I am now taking a break at the Shot Rock Vista. It is about 19 miles from Cooks Station. I left Cook’s Station at 05:10 this morning after getting up at 04:00. My first hour was tough. I seem to get more into a groove after a couple hours.
I still have to take breaks while going up hill sometimes as often as every tenth of a mile to clear the lactic acid. The title of this post relates to my being thankful for my granny gear. It is my favorite gear for the last few days since Folsom. Certainly within a couple of gears of my granny gear are where I spend probably 80% of my time. I go about 5 mph when in the lowest gear. The guy I met in Vallejo looked my the gearing on my bike and said I should have “no problem going over any mountain”. If only that were the case. In a few weeks I hope to be able to go longer without stopping. My legs are still wimpy.
One good thing about getting higher up is it is not hot. I started the day at about 65 F and a few hours later after the sun came out it was 55 F. When I arrived at Silver Lake around noon it was 70 F. Still quite rideable but I did try to break in the shade. Hopefully it will be cool tonight and I can get to sleep. At Cook’s Station it never dropped below 65 F and that is too hot for my sleeping bag. I kept getting in and out. I have an ultralight sleeping bag so it only has a half zipper — you are either in the bag or not. I would also wake up to the ‘music festival’ that was going on several miles away. The reason for the quotations around ‘music festival’ is it was several miles away and I could quite clearly hear the lyrics and the bass lines. It might have been better described as a festival to promote premature deafness. Maybe that is unfair as I had lunch with some women from LA who were going to it and said it was great music. The music was still going when I got up at 04:00.
I am probably of one of the last generations not to gave headphones near permanently inhabiting my ears. (Although that might have helped keep out the spider…) I read about people saying it was necessary to have an iPod to have something to listen to especially some sort of power music for the climbs. I prefer not to listen to anything. I like the quiet moments when all I can hear is my chain going around and the tires on the road. Plus I wouldn’t be able to hear the cars/trucks coming. Maybe in Kansas I’ll change my mind. To take one from my friend Mr. Anderson, I always have the voices in my head to listen to.
I am sitting down by the lake. It is near sunset. It is very quiet. I think this is some of what I miss being in Beijing. I am sure there are parts of China where you can sit by a lake alone and it is quiet and serene, but I am just not sure where they are. Certainly not within 100 miles of Beijing. At Beal Point I talked to a man who used to go to Malaysia fifteen years ago or so. He said that when he’d come back to the USA he would not complain about his taxes that paid for clean water out of the tap, sewage treatment, trash removal and those sorts of things. I’d have to agree. The first time I was confronted with filling my water bottle in a sink in California, I hesitated then remembered I am no longer in China. I have been thinking of a post about the difference between riding here in the USA and in China. China does have a few advantages.
Anyways, it is time to concoct something for dinner. I did not realize the restaurant here is closed Monday nights. The people told me I could go up to Kirkwood that is “only five miles up the road” or back three miles to another place. Both of them involve elevation gains of 500+ feet. Not an easy jaunt just for a meal.
Start: Cook’s Station, CA (elevation 5000′)
End: Silver Lake, CA (elevation 7300′)
Today’s mileage: 26.8 miles
Total miles so far: 243 miles
Average speed: 7.7 mph
Max speed: 40.1 mph
Riding time: (05:10 to 12:00) 6.75 hours
Total riding time: 38.25 hours
Weather: clear, about 65 F
Please consider making a donation to the Jimmy Fund to support research, treatment and care of childhood cancers allowing children to grow up and lead full, healthy, exciting lives. Thank you.