Day 52: Forks WA to the Pacific Ocean: 15 miles

We left the Olympic Suites early, after a quick breakfast of oatmeal. Well, Rog didn't eat oatmeal. Nobody knows what Rog eats.

We left Dee behind, because the map showed an 18 mile ride to the ocean. Dee was giving us a head start then meeting us at the beach.

It was rather cool, drizzley, and foggy....but a wonderful ride. We rode along quickly and quietly, everyones thoughts kept to themself. I was mostly thinking sad thoughts about the trip ending, but yet amazed that we made it after being in such a pickle at Glacier. I thought about how Katie so wanted to make it to the end, and how disappointed she was when we fell so far behind just before Glacier.

At Cut Bank, Just before Glacier, just when we ordered my rim replacement, we had a team meeting where we looked at maps for quite some time. The conclusions were not good. Going around Glacier would save us some time, and increase our odds of success.....however success seemed unlikely even skipping Glacier. SKipping Glacier would set us up to fail in the end, and then always regret not stopping at Glacier. Stopping at Glacier almost guaranteed failure at the end, but at least we would have Glacier in our memories. We made the tough call to go through Glacier, stalling to explore and hike while we waited for my rim.

After the rim arrived a day late, we were pretty sure we would not finish this trip in time. The mountains lay ahead, something none of us had biked through. We needed to average more miles during the last 3 weeks than we had originally planned, and had to cancel all rest days. Could we bike through the mountains without rest days? Three weeks? Well, we did it. We needed some luck with the weather, and we got that. We needed everyone to stay healthy, and it happened for the most part. We needed to stay injury free, and we did. Everything fell into place.

I do not believe in luck however. Luck is not by chance, but a product of effort and preparation. I know that our success was due to the decisions we made, the effort we put in, and the determination we had. In those last 3 weeks, we rode through temperatures ranging from 40 to 95F. We rode through rain, wind, and sand blasting. We were determined, and stuck to the plan. Failure was never an option even on the table from then on.

As we rode our last few miles to the ocean, I noticed that the road had leveled off and we were starting some small climbs. We climed 1 and 2 percent grades at 16 miles per hour......not even noticing them. The physical fitness of this group is vastly different than it was a short 2 months ago. I notice each of us babying one joint, or one body part more than others. We have not had a rest day in 3 weeks, we have climbed 5 mountain passes in that time, covered 1200 miles of the most grueling terrain most of us had ever seen, and done the entire thing with a smile. No complaints, no quitting, not a single mention of failure.

As the ocean got close, Katie took the lead. She wasn't smiling however. Strange, none of us were really smiling much. It was a somber arrival. We all knew we had done something to be proud of, we were all excited to have succeeded, but the regret of it ending seems to trump it all. Thats it? It is done? Such an easy ending to a hard trip? So surreal. Well, lets go home.

That was a nice bike ride.

15 miles (2254 total)