Friday, June 25, 2010

Day 5 - Prineville to John Day, OR

Today: 116 miles, 5481 feet of climb
Cumulative: 417 miles and 21,425 feet of climb

The early peloton on a very long day

Teresa, one of our riders, mentioned the Five P’s needed to do a bike ride like this. Patience, Positive Attitude, Perseverance, Peace, and Prayer. All are good attributes to have or use. Prayer especially, because I have been truly blessed to be able to do something like this.

Imagine it is mid day, slightly overcast, the temperature perfect, a breeze in your face. You are riding with four other riders, now friends. And you’re coasting down a fifteen mile hill, over 20 miles per hour, through a valley with mountains to your left and right, and large rock formations towering on each side. That was what greeted us between mile 65 and 80 today. It was just a perfect day.

Later in the day

It was however, a very long day. I’ve never ridden as far as 117 miles in a day. So there was a little apprehension at the start, which came early. Luggage load at 5:20AM, then a hearty breakfast at the Apple Peddler beginning at 5:30. I rode with Mark, Jeff, Mark from Toronto, and Dave today. Starting from the hotel at 6:20 we had a 30 mile climb to Ochoco Pass, followed by a twelve mile descent to the town of Mitchell. Then, a 7 percent six mile climb to Keyes Summit followed by close to 30 miles of gentle descent to the town of Dayville. Finally, we had a 30 mile slight uphill slog to John Day. It was great to ride with the other guys today, they are all very friendly. Mark from Toronto owns an advertising agency, so we had much to talk about and a few people that we know in common. It is a small world.

Joe, Jeff Douglas, Mark Weisbarth, Dave Sullivan, Mark Koltz

In Astoria I made two promises to myself for week #1 to Boise. One, I would take it easy. Two, I would not get into a pace line. I broke both of those promises today. We got a pace line going right out of the hotel that grew to about 12 riders until the first hill got too steep for the others. Then, the five of us rode together for the rest of the day, picking up and dropping other riders along the way. 6 hours 38 minutes in the saddle and a very good 17.5 mile per hour average considering the mile of altitude gain. We did have a tailwind for most of the day though. The climbing was only supposed to be 5000 feet, but my Garmin Edge showed more. But the mileage was also supposed to be 116.5 and I only had 116.0. I’ll go with my Garmin, it’s pretty accurate.

Two climbs and a lot of mileage

Remember those resorts I stayed at earlier in the week? I’m not saying my room is small. But my shower is in the bedroom and I have to put the front wheel of the bike in the shower in order to use the bed with my luggage opened. That’s where the Positive Attitude and Peace both come in. No big deal. I’ll be back on my bike in ten hours after a good night’s sleep.

If 116 miles isn’t enough, tomorrow is 81 miles into Baker City with three climbs along the way. It is time to do some stretching, hydrate, and get some sleep.

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