Today was the first long ride of the journey. 69 miles/3100 ft of climbing–not easy for the first day. It was raining, windy, and about 52 degrees at the 7am departure time from the hotel. There was a lot of nervous energy at breakfast, and everyone had different amounts of layers on and advice on what they felt was the best tactics for how to deal with changing weather over the course of the day.
The only route in and out of Astoria is a fairly busy one lane country highway, so traffic moved by briskly, including lots of trucks. Lumber trucks passing at 60 mph threw a lot of spray in my face, which literally was a “taste of the Pacific Northwest” as it felt like I was drinking in wood soaked water droplets. The sand/dirt in the area is volcanic and ashy (remember Mt St Helens?), so by the time I finished I was coated in black, gritty sand. I showered and scrubbed, but toweling dry still left the towel black and sooty. Still, a great start–I finished the ride feeling pretty exhilarated.