Day 3: Winthrop, WA – Tonasket, WA
Distance: 73 miles
Vertical: 3,530 feet
Biking Time: 4:45
Hello friends, family, and followers. As you will probably soon infer from the decline in positivity and quality of writing, Josh Bean is not writing this blog post today. While cycling the first two days I recall wishing the clouds would burn off so I could shed my wind breaker and rep our awesome custom uniforms, now that we are in the heart of Eastern Washington I would give my unborn child for a nice piece of shade. My tan lines already look absolutely ridiculous and it is HOT.
We cycled into Tonasket, WA today and are currently camping in the back yard of their city hall, a small lawn dedicated to touring cyclists equipped with bathroom and wifi. After trying Mountain House food again for the hundredth time I am more then satisfied that this place has indoor plumbing, I must have grown intolerant to the food after years of eating it while camping through Boy Scouts. They should post on their packaging that IBS is a side effect of eating their product. I’ll move on before I paint too vivid of a picture in your minds, sorry Mom.
Today was slightly harder than Josh explained to us, Google Maps was wrong for a second time supposedly. Have you ever grabbed a cup that you thought was full of water and drank it just to find out it was milk and nearly died from the shock and disgust? That is pretty much how I felt when believing I had 4 miles left of pedaling, taking a left turn into a head wind, and seeing a sign that read “Tonasket 22 miles”, thanks again Obama.
Onto a positive note, today was the first day where we saw a noticeable improvement in our cycling. We summited Loup Loup, a pass with a max elevation of 4,020 feet, and felt un-phased and strong at the top. During the descent, we passed Okanogan National Forrest and had to take a stop to honor our friend Jeffrey Pinkstaff and his favorite Canadian beverage. Tomorrow is looking grim but we are all feeling confident that we can make the 7,000-foot climb after today’s performance. We are going to sleep well in Spokane.
After completing the descent, we had about 30-40 miles of cycling through small country towns on our way to Tonasket. Josh and I learned that head checking for cars is pretty scary while blazing at speeds of 40 mph going down a pass, so we thought we would pick us up some side mirrors and Nigel two water bottles. At the bike shop we encountered our first Cougar fan of the journey, luckily I was wearing my UW cycling jersey. I think I successfully scared him off; it was a close one. Once in the cycling shop, we realized that it was nothing like the Greggs and Performance Cycle that we are used to in Seattle: a real small shop that only serviced mountain bikes. After leaving the shop, Josh biked over an industrial sized staple and got a flat tire. Nigel asked to stop for lunch, it was hard to say no with a McDonalds and Taco Bell in eye shot, but if we stopped for much longer there is no way we would have made it to Tonasket.
To venture into a more gruesome topic that I am sure Josh would never mention in one of his posts, I’d like to bring up an injury report. Nigel set the tone yesterday by being the first person to crash on his bike. He was going a zipping one-mile an hour as he tried to make a U-turn, hit a patch of sand, and fell before he could not unclip from his pedal. To be honest, I am just happy that it wasn’t me that did that, it was hilarious. Josh’s left hand has seized to work since starting the ride. He can no longer strongly grip things with it and is surprisingly enough very calm about this. He thinks it may be a result of losing circulation due to death gripping his brakes while cycling “cautiously”, I personally think that it is an undiscovered side effect of eating too much quinoa and bragging profusely about it. I, on the other hand, have experienced discomfort sporadically. Besides the light sick feeling and abdominal pain from Monday’s dinner, I have had a different part of my body hurt each day. Oddly enough, I sort of enjoy it, it is like cross training your body but with cramps and pains. My main story of pain came last night with some Icy Hot. Some of you may already know where this story is going, but incase you are lagging behind, I will gladly continue. After applying Icy Hot to my knees and thighs before heading off to bed, I decided that it would be smart to then put hydrocortisone cream on my saddle sores and groin. Apparently you are supposed to wash your hands after touching Icy Hot and I learned what it feels like to sit on hot lava for about twenty minutes. I have always been the type to learn through experiences, but that is one that I could have lived without.
We have started to get on each other’s nerves a little bit, but that is to be expected. My odometer says that we have already burned around 8500 calories in the past three days! We are exhausted. A huge thank you goes out to Psychology major Nolan for keeping us at bay while we bicker. All in all I would say that optimism is really high. The surreal “wow we are actually doing this” feeling is still strong in all of us and we are loving every pedal. I can’t wait to see where the rest of the journey takes us and I look forward to sharing it with all of you through my perspective as I go.
My ass hurts,