Good morning from Yosemite!
This morning we awoke at 6 am and got ready, though not too quickly. Our back packs (with food and scented things) were in bear bins and our duffels were in the vans, so it was a huge puzzle to figure out what was where and how we could get what we needed for the day.
Today is dedicated to Team San Francisco, our ride director Erica, and her two uncles (Bill and John) who are both fighting cancer. Erica is injured and may not be able to finish the ride. She is our only ride director (all other rides have two, but our second dropped out in March due to medical reasons). She has done an amazing job, keeping us focused, organizing our daily functions, communicating with 4K headquarters, and so much more. I couldn’t imagine doing it all myself, but Erica can and does it well, while still being an active and fun member of the team.
We’re doing climbing partners again, just because. Draper, Lauren, and I teamed up (Kos would’ve but will be driving the water van). We left around 8:15 am, leaving the park, and following signs for San Francisco (finally)! Just out of the park, we rode through areas of burnt down forests. It was all beautiful in a very different way, definitely pretty cool to ride through. We zoomed past the first two water stops and made a right hand turn onto a “back-road-short-cut.” We began a descent of hundreds of feet down steep, badly-paved, windy roads. Draper flew ahead, but Lauren and I stuck together. It was turn after turn after turn. As I type this, my left hand is literally half numb from the constant bumpy roads and from my hands squeezing the brakes the entire way down. If you looked over the edge, it was straight down. At the bottom of the canyon, there was a tempting river and a bridge covered in graffiti. A lot of the writings were messages of love, but many were cool works of art.
The bridge marked the bottom, because from then on was straight climbing for many miles. And it was identical to the descent: steep, narrow, windy, never-ending turns. And it was hot. I failed to mention earlier that we haven’t done laundry in a long while. So I wore long spandex pants and a rain jacket. The entirety of the day, I was dripping in sweat.
Despite the struggle, Lauren and I had a good time climbing. We entertained ourselves in various ways, reciting more inspirational quotes that had absolutely no significance (A penny saved is a penny earned!) and other weirder and stranger ways. The sun and fatigue still gets to us, even after 65 days.
Once we got to the top and met with Jeff, Cario, Casey, and Draper, we got service and heard from the rest of the team. Audrey and Harshini hitchhiked to the next town (Jamestown) because Harshini broke a spoke. And Sluder and Liliya crashed their bikes on the dangerous downhill canyon turns. The host van took them to the nearest urgent care center to be seen. So we were only working with one support van and teams kindof spread apart. We decided it would be best to go ahead to Jamestown about 6 miles and meet up with Audrey and Harshini. And then I realized I had no water in my camelback and a half a water bottle. Regardless, we trekked on, counting the miles and wondering where Jamestown would be.
We finally got there and found Audrey and Harshini at a gas station. Across the street, we got smoothies. I got strawberry raspberry, which was so good, especially as I was on the verge of dehydration. The water van dropped off lunch and then headed back to “rescue” other teams.
We continued 15 more miles to Angel’s Camp, climbing a bit more and passing the beautiful Lake Melones. We also passed two vineyards and some palm trees – Yay California!
We arrived at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church around 3:30, showered at the local pool, and then enjoyed dinner made by the Italian Foundation.
We’re now doing laundry and getting ready for Lauren’s birthday tomorrow! It should be a short, 30 mile ride to Jackson, California! Goodnight!