The first days are the hardest days

Http/ John’s Band

The first week is over. If the link doesn’t work, the song starts:

“Well, the first days are the hardest days/Don’t you worry anymore/Cuz when life looks like Easy Street/There is danger at your door.” (Lyric by Robert Hunter)

The first week is over. We rode 612 miles in 7 days, climbed a few mountain passes, rode a century in the rain. I had three flats, one in the rain. (Better than Mike from Dublin, who had 6). A rider had to go home with an injury, another missed three days of riding with a cold. Hypothermia claimed a few during Saturday’s rain.

We frequently camped in clover fields. I received 4 bee stings on my feet as evidence.

If Sunday weren’t a rest day, we’d have had to add one – or have a mutiny.

I spent much of the week singing to myself – reggae one day, topical songs (especially today) – “Singin’ in the Rain”, “Uncle John’s Band [for the lyric above], “I Can See for Miles” [altered to “I Can Ride for Miles” to inspire me to keep going]. Also obnoxious pop songs that attacked at odd moments (“Me and You and a Dog Named Boo”, with the line “another tank of gas and back on the road again.”)

On our day off today, I ate in restaurants, ate cardamom ice cream, shopped at the local bike shops, and got the bike (and me) in shape for the next week.

I replaced my rear tire with a Continental Gatorskin (due to 3 flats in a week), bought a patch kit and 3 spare tubes, patched two tubes from this week, cleaned and lubed the bike, got a new taillight.

Most useful item: Hefty 3 galllon bags – you can pack ‘em with clothes, squeeze/roll the air out, and zip them shut. They are a great size – one holds jerseys and gloves, one shorts and socks, one post-ride t-shirts and another post-ride shorts, etc.

Most useless items packed (tie): 1) Ziploc jumbo bags (made for packing things and squeezing the air out) – they are hard to seal, pop open after sealing, and tear easily. 2) Park Tools brand patch kit. The vulcanizing fluid is very thick and becomes tacky almost instantly and the patches fall off in seconds. Back to Tip Top brand for me.0BCDB2E0-EE63-4F3B-8A11-8B96C5575112

You’ve heard of people who bring everything but the kitchen sink. I brought the kitchen sink.

Random bonus photo – the prettiest bike on the trip:A4C8C70E-9651-446D-9142-8363C1740EB9

Next week is bound to be easier. We ride 6 days until our next rest day.

Your blogger – still standing after this week, plus a pizza and 2 glasses of wine.

Alan about to summit at Thompson Pass (failed to upload yesterday)