Tuesday, October 6, 2009


A few weeks ago I took the old mountain bike out for a spin. Got brand new tires on it (thanks to Marc A.) and put a different saddle on. Much better. Went up Leif Erikson, and realized I haven't ridden or walked up there in years. It's beautiful! I really should do that more. It was fun. But have I ridden it since then? No. Even schlepping the bike in my car all last week, I couldn't manage to get out early enough to get in a short ride before pitch darkness set in. Lately, that's getting closer to 6pm.

I haven't ridden a lot since Cycle Oregon last month. Wow, it was almost a month ago already? I have ridden on Saturdays and most Sundays.

I still can't believe I did it.
I never thought I'd ride Cycle Oregon, let alone finish it. I'm still thinking about how much fun it was, what I'd do differently, and whether I'll do it again.

Actually, Cycle Oregon was a blast. Once I got the routine down in the morning, it was great. I'm a bit groggy without an initial hit of caffeine right when I wake up though. So, the first day was a bit of a struggle, but it turned out fine. We were camped at a huge park in Medford, and I didn't sleep all that much, it rained a bit that night, but cleared up in the morning. Packed up, went to get breakfast & at 8am, we were told they were shutting down. What? No breakfast? No coffee? They had food left so we got to eat, (whew) but I had a tiny meltdown about no coffee until I found the Nossa Familia booth and went running over to buy a cup. Day #1: Medford to Yreka - The first day's route was TOUGH. Went through Ashland, and the first rest stop was at Lithia Park. A few more turns, and then began the climb. It went on and on and on. Then downhill and into California where we spent some time on I-5 which had a wide shoulder & it was coned off for us. Not too bad but the draft from those big rigs is a bit scary not to mention the crosswinds. And it was an overcast & windy day. By the time we saw Mt. Shasta I was unimpressed, and all I wanted to do was get to camp. On the endless rollers into Yreka, my bike was getting tossed around like a paper airplane. It was tough - riding into a gusty 30mph wind! But I made it. Got to camp where an irritated KRhea had argued with some lady about reserving space for our tents. She had a 6-person circus tent for herself & her husband. It all worked out, and they took their tent elsewhere. The wind died down and we spent a decent night at the fairgrounds in Yreka. There were even flush toilets. Yay. We took out the Barbie that Dean had stashed in his bag and carefully sat her upon the saddle of KRhea's Colnago.

Day #2 - Yreka to Happy Camp - was a gorgeous day along the Klamath River - mostly downhill, which was great after the previous day's climbing. We arrived in the town of Happy Camp where we stayed at a school. I had my first post-ride smoothie. Had to hike a ways down to the dining tent, etc. so we asked around & scoped out a breakfast spot in the Frontier Cafe for the next morning. Enough waiting in lines for us! By then we had the routine down - get up before dawn, pack tent & get dressed, have bags ready for pickup by 7am, then off to breakfast, and rollout on bikes by 8am. Perfect.

Day #3 - Happy Camp to Lake Selmac - Had a great breakfast at the Frontier Cafe. From Happy Camp to Glendale was a bitch of a 20-mile climb that started literally right as we left town. It was just a continuous grind, much like High Rocks. Once I reached the summit (of course KRhea, & "toofastforyou"Phil were nowhere to be found) the view was amazing! Had a rest stop at a snow-park complete with live music. The descents were awesome too. Then as I was hanging with Cary, we hit the wall at about oh, mile 65 or so. On the map it showed some &*$#^()&*$# type of thing so we thought "oh shit". It was indeed a wall and some people were walking, off their bikes, and as I approached I yelled "walkers right please" as I really wanted to ride past them, but didn't have enough room to get by as it was a really narrow road, so I had to get off and walk for a bit. Got back on after it leveled off, and made it to the top where there was a drumline pounding out a rhythm to pedal to and Dean waiting to snap my photo. It was a great day - but to have such a brutally steep climb at the end of an already long ride was a bit cruel!! Ouch. Jonathon Nicholas joked about it that night at announcements like it was funny. I hope he enjoyed the climb! (Not really, actually I hope he suffered like the rest of us did!)

Day 4 - Lake Selmac to Glendale - was a beautiful ride along the Rogue River. The last couple of miles was a nice ascent along I-5, kind of deceiving as it looked flat but certainly didn't feel like it. I was really tired when I finished that ride! It was muggy, and we all got some pizza in the beer garden before getting ready for dinner. We were camped at the high school, a strange building, but at least our tents were far away from the stage so it was relatively quiet.

Day 5 - Glendale to Grants Pass - we started out having breakfast at this pizza place in Glendale. We were fascinated that they had ziploc bags with pennies & water hung above the front door to keep the flies away. Never heard of such a thing! The ride was really nice, along the Galesville Reservoir, and we had a rest stop in a beautiful park. Then we wound along farmlands for what seemed like endless miles!

Day 6: Grants Pass - I had no energy for a ride that day, and thankfully I wasn't the only one. Plus, I had washed some laundry the night before, and no way was I going to put on wet & cold shorts that morning to go ride. Ugh. So we slept in, had breakfast, read the paper, and went for a walk in town. It was a warm day, and I was envious of the people who went kayaking or on jet boat rides on the river. We had Mexican food for dinner at the restaurant across the street and scoped out our breakfast destination for day 7.

Day 7 - Grants Pass to Medford - the day started with a beautiful sunrise, and a delicious breakfast in downtown Grants Pass. Then the inevitable - getting dropped by KRhea & Phil, as Dean, Cary & I slogged towards Medford. Eventually I left a not-feeling-so-great Cary at the Fiasco winery rest stop and opted for the longer route into Medford as the rest day had done wonders for my legs. Made what I thought was pretty good time, rolling in around 1pm. Dean & Barb were waiting!

Showered, ate, drove home. Unpacked, did laundry, rode 37 miles the next day, feeling great!

Overall: Some of the days run together. Lots of rest stops at wineries, taverns, churches, schools. I honestly had forgotten we had a rest stop at the cinnamon roll place (Heaven on Earth bakery?) as most of the time I would cruise in, fill my water bottles, grab a snack, use the blue rooms, and take off again.

As a first-timer, I thought the organization was great, waiting in line, not so bad, camping, not so bad, food, pretty okay, company, spectacular. Never laughed so hard in all my life. Would I do it again? Absolutely.

As for camp, I missed out on a lot. I never had time to find yoga, let alone take a class. I didn't do anything really all that exciting on the rest day in Grants Pass. I didn't visit the PT, take a bike class or have my bike cleaned by the Community Cycling Center. Guess I need to ride faster. There's always next year!