Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Day 5: Raymond to Astoria. Trip total: 543km

Today felt like a day off. I got an early start and felt surprisingly fresh after yesterday. After an initial letdown when I realized google sent me on another gravel road hill climb, I was relieved at how much more manageable it was compared to yesterday. It helped that the gravel section was only 12 or so kilometres opposed to the 25 yesterday, and I didn't have oppressive heat to deal with. Once Willapa Road met back up with the 101, it was smooth sailing into Oregon.

I stopped off at a tavern when I hit Astoria and started checking campsites around Seaside, which was my intended destination today. The locals chuckled and wished me luck. Every place I checked was booked solid and the secondary options looked really expensive. I reached out to a Pacific Coast bike veteran for advice and was told I should just be able to show up at a state park and they would accommodate me.

At that point I think I already decided to lay roots in Astoria for the day and start fresh in the morning.

These tours do a number on my body. There's a period where everything seems to break down and then eventually gets built back up. The trick for me is to push myself hard enough that my body knows it has to step up to the challenge, but not too hard that I seriously injure anything. I've been managing pain in both knees, my right ankle, and lower back since this trip began, and everything but the right knee issue seemed to dissipate today (the lower back issue will never dissipate, but that's another story altogether).

I'm 24km behind schedule for the trip by not pushing on today, but because I arrived in Astoria in the morning I gained the benefit of almost a full day for recovery. I plan on my first really long ride tomorrow which will put me right back in track, and I expect my body to be ready for it.

Leaving Raymond led me back on the gravel road hills. Thankfully they weren't long.

I didn't mind having to ride slow through these surroundings

Closing in on the 101

Gulp. 6.4km across this beast.

Longest bridge I've ever ridden across. There was construction so it was down to one lane for a section which meant they had to stop traffic for half a kilometre in both directions to let me get through the last stretch, which was a steap climb. I felt very uncomfortable that they were holding up traffic for such a long stretch just for me. When I got through the other side, the road crew worker was applauding me and said "be proud of yourself, not a lot of people do this". At the bar later in the day, the locals were telling me about a bike club that was riding the bridge earlier in the day and they all had to walk their bikes up the incline. That must have sucked.

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