Jay sent me off with a bellyfull of scrambled eggs and advice to aim for Cooks Station as campsite for the night. Sorry Jay, but the Mule En Rouge and I have to haul a little bit more than that. I stopped for snacks at Cooks Station and pressed on.
Begin the day of mechanical failures. From Cooks Station, it was a grueling 6 hour, 55km climb over the peak of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, through Carson Pass, at 8600 feet (look for the video of me about 1000 feet from the pass, hopefully I can get posted to YouTube from here).
To begin my equipment woes, one of my waterbottle holsters snapped. I think one of the bolts holding it to my front fork had come loose and had worn through the metal. I gave up on the holster, and didn't cry over the lost grams.
When I reached the peak, I realized my first tube had been punctured. Bound to happen, and provided me with a good excuse to break and rest my poor little legs.
After the peak, I was exhausted. I tucked into my drop bars and sought the first warm bed. I was fortunate to find the Woodfords Inn, in Woodfords, CA (http://woodfordsinn.com). I highly recommend the place to any poor cyclist climbing the Sierra Nevada. The owner was extremely nice, and even drove me to a local diner to get dinner.
Unfortunately, just as a pulled into the parking lot, my front derailleur chain popped out, seemingly related to the pulley system leading to the front derailleur. A third equipment woe in one day...well, I was too tired to deal with it that night.
All my griping about these breakages and the monstruous climb shouldn't mask the fact that it was a beautiful ride. I passed through a variety of vistas en route - the El Dorado forest was particularly striking. Very reminiscent of Northern Ontario Forests.
All in all, and looking back (from when I'm writing this, the 10th), Day 3 was one of my tougher days, both because of the climb and the equipment trouble. However, I have a feeling as though I have passed through the crucible, and may now proceed into the desert.