Day 1 - Astoria to St Helens OR
Mileage: 68 miles
Weather: Foggy and 60s to start. Sunny and 80s to end. Winds were mostly at our backs - especially at the end of the day.
Highlights of the day:
Our day started bright and early with the first luggage load followed by the obligatory group photo along the Columbia River. It was really foggy first thing this morning and jokes were made about Photoshopping the bridge into the picture. I think you can see it if you look really hard. Pictures finished, we rolled by 7:30. The fog stayed with us until the first SAG stop at the Gnat River Fish Hatchery and kept the temperatures rather cool. The sun burned through, the temperatures went up and the riders discarded lots of excess clothing.
Karen explained at route rap last night that if anyone got lost today, there would have to be some kind of an award. It would take a lot of work to get lost with this cue sheet. Turn left out of the hotel on to Route 30. Ride 68 miles. Turn right into the hotel. In between, the riders were treated to lush forested hills and occasional glimpses of the Columbia River. It was pretty clear today once the fog lifted and as a result we were treated to views of Mt Saint Helens. I’m not sure if Mt Rainier made an appearance this year.
While navigating today wasn’t all that difficult, the profile included several hills to challenge the riders’ legs. But with most uphill efforts, there are frequently downhill rewards. Riders were treated to at least three long, non-technical downhills. After our second SAG stop, the route turned south and flattened out a bit. The last 20 miles made for a relatively quick run into Saint Helens.
We had our first pizza/pasta party this evening. It was a nice way to end the first day of riding with our newly formed cycling family.