Saturday, June 10, 2006

so it was 300 mi, not 400. that's still OK

I got back from my bike trip yesterday. It was quite wonderful. The trip ended up being only 300 miles instead of 400 due to various set backs. I'm not just going to list them. Since I feel like making one gigantic post about the ride anyways I'm going to just thread my setbacks in the narative as they happened.

I woke up on the morning of the sixth, went in to vote at 7 when the polls opened, cast my first ballot ever, and drove back home. (3 miles to the nearest polling place) When I got home I simply got on my bike and started to go (I packed the night before). I rode down a road I'm very familure with and just coasted on that as it is downhill.
It was magnificent ridding into a local town about 24 miles away (except for the logging trucks which I despise because they kick up stuff that gets in your eyes and give off gusts of wind that blow you all over the road).
I rode on down to the end of the road I was on, and turned one way towards Sacramento. It was nice downhill for quite some time. There was roadwork, but i didn't have to wait with the cars, which was very nice.
I rode on and it started to get a bit warm because there wasn't much shade.
I started riding down one hill and it was nice for a while, but I started to have to peddle harder to keep my momentum, I thought it a random anomaly. I stopped on the side of the road and talked to a truck driver who was hauling rental equipment, and I looked back down the road, and found that I was actualy on an uphill without noticing it.
I assumed this would be a one time thing.
I continued on.
It wasn't a one time thing.
after a few of these bouts I just got used to the idea that my sense of level was shit on a bike, and anytime I really had to peddle to keep moving, it must be an uphill.
on the road I was riding down (HWY 70) there are a few tunnels, one is rather long, and quite scary for a bicycalist. but there are little anexes taht open to the outside. when it was clear of cars I went into one of the anexes and ate some food, drank some water, and enjoyed the cool cavelike feeling of the annex.
I hastily rushed out of that tunnel fearing a car would come through and not see me.
Eventualy Hwy 70 lead me to the worst hill I have ever ridden in my entire life.
It was hell.
or maybe thats not a proper metaphore. I'll use a similie.
I felt SOOOOO much like sisyphus
I had to stop far to many times (I perfer to simply ride up a whole hill before stopping, but this hill was far to long)
two of the times I stopped, in the meager shade i was able to find, I lay down to rest and happened to land in an area with red ants.
I got quite good at smaking ants while riding up hill.
the heat was another thing altogether.
It was ridiculously hot, and my riding up a hill certainly did not help. I would occasionaly douse myself with my water bottle to cool down, but that helped very little.
I knew nothing of real heat at this time so my dislike of the heat was greatly exagerated.

when I finaly made it up the hill from hell, I stoped at a convienience store and had one of the best icecreams I have ever had.
I continued on from there, reluctant to go back into what I thought was horrible heat.

There were more nice downhills on the rest of the way to my exit from Hwy 70.
to move from 70 to 99, I had to hop on a relatively short road (by car) which is hwy 149 (I think). The trick with 149 is that there is no shade. I am not being hyperbolic when I say this, on 149 there is no shade. you can go check it yourself some time if you are near Chico.
this was nearly intolerable, and the heat was quite bad. I still knew nothing of what real heat was.
I stopped at a strawberry stand mostly to rest in the shade, it was a little off of 149 (it was not on 149 so i'm not lying about the no shade)
I finnaly got to Jct 99, after what felt like a decade.

I was soon to fully expirience what heat really meant.

I rode 99 for some time, and stopped frequently to douse myself with water. it did little good. The heat made me feel quite narcoleptic (like falling asleep at the wheel narcoleptic), and so on my next break (because 99 does have shade) I took a nap. The nap lasted longer than it should have.
I got up and continued ridding (after a kind man stopped to see if I was injured)
it eventualy got so hot and unbearable that I was desperate enough to hop into the possibly hazardous, snake inhabited, cesspool apearing, Irigationg ditches that lined the farmland i was riding on.
I said fuck it, and dipped in. it was one of the best feelings in all the history of man. I dipped my shirt, soaked it full, and did not ring it out. I put it on and riding became much more berable.
I kept riding and subesquently dipped my shirt in a Rice paddy, a church sprinkler, a decorative waterfall, a small waterway through a town, and a few other places.
Because of how late I figured out a good way to deal with the stifling heat, by the time I got through Yuba City and onto Hwy 65 towards my final destination it was getting a bit dark.
I got almost as far as wheatland. The friend with whom I was staying came to pick me up.
I was physiclaly capable of riding my bike the remaining 20 miles to her house, but it was unwise because it was a very dark night and a small bike light does little to make you visible to cars. I think enough about different injuries i could get and how i could get them durring the daylight.

I will save the story of the time between my friend got to me, and the time I left her house to finish my journey for another post, which will proboboly titled "And I thought the only adventure would be on the bike"

I left Julie's house at about 7:30, it didn't seem like it was going to be as hot as it had been on tuesday (this is thursday).
I rode my route, which went through a lot of the sacrmento suburbs (Julie actualy lives in Cameron park) I navigated without too much incidence, and had little trouble with cars because I could follow pedestrian rules when they suited my needs, and follow car rules when they suited my needs better. I got out of the towns, and rode more down Hwy 65. It is prohibited in some places for pedestrians and biciclyists, so I took a few side roads. I hopped over to 99 without much trouble. and 99 went smoothly, I stopped a few times to wet the shirt, and stopped on the side of the road for a man who's truck batery had died. I was going to let him use my cell phone but his started working, I stayed until he had everything set. We talked a little, he did road construction in sacramento, but lived in chico because it was a better place to raise his family.
I rode on down 99, and eventualy on to the part of it which goes through chico and is prohibited to bicyclists. there's no other way to get anywhere in chico though, so i didn't care, and it was not marked from the direction I came. Exits and Entrances are tricky, Cars drive much to fast for me to be able to do those easily.
I got to the house i was to stay at that night, it belonged to the son of one of my dad's friends. I never saw the son, I simply crashed in the back yard, called some friends, read, and fell asleep at about 8 (quite odd considering my usual sleep time is between 1 and 3 am)

I got up at 7 ish to go.
I rode to a starbucks, enjoyed a grande soy latte before going. rode on to the isane portion of 99, and started on my way back home.

I got off of 99 very releived.

I rode up 32 a very short while, and realized my back tire was low, i tried pumping it a bit to get it to go. this didn't work.
i moved down to some shade.
another biker stoped we tried to patch the tire with duct tape as i was stupid enough to not have a patch kit or a spare tube, and the bike is old so it has 27inch rims not the standard 700 cm nowadyas, so his wouldn't fit. he contined on his ride.
I called my parents to pick me up as it was hopeless to finish the ride by now because I would never have enough time for the 80 mile day ahead of me. One of my friends called my cell phone, and apparently they saw me on the side of the road. they came up on the space and talked with me for a while.
I let them go back to their business (looking at appartments) and read (and stained my white covered white paged book) and waited.
my parents picked me up
we drove home, and then I got three new tubes, a patch kit, and plastic prys for tire removal.
I'm better prepared now.
it was still quite awesome.
I got home somewhere around 1 ish.

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