Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day 2: St. Helens, OR, to Welches, OR

Today's Mileage: 74.6
Average Speed: 12.9 mph
Max Speed: 29.5 mph
Average BPM: 143
Max BPM: 179
Calories Burned: 2559
Actual Time in Saddle: 5:52
Blog & Ride Details

It's only Day 2 of our 50-day trek across North America, and the best thing that is ever going to happen to me on this trip happened today. Some of my fellow riders found out this morning that I had attempted to take on this challenge with a double crankset. For more experienced cyclists, 53 and 39 chain rings over The Cascades and The Rockies might not seem like a big deal. But for me, who was only able to purchase a bicycle in January, the climbs will already be tough enough due to my lack of training. Less than 12 hours later, Maddy has a brand new compact crankset.

It is an awe-inspiring thing to do something for someone else without an expectation of reward. And it is remarkably humbling to be the recipient of another's good deed. And all that was asked of me is that I pay it forward. I plan to find countless ways to do so, but if you - like me - are looking for ways to pay something forward, several cyclists on this tour are raising money for notable charities. I will be posting links to all of their causes shortly.

In the meantime, thank you to Sandy North, Leo Anderson, Jeff Douglas, Mark Koltz, John Soley, Margo Addison, Mark Weisbarth, Rod Grimsley, Andrew Dyson, Tom Zack and Mark Scheer. And to Jim Benson, America By Bicycle's mechanic, who installed the new crankset, you will have your India Pale Ale!

In addition to a completely unexpected and most appreciated gift, I also realized that I've already begun to gain what I wanted from this trip. I wanted to slow down my mornings, lengthen my afternoons, and feel moments while I am in them. Day 2 ...

If you ever want an adrenaline rush, cycle along the elevated sidewalk on St. Johns Bridge, with traffic passing on your left and the Hood River 205 feet immediately below you on your right. As I shakily pedaled forward on the bridge, I looked over the edge and felt the blood drain from my face. I almost stopped to walk my bicycle, but then I remembered why I was here. Feel the moments. Experience the thrills. The bottoms of my feet tingled as I cycled forward. I felt every heartbeat.

(Don't worry, Mom, I did stop to take this photo of Alison.)

Later, Mt. Hood appeared on the horizon. Talk about a breathtaking moment. But it was when we stopped for lunch that I experienced an instance of personal fulfillment. We had cycled over 60 miles. We had followed rivers, crested hills, absorbed sights, shared tales. I looked at the time and saw that it was barely 1pm instead of "already 1pm".

Just before dinner this evening, John mentioned the taxicab that had nearly taken me and Andrew out when we were leaving St. Helens around 6:30am. I looked up, "That was this morning?"

"Yea!" he laughed.

I had a long day. And it was great.

More images from St. Helens to Welches:

Click here for my entire photo album of Day 2.

The Ride Leader's Official Report:
Welches, Day 2
Across America North:
Welches Photos


Todd said...

Katie, this is seriously inspiring (and totally awesome!)

Keep up the good work!

Monique D. said...

Whooo hooo, Day 2!! And what an awesome surprise gift! Thanks for including the Ride Leader's report...sounds like today's ride (Day 3) is going to be a doozy. We're all pushing for you!! And p.s. keep the pictures coming!

Steph said...

Nice updates for Days 1 and 2! Love the photos!

Paula said...

Hi Katie!
My name is Jane and I'm with Dwellable.
I was looking for blogs about Welches to share on our site and I came across your post...If you're open to it, shoot me an email at jane(at)dwellable(dot)com.
Hope to hear from you soon!