It's been a few summers since Emily and I headed out on a bike tour. A few months ago she asked if a tour in late August would work as a break from Signal. It was one of those moments when I said, "Sure!" not realizing just how busy the shop would be. So I put in some weekends to get some last minute cross bikes done for our new sponsored rider, good friend and fast guy, Shannon Skerritt, and got a good start on Kimberly's lugged road bike. Thankfully, Matt put in a massive effort on the Manifest bike rolling and had the shop to himself for a week. Thanks, Matt!
The plan was a loop from Bandon south to Gold Beach then east into the Siskiyous to Agness at the Rogue River. Climb gravel north over Agness pass and down into Powers, and head through farm land on our way back to Cape Blanco where we stashed the car. Four steady days or five pretty chill days. No problem. Tail wind the whole first day didn't even let us get warmed up! The second day was a beautiful ride with ups and downs in a tunnel of trees all the way to Agness. We ended up staying an extra night in Agness after we were encouraged to take out a inflatable kayak and raft a 7 miles stretch of the Rogue. It turned out to be a hot day so hanging out on the river with some snacks and beer was a great idea. We got back to camp, ate some food, played some horseshoes and went to bed ready to climb gravel for miles.
We knew we would be starting the day with a long climb from the Rogue River up to Agness pass, but the heat and the length caught us by surprise! It was about 95 degrees and it turned out to be 15 miles to the summit. It was one of those climbs where you think you must be near the top, it has to be just around the next corner. But when there are switchbacks every 50 yards and you're going less than 5 miles per hour it can get frustrating. The descent to Powers was rippin! It took us more than 3 hours to go the first 15 miles and 1 hour doing the next 25 miles to Powers. We set up camp at the county park just outside of town, got showered up and ate some food. It was a nice end to the hard day. This is where things get a little rough.
Realizing we don't have much food for the morning and the next day of riding, Em and I ride back to the market before it closes. Being only a 1/4 mile outside town we dig out the headlamps and Em opts for riding in sandals. Em tells me the stars were really bright that night and it was their fault she crashed into me. I'm riding along, enjoying the evening when out of the corner of my eye I notice Em drifting toward me, eyes up, wowed by the bright stars. We bump, sandaled feet slip off pedals and down we go. Now this has never happened before, I swear. My front rim is cracked and unrepairable, Em's foot is bleeding and a toenail is hanging by a flap. We are 80 miles from the car.
So we're down one front wheel and have three toes that can't go into some cycling shoes. In the morning I take Em's front wheel, unhitch the trailer and start the 80 miles back to the car while Em spends the day nursing her toes. I reach the car, load up and drive back to Powers. By the time I get there Em has packed up and is ready to head home and put this tour behind us. Ugh.