2017 Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon

I ran in 2016. I didn’t recap it. I regretted not doing a recap as I began to share my other Memorial Marathon recaps this past week. So without delay, I wanted to get my 2017 Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon race day recap up and going before I would forget about it.

I signed up for the marathon in December before the price jump and I was eager to begin training. I wanted to still hold my training runs in Nichols Hills. Those kicked off in December and I was excited. In January, I hurt my heel playing basketball one morning at the YMCA. This is the same thing that happened to me in 2015: self-diagnosed plantar fasciitis. I couldn’t do much for 6 weeks and I didn’t run at all. This was tough and delayed my training. I was able to get going again in March, but didn’t really have a training plan other than run. I squeezed in a 10 mile run in the beginning of April just to see if I was able to get in double digit miles and that run went surprisingly well. I decided to stick with it and planned to run the full marathon still. I had a goal, which has always been anything under 4 I was fine with, but I wanted to shoot for 3:45.

Saturday was spent hydrating and fueling. I woke up early as I always do¬†and watched the rain and coverage from the overnight storms. We had a few branches down in the back yard but nothing noteworthy really. I drove down to CrossFit 405 to chat it up with Joey, only to find out that the gym was without power and there was so much damage along the marathon course. Trees everywhere were down and across the road, waterlines were broken, power poles were split. It was impressive. The rest of the day, I drank a lot of water and we watched an Oklahoma City documentary that I hadn’t seen before. It was on Netflix and titled, “Oklahoma City.” Pretty relevant still today and especially with today’s political environment. We met my friend Dayton at Flips for dinner where I had a spaghetti and meatballs and a drink and then we all headed back to the house. I was able to get in bed around 9:15.

After I really solid night of sleep and with my alarm going off at 4 (didn’t hear it) and me finally getting up in a panic at 4:15, I popped up and the hopeful coffee induced countdown was on…. I went ahead and drove down to open the gym, to stretch and roll out and to use the bathroom as I have in the past. I’ve found it helpful just to be not at home prior to marathons, not sure why. The power was still out from the previous day’s storm so no hanging out, just a bunch of sitting in a car. Me, Katie from work, Dayton and Megan all hung out in the car with Bowers, Keaster and their friend arriving a little later. We then heading down to our normal parking spot off Broadway and sat some more before making our way to the start.


Weather was breezy, but nothing terribly cold I didn’t think. I had on a sweatshirt and sweatpants(there is a story here….) that I planned to strip off before the start so I was comfortable. I left Dayton and Megan and went to my corral. I was able to make it in time to take my Clif Shot, the 168 seconds of silence, National Anthem and with plenty of time to watch many begin to freak out. And with that, we were off for the 17th Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, my 6th OKC run and 9th marathon total (10th of the marathon distance).

