Day 1 Route: Astoria to St Helens, Oregon
Day 1 mileage: 68.9 miles
Cumulative mileage: 68.9 miles
Net elevation gain: +98 feet (~ 3,000 feet climbing)
Terrain: Mostly flat and green and parallel with the Columbia River with a few long but gradual hills
St Helens, Oregon: Sometimes the most momentous experiences have the humblest beginnings. Today’s inaugural ride of TransAmerica 2010 was such an occasion. Without fanfare or fuss, this morning at 7am I said farewell to my cousin Kevin, jumped on the bike and starting pedalling in an easterly direction from Astoria, the oldest American settlement west of the Rockies. After so much anticipation and preparation, I feel a quiet elation to be on the road.
The weather was chillier than I am accustomed and it took about an hour for me to warm up, tune up, and acclimate to the environment. But after a week’s hiatus from cycling, it’s good to stretch the legs and expand the lungs with fresh Oregon air. Today I paced myself with a leisurely ride. I stopped for an early lunch at a deli which happened to be run by Hong Kong immigrants. Small world. The scenery was green and pretty but not very photogenic. By 1pm I was at St Helens, and after showering I found the nearest Starbucks. After all, this is the Pacific Northwest.
On this ride I intend to:
– Arrive at the Atlantic Ocean and immensely enjoy myself along the way
– Cycle EFSI — every friggin’ safe inch — of this transcontinental route
– Raise at least US$30,000 and awareness for A New Day Cambodia
– Find the best ice cream in America
– Find the prettiest barn in America
I genuinely look forward to getting up tomorrow bright and early to resume this mission. I also look forward to posting some photos, but there’s nothing broad about the broadband at the hotel so pictures will have to wait another day.