Saturday, June 26, 2010

Once, twice, three times a summit...

Day 6. John Day to Baker City Oregon.

With apologies to that crappy old Lionel Richie song, we had a big day today. Whew. This is hard. As in, hard. The ride started today at 6:20AM. I was never so happy to leave a motel behind. Last night's motel was the first genuine dump we stayed in so far. Unfortunately that is the only option in John Day Oregon for us, and John Day was the only spot of civilization between Prineville and Baker City. Good riddance John Day!

So far (knock on wood), the weather has been ideal. Clear skies, beautiful vistas, and favorable winds. Today was no different. However, it started heating up. That's OK, I don't mind the warmer weather at all. Just drink lots.

The ride today was over three separate 5,000 foot summits and was 80 miles long. After yesterday's marathon of 117 miles, today's "triple summit" was no walk in the park. The first summit was a 3,250 vertical foot climb over 22 miles (it topped out at 5,277 feet which is just 3 feet short of "mile-high"; that's why I am jumping the last 3 feet up – as if I had a 3 foot vertical leap) . Yikes. After an awesome descent (top speed 66.4 km/hour) we hit our second climb of 1,200 vertical feet over 7 miles. Then shortly thereafter we had our third climb of 1,000 vertical feet over 5 miles. Then a picnic lunch at a gorgeous lakeside rest area (see picture) After that, we had a 30 mile ride through a river canyon into headwinds at the end of the day.

The one thing I can tell you about this trip is, boy am I eating! I'm eating whatever I want and as much as I want any time I want. Aside from breakfast and lunch so far today I had blackberry cobbler and ice cream (at a rest stop at 9:30AM; believe me, it tasted better than it looks in this picture) and a root beer float at a cool old fashioned ice cream shoppe in this neat little town of Baker City. My Snickers count to date is 1, but that's only because the tour doesn't supply them at rest stops (they pretty much have everything else though) and there are basically no civilized outposts between towns out here. It is magnificent country though.

I guess even so-called "thorougbreds" get tired. I won't speak for Dave, Mark, Joe, or Jeff, but the last 10 miles into this town wore me out (I do think we're all tired today). I'm bagged for the first time this trip. My legs feel like stone and things aren't getting any less tender "down there", that's for sure. But we have another big day tomorrow to (of all places) Ontario, Oregon which is another 80 miles (like Toronto to Stayner). The thing I'm learning about myself is that even when you think you've hit your limit (like on the third climb today), somehow there's always something left in the tank. I can feel all of you pushing/pulling me. I'm just looking forward to the day off in Boise Idaho on Tuesday.

Oh yeah, and when I pulled into town here at 2PM today, I'd never been so happy to see a clean Best Western Hotel in my life!

On to today's mail:

Benji (via his Dad Kenny) from Toronto writes "I know you'll think this sounds funny, but I really don't want to go snowshoeing right now". Neither do I Benji, neither do I. But, I can't wait to go with you up at Alpine next winter!

Jess from New Jersey writes "Hi." Well, hi right back at you there Jess!

Sharon from Toronto writes "I am AWED! I can't believe I actually figured out how to get onto your blog (it's the first time I have ever looked at a blog, let alone added to it!!)
I'm also awed by you". Well Sharon, there's a first time for everything, including being awed by your old high school nemesis.

Useful links for you:

Trip journal and photos by our tour leader Mike Munk:

This link is data from Jeff's bike computer showing stats from today's ride – very cool:

This link is Baltimore Mark's blog:

And this is Katie's blog:

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