  • The start is always great. It was breezy and was spitting rain a little bit. Perfect temperature for running, just the wind and rain made it almost terrible.
  • The first mile is always congested. You don’t get to look up at any of the buildings as you’re looking in front of you and at your feet. I saw one person slip on the white paint of a crosswalk, so I figured I’d take it easy. Hey, look. Kyle, a former coworker!
  • We ran up the bridge in Bricktown connecting Deep Deuce and I needed to go to the restroom as I always do there. I held off.
  • Lincoln was noticeably different this year. The crowds were very thin with the weather the way it was.
  • Saw Karlis at the turn past the capitol. It was here that I began to take a Powerade and a water I every stop. Something I’ve discovered that helps me a great deal if I start at mile 4.
  • The damage from the previous day’s storms were crazy. Fences were down or just gone like a tornado had taken them.
  • Turning north on Robinson is always one of the prettier parts of the route. It was memorable again but only because the amount of trees that had to be removed from street.
  • Edgemere was great again. The martini man was dressed up in a Cubs suit still celebrating.
  • Running up Gorilla Hill (the street I ran the most during my training), I saw Ian, ARobb and Jason Parks. The bananas formed a tunnel to run through, which I liked quite a bit.
  • The turn. This is where the half and the full marathoners split. The route gets lonely and reality begins as you still have 18 more miles to run.
  • I stop for my one and only bathroom break at the CHK campus. It’s less crowded than any of the ones before and I knew that, so I was in and out.
  • Classen, heading north, seems to be pretty easy this year. Not sure why. I see Will come out of the relay exchange but he was too far ahead of me to say hello.
  • Running through The Village, my hands begin to get really cold. I pull my sleeves over them to try to keep them warm. It doesn’t seem to work as well as I want it to.
  • Heading west on Britton, I tuck in behind a guy who is pushing his son as part of the marathon. I’m not above drafting and so I do that for a bit.
  • HALFWAY! I’m feeling fine. Nothing too crazy just yet. The wind out of the west was chilly and we were about to turn south. Luckily the wind wasn’t directly out of the southwest at this time………..
  • Hefner Lake is my second least favorite spot on the course. It’s ALWAYS windy and today there were puddles everywhere, one of which we had to run through in the grass to get to the other side of the pathway.
  • My miles are still not terrible, but I’m slowly fading. No cramps yet, I was just ready to be out of the wind. We head back east on Grand Blvd. so I was looking forward to that break.
  • Andrew¬†catches up to me and we chat about our goals for the day.
  • I see Ben, another former coworker.
  • Running down Grand is great because I know this portion of the route very well. It was with the wind at our back right now so it was smooth sailing.
  • Mile 19 passes and as I reach for the Powerade during this mile, my right hamstring cramps. I have almost 7 more miles to go. I’m ok with this mentally because it’s happened before. I stop. Stretch. Take a few painful steps and then it goes away. It’s those first 5 steps that are the absolute worst.
  • I pass the relay exchange point and see several folks I know. That spot is always fun because the relays are a little more spread out and you’re able to search to see if you know anyone there.
  • Hey, Classen. Idiot. This is where you get to countdown the blocks beginning at NW Expressway, 50th St. You turn off Classen at 18th St. The math is with you for a good 45 minutes. The 3:45 pace group passes me close to 40th St.
  • I see Cole, Amanda, Chloe and Kylo at 38th St. as my miles are really slowing at this point. The wind is directly in your face and it’s beginning to spit again making Classen just as miserable as it always is.
  • Finally turn off Classen after passing the Oklahoma Standard Stretch which was something new this year and it did not live up to the hype that the marathon organizers announced and announced that it would be.
  • I’m slow right now. Running through Mesta Park, folks were finally making their way out onto the course. I’m hurting but I know I can make it. I see Doug from the gym and and heading back north one last time before turning on 19th St.
  • There is Emily and Trent and their kids. I see them every year and every year I cramp here. I pass them and nothing. Then 100m down the road, CRAMP. My right quad and my right hamstring. Can’t stretch my quad out without my hamstring cramping more and can’t stretch my hamstring without my quad cramping more. I stand there for what seems to be like 2 minutes. I have one more mile to go and I see the 3:50 pacer pass me.
  • I finally get going and I begin to pick it up. I can tell I’m moving much faster and I’m keeping up with that 3:50 pace group. I change the screens of my watch for the first time to see elapsed time. It’s close. Maybe 3:50 is doable. I continue at that pace.
  • The turn on Broadway is surreal always. People begin cheering loudly as you approach them. I see Ron and Liv from the gym. Broadway seems like it’s forever long and you have no choice but to keep going because you can see the finish. I see it… I’m also cramping. My right quad and now my left quad is on fire. I continue on however.
  • I cross the finish line and I stop immediately unable to take any more steps because of the knot in my left quad. I stand for a few minutes before making it over to the finisher shirt pick up where I didn’t get mine last year. I made sure to get it this year but while doing so, I didn’t get a finisher’s photo. I’ll get both the next time, I suppose.

