Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Day 5 with 117 miles of riding and 5000 feet of climbing is supposed to be the hardest day of the trip. Unfortunately it comes pretty early on and was very stress making for many in the group-- John and I were among those who had never done a century (100 miles); in fact for both of us our longest day ever was the 75 miles we rode on Day 2. After "Route Rap" we went right to bed (at 8:30) but I found it hard to sleep. We got up at 4:15 and I was on the road by 5:45. The staff suggested that those who thought the route too long should sag to the first rest stop at mile 29.5 but I preferred to start out with the possibility that I might make the whole thing. The day followed the usual dynamic. I start early, driven on by fear of being the slowest. After a few miles the other riders begin to pass me. That goes on for perhaps an hour. Eventually I am behind all the fast ones and ahead of the very few who are slower than I am. On this day, however, four of the slowest had chosen to sag so there were fewer slow boats left. There were two huge climbs and two very long descents with a long moderate climb for the last 36 miles. I eventually ended up third from last and was terrified that those behind me would give up and I would be out there alone (not really alone, of course, because the staff was driving back and forth along the route constantly to make sure we had water and were otherwise okay). John was long gone, needless to say, and made it the whole way two hours ahead of me. My original goal was to get to 100 miles and then see if I could keep going. At 102 Jeff stopped with a van and gave me water and although I was in floods of tears, he said the two behind me were still riding so I decided to go on. At 108 miles Jim was waiting with the other van so I got more water and he said that since I only had a few miles to go and there was a slight tail wind, I should try it. I caught up with Philip, a librarian from California, who is also one of the slower riders and we talked each other in the rest of the way. I nearly fell over faint when I got off the bike but was okay within a few minutes. I had other problems like sore hands, cold shower, really tacky hotel but toppled into bed about 7:30 without even undressing or brushing my teeth and slept well until 5:00 am this morning. The entire route was on 26 east.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Riding cross country on a bicycle is very much like having a baby. There is no way you can get prepared for either one and both are aweful and awful. And apparently, like childbirth, you forget the horror and think about doing it again. One of the women here, rode across on a southern route a few years ago and swore never again. Here she is, however, and interestingly she is the only other person from
A day of astonishing contrasts. We stayed last night at “The Resort” in Welches—located just off Route 26 in the
When we left this morning the climb started at mile 0 and went on for 13.8 miles. I was fresh and mentally prepared for the length of the climb—the weather was comfortable and there was no wind but it took me two hours 45 minutes. My positive attitude faltered at mile 10 but then I read a historic marker about the difficulties the Oregon Trail Pioneers had on the same route and I realized that my ride was a piece of cake.
The route continued through the
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
The view from our window in the Astoria Motel. Bridge to Washington State
We skipped dipping the wheels in the Pacific but did get this picture
A view on one of the long climbs on Monday.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010
Margaret drove us from Belfast to Portland M in the Aztek and I obediently sat in the back and did not criticize her driving. Both things very hard for me but in fact her driving was excellent. Otherwise our travel day must not be taken as a significant sign of things to come because it was a misery and my attitude was not bright and cheerful. Not that anything actually went wrong-- it was just airports and air travel in general, mixed with my anxieties, particularly about leaving the dog. I was super tired from trying to do in a couple of days what should be done all the time-- that is to say deal with the results of too much bike riding and too little housekeeping. My feet, never happy to perform their primary function, were particularly bad and limping down long airport corridors wondering if I should give up and ask for a wheelchair, seemed ridiculous for a woman setting off to ride a bicycle more than 3600 miles.
A really fine dinner at Deschutes Brewery and the wonderful bed at the Mark Spencer Hotel has put all to rights. Deschutes has a very long beer list, including a gluten free beer and a large separate gluten free menu-- this matters to me because I have a friend who has celiac and finding gf is always welcome for her. I had a great beer and a spicy hot mac and cheese. John had a great beer, mussels and a Celtics game to watch.
The first leg of our flight was to Chicago in rainy weather and there was no visibility. From Chicago on, however, we could see the ground much of the time. I have always enjoyed the scenery from an airplane but it holds a special fascination for me now thinking that I will bicycle back through it. Our flight path was probably somewhat north of the bicycle route but there were all sorts of different terrains below including what John called "a whole lot of nothing". Stay posted!