My alarm was set for 5:30am, for some unbeknown reason I got up straight away and sprang into action. Maybe it was because I needed to poop – the first time (since I was a baby) that I’ve not pooped in a toilet. After that fairly uneventful stool, the majority of things were packed and I had my oats for breakfast. I burnt the bastards though so I’m going to have to give the Jetboil a good scrub later on.
After some blogging and reading some very nice comments on the past few blogs, (I really appreciate every single one) I left Elberta at 8:30 and was on my way to Delta. As I was leaving a guy came to spray some stuff on some nearby trees – it turns out there’s a little party here tomorrow (2nd July) to celebrate the 4th of July. Not sure what calendar the people of Elberta are using but it appears they can’t even get the frickin’ date right.
As soon as I set off I felt the climb. Having checked that another flat tyre wasn’t slowing me down, I realised it was the inconspicuous incline. I could see a steeper climb further up, but this gradual one was deceiving – I was already breaking into a sweat.
So I hit the monster climb, the sun already beating down, the wind absolutely still – sweat exiting every single pore of my body. I have not sweated so much in my life. Beads of sweat were dripping down the side of my face and off the end of my chin every few seconds. I was having a hard time keeping myself hydrated. It was difficult to sip and swallow water as I was gasping for air at the same time. This was tough, the hardest climb I have done to date.
Often people are too focused on what’s in front of them to notice what is going on behind them – I made sure that I stopped to witness what I was climbing. I’m glad I did. The views were once again astounding and although it was hard work, on reflection it was easily worth it. I’m not sure the camera managed to do it justice though, it doesn’t quite capture the panoramic moment very well.
I’m not too sure how high this climb was but it felt like it wasn’t going to end. It was only 10 miles to Eureka and eventually I hit the summit, nearly 2 hours later. This place should be called “Thankfuckforthat” as those were my exact words when I saw the downhill section approaching.
I knew there wasn’t much in the way of civilisation between here and Delta so I made sure I filled my face with enough calories to last me the day. I also stocked up on water, I’d gone through just over 2 litres in 2 hours. I’ve never been to the point of craving water so much before but some kind of animal instinct kicked in and I couldn’t get enough of the stuff.
The downhill was a welcome relief from the tortuous climb, I’m sure cyclists would say “Thankfuckforthat” if they approached Eureka from the opposite direction. Now I was cruising along, another hour passed and I had made it to the 25 mile marker. A lone rest area seemed an ideal place to grab a quick tactical snooze. It was warming up quite quickly and I was glad of the shade and 20 minutes nap on the picnic table.
Onwards and the day started to get tougher. At the horizon, the end of the road disappeared without a trace. It mirrored the sky due to the heat, and merged perfectly, creating the illusion of the road simply stopping dead. If only. I still had another 25 miles to ride.
At least the road was now predominantly flat, the factor slowing me down was the heat. I was 15 miles away but I couldn’t take anymore, I needed to find shade. The exceedingly small town of Lynndyl arrived just as I was about to pass out. The heat was seriously getting to me and for the first time on the tour I was feeling faint.
Luckily there was a park with a shelter and a drinking fountain so I rehydrated, had another tactical snooze and then saw they had a basketball court with a basketball too. After shooting hoops for 15 minutes, realising that basketball was never my forte, I got back on the road.
The last 15 miles were grueling, the heat was sticky, I was still struggling to gulp water and there was no wind. After last weeks persistent moaning about the wind all I wanted was a little breeze to cool me down. I got nothing except when the occasional truck drove past.
Delta unveiled itself before my eyes and I was checking into a motel, $40 wasn’t a bad price to pay for an air-conditioned room. After cleaning myself, the clothes were next on the list. I found a laundry a few blocks down the main road and perched myself in there for a while and blogged whilst I waited for the washing. Is that multi-tasking?
After today the heat is only going to get worse through the desert. I’m making a conscious decision to go back to night riding for a few nights, let’s hope this desert is more approachable when the sun is set.