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I have learned from past experiences that though the marathon is physically challenging, it’s almost, if not more, mentally challenging than physical. I didn’t train as well as I wanted to and probably should have but I knew I could do it. I know what happens when you cramp and how to push through that. I know what happens when you have 6 more miles of a stupid race. I know what happens when things don’t go as you want them to. It’s through all that that your race is won. Pushing through those mishaps or mistakes knowing that you’ll be able to cross the finish line as long as you keep going. I was happy to have finished this race. I was happy to meet up with Dayton and Megan back at the house to celebrate. They ran the half marathon doing all the fun stops along the way: donuts, shots, beers more donuts. I think I’ll do that next year.

2015 OKC Memorial Marathon Recap

I ran 26.2 miles for the 8th time on Sunday, April 27, 2015. This was my 7th full marathon race, 8th of the marathon distance and 4th Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. I’d say I will remember this one more than any of the others, but I think that’s a lie because I remember them all apart from my Chicago Marathon, two-thirds of which I can’t recall. This year’s OKC Marathon was completely different for me in many ways.

I signed up for this run in December. I was smart about it, getting in before the price jump… so I thought. I ran with my group at Koda CrossFit the month of January. Then on February 4th, I was playing against a group of college kids at the Colvin Center at Oklahoma State in a 5-on-5 pick-up basketball game. Unbeknownst to me, it was game 7 of the NBA Championship and I was fouled into the wall during a layup and somehow hurt my heel pretty bad. I wasn’t able to put pressure on it for a few days and running was out of the question for a good month. I began to wonder if I was going to run it at all. I started to pick my runs up a little in the middle of March and made a few of the April runs, none of which were greater than the 10k distance. I decided in April that I’d at least try the run. If all else failed, I had multiple turn off points throughout the course where a mimosa would be waiting for me if I needed to call it quits.

The morning of, I woke up after a great night’s sleep at 3:45. Had my bagel, my cup of coffee and headed to Koda to gather some folks before heading down to the start. It’s always easier to wake up and be excited for a race when there is a group around feeding off that excitement… and bathrooms that aren’t port-a-potties. At 5:35, we headed downtown to make the start. With Koda having a good relationship with SandRidge Energy and me having coached there for over a year, I made my way to the fitness center with Andi and her husband. We got to enjoy one last little bathroom trip and talk with a few more friends before needing to be at the start. The start was way crazier than I remember because last year, the race had been delayed for two hours so the barricades weren’t up or something because this time around, I had to climb through a fence in order to just be on the course. I missed the 168 seconds of silence trying to make my way through the crowd as well as the National Anthem and all of sudden, boom, we’re off.

