Tour of the Unknown Coast

In the middle of a gorgeous May month, Maureen and I (emma) re-united in Humboldt for the Tour of the Unknown Coast century ride. Mo’s partner Mark came along for the adventure this time, visiting all the way from Kentucky! Conditions were perfect for the 2010 TUC. We arrived to the fairgrounds early in the morning and gave each other excited hugs in the cool, morning fog. Mo was on her first ride on her new road bike after having her old beast stolen at a crit race a couple weeks prior and was still making adjustments when the ride officially started. Our trio rolled out a few minutes after the official start and we spent the first chunk to the Avenue of the Giants from Ferndale catching up with groups of riders. It’s always really fun and inspiring to see the different types of people who do this epic rides- recumbent riders, tandems, teens on mountain bikes, men much older than my father on steel bikes from the 60s, and everyone else in between!
After a steady-paced ride down 101, we stopped at the first rest stop along the avenue of the giants to stare at the humongous redwood trees and grub on some snacks. After the rest stop we headed out towards the first big climb of the day- Panther Gap. with some steep sections and an endless grind up, Panther Gap is an ascent to be respected. I was feeling peppy, so I rode ahead a few times to get shots of Mark and Mo grinding their way up. We then descended the steep and sometimes scary drop into Petrolia and cruised the rollers to the lunch stop. The lunch stop was a welcome oasis with delicious sandwiches, cookies, and soft drinks. We ate our fill and enjoyed stretching on the unbelievably green and soft grass.
We reluctantly through our legs back over our bikes and headed away from the rest stop over the series of rollers to the coast. I always forget how painful the little hills to the ocean can feel
and my legs felt stiff as we continued to pedal . Before I knew it, I’d lost sight of mo and mark and continued on until I dropped down the last descent to the ocean. It was a beautiful, clear day at the coast and I stopped to get a few shots while waiting for Mark and Mo to regroup. We all cruised the flats along the water and filled our lungs with the fresh air. Before we knew it, we’re face to face with the infamous “Wall” a nasty climb that shoots up from the ocean and the start of the endless climbs home. We refueled and began the killer grind. I happily shifted into my little ring and kept the wheels turning. Near the visible crest, I turned back for one las picture of Mo and Mark before breaking off the finish the ride home. I zoned out to my Ipod during the endless hills and chatted with a few friendly folks before rolling back in Ferndale after an awesome, hard 100 miles and 10,000 feet of climbing. Mo and Mark cruised in a while later all smiles and expressed their respect and admiration for such a challenging, and amazing century ride. Thanks to all of the volunteers for a great event, we will be back again!
-Emma