Today was by far the hardest day for me. There are a couple of numbers among the half dozen that we get on our bicycle GPS each day that are a pretty good gauge of a day's difficulty. One of them is the average speed for the day. The slower the average the more difficult the ride. For the fist 8 days we averaged about 12 miles per hour, and today we averaged 11 mph. Another number is the total number of feet climbed for the day. This is not a net amount of feet climbed, but the total of every foot that we climbed even if we went back down again. We have been in the 2,000 foot range most days, but today we climbed almost 6,000 ft. One would have thought that riding along the coast would have been flat, but that sure is not the case. Sitting here in my tent writing this I am more fatigued than at the end of any other day we have ridden. I am hoping the good meal, the hot shower, the ibuprofen, and the 8 hours of sleep will make me feel like a new man tomorrow morning.
We are camped just across the Oregon border in California at the mouth of the Smith River, and tomorrow we head up the Redwood Highway, Highway 199, 72 miles. We will leave at sea level and go steadily up for 40 miles where we will be at 2,500 feet in elevation so it is going to be another tough day of biking. I expect that as we follow the Smith River up that it is going to be a beautiful ride.
Today we stopped at a little food mart along the way. As we were working at getting the bicycles up on the sidewalk to lean against the building I was still straddled my bike, and I inadvertently stepped off of the edge of the sidewalk and lost my balance and fell over on the ground with a thud with my bicycle on top of me. The worst part was there were lots of people standing around who saw the whole thing. Very hard on a guys pride!! The only other damage is my left elbow is a bit swollen having landed on it when I fell. It should be as good as new in a couple of days.
It has been pretty cool, even cold at times along the coast, but tomorrow as we head East the temperature will increase. It is 56 degrees at 7:30'pm where we are this evening but where we will be camping tomorrow it is 91 degrees at the same time!!! I haven't put any sun screen on so far and I have been wearing a long sleeve wool shirt as I have been riding my bike, I think that will change tomorrow.