Day 3. Welches to Kah-nee-ta Oregon. Before I review what we did today (and we did a lot), I can't help but refer back to a conversation I had with my father before I left. We were talking about whether or not this trip I'm taking would in any way relate to his experiences during WWII, when he was a fighter pilot for the USAF. At first, he didn't seem to think there might be a connection, but as we talked, he suggested that the notion of people bonding during a common cause might be a connection between his experiences (in the past) and mine (still to come). The big difference between us is that no enemy is shooting bullets at me.
Well, as is often, but not always the case (because my Mom is right a lot of the time too!), my Dad was spot-on with respect to this. I am amazed at the speed at which we, as a group, are coming together. I've only known these people for 4 days, but I feel like I've known them a lot longer than that. There must be something about the singularity of what we're trying to do (bike from coast to coast) that brings everything into focus. We all have this in common, right now, and if we are fortunate enough to finish, we'll have this in common until the day we die.
It's funny that the notion of singularity is what has surprised me so far. After all, as most of you know, I've been in advertising my whole career. We constantly preach being single-minded to our clients when we discuss strategy and creative with them. When our Creative Director Karen Howe tries to explain that, she uses the "throwing ball" analogy. If I throw one ball to you, you'll likely catch it, right? If I throw 3 balls at you, you'll likely drop 1. As I pound out the miles, I am struck by how single-minded this pursuit is. It's too bad we can't all be so single-minded in our day-to-day lives. I'm very fortunate to have the support of my family (go Duchess!) and everyone at Due North (go Jill!) or else I couldn't pursue this dream. Thanks!
On to today's ride. WOW! As in WOW! Today we left Welches and skirted the side of very impressive Mount Hood. This is a massive mountain and a very tough 13 mile climb of over 3,000 feet of vertical. It's like riding a bike up Aspen Highlands (that one is for Lauren, Sam, Adam, the Lipsons, the Roses, and The Vancer). Then we had a rapid descent through spectacular scenery. Alpine forests, waterfalls, huge valleys, flowers. Just incredible. Here's video of the climb:
The rest of the day was a series of climbs and descents around Mount Hood. I was feeling a bit tired by the last 10 miles or so. Today's ride was 65 miles, and we had over 5,000 feet of climbing.
What's amazing is that when you get on the east side of Mount Hood, the terrain changes from Alpine green and verdant to desert scrub. After the top, my riding mate Dave from Ann Arbor pointed out a coyote and wild horses running across the brush. It seemed like we kept climbing until we came to a bend in the road, where the more scrubby of these 2 pictures was taken. We then had a 1,200 vertical foot descent of around 9 miles that was, in the words of my kids "off the chain". Hairpin turns up around buttes and mesas, roaring down through canyons, all at 55 km/hour+. I looked over at my riding pal Mark (from Baltimore) and we just smiled at each other. It looked like the cavalry was going to come over the bluff any second. I wanted to take pictures, but there was no way I was going to stop. We're now at the Central Oregon miniature version of Casino Rama (it's the only place to stay within 50 miles it seems). Here's video of the bottom of the descent:
Now, on to yesterday's blog comments. I got a number of suggestions for my bike. My Dad suggested a number of names including Ducherina. My wife's cousin Shawna suggested both Lara's legacy and the even more clever "leg-a-sea". The Vancer suggested "bend, not break/brake", which while of noble intent, is not a very easy-to-grab handle for a bike. From my office, Dee suggested "the bart". I'm liking "leg-a-sea" (sorry Dad!). What do you think?