  • Start – It’s always a great feeling to blast off at the beginning. The crowd pumps you up and we’re running through the streets of a usually busy downtown area. It’s a great time and I always have a smile on my face. It’s tough to weave through the crowd but you have to as there are usually walkers or firefighters or folks in the wrong corral ahead of you. Heck, I may have been in the wrong corral this year.
  • Mile 1 – My pace is actually right where it needs to be. 8:40 or so. I knew this year that I’d go out slower and finish even slower than normal (read: previous pace) because of my lack of preparation. I took that into account. Plus, I didn’t have my GPS watch because it was stolen a few weeks prior. That also helped me not pay attention to my clock and just run.
  • Need to find a bathroom. It always happens at mile 2 for some reason. Always. I hold off.
  • It was warming up quick. I was feeling fine. We’re heading towards the Capitol and I see Karl from Koda. He was more sore than I’d be from a competition the day before. This part of the race is weird to me. Heading towards the Capitol building is fun, but the area and crowd support isn’t super great just because of the large distance that’s covered right here and it’s all in a straight line. I see Katie Walker and wave as I continue on.
  • Turning back into the “city” areas is great. We head north from 23rd into a fun area that I’ve come to love in the recent years. Gorgeous yards, pretty houses and for marathon weekend, great crowd support for the next 4 miles. I see Cameron, whose mother used to babysit me back in my kindergarten days. As we approach Edgemere Park, I miss seeing the Arguello’s on the bridge as their kids were participating in the kids marathon at that same time downtown.
  • When we turn on 37th heading towards the Gorilla Hill area, there is a house that always has vodka shots. I’m running the half-marathon sometime and stopping at every fun stop there is. Some have vodka, others mimosa, others donuts and bacon. But when running a full marathon, never a good idea at mile 5.
  • Gorilla Hill! I see Jerad Abbott, Reid Reagan, Jared Muse, Gary Wood and others passing what is probably the best known area of the marathon. Love drunk people at 7:30am. Always great.
  • This year’s course was a bit different with construction happening on Western so instead of getting to run right by Megan’s house, we had to run all the way to 50th on Shartel. Once we got to 50th and Western, Megan and her weenie dog, Bailey, were there waiting for me. I stopped for a quick second to talk to them and that’s when I realized my foot was hurting. Not the foot that was hurt earlier in the season, but the other one. I must have been favoring it a bit. Mile 8. That’s not good. Also, this is the part that kind of stinks. The half marathoners keep going west to Classen and the full marathoners turn north heading towards the Chesapeake campus. The crowd lightens and you begin to settle in knowing you have almost a shit-ton of miles left. Mental battle, commence.
  • From here, things are not necessarily boring, just not a whole lot to remember. Classen to Britton seems almost entirely uphill. I get to see a few Kodites at the 3rd relay exchange. And then, we start heading west towards Lake Hefner. It was in this section of the race that I saw a high school classmate, Krystal, and then the best sign of the day. A lot of folks go with the classics, “Harder, Faster, Stronger… That’s what she said” or the ever popular, “Don’t trust a fart,” but this one got me the most: “Free Wifi.” I laughed and kept at it.
  • Running around the lake is a good thing, mainly because it’s the point where you turn around and start heading back. I was hanging in there with the 3:50 pace group. Right where I wanted to be. I stayed with them for 4 miles or so and then started to drop back around Mile 18 but I knew I had 10 minutes to play with until that 4:00 marathon mark. It was at mile 18 where Cole, Bo and Megan were supposed to meet me with some nutrition. As I approached our usual meeting spot (it’s awful that I have a usual meeting spot on a marathon course…) I didn’t see them and then I look towards the south and from afar I can spot Chloe. I yell and keep running. About a minute later, Cole and Chloe are sprinting up towards my side and Megan is not far behind. I get my nutrition thankfully(!!).
  • Now begins the hard part. I’m lucky enough to run with a group that runs Nichols Hills every Sunday so I know this part of the course well. There are a few gradual climbs and then a solid downhill with a straight-away before getting to the hardest climb of the course just before Classen Curve. After Classen Curve, it’s just one big boring stretch heading south. During that stretch this time, I was able to see Megan once more and she was also able to get caught taking a selfie by Katie Walker, so that was fun.
  • Up to this point at Mile 24-25, I was feeling good. Not great, but good. I was able to have continued to run without walking and as I turn and see the mile 25 flag and also Jared and Emily Pomeroy and crew. Jared rode his bike with me for a bit and as soon as he turned away, HAMSTRING CRAMP. Same spot as last year and same people that I last saw before it happened last year too. I know how to handle these (un)fortunately. They hurt. It feels like you won’t be able to get going again, but as soon as you fight through that first step, in my previous experiences including this one, I’ve been fine until the end. As I was stretching out my hamstring, the 4:00 pace group passed me. That was my goal I had in my head. That upset me that they were passing me. Once I began running again, I picked it up. I was close. I fought for this one and I passed that 4:00 group again. As I was running down Broadway, it seemed like it would never end. Finally, the crowd thickened and the yells were getting stronger. I kept running at my faster pace and crossed the finish line completing my 7th marathon, what felt like my hardest yet.

From there, it’s a disaster trying to get to my car. Not because of the race, or the organization or the crowds but because walking has now all of a sudden become dangerously hard. Wobbling to my car, I was happy, but that quarter-mile trek was the hardest part of the marathon. I celebrated with friends at our usual post-marathon spot, Republic, where day drinking at 10:30am can begin because after 26 miles, that 7pm bedtime cannot come soon enough.

