I fell asleep last night at around 17.00, and woke up still fully dressed to my alarm at 05.00! I was exhausted last night but 12 hours sleep did it’s job and I felt fresh this morning with a great breakfast helping to prepare me for a big day.
After a nice easy first ten miles following the river out of Clarkston, I turned away from it’s banks and started climbing. A couple of days ago I met Richard, another cyclist, who told me that just going down this hill had persuaded him to change his plan and head across the north of America to try an avoid the worst of the Rockies. So I was expecting it to be bad, and while it was long and steep it was nowhere as challenging as some of the moutain passes I’ve tackled and 2,500 feet later I was at the top. As I crested the top of the hill, wide areas of farmland stretched away to my right, and I realized that this was the first time since Eastern Colorado that I’ve seen a landscape without a mountain of some discription in it.
From there I dropped down into another river valley running through the plains, as soon as I entered it I was hit by a crushing 20mph headwind which, despite my frequent protests, persisted for the rest of the day. The wind was soon accompanied by rain and while it wasn’t as heavy as yesterday it was whipped into my face by the wind making it hard to see. The wind made for slow progress, but I dug deep and managed to maintain quite a good average speed untill my next big climb. This one really took it out of me – the combination of a steep grade, and the ever present wind made it a real grind. When I finally made it to the top, 1500ft later I was treated to a nice steady decent to Dayton – usually I would be able to coast down that kind of hill, but I was peddaling hard just to keep moving forward! The landscape today was a lot like the English countryside, with small fields and hedgerows – so the rain was fitting in that respect! About 10 miles outside Walla Walla, my destination, he wind relented a bit, and suddenly I was moving again – in no time I was ensconced in a Mcdonald’s wolfing down a burger and enjoying being out of the wet.
I hope tomorrow is a bit better weatherwise, but I don’t have anything like today’s 102 miles to cover, so I should have an easier day. I’m going to get another good nights sleep as that seems to be the key to success.