Saturday, June 26, 2010

Day 6 - John Day to Baker City, OR

Today: 84 miles, 5377 feet of climb
Cumulative: 501 miles, 26802 feet of climb

After yesterday’s 116 miles, today was a tough day for me. I was dragging towards the end of the ride. 84 miles on my Garmin, with three significant climbs, and a headwind in the afternoon. This was mitigated by blackberry cobbler a la mode at 8:30 AM, a sandwich and banana for lunch at 58 miles, and a vanilla milkshake near the finish.

Covered wagon at SAG1 on the way up the first climb

It was the usual early morning luggage load at 5:20, and breakfast at 5:30, since it was going to be another long day for everyone. I was happy to again ride with Mark, Dave, Mark, and Jeff. We started after most riders had left John Day and cycled up through most of the field by day’s end. The weather was cool at the start. Arm warmers and a vest or windbreaker were the order of the morning. By afternoon it was hot though. Sunny skies, no clouds. The route today was not difficult to follow. Just one left turn after 28 miles, finally leaving US26, which we have mostly been following since Portland.

Jeff and Dave on the first climb

There was not much flat ground today. The first climb over Dixie Mountain was 21 miles followed by a cold seven mile descent in shade. After blackberry cobbler, we started up Tipton Mountain, an eight mile climb followed by a seven mile descent. Then, we immediately started up Snall Mountain, a seven mile climb followed by a four mile descent. The climbs got up to about 7% grade in places. After lunch, the rest of the day was supposed to be slightly downhill, but it didn’t seem that way because of the headwind and hot sun. Day five’s ride into John Day probably had something to do with the difficulty also.

Summit of the second of three big climbs today

It has been great to ride with Jeff, Dave and the two Marks. I enjoy their conversation and it is of great benefit to ride in a group and draft. I have to admire the riders that cycle by themselves every day, who do not have the benefit of a drafting partner, and who are out in the afternoon sun much longer than we are. I’ve checked into the hotel, showered and changed clothes, and some riders are just finishing. And with a smile on their faces.

Baker City seems a decent size. It has a regular downtown and office buildings as high as ten stories. I-84 runs by here and it is bustling at the Best Western hotel. I’ve got a nice normal room tonight. I don’t want to say my room was bad in John Day (in addition to being small), but during the night I had company, not of the human variety.

A nice descent with a beautiful creek on our side, late in the day

The America By Bicycle staff has all kinds of good bike riding tips. This won’t interest 99% of you but we’ve been told Efferdent is good for cleaning water bottles, and shower caps protect your bike seat in the rain. When the maids make up the rooms tomorrow they’ll wonder why there are no shower caps in any of the rooms. And I now have 20 Efferdent tablets in my suitcase.

It is another long day tomorrow, about 83 miles into Ontario, but the climbing eases off a bit until we get to Idaho Falls. We have a lot of downhill and are riding a bit on I-84. And we enter the Mountain Time Zone. I’m enjoying every day of the ride, but an off day in Boise on Tuesday is starting to sound good too.

1 comment:

  1. I came back from Seoul today, flying to Detroit. The route had us coast in around Seattle and eastward near Spokane, Missoula, Great Falls. Cloudy on the coast, but generally clear from Portland to points east. Cascade peaks were all in view. Thought about you guys enjoying yourself peddling through a beautiful part of the country.