Day 09:
Winchester Bay - Humbug Mountain
Thursday, September 15, 2005

86.57 @ 15.8 = 5:27'49, max: 40.3, trip total: 690.3

55° - 65°, sunny, beautiful and perfect for riding

pop-tarts, french toast, bacon, eggs, cold pizza slice, choc chip mint ice cream, Bridgeport India Pale Ale, Drop Top Amber Ale, carrot soup, salad, lasagne

Humbug Mountain State Park, $2.50 p/p

Wow, what a day! "This is why we came to the west coast." The oceanscapes, the smooth pavement, the great weather, the awesome tailwind, the amazing beach side campground, all of it gave us a sense of amazement and excitement.

Full Size Panorama (keep scrolling!)
Photo by Todd Lindeman, rider

To start the day we met our first climb right out of camp- about a mile of up. The ironic part is that we had done this the might before when we were looking for a camp site, and because of a "broken water" problem came back down to stay in the bay. Anyway, it was a hard way to warm up. It was like going from sleep to standing on the pedals. I remember getting on the bike and thinking how good I felt, then minutes later thinking why does every inch hurt? And for some reason, as we climbed we saw the "Leaving Tsunami Hazard Zone" sign posted- but I never knew we where in the zone to begin with. All is well, and we later learned that much of the west coast north of California is within a watch zone.

After the warm up we got into a good rhythm. We saw sand dunes creeping into the large pine trees and even spilling into the road at times. We stayed quite a bit inland for the most part probably becuase of the large areas of dunes. I would imagine the main road stayed clear of that just enough. There were a few bridges along the route as well. One of them was huge - going into North Bend. At the request of a sign telling us to walk our bikes we did not. I mean it must have been at least a mile long, maybe longer. I couldn't even think of walking that far when you could ride. And the second half of it would be coasting down the other side.

Imagery overload.

video clip: screaming down a mountain trying to keep the bike in the lane »

We met another biker - Peter from New Zealand - which is also making his way south to San Fran. Every now and then we'll see him around a corner or in a small town, tagging back and forth on the route.

We met a loaded tandem recumbent "train". It was pretty funny, Aaron and Tim passed them as we started a long slight downhill and I stayed behind the train. We were all cruising - about 25mph and the guys had gone ahead maybe 50 yards. I was counting on the train to makes its move and slowly but surely that thing gained speed. As the guys were pedaling their asses off I was coasting in the draft. It was comical and amazing to see the contrast. We slowly catched up to them and were pushing to go faster -- all the while they worked I was coasting. Of course the next uphill came and then it was time for me to get off and do some work. It was a great ride.

video clip: Bandon on the sea »

Todd is riding the Trek 520 that Dan used back when I did my first cross country trip-- and I keep thinking how interesting it is to be back in Oregon riding along side the same bike so many years later. Sentimental or not that bike has had a good life and it keeps on adding memories to the list of places it's been. Todd's doing great- actually the whole group is. These are hard days, many climbs, long miles- day in and day out.

I tend to forget the amount of effort- not really forget- but deal with it so instinctually at this point. It's a matter of knowing or wanting to do it that I have no problem getting through it. Even when something hurts or something is teasing you with another challenge. Granted I feel good, and I've worked hard in training all year, but much of what we're doing is also a mental accomplishment.

It's not just riding. It's setting up camp, breaking it down, finding the right diet (trust me it's hard to get all that dairy in), doing laundry after- well just after, sitting back on the bike after a meal, on and on. For me it's almost natural and I look forward to each minute. But I am really proud of everyone on this trip to deal with it as they have. It's been awesome.

Near the end of the day the tailwind for the last 10 miles must have been about 20mph. It was another great feeling to zoom through the landscape at such great speeds without much effort. Especially after doing so many climbs throughout the day. What a great payoff.

The beach, the cliffs, the scenery. So cool.

Then we rolled into camp- a super clean, mostly empty campground right next to a creek that emptied into the ocean. The beach was beyond description. Black sand, large white surf, rock formations in the water, cliffs on either side and just enough time to enjoy it. After taking a HOT shower (for free) in the cleanest camp shower yet- I mean it was spotless - we headed down to the beach and had some beers, watching the sun the go down. It was gorgeous - and even though my camera had no battery power left it was clear that even the best shot couldn't translate the feeling as you walked into this grand space. It was all encompassing.

Dinner was back in town- at a small refined restaurant. Refined means expensive, but it was good as well and we all felt like we earned it. Then it was back to camp to go to sleep. TOmorrow is a long day - to the California coast. Seems like Oregon flew by, then again at about 90 miles day you get to take it all in.


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