It’s been quite an eventful Day One of the STIHL Tour des Trees – we were scheduled for 95.8 miles today, from Banks to Seaside, Oregon. The ride started after a few welcoming remarks by John Kinsky, the mayor of Banks, and a STIHL rep, and a kickoff picture at the start line. The NW Bike Safety Council led the pack out of Banks and along the Vernonia State Trail for about 20 miles.
The trail was really shady underneath the canopy of trees and the cool, damp air felt good and refreshing. It was easy going the first stretch because there were so many riders. I was so happy to see the first rest stop for a bathroom break. I didn’t rest long; I refueled with some granola and got back on the road. There was about 36 miles to cover before lunch.
I started off hanging with a few other riders but fell off after I had to fix my derailer; it was rubbing on my pedal and making an irritating “click, click, click” noise with each rotation. I didn’t miss any turns though, and made it to the lunch stop without my body hurting too much. It’s always relieving to see the sag van drive by and give me a thumbs up, letting you know you’re still on course.
The “riding alone” stuff was making me anxious, so after lunch I left with a small pack. We hung together for a while but I split off ahead after some hill work, which is my strength. There were some awesome downhills that were great for recovering. I was watching for road markings and saw a white circle and dash marked on the road at a sharp left-handed turn. There was no road sign, so I pulled over and checked my map. A rider came by and headed straight, so the fool is me, I followed after him.
After about ten or so miles I came upon a group of three riders hunched over looking at a GPS map. I knew it! We were lost; it wasn’t a big deal – just of course, frustrating. I wanted to be finished; actually, I wanted to be at the beach in Seaside! My energy levels were in the red and my butt was upset at me. I was, however, glad to not be alone. The new, altered route was going to take us north to Astoria and then we would take the scenic 101 to Seaside. When we finally did make it to Seaside, I had ridden 105 miles; ten extra miles.
Overall it was great day. I wasn’t hurting too bad and I felt a sense of pride for riding the entire way. No sagging out for me! I regret not speaking up about that missed turn, but there certainly was some beautiful scenery that made any pain all the worth while.
I hope Day 2 goes just as well – I plan to ride with the lost souls from Day 1.
Catch you on Wednesday!
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