By Dan Zassick
2012 Bicycle Adventurer
Hello, Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure followers! I will be blogging for you today on this Monday, the 23rd of July from tropical Crescent City, California. But first a little about myself. My name is Dan Zassick, and I join the trip from beautiful Louisville, KY. It is my first time riding with the FCBA and I cannot express how excited I am to be here. After being here over a week, I can gladly say that the trip, the people, and the beauty of the west coast are some of the greatest experiences I have ever had. Riding down the coast it is easy to take in the tremendous heights of the mountains, the sandy coastline, and majestic forests as we climb and descend the hills of the Oregon coast.
We began this morning in Port Orford, Oregon, the location of our first day off. And what a needed day off it was. I know I was certainly sore all over. My shoulders ached and my legs were tired from days of long riding. Stepping outside this morning it was clearly the coldest day of the ride so far, I donned my arm and leg warmers and threw on my dayglow orange (for safety of course) wind jacket to keep in all the body heat I could manage. Eight or so miles in I was dragging. I felt tired and heavy. It seemed there was nothing I could do to pick up and really get rolling. But soon the hills came. Quickly I was sweating beneath my jacket and so I stopped to store that in a pocket. Continuing on up the hills, the climbs got my muscles warmed up and I was finally really ready to ride. After cresting the peak of the biggest climb of the day I saw a welcome and exciting road sign: DOWN HILL GRADE 6%. I took off down the hill like greased lightning, trying to watch the road ahead for any stick or rock that might trip me up and quickly glancing down at my bike computer to check my speed. It was going up, and fast. 25.. 28.. 32.. 40.. 48…. 49…… This was now officially the fastest I had traveled outside of a powered vehicle, and I was acutely aware of every bump, shimmy, and rattle of my bike as I nearly flew down the hill at break-neck speed. I decided that the desire to get that last 1 MPH just couldn’t overcome my desire to not crash and so I laid on the brakes and eased my way down the rest of the hill. It was a thrilling experience to say the least!
The sun was starting to crest the hills to the east now and I felt like I was darting from each patch of sun to the next to try and absorb whatever heat and light It could provide me. By the second of our day’s 3 rest stops I was plenty warm and it was time to ditch the warmers and hit the road again. We were now roughly 45 miles into our 85 mile day and I was feeling good. I fueled up on a PB&J sandwich, water, and a banana, jumped back on my trusted set of wheels and took off again. We were closing in on California and I was excited to find it. This second half of our day was wonderfully pleasant. The air had warmed up in the afternoon sun and we cruised our way through what felt like an easy 20 miles to the 3rd rest stop, perfectly located at the California state line! It was a triumphant arrival for everyone at the stop with fist-pumps and high fives all around. We posed for pictures, grabbed more road food, and I was anxiously back on the road, ready to explore our new state. The last 20 miles were easy and fun. At some point we ducked off of 101 and picked up Oceanview Rd., which inexplicably had almost no views of the ocean, but was beautiful and pleasant in its own manner. We glided past many of California’s “happy cows” and rolled into our temporary home away from home here at Foursquare Church and School in Crescent City, California sometime after 2 in the afternoon and set up shop. We have plenty of space here, which was in sharp contrast to our very nice, but slightly snug accommodations at the American Legion hall in Port Orford.
After a delicious dinner of hotdogs, baked beans, and pasta salad, I am ready to wrap up my day’s story to you and get some well needed sleep. I hope you all are enjoying our stories and are helping to spread the word about our ride and the great work at the Fuller Center. We ride and work here on the trip as a team, and together we can all achieve far more than the sum of our parts. Take care followers! I hope to talk to you all again soon!