Woke up at 4:30 am and dressed super quick. Pulled out the bike from the basement. Thankfully I had packed up everything the night before. Brad had figured out the coffee machine and helped me make a cup of coffee. By the time I was done and had smoked a couple of rollies it was 5:40 am. Time to get to the start point. I had to layer up since it was cold outside. Thankfully I’d brought a jacket and thermal pants just for this. Even though wearing all of this was uncomfortable it kept me warm. Back home I always start riding from home on a tour at about 11 am. It’s either because I’m lazy or it’s cold. This time around leaving later wasn’t really an option.
Got to the start point at 5:50 am. Exactly at 6 am everyone lined up. A pic with everyone in it. Last bit of instructions and we were off. The idea was to ride together for a little while and then go for it. Slowly got going. The difference between a racer and tourer gets obvious here. Some people slow down in the beginning and take it easy and look around while the racers take off. They usually like to put in some lead before taking a break. I looked around to find a shop open for coffee but didn’t find one. Slow ride towards Seaside. Met Chad who was fixing a flat tyre. A piece of glass had cut through the tyre. Asked him if he needed help and he refused. Self-supported race doesn’t mean you can’t get someone to help but to him that’s precisely what it meant. Rode towards the town of Seaside and on the cycle path found a cafe. Stopped by to have a cup of coffee. Decided that I would rather enjoy myself and ride than race. It’s a wonderful feeling, having that weight lifted off your shoulders. Now I was free to just ride my bike as I pleased.
Of course, I had to get to the Mckenzie Pass by Sunday in order to get over it before the road closed, but that’s another day. The plan for the day was to ride as much as possible and get to the town of Manmouth. Andrew had put together a plan for me. The plan consisted of 45 days of riding with some big days. Met Bruce on the way and had a short chat with him. Micheal, who was riding with pannier bags, was next. He was one of the few racers with pannier bags. Rode with him for a bit before he decided to ride a little further to catch up with the pack. A few climbs and while still on the coast I ran into Don who was taking a pic. Super nice to know he figured out how to turn on the Ride with GPS app on his phone. I took a pic of him and he got a pic of me. The scenery was breathtaking. Rolling hills along the coast and the rocks on the oceans were something I had never had a chance to take in before.
While riding to Gokarna I would always see these hills but the traffic on the road towards the coast doesn’t let you look around. Here, there were barely any cars on the road so I could spend some time looking around. It got nice and warm and finally I could take off all the additional layers I had put on. Stopped for lunch and found a bit of fresh food. Packed some up just in case we would need more.
Towards the end of the day Don and I managed to reach Pacific City. Just in time for supper. We stopped to eat something and moved on. By the time we finished up it got dark. I asked around for a place to stay and turns out Pacific City has only a resort and nothing else. Thankfully, the gas station knew a camp ground where we could camp. It was a couple of miles off route but at least it was there. Reached the campsite and Don went to check out the bathrooms. According to him it was a dump. It had no showers or hot water or even a sink. To me the idea of a campsite was new. In India we don’t have sites like these with water. I usually camp off the side of the road and fill up water at the small hotels before camping for the night. Here we had a bathroom and running water. Set up our camp for the night and pulled out the sleeping bag. The weather was a little chilly but at least it wasn’t raining. Time to waterproof everything soon. In the middle of the night we had a visitor. A raccoon came to visit. Rascal ate a little bit of my food. Thankfully I had kept my food outside the bags so it saved the bag. Since I was fast asleep I discovered all this the next morning.
Lesson for the day : Raccoons are rascals who steal your food. I will have to find a way to keep them away.
Up next : Day 2.