23 milesToday's route of 68 miles called for 5200' of elevation gain. I knew last evening, after an 80 mile day, that I could only do a small portion of the planned day. After consultation with the crew I decided to do the first 25 miles, described as a series of ups and downs, and ride in the SAG the rest of the way.
There were significant inclines, not just ups and downs, during these 25 miles and the conditions were terrifying. Very narrow shoulders disappeared to no shoulders at all with hugh vehicles bearing down from behind. At Mile 21 I was overtaken by a massive truck which blew me off the narrow shoulder, down the huge lip, and on to a two foot gravel shoulder which then dropped off. I managed to stay upright in the gravel to continue on but I was not a happy camper. I tried to call the SAG but there was no cell reception. Eventually I started walking, hoping that the SAG would come to look for me, which it did.
When I arrived at the mothership, the van, there were 13 others loaded up and ready to auto on, some doing the same ride I did and others sagging for the entire 67 miles. A few were dropped off who sagged the first 25 and rode the final 40. Each person tailors the ride to what they can do. In retrospect, I should not have ridden today. I didn't have the legs and knew it from very early on. With no cell phone reception in this remote, mountainous area, there's really no way to call for help. That will figure into my planning these next few days.
I must say that the van rides with 13-15 women can be an experience in and of itself. We had many laughs as we navigated the hairpin turns for what seemed like an interminable journey to Fort Bragg, hauling all of us, our bikes, and the trailer which houses our luggage and the chef's kitchen. During this ride I realized that I might need to change the name of my blog to "Tall Lady in a Van".
I have mentioned the wonderful meals our chef creates from her very small quarters in the back of our trailer. These longer duration rides usually have the services of a sous chef as well, a fellow rider who takes on the additional responsibilities of food prep.
|Vicky (ME), sous chef|