DAY 67 AUGUST 2 55.4 MILES
One of the greatest days of my life was when I learned to ride a bike.
Last night's campground was magnificent with its location in a dense forest of tall evergreens. Due to the large amount of rainfall and limited sunlight below the high canopy, much of the landscape below was covered with a yellowish-green colored moss which gave it an almost surrealistic appearance. The campground was bordered by a large lake with icy-cold water which was our only possibility for anything close to a shower. It was thoroughly refreshing, however, but no one remained in the water for more then 2 minutes.
One would think that a large campground in an isolated location would have a store stocked with a large array of food items or, at least, essentials. However, we had been warned that not one thing was available and that we would have to carry in anything we wanted to eat or drink. With that knowledge, I purchased some sandwiches and potato chips for dinner and a blueberry scone and O.J. for this morning's breakfast. That tided me over until we reached our first restaurant after riding 26 miles this morning.
The progress of some of our riders has been remarkable. After more than 2 months and 4,000 miles, all of us are in much better physical condition than when we left Bar Harbor but 2 riders stand out in my mind. One girl always was last up the hill and barely made it up a few of them with considerable coaxing. Amazingly, over the course of the tour, she has become one of the faster girls and I can no longer keep up with her.
The slowest guy usually had difficulty finishing each day's ride and, usually, he would be the last one in at night. After 2 weeks, he ditched his old bike and purchased a new one but it made little difference. Around the halfway point, however, something clicked inside and, over the next few weeks, he became the fastest rider on the tour. Yesterday, when I was struggling up to Washington Pass at maybe 7 mph, I could not believe it when he whizzed past me at somewhere around 15. Someone said, "Everyone is climbing but he is riding level." I have encouraged him to enter some races to see just how good he can be and he has registered for a race for later this month. I think he will do very well.
The night of camping went fairly well but it cannot compare with a large bed in an air-conditioned hotel room. So that is where I am tonight!
Tip: Ride with people who are stronger and faster than you. You will learn a lot, and soon you will be stronger and faster, too.