Monday, June 06, 2005

June 6th Update From the Road (or to be known as FTR)

June 6th Sisters, OR 326 miles
Greetings all. Sorry for the delay in updates, but when you're on a bike sometimes things take a little longer than you plan. I've only got 15 minutes on the computer here so I'll have to make this fast.
The ride is going amazing. So much has happened in the last few days I'm not sure how to fit it all in. We'll begin at the begining. The first day out of Astoria was incredible. My stomach was filled with butterflies on the ride up, but the minute I hit the road I felt only one thing: calm. All the training and thinking that has gone into this ride was well worth it. as I rolled out of town I fell into an easy rythm and happily pedaled my way down the coast. A good friend of mine from colorado joined me about 20 miles in and shared that first day down the coast. Though it was supposed to rain all day we were lucky enough to get bright sun and a good tailwind after the first 1o miles. That night was spent at my friends girlfriends house in rockaway beach grilling oysters and lounging. It almost felt like cheating.
Day two was spent slogging through a steady rain down the coast. Despite the rain my legs felt strong and my spirits were high. The oregon coast is beautiful. Sadly after only two days I turned my back on Big Blue and headed east into the Coast Range. I finished my day off at a fruit stand after a long climb with a few apples and bananas and had an easy roll to the campground and home for the night. That night I met the nicest family from Idaho, who are on their way to bike from the coast to D.C then up to Portland Maine. It's mom and dad and four kids, the youngest of which I believe was 10. Can you believe it? they're gung ho though and I think they are in for a heck of an adventure. They have a website that I will post the address for when I can. My journal is on my bike and that's where I have the info. I wish them all the best of luck though, and hope they're all singing "happy songs" all summer. the address for the Altman's website is . they are riding not only to see the country and learn it's history but to promote families spending quality time together. Again, all the best, and maybe we'll cross paths in yellowstone.
After cruising down out of the coast range into the Willamete Valley, most of day three was spent thinking about what I wanted to eat. While the plan was to stop after 55 mile in Corvallis, once I saw the Coburg Hills I knew I was headed home. Eugen is at the base of those hills and a warm bed and a hot meal. It was really neat to be able to see the hills all the way across the valley and have a real visual gauge for my progress. All in all it was a solid 92 mile into town. It was all worth while because when I walked in the door their was a whole mess of hand fried tacos with avacadoes, spinach, tomatoes, cilantro, onions and salsa, with a side of refried beans and rice. Thanks momma!!! I've never had it so good. All your hospitality was more appreciated than you'll know.
The nest day was spent running errands and tying up loose ends that occures to me while riding. Nothing very exciting. Just a lot of eating and sleeping. Oh, there was one thing that was exciting, I changed my bike seat. The old one was tearing me up after only a few days. the new one is like a little slice of heaven and I am happy to say that my posterior and I are back on speaking terms.
I'll have to say it seemed like all the riding prior to Eugene was just a warm up for the real ride. I knew I had a warm bed and friendly familiar faces to look forward to. As far as I'm concerned the real ride started yesterday when I had to say goodbye for real to my friends and hometown and head off into places unknown. As luck would have it I set off into a stead rain. It's supposed to rain for the next week actually. Ahh well, I'll get a nice hard break in and then hopefully some breaks.
Despite being cold and wet all day, the riding was gorgeous yesterday. My legs seem to feel stronger and stronger each day, and every turn in the road has my curiosity peaked. Put in 65 miles to the base of Mckenzie pass last night where I decided it was best to hole up and dry off. Good call. It rained steadily all night, but I wouldn't have known the way I slept. My new tent seems to be pretty solid, thanks Marge!! I slept almost 11 hours before I finally drug myself out of bed into another wet day. No amount of rain or cold could diminish my excitment. Today I had Mckenzie pass to climb. A solid 5,000 foot climb over 20 miles, and my largest test to date. I left camp feeling strong, and never seemed to slow. I found a nice smooth rythm and stuck with it all the way to the top, only stopping to change cd's and drink water. Oh yeah, and to take pictures of the snow storm, that's right snow storm. I'm not talking a few flakes, but a full on white out. Ahh, summer in the northwest. Despite the snow the riding was excellent, and I took pride in my eagerness to push on in spite of the weather. By the time I reached the top I was half frozen. I couldn't feel my fingers and my feet had long since gone numb in my wet shoes. I only stopped briefly at the top for a little food and some photos. the wind was howling and the snow sting my face when I faced it. The terrain up there is gorgeous. Lava flows come right up to the road from both sides. Most of the mountains were obscured by the clouds, which was unfortunate becasue this is one of my favorite areas in Oregon. And now.....The ride down!!!! Before descending I put on every stitch of clothing I own and crossed myself not to get plowed by any oncoming traffic. It was amazing, a solid 45 minutes of nothing but holding the brakes. At least I think I was holding them, my hands were to numb to tell. Miles flew by and the scenery quickly changed from snow and gloom to a bright and summy day in the valley. What a ride. I feel fantastic. My legs are solid as a rock, and I've now crossed my first major pass. Things are really looking up. I rolled easily into the town of Sisters OR, where I wrangled up a few slices of pizza and will soon be headed to the laundromat to dry off all my gear. I'm hoping to get in 25 or 30 miles before camp tonight. I'd like to thank everyone for their kind letters of encouragement. It's nice to hear from you all. Life on the road os great and only getting better. I should be in Idaho in a few days. I'll send my next update from there. There will be a slight delay with this first round of pictures, but I hope to have them posted by weeks end. Pray for better weather!!


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