06/01/2010 – 29.8 miles/55.1 miles
I more expected a faceplant out the starting gate. Like bringing a knife to a gun fight, proceeding to fall on said knife. The little soldier with his too-big helmet and too-big sword. A beginning an end, all in one fell swoop. But no such luck. I am still here.
Slept more than 12 hours last night, as the only sensible thing to do after dinner was crawl into the sleeping bag for warmth + comfort. It was about 19:30 at that point, and I had just finished the much anticipated day #1. I had been roving through my mind that very day for about the past 9 months, so to finally experience it let alone have it out of the way was a big hurdle passed. Wholly, the experience of setting out was actually quite unremarkable – but not at all in a bad way. More in a way so raw that it almost felt mundane. No break from reality. Just a roughshod continuity, from camping in Humboldt to disembarking from a Uni parking lot in Arcata and leaving my busted shoes behind.
Rode 29.8 miles before settling in Dry Lagoon picnic area (State) with no permissible camping and no running water. Pitched on the beach behind some brush so as not to be seen. All in all, a very doable and realistic first day (started cycling yesterday at 15:30 after a massive last meal of chicken-fried steak w/ hashbrowns, 3 eggs, biscuit, and sausage gravy. Followed by blackberry pie ‘a la mode’). As mentioned, woke up this morning at about 8:30 after nearly 13 hrs sleep. While rising this morning, a clanging raucousness was forming behind the bushes just beyond my tent. I would have thought for sure a school trip, had the conversation and tone been different. But rather, the guttural clamor of grown men was coming from 4 paddy trucks reading “Department of Corrections” shuffling out a chain gang to work the beaches for fire safety. Some bully work crew. I snuck out and away as swiftly as possible.
Cycling today was a massive smack of reality. Within 20 minutes of leaving camp I was climbing continuously to a summit of approx. 2000 ft. (starting from sea level). Got quite unhappily delirious in the process, realizing I had not nearly enough water and far too much weight to haul. I can feel the gravity riding me already. Eventually peaked after getting some cold + delicious water from a road crew, and began a glorious descent. Problem of course is that the downhill portion lasts a fraction of the uphill, only to have to face the latter once again. Hard time. Eventually made it to and past Crescent City, through towering redwoods, to a county campsite at a cost of $10. Had kidney beans + rehydrated steak jerky + avocado for dinner. Good but not great. After evading paying the site fee for as long as possible before finally forking it over, read a bit and now about to crash hard. Good first push.