DAY 64   JULY 30   MILES

The bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind.  
                                                          William Saroyan

Another day; another mountain pass.  After yesterday's 4,500 foot climb, today's was quite easy.  It occurred early in the day so the legs were fresh, the morning temperatures were lower and the shade from the tall evergreens stretched across the road, protecting us from the hot sun.  Moreover, the climb was only 1,800 feet rather than the 2,000 projected so there was a pleasant surprise when we reached the top slightly early.  

The slight headwind going up did not hamper our progress but it offered a nice cooling effect.  Once we started down the other side, the wind was more of a factor but with downhill grades for the next 26 miles, it was never a problem.  It may have slowed us somewhat on the steeper sections but we still reached speeds of 35 mph at some point.  When we were 5 miles out of Tonasket, there was a sign depicting a 5% grade for the next 5 miles.  Although it was a warning for trucks, it was a welcome bonus to cyclists. 

I always have a general idea of my downhill speeds but never stare at the computer.  They are checked when the day is done.  The focus must be completely on the road before me because, at those speeds, one wrong move could result in disaster.  It is said that the sensation of speed in a boat is twice that in a car.  I believe that the sensation on a bicycle is twice that of a boat.  Therefore, the sensation on a bicycle is 4 times greater than in a car.  With speeds upward of 30 mph, it can become a little scary.  But it still is fun!

The temperature in Tonasket reached 106 degrees today and the Red Apple Inn, located only 2 blocks from our camp, boasted air conditioning and WiFi.  I couldn't turn down that combination, especially considering that tomorrow is a 73 mile day with a 3,000 foot climb up to Loup Loup Pass 30 miles into the ride.  The climb may be challenging but I am really looking forward to the downhill!

Tip:  Eat something every 30 minutes on long rides.  Preserve your muscle fuel by always accelerating smoothly and avoiding hard efforts above your comfort level.