Fun w/ VHS

I’ve had the opportunity the past couple of weeks to create and edit some very fun videos for both Brice Collier, Jared and Mai Muse of Koda CrossFit and Aaron O’Neil of CrossFit 405 and the Fittest in OK events. With the help of Ed Nugent and Chad Hamilton, I was able to put out some, what I feel, are awesome videos and there will be a few more to come in the next month. Koda Media FTW.

Workout 1 – FiOK from Fittest In OK on Vimeo.

Individual Event Two – Hang Power Cleans & Rowing from Fittest In OK on Vimeo.

Individual Event Three – The Chipper from Fittest In OK on Vimeo.

Team Event One from Fittest In OK on Vimeo.

Team Event Two and Three from Fittest In OK on Vimeo.

Team Event Four – The Chipper from Fittest In OK on Vimeo.

KodaMania – Cupid's Revenge 2015 – RX Workouts from KodaCrossFit on Vimeo.

KodaMania – Cupid's Revenge 2015 – Scaled Workouts from KodaCrossFit on Vimeo.

2014: Year In Review

As I have done in previous years, I wanted to look back at 2014.

In 2014, I:

  • traveled by plane, train and automobile in the Pacific Northwest
  • competed and competed well in The Fittest Games
  • grew my hair out
  • became better friends
  • challenged myself everyday
  • became a psuedo-hipster, again (see 2012: Year In Review)
  • was too much of a morning person
  • moved out
  • became a cyclist, again
  • planned a trip of a lifetime, knowing nothing
  • moved in, kind of
  • connected with people on a daily basis
  • rode a bicycle a little bit
  • watched friends challenge themselves everyday
  • vacationed with special people
  • cut my hair
  • took a job
  • moved out, again
  • created, imagined and executed some very fun designs
  • started a new routine

2014 was great. Some big changes and ones that I will have a hard time adjusting to. I was able to experience quite a bit throughout the year and most of them I couldn’t even imagine at the start of the year. 2014, thank you.

Day Twenty Two – San Francisco, CA to Oklahoma City, OK

It’s time. 2 Countries. 3 States. 1,248 Miles. I’m happy.

I knew a few days ago that San Francisco was going to be my end. When I first started this trip, I budgeted to Los Angeles… I thought. Apart from the budget, I feel like it is time for me to be done. I was never obsessed with a “finish.” I did this trip for me, because I wanted to. I thought it would be fun. I thought it would be pretty. I had the time to do this trip that I had been wanting to do for two years. It was a great opportunity to do so. So I did it.

When I look back at the planning of the trip and the anticipation of the unknowable, it was just that, I had no idea what I was getting into. I didn’t really train like most would to spend miles upon miles on a bike. I worked out everyday but just not on a bike. My butt was sore for the first few days but never really my legs. Of course there was the normal leg soreness that 60 miles a day would give you.

I had an outlined schedule but was never stuck to that. I booked it through Washington and really took my time through Oregon and then I picked it up a little more through Northern California. In Washington, it was near 70 miles. Oregon was around 55 miles and California was around 65.

During my trip, the Oregon State Parks were the best hands down. They were always clean. They were always packed. They always included incredible scenery… I was never inland for camp during my week in Oregon. That also made for some weather that I didn’t have elsewhere. Washington was always hot. Oregon was cold. Long sleeves to ride in, sometimes even my rain jacket, and tights, long socks, beanie and long sleeves to sleep in every night. Northern California was a mixture of both because I was inland for some of the time.

I learned plenty this trip. 3 weeks isn’t a terribly long time and I met others that had been on the road for much, much longer but I was met with challenges just the same. I learned some bike maintenance that I didn’t know beforehand and I learned some stuff about myself as well. There were things I thought I could handle and didn’t very well. Other things I was uneasy about but handled like a champ. Dogs are a still my number one enemy. The mountain lion I saw 200ft away was nicer than nearly every dog I encountered.

