Thursday, 11 August 2011

Day 70: An uphill struggle

Day 70
Halfway to Baker City 55miles

Wow! 10 weeks on the road now. It's starting to feel like I'm actually getting there.

Although a few more day like today, and that feeling with quickly disappear!

Today was one of the toughest rides I've had for a while. It was only 55miles, but it seemed to take forever. I think this was due to a combination of factors. Firstly, it was another hot day today. I keep hearing that Oregon is really lush and a lot cooler. I clearly havent reached that part of it yet! Today was like riding through a desert. Secondly, today was a very uphill day. Apart from one all-too-short descent, I was pretty much going uphill the rest of the day. And lastly I think a bit of accumulated fatigue was playing its part. It's been 420miles in 7 days since Missoula. And all but one of those days (the fantastic ride along the Locsha river) have involved at least one substantial climb. I had already earmarked Baker City as a potential rest day destination, and so that's what I'll be doing tomorrow!

Pretty much straight away today I was climbing up a hill. And it was one of the toughest hills I've encountered for quite some time. It was steep, and it was long. I didnt struggle so much I had to get off and push, but I did stop a couple of times to rest and was using 1st gear quite a bit. Once I eventually reached the top, I had an equally steep descent into the small town of Richland. But that was pretty much it for significant downhills.
Most of today looked like this!

After leaving Richland, I was then riding in the opposite direction to the Powder river, which meant an uphill grade. I was in a bit of a valley and the wind was being channelled through the narrow opening and straight into my face. Another thing slowing me down!

It just seemed like everything was in slow motion today. Overall, I only averaged around 11mph today. My slowest average pace since the day I did the very tough climb out of Canon City to Guffey, way back in Colorado.

The day finished up with another climb up to Baker City. By now I was running low on water, and really struggling. Eventually limped into Baker City and was glad to have finished. It wasnt that I didnt enjoy today, it was just really tough.

I think the day off tomorrow will be very welcome. I've also reached the end of another map section. I have only 2 left now! Around 575miles of riding. The next section is about 330miles to Eugene, so hopefully can do that in about 5-6days, have another day off and then be in a position to reach the coast sometime towards the end of August!

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