Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Portland to Pacific City. Day 4

Taj arrives at Scott's house, he is looking buoyant and happy. He is kitted out in his new cycling clothing and his new pimped out ride. He dishes out the butt cream and Oakley sunglasses to me and Seth. Blimey, I'm stoked, these have instantly become one of the most expensive things I own. I'm such a tramp, my cycling glasses are just dark pieces of plastic held together by a cheap, plastic frame.
We head off to a whole food place to meet up with Ryan Barrett and get breakfast. He gets into a discussion about routes that he knows and it looks like between him and Seth we have a, 'sweet' route planned. Ryan wants to join us for the day but has to go to work with Mark Lewman from Club Homeboy fame.
We head off and blast through the Portland traffic, cross a bridge and instantly hit a steep climb out of the city, I'm slacking and get dropped and when I catch up with Seth he just puts his hand on my saddle and literally pushes me up the hill at twice the speed that I was pedalling. Beast. For some reason we end up on a Freeway, which in English terms is a fucking motorway. We stop to establish that, yes, we are in fact now sitting in the shoulder of a freeway. Crazy. Rather than turn the hell back round and get out of the situation it is decided we'll pedal like mad and cross two intersections and take the next turn off!! The only good part of it all is Taj picks up a numberplate off the road and gives it to me a souvenir. We gather ourselves together and after stopping to take snaps of a 50foot tall rabbit, we absolutely haul ass for 45 miles. Ryan actually emails a route map to Sandy, who in turn emails it to Taj while we are travelling along, devices are amazing. The interweb is out there and happens before our very eyes. I think Taj is feeling the pace but is hanging on in there until lunchtime. We stock up on lots of food for the next section of riding.
I have no idea what the route will throw at us but Seth informs us all that we are due to hit a 10 mile relentless ascent and, as always, his words are true. It's not steep but it is steeper than a general grinder of a climb. We climb through a load of hairpins on a beautiful, remote, route. A few miles on it and Taj's optimism for the day starts to give way to pain and frustration. For a novice road rider this truly is a baptism of fire and Taj is about to go up in flames. The sun is out and Taj hates the sun. He is getting distressed and even Willie Nelson playing on his phone isn't helping that much. We decide to leave him to ride it out on his own, at least he wouldn't feel like he was lagging behind us. Me and Sandy start to blame Seth for killing Taj, we laugh and mess about and eventually we catch up with Taj resting and certainly not laughing.
What goes up, must come down, we hit our first long, epic descent, long straights, nice bends, high speeds eventually we come across a long section of unpaved road where Taj picks up his first puncture just to add to his joys. Only thing is now is the question of the distance to a town? We're too scared to talk to Taj about the mileage, he's on his limit and when we eventually get to a gas station a guy informs Taj that there are no hotels for at least 10 more miles. We giggle that Seth and the Nestucca River Pass has killed Taj.
We arrived at Pacific City. To sum up the days ride, our slowest speed was 3mph but our fastest was 46mph and Taj had ridden his first century with 107 miles clocked and it was a tough varying ride. He may have been on the ropes after the climb but he held it together and for that he should be immensely proud of his first century.

Seth may have killed Taj but Taj 2K is soon to emerge

1 comment:

  1. It's great reading this after the blog on Sandy's site - gives a different perspective to all your adventures.