I had so many, “Oh, shit” moments in these 3 short weeks. Ones when I crossed a country’s border. When I crossed every body of water on a bike, on a boat, on a bridge. When I’d come around a bend and see two snow-capped mountains off in the distance after spending 40 minutes on a climb. When I topped off my speedometer at 44.7mph. Ones when I smelled tho ocean for the first time this trip. When I was punch-dancing my rage out in a misty, wooded glen. When I rode in the rain. When I was next to the ocean ALL day. When I looked up at night and saw billions of stars with the sound of waves crashing in the distance. When I getting brushed by old men driving way too big RVs on a tight road. When I climbed 50 minutes in my smallest gear for that 7 minute decent. When I camped for 18 nights in a single person tent. When I rode The Avenue of Giants. When I felt the earth shake. When I rode into San Francisco and across the Golden Gate Bridge.

In the end, I’m happy.

Day Twenty One – Samuel Taylor State Park to San Francisco, CA

Day Mileage: 28 miles
Total Mileage: 1,247 miles

I woke up pretty late considering my usual wake up time on this trip. I packed everything up and took a quick “shower” in a sink. This is the first time in 3 weeks that I wasn’t able to shower after a day of riding because there was a leak in the State Park showers and since California is in a drought, they said, “Nah. We’ll just shut to down.” Pretty incredible since I’ve only had a real bed 3 times in that 3 weeks. While I was packing, I was pretty jealous of all the day trippers and weekenders. They had some pretty cool gear and a ton of good food with them.

I knew it was a quick ride to SF, 30 miles or so, so I wanted to get going. I first had a chat with a guy in Lagunitas, about 3 miles into the day, over coffee and a bagel. From there, it was a few climbs and a thousand cyclists later, I was on my final climb leading to the Golden Gate Bridge. I’ve been to SF once before and saw it from the Presidio, but this time I got to ride over it. It was incredible. I was done for the day, so I took a trip to a bike shop close by and found my way to where I was staying.

Day Twenty – Stillwater Cove State Park to Samuel Taylor State Park

Day Mileage: 67 miles
Total Mileage: 1,218 miles

Today was a different day. It was draft day. The fantasy football league that I’ve been in for 10 years now was holding its draft at 1:00pm my time. My friend Scott has developed a website that we can hold the live draft in real time and see who the teams have picked that a little more fun than yahoo for the out of towners, which I’ve been one for the past three years. I know, I know what you are all thinking but I’m sorry, we’re all taken ladies.

After looking at the map, the only possible solution was to make it to Point Reyes Station by 1pm in order to get wifi and to not have too much further to go afterwards. Problem was a Point Reyes Station was 56 miles down the road. That’s usually a full days ride….all before lunch. Away I went.

The first 15 miles of the day were all up and down but in the plus side along the coast. That made for a cold ride however. I posted a picture on Instagram that showed where I was actually riding. The cliffs were literally 10ft from the white lines on the road. It was fun and terrifying at the same time. One lapse and I was gone.

After pushing it all morning, I rode through Jenner, Bodega Bay, Tomales and finally Marshall before reaching Point Reyes Station with 5 minutes to spare. This is where I had my worse crash of the trip. As I was leaving a market, there were brick steps exiting the building. I stepped down and the next thing I knew I was picking up my cell phone and helmet and belongings because my feet ended up above my head and I ended up flat on my back. My clips just slipped on the bricks and boom. My elbow hurt but for the most part, I wasn’t scathed.

I reached Samuel Taylor State Park fairly early and set up shop. By the end of the day, there were 12-14 bikers in the site and it was kind of a party knowing that we were only a short ride to San Francisco. I went to bed around 9pm.. And woke up at 2:30 to the earth rumbling. A 6.0 earthquake shook Napa, but the only thing we felt was a slow rumble that lasted maybe 7 seconds.

Day Nineteen – Van Damme State Park to Stillwater Cove State Park

Day Milesge: 68 Miles
Total Mileage: 1,151 Miles

The first town I came to was only a half-mile down the road, Little River, CA. I stopped in for coffee with a guy named Carl who was also traveling down the coast but for the 5th time. I’d like to come back to Little River. It was right on the cove and it was a beautiful morning.

