By: Catherine DuBay
September 20, 2012
I have just returned from what I would say was one of my more interesting vacations. Riding my bike 450+ miles, averaging 70 per day for a week, was a feet in itself, but to add camping each night on top of it just about did me in. But, let me back up 9 months…
The Registration: Registration opened on January 17, 2012 at 9pm. We logged in at 9pm and by 9:38 all 2000 spots had been snatched up and we were part of the fortunate group to secure ourselves a spot in the September event. We later realized how lucky we were to be one of 200+ riders to also secure a “tent and porter service” spot for an additional $200 per couple. Tent and porter service provides a tent, 2 chairs and bags delivered to your tent each day upon arrival to camp.
Once registered we started to prepare for the ride. As so the purchasing phase began: We bought new bikes. We bought new clothes. We bought a new bike rack. We bought whatever the Cycle Oregon Bloggers told us we “might” need in case of every possible condition in every possible scenario in every imaginable climate. Needless to say, trying to fit it all into 1 large duffel bag per person was in itself as challenging as training for the ride. When we weren’t purchasing items we were riding our bikes throughout Sonoma County. We conquered most of the major climbs; Geysers, Pine Flat, Trinity, Coleman Valley, Los Alamos…we gained strength and confidence each ride and Ann and I, relatively new to cycling, started to actually enjoy riding our bikes-who knew?
Cycle Oregon is a 7 day ride that changes routes each year but always includes around 500 miles and 6 days of riding with an optional day of riding on the layover day. This year’s route started in south east Oregon in the town of Bly-best known for being the only location in the continental United States with any WW2 casualties due to Japanese balloon bomb which landed in a forest in Bly and was found by some kids that met their fate when they picked it up.
As the event director stated on the last day: “You started Cycle Oregon in Bly, Oregon on September 8 and returned a week later a slightly different person”…after 7 days in the saddle, 7 days of re-stuffing our duffel bags every morning and unpacking them each night after a long day on the bike; enduring freezing mornings (28 degree ), scalding afternoons (99 degrees), “blue rooms”, showering in trailers (I was lucky to have practiced this years ago during our locker room remodel), laundry in a bucket, you wonder why in the world would anyone sign up for this.
There are long hours on the bike with moments of blissful riding which will suddenly turn to moments of self pity and then back again. One can spend this time solving life’s problems, working on your next big idea or like my sister; write a sermon for her temple’s Yom Kippur service. You can also spend this time learning about just how far you can push yourself despite pain and suffering. And then you realize you are pretty awesome. Then pity again. And it so it goes all day long. By the end of the week you are exhausted, sore, dirty, sunburned and counting the days until next year’s ride.
Day 1: Bly to Silver Lake (there is no lake-just dirt and dust): 69.9 miles 3860ft of climbing
Day 2: Silver Lake to Fort Klamath: 80.6 miles 2600 ft of climbing
Day 3: Fort Klamath to Prospect with optional loop around Crater Lake (yes, we did it!): 87.7 miles 6800 ft. of climbing
Day 4: Prospect to Ashland: 75.7 miles 5800 ft of climbing
Day 5: Ashland Layover-optional ride to Mt. Ashland (no, we did not do it!)
Day 6: Ashland to Klamath Falls: 66.6 miles 5614 ft. of climbing
Day 7: Klamath Falls to Bly: 64.2 miles 2150 ft of climbing
Day 8: Back home-went for a long run and left the bike in the garage!
Thank you Jeremy for inviting me. Thank you Ann for riding with me and making sure we always had good coffee. Thank you Mark for never complaining and always making sure my bike was in good shape, my self doubts were kept in check and that we all had cold beer every night. I couldn’t think of a better group to have been with those 7 days of suffering.