My day began much earlier than my fellow riders at the early hour of 3:15 am. Being jet lagged by 10 hours after a study abroad experience in Italy was enough to make me a shell of a man at the regular hours of daylight but I used this opportunity to pack and repack my bike a few dozen times. I was soon greeted by my very anxious mom with a cup of coffee and a plate full of biscuits and eggs to help me carbo load before my first day of biking across the country.
The tire dipping “ceremony” at a dreary looking Rialto Beach in La Push, Washington seemed to whiz past me as I had one final internalized panic attack as I realized the full magnitude of the trip I was undertaking. But after a few heartfelt goodbyes we were off and rolling on route 101 through Olympic National Park!
Olympic National Park has been the land of setting unrealistic expectations for bike trips. No matter where we went we were greeted with Crystal clear lakes at the foot of snow capped peaks, or massive rainforests that looked like they were pulled out of Jurassic Park. Terrain-wise, the day consisted of a massive 40 mile false flat in exposed clear cut timber fields, the fastest railroad-converted-tow-path I've ever ridden, hike n’ bike single track for a bit, and steep punchy climbs that lead us to a diner where we feasted.
Before we entered the diner we met an incredibly kind soul named Tom Swanson, he told us about his cross country trip on the northern tier and we asked about lodging recommendations in Port Angeles. We were greeted with the most pleasant surprise as he and his wonderful wife Robbin opened their house to us and greeted the crew with hotdogs, beds, and warm showers. Tom was kind enough to give us new, more bike friendly route options that will be sure to increase the enjoyability of the next few days! This day of unreal biking was followed with generosity that will surely never be forgotten by any of the bike loud crew members!
As a first time XC Rider the bar has been set unbelievably high just after our first day, and Wes and Brian are quick to remind me that not all days are this flawless. But to me if I'm in the saddle there is no such thing as a bad day.