Despite being early to bed the night before, the alarm felt slightly punitive. Am I really doing this? Well, I’m here with my bike, what else am I going to do?
There was a hearty breakfast spread put on by the lodge, then the getting suited up and stashing allthethings appropriately on myself, my bike or in my drop bag. OK then, lets-riding-bikes, shall we?
A last benediction from EricL and we rolled out in our reflective, well-lit glory. It was still dark out. We passed some duck hunters – maybe the ones who’d roomed next door to me and Sarah? – staging for their day’s adventure. Somebody rang their bike bell, we got a duck call reply.
With three solid days of riding ahead of us, no one was laying down any huge speed moves right out of the gate. We wended our way into the morning mostly as a group. As the sun came up people settled into their respective paces and the terrain further sorted the group. Patrick, Jason and I ended up with Sarah and Paul on their tandem.
The scenery was fantastic – open vistas with various rocky jumbles, all sorts of geologyish stuffs – erm yeah we were rolling through Lava Beds National Monument. It looked like one could find plenty to do and see in this neck of the woods. But, we were just passing through.
We got in to more forested country as we headed toward Medicine Lake, our first stop. It was a bit of out and back to the stop, so it was fun to see the folks who were ahead of us. Paul and Sarah were able to forgo the enticements of super volunteer Kevin – or at least were much more efficient about it – and were back on the road before us.
Our friend Deb was supposed to be on this ride, but had been side-lined by a collision, the fault of a drunk driver. But I had happened to see a friend taking her niece, I think it was, on a virtual trip à la Flat Stanley, and found a picture of Banksie to bring along. Kevin humored me and took a picture with us.
There were more trees, and lava, and trees, and trees as we angled our way toward the town of Mt. Shasta. It got warm, and we stopped for wardrobe adjustments. Somehow Patrick got his (full-zip) jersey on backwards. Reverting to Australianism? Eventually we started to get views of the namesake mountain.
When we rolled into town we found volunteer Tim. Then Patrick and I went across the street to the hippie market – it makes Santa Cruz look Republican – and Jason pressed on in search of fast food. I wandered around in a bit of a daze, trying to figure out what I wanted to ingest. Patrick ordered a sandwich, although someone had warned us they were not particularly expeditious with preparing food. If we’d been trying to make it a brief stop, it would have been a mistake. But, eventually it came, was eaten, and we got back on the road. A bit surprisingly, Jason was still at the Burger King. He’d been basking in the conditioned air and ingesting iced beverage.
There was a relatively flattish stretch somewhat paralleling I5 before the next big climb. The open meadows were a nice change of scenery. Then of course there was the resumption of the regularly scheduled climbing portion of the program, which headed up along a river – well, would be if there were water – past more, yep – rocks and trees. Jason’s knee was bothering him, I tried to perk him up with some bubbles, but no dice. We all settled into our own climbing paces. I had my own moments, and took a stop to enjoy the view with Deb. Although it was still day time, a good bit of the climb was in shade due to the sun being low behind the trees or mountainside.
Shortly before the top was a welcome oasis provided by cheerful Charlie, the Redding Randonneur. I admired his titanium Viaje and partook of the snacks. There was a touch more climbing, and then a rip-roaring E-ticket curvy descent with an added adrenaline boost from dodging potholes, some of them quite substantial. I was glad to be doing that while it was still light out.
Patrick and Jon were waiting for us at the bottom – Eric was driving the course, so they had had a clear road behind him, which it sounded like they had taken full advantage of. Big smiles all around. Metin and Roy also joined us. Everyone was in good spirits, even PhilM, who had decided to get in the van. (Sad trombone.) After a bit of woohoo chitchat the rest of us got back on our bikes and headed off to the next control at Trinity Center. The daylight was definitely ending, and it was dark by the time we arrived there.
I hit the feedbag and the psyched myself up for the day’s final 30 miles – OK, 29.7, but who’s counting – to our first overnight at Weaverville. Or tried to. There were a few sawteeth, nothing huge, but more than rollers, and I was kinda done. But enough circles, happy or not, and eventually you get there.
The motel office was dark. Oh, I hadn’t thought about that. We rang, and eventually Pop shuffled out and let us in and had us fill out registration forms – pen and ink. There was some consultation of a notebook, and with Mom in the back, and finally we all had our keys. Whew.
The volunteers had pizza and beer for us, which totally hit the spot, as did a shower and bed.
Ride date: September 26, 2015
Word of the Day: galumph
the Photo Tour version, if you’re getting impatient with alltheblablablah