Monday, June 13, 2011

Day 21

June 12, 2011

If you don't remember, my ride is supposed to take 40 days (and 40 nights) and I just passed the halfway mark in terms of days! Also, today I passed 1,000 miles on my odometer for the tour! I rode from Leggett, CA to Mackerricher State Park in Cleone, CA and it was probably my most fun riding day I've had on the entire tour.

The scenery was nice. Nothing that was better than Oregon though. What made the ride spectacular was Leggett Hill, that infamous climb I was mentally preparing for last night. I woke up at 6:30, I suppose in anticipation of the big day. I made breakfast, packed up camp, and left camp at a record-breaking 8:00! After stopping at the awesome convenience store to buy lunch, I was off.

The ride was perfect. I had 3.5 miles before the climb started which was  good distance to warm up. Starting the climb right off the bat would be very painful, so the flattish warm up was very helpful. I turned right on highway 1 and headed up Leggett Hill. Churning away on the uphill I was very confident and even enjoying the climb. I was going to conquer this hill, whatever it took. For the entire climb I was in first gear, so it was steep enough, but nothing ridiculously steep.

The climb kept going and going. Sections of the road had switchbacks which made the climb look steeper than it actually was. The thing I loved about this climb was that it was on such a curvy road with almost no traffic. It was just a really pleasant climb that was a nice change from the motorcycles on the 101 yesterday. For the people in Golden, it really reminded me of the climb up Lookout Mountain road.

I was happy when I got to the top. I caught up with Nimrod and Guido there and talked for a bit. Guido told me that the descent was really really long. Longer than 11 miles and the climb was only 3 miles. The descent was truly amazing with all kinds of fun turns and speeds of 30-35mph. I took no pictures due to the distraction of a ridiculously fun descent, but to give you an idea of what it was like, here's the elevation chart.

Note that there is a gradual climb up to Leggett. This is what I climbed up over the past day and a half--a gradual climb along Eel river. The steep uphill after Leggett is the Leggett hill which I conquered this morning. Notice that the descent I was just about to go down goes for 14 miles and covers the vertical distance that it took me a day and a half to get up. Such an amazing downhill and it lasted forever. And it finished with what would have been a beautiful view of the coast if it weren't for the fog.

After the descent I had a short, but challenging, 400ft climb then a bunch of small ups and downs to my campground for the night. At the campground I met a couple named Chris and Betsy who were moving to Seattle from San Francisco and figured they'd just take some time off to ride their bikes there. They were about my age. We talked for a while and I helped them fix their bikes. Their shifters only had 9 positions, but they had 10 gears. The way REI put their bikes together was such that they couldn't access their lowest gear. After telling them about the amazing descent I went down (which they'd be climbing up), I told them that they'll want their first gear. So I showed them how to adjust the derailleur to access the first gear and not access the 10th gear because of the shifter. Around 5:30 we walked over to a mexican restaurant on the highway for dinner, but were disappointed when we realized it was a Sunday and the restaurant was closed. Potato soup with tuna for dinner instead.

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