real store, Adin Supply Company, opens at 7am and the minimart opens at 6:30. Bill's done his research; last night we compared notes.

It's 7:35 when I roll into town and park the bike on the porch of Adin Supply. No sign of Bill.

Inside they sell gifts as well as grocery items. For one panicked moment I wonder if they might not have coffee. No fear - Judy (who used to live in the Bay Area) helps me locate the air pot. Unlike in the dark motel lobby, her coffee is hot and fresh. In the donut case the apple fritters look righteous (if a little  on the small side). The porch makes a handy platform for inhaling caffeine and sugar and carbs.

It's also an ideal vantage point for the goings-on in town. A couple of trucks pull up with locals who tumble out and head inside for coffee. No one stops for long but friendly banter goes back and forth. One woman yells "bye Judes!" as she sails back out to the truck. This is a familiar routine...

Judy mentioned the GRR but not Bill. Which is telling; he didn't cross the social trip-wire at Adin Supply. I imagine him cruising into town before 7 when the minimart was the only option. Damn. As soon as the coffee is gone I head out of town, taking the fork toward Susanville. It shaping up to be a warm, beautiful day. Not sure how long 70 miles should take but by that time I'm pretty sure I'll feel like having company. To make that happen, better pick it up a notch.

Don't remember much about this stretch, just riding inside myself. The scenery is a sparse pine forest, still around 5000 feet, and it's not as flat as I want it to be. Suddenly the Camelbak feels light. Ah, forgot to fill it with ice at the motel. It started out with less water too, so the ice would fit. That's a pretty big mistake. Bill said the GRR had two water stops on this leg. So water is scarce. Hmmm.

Another thing, there seems to be only one banana. Must have put the other down, maybe in the motel lobby. Bet it's still there. The surviving banana plus four roasted potatoes from the control make a second breakfast. The potatoes are bite-sized and taste heavenly. They're salty little potassium bombs. At least I didn't forget them!

Unbelievably, about 5 miles on is a campground with facilities and water. How timely... I take a long drink, then fill the Camelbak and water bottle up to the very top.

And climb another hill. Think about the GRR riders, doing this section with more than 400 miles on their legs.

Twelve miles outside of Susanville, despite all efforts I am totally out of water. Just before the last hill of the morning. Which is very warm indeed. A Budget rental van passes near Eagle Lake and it's clearly associated with the ride and inside I'm screaming 'stop! ask me if I need anything!' It slows down and passes with lots of room, but no one sticks their head out.

Never had to fantasize about water before. Can't remember the last time I ran out. Even going 30 mph downhill all my thoughts are about getting water. When, how. What it will taste like. My mouth feels like cotton. Lightheaded, it takes effort to keep the bike on the road. Improvisation might be good for the brain but dehydration is not.

In town a wrong turn uphill, far enough to determine that Susanville is a tough, ugly town. The main drag is very main indeed, with semi trucks rumbling through, lots of stoplights and no shoulder. Wherever I'm staying tonight thank goodness it's not here. A digital sign says 96 degrees. Directions at a Beacon gas station from a guy buying a bottle hidden in a paper bag. Then 2 miles back downhill to Safeway. Through the busy parking lot, feeling very much behind schedule.

In reality it is 12:45. Lunch time.

No sign of Bill.

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