My ride is over, but the memories will last forever.

A life long dream fulfilled ... a great cause ... new friends ... amazing support

Thanks to everyone who helped make a difference!

I have maxed out the picture space on this blog. To see my postings for Day 42 (August 1st) onward click the link below:

GOTO Mark's Trek - NEW Daily BLOG (August 1st Onward)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Day 1 -- June 21st -- Astoria, OR to St. Helens, OR

Miles Ridden: 68.1
Avg Speed: 15.4
Avg Heart Rate: 147 bpm
Climbing: 2,861 ft
Calories Burned: 4,231

A cloudy and cool start (low 50's) provided optimum conditions for the first official day of riding.  After a light breakfast at the hotel we were indoctrinated into the "morning scurry" (the madness of loading all our luggage and heading out).  It went off like clockwork thanks to Karen, Jeff, Barbara, and the rest of the ABB crew.  I rode the day with my roommate, Dave Sullivan, from Michigan.  Like me, Dave has always wanted to ride across America.  31 years ago, his marriage contract stipulated the event would occur and must be permitted.  Dreams do come true. 

The cue sheet could not have been much easier ... take a left out of Holiday Inn Express in Astoria onto Route 30, then follow for roughly 69 miles until to get to St. Helens ... take a right into Best Western.  Along the way we had two major climbs, two rest stops, and the chance to chat with a few our fellow riders.  Margo from Connecticut had the honor of getting the first flat just three miles out of town,  Mark from Toronto picked one up about 15 miles out and his spare also had a flat! He was riding with Jeff from Connecticut, who stepped in with a extra tube.  Dave and I will ride with Mark and Jeff on Tuesday as we all had a pretty similar pace.

Here is the route thanks to Jeff ... my stats are a little different, but the map is the same.  I need to get a Garmin computer when I get back!  My Polar is great but it doesn't do the maps.

Route 30 had a pretty good shoulder and followed the Columbia River the whole way.  I was hoping to get some shots of Mt. St. Helens, but cloudy conditions did not make that possible.  The first rest stop was at the Gnat Creek Fish Hatchery.  We were careful to (1) take off your gloves (2) wipe your hands (3) sanitize your hands (4) Refuel with appropriate foods.

The first big climb followed the rest stop.  A good rhythm kept us moving steadily.  After about another hour, we began the longest climb of the day.  Long and steady with grades of 6% - 7%.  A screaming decent in Rainer gave way to nice view of the Longview-Rainier Bridge (also called the Lewis and Clark Bridge) and the second SAG stop.  From there it was another 20 miles to St. Helens.

Dave and I headed to Subway with Don from Indiana and then to Walmart and Rite-Aid.  I picked up some salt and potassium tablets as I had a few nasty charley horses late in the day.  Need to make sure my electrolytes are balanced better I guess.  Dinner was pizza and salad, followed by route wrap .. another 75 miles and 3,000 feet of climbing ... all in the last half of the ride.  Hopefully, I get some shots of Mt. St. Helens and we should start to see Mt. Hood too.  I promised Karen pictures of people, so I am trying to snap a few as I go.  Will try to remember to get some of me too.

Goodnight room ... goodnight moon ... goodnight Ryder truck carrying all of our stuff ... goodnight bikes ... goodnight ABB crew ... goodnight climbs ... goodnight 47 riders tucked in their beds ... goodnight stars, goodnight air ... goodnight noises everywhere.