When I got out of the tent this morning it was absolutely clear and already warming up. Now the one thing I was particularly fearing this morning was to find my rear tire flat again. Alas these fears were realized and again the rim was resting right on the ground. Sigh. I put it off till I was done with breakfast packing and so on. Then I pulled the wheel found the small hole and patched it. The patch kit Rivendell dubs as “Einsteins” is truly a great patch kit. Anyway I then patched the previously flatted tire and it was punctured in the same spot. But no amount of searching could find anything in the tire. With that all taken care of I set off.
Now as you’ll recall I was off the route I’ve been using but there was another road that met up with the route in Aberdeen. I set out for his and damn of I’d didn’t turn out to be a nightmare. No shoulder, chipseal, hills and lots of traffic. The road eventually developed a shoulder and even lost the chipseal for a while, the the there was a series of heroic climbs and descents. Definitely the toughest so far. I feel I’ve neglected to mention this but during that hike a couple days back I hyper-extended left knee. It didn’t seem to be much of an issue at the time, but yesterdays riding aggravated it and it became quite painful. I had hoped a nights rest would help but it was clear now this was not going to be the case.
The twin issues of the roads and my knee are really the bulk of today’s experience. After I did those aforementioned climbs I descended into Hoquiam where ‘The Loggers Playday’ was in progress and I rode into the staging ground for the days parade. Well this was unexpected but charming. Small town America at its finest. I made my way through the parade and walked across this big bridge and was soon in Aberdeen. Now things deteriorate a bit as I wander all over Aberdeen looking for a bicycle shop- I wanted some real tubes. They all seemed gone or I couldn’t find them. Eventually I left in digest and rode over this horrific bridge. And it turned out to be the wrong bridge! Luckily I figured this out immediately and just turned around and did it again. The correct bridge was actually an east one though with a metal grate surface.
After all this I got lunch at Subway and then one last try for the tubes I went to Big 5 Sporting goods. Well cycling isn’t one of the “big 5” sports it appears but I did get at knee brace there. This would help, for a while anyway. From here the route is on Highway 12 for the next 30 miles. This is a full on two lanes in each direction super trafficked route. With the sun beating down on me and around 80 degrees (f) now the next couple of hours weren’t much fun. This route did have a couple of things going for it- a massive shoulder and it was pretty flat. Alas my knee got steadily worse even with the brace an favoring the right leg. Eventually the route breaks northward on a little two lane blacktop route thorough the woods and clearcuts.
This road had no shoulder (literally none for stretches) and chip seal but it was such a relief to be off the highway. In fact were it not for the knee I would have enjoyed thus part quite a bit, even with all that I enjoyed the views. Luckily it was more down then up and while it was trafficked it wasn’t overly heavy. I finally reached 101 around 6pm and had traveled about 70 miles. Well the route was for about 73 miles for the day but what with my different start point and sinking around in Aberdeen I still had 18 miles to go. Pedaling was pretty much torture at this point. I decided to stop in Shelton in eight miles or do and get a hotel so I could tend to the knee and stop riding for the day. So I did and I’m now at the Shelton Inn with the knee elevated and iced. I grabbed some eats from Safeway after a quick turn about town. My route tomorrow is sufficiently short that this isn’t a bad place to be. This is the last night out for the tour, tomorrow night I’ll be at home.
Total miles ridden on this day: 76.4