Day 1: 118 miles
The first day was incredible. I rode 118 miles, and most of it was along the Oregon coast. Starting at 5am was challenging for me, but the views were well worth it. The coast was beautiful. I would be riding along a beach town admiring massive rocks that were placed in the ocean. The waves would smack the side of these boulders, and it was awesome to see something so different than what I am used to on the East coast. I quickly found out that the hills out here are very long. Most of the hills today were not very steep, but they lasted a greater distance than the hills in Pennsylvania. I took my time with today’s ride and made sure to take pictures when I saw an awesome photo opportunity. I had lunch and dinner with my new friend Charles Meola before I set out on my own to go to the next town before dark. On the last segment of today’s ride, I was going through a beautiful wooded area. The climb was tough, but I felt like I was in avatar with how big all of the plant growth was. I stopped for a couple minutes and enjoyed the quiet joined with the singing of a few birds. All in all, great start to the journey so far!
Sleeping location: tent behind post office
Day 2: 109 miles
Once again I woke up early, but I didn’t get to leave until later because of packing up all of my camping gear. I rolled out of town at 7am, and I was moving slow after a long day of riding yesterday. The first two hours were pretty tough. Once I got rolling, I felt pretty good. I pushed a little further than I expected since I knew the next day would be a lot of climbing. It was super hot, and the first few hours were pretty tough climbing in the heat. Not as much beautiful scenery to look at, but there were still a handful of good views. My favorite part about this day was when a car pulled off on the side of the road and people got out to cheer for me. They must have been watching my dot go through their town and wanted to encourage me! At the end of the day, a guy named Cameron rode up alongside me and helped me find a place to camp out for the night.
Sleeping location: tent behind church parking lot
Day 3: 109 miles
This was the hardest ride of my life. Almost all of the first 90 miles was uphill. I woke up at about 300 feet above sea level, and I made my way up to 4,800 feet above sea level. This was really hard on me both physically and mentally since the miles were slow and very hard fought. You have to earn those miles going up hills like that. Although the climb was brutal, I got some awesome views of snow capped mountains for the majority of the ride. Views like that help to take my mind off the pain in my legs! My legs and knees started to get super sore this day. I think I haven’t been stretching enough when I am off the bike. Once I got to the top of the mountain, I went downhill for almost 4 miles. It was nice to be able to just sit there and let the bike move on it’s own. Once I got in to the next town, my parents offered to pay for my dinner and a hotel room! It was much needed after an exhausting day like this one.
Sleeping location: local motel
Day 4: 85 miles
This was another tough day. I slept in later than usual since I was so tired. When I left the hotel room, a man named Richard came up to me on my bike asking if I was Adam. Another dot watcher! We rode out of town together and he took a picture of me as I rode with mountains in the background. It got hot really quick on this day. It wasn’t too long before I was soaked in sweat with my jersey unzipped. At lunch, I was talking to some locals about the climb coming up. I decided to go for it even though it was a little later in the day. This climb wasn’t nearly as tough as the last one, but it still wore me out. When I pulled into the next town, there were people standing in the middle of the street cheering me on! They were from the local church/hostel, and they invited me in for the night where they had a bed, meal, shower, and electricity all ready for me! Pat and Jalet were some awesome people to meet and I admire their dedication to use what they have to help out others.
Sleeping location: hostel
Day 5: 71 miles
I got another later start again, and it was mostly uphill again. In the morning, I got caught in a downpour when the temperature was about 40 degrees. This really slowed me down. I stopped for lunch and decided to push on to the next town 30 miles down the road. I made a decision to get a hotel since I needed to dry off and warm up. Once I got in to town, I got some more tubes from the local bike shop since I keep getting flats. He let me use the rest of a can of degreaser to clean off my chain from the weather and use the hose to get most of the crap off my bike. I got a Philly Cheesesteak from the local pizza shop, and it was no Philly cheese steak. I guess the west coast just needs to come for a visit to see how they are supposed to be made! I went to bed around 8:30pm this night since I was planning on a big ride the next day.
Sleeping location: local motel
Day 6: 121 miles
As planned, I rode a good bit of miles this day. I woke up at 4am and rolled out of town just after 5am. The time didn’t bother me. I’m so tired at night that I sleep like a rock no matter what. I woke up feeling good, and took off towards the sunrise. The sunrise was incredible. The way the sun hit the clouds and snow capped mountains was incredible! One of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. I had 3 big mountain passes to climb after the sunrise. They were still challenging, but not nearly as hard as the first major climb from day 3. This ride was tested with more foul weather. At the top of the mountains I would get a little rain. On my way down my last mountain pass, I ran into some hail. The hail was very small, but it freakin stung my face and legs as I tried to pedal quickly out of the storm. I got 80 miles into my ride at 2pm and I was just starting to feel a little tired. By 3:30, I had eaten and was back on the road. I was riding downhill through the desert very fast. At some point, my rear derailleur decided that it was going to stop working. It positioned itself in the hardest gear. This wasn’t a major issue going down the hills, but it was super challenging even on small hills. I limped it into the next town to settle down and try to fix it inside. I had finished my 121 miles by 7:00 pm. I got dinner quickly and then started working on my bike. I found the issue pretty quickly, but I’m not sure how to fix it. I spent almost 2 hours trying to figure out how to do it with the limited tools I have. I didn’t get cell service in this town, so I had to sit outside in the cold to get WiFi from a restarting to look up how to fix it.