Today ended up being my best day on the coast. It was beautiful weather. Clear skies. Actual blue in the sky and sunny. And what perfect timing for great weather, I was on the coast for nearly the entire day with a perfect view. This is why I went on this trip for days like today. Alone on a road, in the middle of Northern California 300ft from the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean.

I stopped at a little joint in Stewart’s Point that was a general store and then some. I want to come back to the spot and just hang out for the entire day because it overlooked ocean and today just made it that much better. Cannot say enough good things about that spot.

I loved today. Tomorrow, I am going to try to get an early start… I’ll need to cover the majority of my miles before 1:30…. Fantasy Football Draft!

Day Eighteen – Standish Hickey State Park to Van Damme State Park

Day Mileage: 66 miles
Total Mileage: 1,085 miles

The day started somewhat earlier than normal. Coffee, breakfasts and hills were on the docket for the first part of the day. In the town of Leggett, there was the largest hill on Map 3 and the biggest up to this point. I knew that was soon and planned accordingly. I set up with this guy named Trevor and we climbed. Climbed and climbed. It took only 30 minutes to get to the top. What followed was 10 minutes of downhill but unlike other downhills, I braked. We’d go through hairpin turns, winding roads and I was cruising at 30mph through these turns… I was scared enough to brake throughout the downhill.

At the bottom, we rested a little bit and then pushed a little further. They were stopping about 20 more miles up the road and i was going a little further than that. I knew we had one more climb before reaching their camp but little did I know that this next little climb would be way worse than our biggest climb yet. The big climb, we started nearly halfway up. This next one, it wasn’t the case. It was hard and took a while. With sweat in my eyes, I finally reached the top and there wasn’t quite the decent I was looking for. It was then that we finally cruised into Fort Bragg.

I spent a good amount of time in Fort Bragg, checking out shops and the town itself before I took off for the final 10 miles to camp. I dropped off only 8 miles further down the road in a town called Mendocino for dinner. I went into a market and bought some meat and cheese. It was the best little ton market I’d been in this trip. Then it was onto camp.

At Van Damme State Park, I set up shop with 4 other bikers, one couple coming all the way from Anchorage. They met up with a friend who had a floor pump. Finally, my tires were at the correct tire pressure probably since Astoria, nearly 600 miles ago… Whoops. Time for bed, I finished Forrest Gump (appropriate) and went to bed close to 8:30.

Day Seventeen – Hydesville, CA to Standish Hickey State Park

Day Mileage: 78 miles
Total Mileage: 1,018 miles

I was ready for the day. I was well rested and well carb-loaded. Milton and Sally treated me as a member of their family. My rest day was incredible. I stayed in bed nearly all day catching up on some tv shows. By the time I got caught up, it was dinner time and my hosts took me to Ferndale to enjoy some lasagna at Pizza Co. I learned quite a bit of interesting stuff about the town…. The Majestic and Outbreak were both filmed there. It was a great rest day and I hope to come back to this area sometime in the future.

I took off and was barely off route. I jumped on the 101 and took that until I got off at the Avenue of Giants about 6 miles later and I was back on track. I spent the remainder of the morning on this incredible stretch of road. Redwoods everywhere. Incredibly tall, incredibly wide, incredibly incredible trees everywhere. It was hot but thanks to the shade, I didn’t overheat at all. Just a perfect start to my day.

After I reached Benbow, the town I originally was thinking about stopping, I decided I could keep going and push it a little further. Once I did, I ran into Becca and her dog as well as Alan again. We talked for a bit and I set out only to stop a mile down the road for a picture opportunity… 1,000 miles!!! After that milestone, it was a loooooong trek to camp. Many winding roads and uphills that led me all the way to camp. Across the street from the park, there was this awesome little grill/market/store/house that had an awesome set up. I had some beers and watched a non-rain delayed Cubs-Giants game.