After only two days of cycling, today we already begin our ascent of the Sierras. It seems unfair that we should have to tackle the Sierras so soon. It would have been nice to really get lots of days of training in and really hit our stride.
In stark contrast to yesterday (75 miles and only 350 feet of climbing) today we are planning for 36 miles and about 3,000 feet of climbing. Our destination is Placerville. A lovely little town that, whenever we would drive to Lake Tahoe, was the way post for the “mountains start in earnest here”.
We are expecting today to be challenging and the beginning of several days of increasingly challenging climbs. The end of the week is promising rain and snow and we are slightly concerned that there may still be snow piled up in what would normally be the bike lanes. We may need to hunker down a day or two to wait out the weather.
Furthermore, we are increasingly losing faith in our leader’s navigation and trail reading abilities. We are second-guessing our progress over the past few days and regret every time we stopped for extended breaks. We are seeing great signs of fatigue in the mules and some of the cargo is not tolerating the rough terrain well. I am suspicious of some of our fellow travelers. I think that they are secretly stealing some of our provisions. In particular, I dislike Mary Landrum as she is particularly whiney. Should worse come to worst, I will lobby our leader, George Donner, that we should eat her first.
… Okay, so I was channeling the Donner party there a bit. Actually, we’re not going up the Donner Pass. We’re headed up Highway 88 and Kirkwood near South Lake Tahoe. This pass is much higher than the Donner pass (yay, us!) but Highway 88 is the recommended cycle pass because it has much less traffic and good bike lanes.