Sunday, August 9, 2009

13'%, 7,000 feet, 22 miles, 60 degrees!

Day 67 - Aug 9, 10:44pm
87 miles. South Lake Tahoe, CA to Auburn, CA

Only 5 more days is what i thought this morning. Better make each one count. Today's numbers definitely made it a hard one to forget.

The day's rest definitely showed itself in my legs. However its too bad i couldn't even feel them given that it was all of 40 DEGREES! leaving Tahoe. Seriously, someone may as well have stuffed ice down my shorts this morning and it still would have been warmer. The day started off with a slight incline to get to the last peak of the Sierra Nevadas. Us being our crazy selves, we happened to locate an old road that ran parallel to the highway that was closed to cars and a mile shorter. Of course the only catch was that it was also a whopping 11% grade. About a third of the group including me ended up taking the detour and the attitude was pretty much "Why Not?" I mean we've done such crazy biking by now that nothing can stand in our way anymore and to be honest we totally beasted up that entire hill without stopping and man it got steep at points. The top was just glorious. Ironically, we all felt a million times better than when we were at the bottom. We finished it and were pretty much like "ok whats next." Man, i can't wait to burn out the cycling team back at school.

Oh yea, and guess who's bag with 5 rips at the corners has finally called it quits. Yea, this guy's. Super thanks to Kelly's mom for the new duffel bag im borrowning and for making me feel just a little bit less vagabondish than i really am.

We climbed a little more to the peak at 7,000 and change before THE DESCENT. This was not a typical dowhnill but our final approach towards sea level. What i mean by that is 22 miles of continuous downhill, descending 4,000 feet at about 6%, never dipping below 25mph with the most gorgeous mountain views around us. Shoulder was pretty much non existent and drivers here are noticeably less generous here so that sucked but it was still awesome. Definitely got into my superhero "i feel like im flying" mode. I got so excited to draft behind our van when it passed that i shifted super hard into third gear and ended up pushing my entire chain off the gears which was not so fun, or fast. The whole unbelievable 22 miles down i kept thinking of every damn miserable uphill we've ever had to climb on this trip and who its all been leading to this epic descent. Jenny's odometer we later found out reveals that cumulatively we've climbed about 150,000 feet of elevation on this trip. Can you even believe that?

Maybe you can, but you definitely won't believe Max finding legit the largest pine cone I've ever seen in my life!

The riding continued smoothly and into Ryan Ellis' hometown(which is kinda odd but cool) where we walked around the arts fair that was happening. I could hardly hide how much i enjoyed basking in the intrigued looks and stares from the people around me. Man its hard not to think of how cool we look rolling in somewhere together. And honestly, while power suits and tuxes are pretty empowering, its hard to beat the confidence boosting of fitting into a good pair of cycling spandex and strutting around with your bike.

By the middle of the day, we had crossed a full 60 degrees of temp into the triple digits. Literally went from freezing to baking in just hours as It got absurdly hot way too abruptly. Thankfully the heat still doesn't affect me too bad the way it does other riders but what was truly horrible was today's downhills in the second half of the day, all of which couldn't be steeper and curvier if they tried.

Apparently they might've done just that when we found the 13% downhill sign. WHAT!? In biker language, the words "thirteen percent downhill" really translates into "Squeeze your brakes and pray for your life". The acceleration on something like that is just terrifying. If you coast for even 3 seconds you'll easily be at 40mph about to hit a tight curve. Not where you want to be. By the time we got to the bottom the place literally reeked of burning rubber from our brake pads. Some chammies may or may not have also been a little moist. The end result of such descents was that by second lunch we were at 750 feet, a full 7,000 feet below where we started this morning!

Highlight was finding a fun yard sale today which we haven't done since pennsylvania, aka where there are regularly intervaled cities, which was a treat. Yes, i did find a women's leather jacket with leopard interior that fit, and yes i put it back against my better judgement.

Had our last town hall today and finalized our grant allocations, which im pretty happy with. We're gonna end up giving 24,000 to about 9 organizations and i was generally pretty impressed with our 32 annoying selves' ability to come to a decent consensus. But the highlight was really the by now tradition of my leading a post town hall activity. This being the last one i of course had to break out the big guns. After teaching "The Self Worth Song" to much acclaim we had a massive game of Birdie on a Wire, where Ryan Farr and Larry emerged victorious. All of these silly activities are a big part of my orientation program FOP, and really special to me. It's been so awesome to be able to share them with another group that is also very dear to me and to have them totally embrace it as our own.

Just remembered, forgot to stretch after riding today. Ugh. So much stuff to do all the time. Its odd when something so personal and important like that becomes just another chore on a trip like this that can get so easily neglected in the bustle of it all. But did do pushups! 100 straight may yet be within reach if Carlie can pester me enough to keep me on track.

Having Miranda back with us riding in the van is great and she's in such a great mood which is superbly contagious. Words cannot express the joy at being a full group again. Am already starting to think of my closing post for this journal which is kind of odd, but relevant i guess since now's as good of a time as any to start reflecting. Jeez, i can only hope it wont be too mushy...

Overall today had a ridiculous amount of climbs at steep grades that all felt like just another. Never in my life have i been more certain that i can literally do whatever I want. And the more i think about it, the more i realize that it doesn't have to be any different even when this trip finally comes to an end.

1 comment:

  1. george, finish your blog. suspensefully, ariel