Biologist on a Bike

Day 1: Astoria OR to Manzanita OR

Subtitle: I knew better than to do that.


Distance 45.03
Average Speed 10.3mph; Max Speed
Elevation Gain 3,322
Average Temp. 61 F; Temp Range 51-77 F

My east-coast timed brain woke me up around 5, but I was having none of that. Back to sleep I went. I slept well, but my muscles kept doing that odd twingy thing is usually just annoying but can sometimes become a cramp.
I got up for good closer to 8, had some granola, and worked on my blog. The bike shop didn’t open until 10 so I occupied myself with packing then read a bit until it was time to leave.

I arrived at Bikes and Beyond a few minutes after their scheduled opening and a few minutes before it actually opened. I left Erebus in their capable hands and sat at the café next door for a few hours reading and drinking more coffee than I likely should have. The bike was done around 2. Despite the mix-up about the tune-up and new chain & cassette, they treated me well and I would recommend them to others.

What I should have done:
Arrange to stay in Astoria another night and then set out early the next day.

What I did
Not that.

I let my excitement to be on the road overcome my sense, and I set out, all smiles.

Me and my fully-loaded bike at the start of the TransAm Trail

Ready and raring to go

My front panniers were unbalanced and made my front wheel shake. A bit of rearranging didn’t eliminate the wobble, but it did make it manageable. The ride out of Astoria began on a trail of old boards that looked as though they would just LOVE to eat my wheel and end my trip then and there. And I made a wrong turn almost immediately and had to use my phone to get back on track. The result of that was my riding on a road that did not strike me as cyclist friendly, despite the signage. Once I got back on the trail, things were much better, at least visually and with regard to traffic.

My nutrition all day was pretty poor, consisting mostly of gorp (aka trail mix). Combine that with having had twitchy muscles when I woke up and it should be no surprise that I got a muscle cramp on a climb. I wanted to keep moving, though, so I walked a bit, pushing the bike uphill until the cramp calmed down enough to ride again.

It took me a while to give in to the fact that I was in no way going to make it to Rockaway Beach where a friend, LB, had offered me the use of her family’s beach house. I finally decided I would stop at Manzanita, about 15 miles before my intended stop point and a spot I was fairly certain I could reach before dark.

But by that time I was bonking pretty hard and all but out of water. To crush my morale even further, I spotted a water fountain at a trailhead and made a beeline for it only to discover that it was OUT OF ORDER. There was a cop parked in the lot, inspecting the beach that the trail led to, I assume, and I thought hard about asking for help right then. I eventually gathered enough of my wits to ride on to town, mostly a matter of finishing a climb while bonked and then coasting downhill.

As off as I felt, I decided to spring for a hotel, but that wasn’t going to be easy either. I’m spoiled by living in Chicago where hotels ALWAYS have somebody at the desk. Not true in small towns. I stopped by two places that were closed (it was 8:30 PM after all) and finally asked Siri for some locations and after a few calls managed to find a place that was open.

Once in the room, I heated up some water for some chili (I brought some dried) only to have it smell off. Granted, I was nauseated at the time, but I don’t think that was the main factor. I tossed that, and then had to convince myself to eat SOMETHING. Given the cramps I had gotten and was continuing to feel, I decided that salt was a priority. Vegetarian bullion and rice became the meal of choice, with a protein shake while I waited for that to cook.

It took me 10 or 15 minutes to get the cup of rice and broth down, but it did quell the nausea enough that I considered and ultimately decided on a second helping. I spoke with some awesome friends during this time who helped me pull away from the negative brain-bots with logical positivity such as pointing out that I knew what I did wrong (too little food, electrolyte imbalance, leaving late) and could therefore fix the issues. You gals are awesome, thank you.

I eventually curled up in the bed with a large bottle of water and a serving of protein powder handy in case I woke up hungry or thirsty. There was no need to worry; I didn’t wake up at all.

Not many pictures from today since I was so short on time, but there were some historical places that were fun to see. The road was beautiful, often lined with tall conifers on both sides, making for a pleasant ride, or what would have been a pleasant ride if I hadn’t messed it up so badly.

Where I woke up

SpinDoctorCyclist is my handle on twitter, instagram, and facebook. It’s like it’s some kind of sign!

My Warmshowers Host’s house is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Lewis and Clark’s names are all over the area.

Lessons learned: set reasonable goals, eat more, fill up the water bottles at every opportunity, and most importantly BE FLEXIBLE. (I knew that last one, but today really drove it home in a practical way.)

8 thoughts on “Day 1: Astoria OR to Manzanita OR

  1. Leslie Diamond

    Take care! You definitely need more water and electrolytes from the way it sounds. I hope you figure that out quickly.

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