August 6, 2015 9:30 pm
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Oh The Winds, They Are A Changin’

As I eat breakfast, once again, preparing for an epic day of riding, I realize the woman sitting to my left has done the Furnace Creek 508 several times, twice as a solo rider. Sharon and I seem to be the PAC Tour noobs of the trip.

Today, in typical noob fashion, Sharon and I get a late start, take several wrong turns and end up fighting headwinds, dead last in the group. The beginning of the ride is gentle climbs with the more difficult climbing towards the end of the day. We’re already off the back and not liking it. What is most frustrating is the way we are turning in every possible direction and are always going into a headwind. How is that even possible?

After several turns that all seem to be on roads named Naches, we arrive at the first rest stop. Sharon and I are completely demoralized from fighting the headwinds, but when we learn that we are only about 5 minutes back we feel better.

Sharon and I have a little joke going between us that’s probably only funny when you are really tired and on a bike ride. I have substituted “nachos” for “Naches” and since most of the ride seems to be on “Old Naches Road” I make it clear that “I’ve had enough of these stale old nachos.” See… Not a very funny joke, but I though it was at the time.

The further we ride, the more scenic the route becomes, but all I can seem to remember about it now is pain and fatigue. Other than one rider that chose to be sagged from the first rest stop, we do not see any other riders until the second rest stop. They are just leaving as we arrive.

Chinook Pass

VIEW FROM CHINOOK PASS

By the time the real climb starts, over Chinook Pass, we are feeling even better and there are a few riders we can see. We manage to pass a few on the climb. They may have passed us again, but I’m not sure. Searing pain. That’s what I remember. We manage to climb pretty well to the top and are treated to another amazing downhill.

Sharon and Bike

SHARON REALLY WANTS THIS BIKE

Amazing? This thing goes on forever. There are some hairpin turns but it’s mostly gentle curves. With scenic overlooks to the right, we race through the pine trees that surround the road. When we arrive at Packwood, Sharon and I are both tired and really saddle sore. Our good friend Lori Cherry swears the saddle pain goes away eventually. When Lori, When?

We finish the day with 96 miles and 5663 feet of climbing. ?

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This post was written by Tom

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