I'm biking really really far this summer

Monday, June 18, 2007

Day 14 (Long Beach - Astoria 39km)


I had planned this day as a rest day, and decided to ride across the state line into Astoria to do some R and R. My Bicycling the Pacific Coast book pretty much said it was across the street from Long Beach to Astoria. This guidebook, I am noticing, is increasingly inaccurate and cuts out crucial sections, and makes some areas seem much harder than they are, while omitting altogether the really hard sections. Anyways, what I thought would be a leisurely recovery ride from the day before, turned out to be a full on hammer fest.

Right out of the motel I was faced with a 2 mile long uphill construction zone and the impatient drivers who had been waiting for the lane to clear for 15 minutes with me barley gave me an inch of space as I ground up the grooved pavement. From there it was 15 or so kilometers to the Astoria bridge (the book totally cut out these miles... they were simply unaccounted for...). The bridge also didn't make any mention of the hellish death-ride that is the Astoria bridge. It is a 4.2 mile 2 lane road with 6 inch debris strewn shoulders, huge sidewinds and an average traffic speed of probably 65 miles an hour. A couple of miles into the bridge is a large steep hump to allow ships to pass through. I surveyed the bridge and decided it was crazy so I tried to hitch a ride across but nobody was stopping after 15 minutes, so I just said 'screw it' and rode it anyways. I hammered along at a steady 42km an hour (this is insanely fast for being fully loaded on flat ground), dodging puiles of glass, garbage and lost car parts whenever there wasn't a logging truck 6 inches from my ear. When there was traffic 6 inches from me I just had to ride through the crap and hope I didn't catch a flat, which thank god I didn't because it would have been an absolute nightmare repairing one on that bridge... Once the hump came up I grinded along at about 15km/h sweating like crazy and wheezing. Finally I crested the top but it still wasn't over so I had to hammer down at close to 60km/h trying not to hit anything too large.

Once I finally got off the bridge I had to spend 15 minutes collecting myself off the pavement and got a triple espresso to try to steel my nerves. I then dropped my bike off at a bike shop to get the wheels retensioned and enjoyed a mediocre Japanese lunch and explored the town of Astoria, including a fully crewed and operational replica brig that was on its way to the Pirate Daze festival in Westport.

I looked for a hostel or campground but none were to be found so I had to stay in a motel again, so I ate some take out mexican food and watched Legally Blonde, the feel good movie of the year. I have to admit that I laughed a couple of times but the epilogue was really overdone and spoiled it for me.

So much for a rest day huh?

2 comments:

Caroline said...

I wish I could have made you change your mind but I knew it would be futile you were on a mission, all my love Mum xxxx

Caroline said...

I wish I could have made you change your mind but I knew it would be futile you were on a mission, all my love Mum xxxx