Sleeping location: post office
Day 7: 0 miles
On this day, I woke up in the post office at 4:45am. After tinkering with the bike again, I decided I can’t fix it on my own with the tools and space I had. I went to the local cafe at 5:45am and found a nice man named Rolly who drove me back 40 miles into the town I had lunch the day before. Once I got there, the bike shop was closed for a special event. Looks like a rest day for me. I’m disappointed to not be riding, but I have to trust that there is a reason for the seemingly inconvenient timing. I spent the afternoon at a cafe before checking into a hotel. A woman named Judy saw that I was having issues on Facebook, so she was helping me along with her son Luke who lives in town and has been in contact with the people from the bike shop. Luke connected me with Mike McMackin who was able to help me with my bike! I stayed the night in a hotel in town.
Sleeping location: local motel
Day 8: 115 miles
Judy Baker once again saved the day. Her and her husband Bill drove me back to Richland (40 miles) so I didn’t have to repeat that section. Very thankful for them! The morning ride was tough as the first hour was up a steep climb. After that, it was mostly downhill into Idaho! The scenery of Oregon was beautiful as always as I was leaving the state. Idaho started tough. It was another long mountain climb as soon as I crossed the state line. And it was hot! I made it over the mountain and into the next town where I wen to a small coffee shop since it was pretty much the only thing open in the small town on a Sunday. I decided to push on the the next town. I made it there pretty late since I had made a jump in time zones earlier in the day.
Sleeping location: church parking lot
Day 9: 108 miles
I woke up freezing cold this morning. It dropped down to about 42 degrees overnight and I was up as soon as the sun was. I stopped in the gas station across the street to grab some Gatorade for the road. The first two hours was a quick downhill. I went 34 miles before stopping for breakfast/lunch. It was super chilly in the morning going downhill at a fast pace, but it was a beautiful ride along a small river that eventually turned into a huge river with some rapids. Later in the day I was challenged by a monster climb up White Bird hill. There were switchbacks the entire way up the side of the mountain, so it felt like I had hardly gone anywhere. Once I got to the top, the view overlooking the valley was one of the best of the entire trip. While I was tested by this climb, the view was well worth the struggle. I rode mostly downhill into the next town and then I bombed one of the steepest hills I’ve ever seen. I topped out at 47.5 mph which felt even faster with all of the gear and weight on the bike. It was incredibly exhilarating and also a little bit terrifying.
Sleeping location: baseball field dugout
Day 10: 133 miles
This was probably the hardest day for me mentally. I rode 133 miles, and there was only one place to stop along the route around mile 15. Which means you have to have everything you need to get to the next town. Oh, and the first 100 miles were uphill. I had to ration my water and food, but by the time I made it to the top of the hill (8 hours of riding later), I was very dehydrated. I pulled into the visitor center at the summit where I fortunately found a cold water fountain. It didn’t solve my dehydration, but it sure felt nice. The climb was again challenging, but it was the most enjoyable of the climbs so far. The first 96 miles were right along a big river with many rapids. The fast paced water was a cool thing to keep my mind distracted from the challenge. Once I made it to the top of the mountain, I immediately dropped into Montana. The landscape changed pretty quickly as the rocks seemed to be a different color, and there were randomly placed boulders along the side of the road. During my descent into the first town in Montana, I saw plenty of deer and also a handful of elk. I stopped at the first restaurant I saw and was thankful to have made it through the longest segment of the trip with no services. When I finished eating, a couple who I had talked to before entering the restaurant approached me. They asked if I was camping. Since I am primarily camping, I said yes, and they invited me to pitch my tent in their yard. I’m incredibly grateful for Keenan and Brynndal for allowing me to shower and camp in their yard after a long day of hard riding!
Sleeping location: patio
Day 11: 71 miles
I slept like a rock overnight. I’m pretty sure my body didn’t even move for 8 straight hours. I think being tested with a large mile count, dehydration, and not enough eating had me wiped out. I decided to take an easier day because of this. I said goodbye and thank you one last time to my generous hosts before leaving out. I went 34 miles before eating breakfast which probably should have been done earlier. Regardless, I took my time. I stopped at a bike shop to use a bike stand, but they ended up making the necessary adjustments for me. I told them how I had been tested the day before, and they asked me what I had been doing for electrolyte replacement. They think the Gatorade wasn’t doing enough for me, so they handed me a bottle of electrolyte tablets. All at no cost! Major thanks to Randy in Hamilton, MO for helping me out. I stopped at a coffee shop for some caffeine and carbs before setting out. I decided to only do 37 more miles since the next 20 is a major climb again. Just after this town, I hit a major milestone of mile 1,000 on the route! On my way, a man named Jesse found me and rode with me into the next town. He follows the race and wanted to meet me to take a picture of me. I stopped for one last break before heading out to the campsite where I reserved a spot. I finished up riding for the day around 5:30 which was nice so I could take care of my gear. I met a nice family who let me use their. If spray since the mosquitos were horrendous. I took some time to clean up, organize my gear, call my family and girlfriend, and catch up on all of these notes that I haven’t been able to write. I am now 1/4 of the way done the route. It has been incredible so far, and I can’t wait to see what else is out there!
Sleeping location: Camp Sula
Thank you to everyone who has been sending me messages. I try to picture you guys saying the words in person, and it really helps me keep my head high and push on. Please continue to do so even I don’t get to respond; it really does help!
And although I didn’t share any picture in this post, please check out my Instagram page to see the views I’ve been talking about!
I will try to continue to write as I can, but it is really hard to find time for it. When I’m not riding, I’m either taking care of my gear or planning my next few hours of riding. Thank you again to everyone!!