Day 1 – Port Townsend to Shelton, WA
Slept a little better last night but still woke very early this morning. Today is Day 1 of my new adventure to cycle the west coast of the USA, from effectively the Canadian border down as far as the Mexican border. This is a trip I have wanted to do for many years and have finally got around to doing it.
The final riders arrived late last night and we all assembled for breakfast at 08:00 and completed our introductions to one another. Then it was back to my hotel room to finish my packing which I had 95% completed last night so I was already back into the daily routine of long distance cycling. At 09:00 we assembled for the traditional team photo and then headed south out of Port Townsend to our first destination of Shelton. Today’s ride had been billed as relatively easy with a total distance of 76.8 miles and climbing of 3,501′. It was great to be on the open road and cycling in the US again.
At mile 24.6 we all stopped for coffee and refreshments at a little cafe at the base of the only major climb of the day over Mount Walker. I didn’t hang around long as I wanted to get the climb out of the way so that I could enjoy the rest of the day. To be honest the climb was a bit of an anticlimax as once I had engaged my climbing gear it seemed it was all over very quickly and I was fast descending to the Hood canal which was to be our companion for the rest of the day.
By now the sun was shining and it become very warm. The ride by the canal was pleasant but there was a lot of short climbs followed by a brief descent. After a while it began to get to my legs and I was looking forward to a rest at our lunch stop in Hoodsport. With 62 miles in the bag it was nice to chill at a small burger bar and I had a portion of chips washed down with my first strawberry milkshake of the trip!
The final few miles to the hotel in Shelton were a bit of a drag, a headwind had developed off of the canal and I was feeling tired from the heat. With about 10 miles to go I caught up with Eric, and Australian and we cycled the final few miles together.
We checked in, showered and then headed for a local bar for a well deserved beer followed by a nice salad at Denny’s. It was good to get the first day out of the way and although I am feeling quite tired this evening it was a very pleasant ride. Tomorrow we head west to Westport and the Pacific Ocean.