Sharon & Tom vs. The Volcano
We should be getting close to those depths of hell. I was sure we were getting close after riding through all that lava rock. Last night I thought I could see the fires of hell burning somewhere on the other side of Diamond Lake.
Today’s journey takes us up to the top of the volcano, Crater Lake, to be specific. When we start there are still cyclists getting ready. A few pass us as we begin climbing, which is literally rolling out of the parking lot. More cyclists should be passing us on this hill, but they are not and this makes me a bit nervous. When we finally reach the first rest stop, we discover that the cyclists we thought were ahead of us have “bumped” to the top of the crater.
After you have done a few tours you don’t feel like it is so necessary to ride every mile and Crater Lake is a great place to get a ride in the sag so you have more time to spend enjoying the great views. Short version, we are now dead last. This shouldn’t matter but it always seems harder for some reason when you know you are last. Yesterday we followed two riders, Bruce and Andrew up the last climb and even though you shouldn’t be able to draft on a slow hill climb, this made it seem so much easier for both Sharon and me.
At the crater’s edge, I have time to ponder over something. Have we triumphed over the volcano upon reaching the top, or do we need to descend from crater lake to have won the battle? Perhaps the volcano wins if we sag in at all.
We are last to every rest stop, except for Ken who has backtracked to get his cell phone. He eventually catches up after dropping 15 minutes behind us and passes us after the lunch stop. By lunch I am sure Sharon is ready to sag in, but she wants her “bragging rights” at this point. It’s still 40 miles and about 2000 feet of climb to go. At mile 100, we are treated to a technical descent that takes us almost to the end of our journey. The last few miles seem to take forever. We have traveled through hell and back again, somewhat unscathed, other than some sore knees and sore butts.
The next day, while we are being driven to the final hotel where we will catch a shuttle to get to our car, I snack on a few Twizzlers, however they have lost their awesome flavor. I’m back to being a Red Vines man.
We finish the day with 116 miles and 5300 feet of ascent. We finish our tour with 1206 miles and 68,800 feet of ascent.
I Love PAC Tour SAG
One day as Sharon and I are working hard on a hill we see one of the SAG support throwing her arms up in the air as we pass. “I’m giving you the wave, but there’s only one of me!”
The PAC Tour SAG team was amazing. They did an incredible job of keeping track of, feeding, photographing, cheering, and everything else they do. The Pacific Crest tour was a difficult challenge, but the one thing that was not was all the stuff that happens after rolling into the finish for the day.
Lon and Susan
Lon and Susan do an amazing job of coordinating the ride. The Pacific Crest tour has been the most challenging and fun ride Sharon and I have ever done. PAC Tour was recommended to us by some of our bike riding friends. They all talk about Lon and Susan as if they are extended family and I don’t think I fully understood this until now. I can’t even imagine how big Lon and Susan’s extended family must be with their Race Across America participation, their tours, and their charitable organizations.
I definitely recommend doing a PAC Tour and especially this route to all my serious cycling friends. I don’t know if taking a tandem is the best option, but I dare you. That’s right, tandem buddies, the gauntlet has been dropped.
Be prepared to increase the size of your extended family. A ride like this has a way of bringing people closer together. Sharon and I already miss our new friends that shared this amazing experience with us.
Also Worth Mentioning
A concern a new potential tour rider might have is whether their bikes and equipment will be handled poorly and possibly damaged. I am about as picky as it gets about this, however our bike was handled as if it were one of their own whenever it had to be stored or transported. I think that I may have looked nervous when they were packing up the bikes on the last day to driven to SeaTac, however I was really just impressed with how well they were able to deal with transporting that many bikes. When you first do a really epic ride on a bike, it ceases being just replaceable stuff. It now holds the memories of that and every other amazing ride you did on it. I think PAC Tour really gets that.
There was storage space on one of the sag vehicles for laptops and may riders used it. I instead brought a cheaper Raspberry Pi computer to view recorded videos and post updates about the ride. Had I known how well laptops were handled beforehand, I would have just brought my laptop instead. ?Tags: Bicycle, Bike, Tandem, touring
Categorised in: Bike
This post was written by Tom