Getting There - Aneel's Travelogue

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Over the ridgeline Big Basin State Park, Sunday, 22 October 2006 8:00pm

Ok. So major lesson #1: I don't like big hills.

Today was a sequence of > and >> hills in the morning. (The bike touring map we were using marks 4-6% grades with >, 7-8% grades with >>, and 9+% grades with >>>) They were long, but they alternated up and down so I could pick up speed on each downhill and use it to crest the next hill without shifting down very far. There was good visibility from one hill to the next, so I could get up to speed without worrying about upcoming curves or things entering the roadway.

We had lunch in Davenport. I ate a lot, anticipating somewhat meager fare in the state park at the end of the day's trip. The food at the Cash Store restaurant was quite tasty. We also picked up some cinnamon rolls an artichoke rolls from the bakery at the top of the hill.

After Davenport, we headed inland to Bonny Doon. I'm convinced that anyone who's seen Bonny Doon Rd and chooses to ride a bicycle up it must be crazy. It's 3.5mi of >>> uphills with narrow or nonexistent shoulders, trafficked by RVs, sports cars, and motorcycles. There was also a camera crew filming some kind of skateboarding video on the downhill that day.

Going up a long steep hill is... unpleasant. In my lowest gear, I was cranking my way up at 4-6mph, pouring sweat and stopping several times a mile just to rest. Yesterday's hills were relatively short. This was at least an hour of nothing but uphills. It's definitely possible, but just not fun. There's none of the sense of motion that makes cycling exciting. The bike is unstable because it's moving so slowly. The weird balance from the cargo doesn't help that at all. Neither does getting passed by Mustangs racing up the curves.

Going down the hills on the other side of the ridge wasn't much fun either. Unlike the straight hills on the coast, these have lots of switchbacks. Fun, right? Not so much. Cruising around the corners wasn't an option because there wouldn't be time to stop if there were some unexpected obstacle. With a 60lb load, I had to be on the drop bars, riding my brakes the whole way. That riding position makes my hands fall asleep pretty quickly.

Tragically, the artichoke rolls slipped out of the cargo net half a mile before the park entrance. It was on a steep downhill, so by the time I realized what had happened, it was too far uphill to even think of going back.

We finally pulled in to Big Basin Redwoods State Park around 5:30 and discovered that the camp store and cafe close at 4pm on Sundays. With the artichoke rolls gone (and the cinnamon rolls long since eaten), the only food I was carrying was Clif bars. It's a good thing I like them...

There was almost nobody in the camping areas, so we had our pick of the tent cabins. They're pretty cozy, especially with a fire going in the wood stove. The camp host gave us kindling and matches to go with our firewood, since we'd brought no means of making fire.

44.63mi in 4:47 (avg 9.33mph)

Wasn't this supposed to be a 36mi day?