I set off this morning optimistically dressed in my basic cycling shorts and jersey as it was warmer than it’s been in a while – soon enough though I was wrapped up in my wet weather gear getting saturated, I didn’t mind too much though, as the wind stayed clam. It’s typical that today, when I was passing through the Columbia River Gorge (a natural wind tunnel renown for strong winds being channeled from the ocean) that it was calm wheras the last few days it’s been a nightmare. It felt awesome to not have a headwind – by putting in less effort than I have over the last three days, I was acheiving nearly double the speed! I had been going for a couple of hours when I saw another cyclist in front of me, I quickly caught up and pulled along side – only for him to shout at me to go away! He looked really annoyed about something, and I just accelerated away leaving him in my wake. About 10 minutes later I came across another cyclist who looked a bit lost, so I gave her directions, and we rode next to each other for about half an hour talking. She was a teaher from Portland, who was taking part in a two day tour organized by her cycle club – apparently the other guy was too, and wouldn’t talk to her when she passed him. I told her about my trip, and she couldn’t beleive how far I’d come – she’d done some week long tours before, and said she was exhausted just after doing those. She kept pace until we hit a hill, and then I left her behind – after the mountains these small hills don’t even register. Still it was nice to have a bit of company for a while. Soon after I left her, I got another puncture, caused by a bit of glass – I made the repair, but it was difficult in the rain, and I was amazed that the repair stuck, as I couldn’t avoid getting grit inside the tyre.
The gorge is supposed to be awesome, but I didn’t see much of it today, with the driving rain, and low cloud obscuring the landscape. I’d planned on taking a detour up a hill taut was supposed to have awesome views over the gorge, but with the weather here didn’t seem to be much point, so I pressed on until I hit portland. Portland is supposed to be a cycle friendly city with 10% of commuters getting to work on bikes. Still it was a nightmare just to get across half of it. I had a nightare findin somewhere to stay with prices being extortionate, but I eventually wondered into a Best Western (usually expensive) and when they heard what I’ve done, they let me stay in a jacuzzi suite for the price of a regular room! I had to spend a bit of time on the interstate today, and my tyres took a bit of a battering, so I spent this afternoon taking bits of glass out of them to try and prevent any more punctures. If everything goes to plan I should reach the Pacific tomorrow – so I really am near the end of my challenge.