A blog for (semi) athletic middle-aged men (and women) holding on to (the last vestiges of) their youth
by training for and competing in running, cycling, swimming and triathlon events!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Cycle Oregon 2016: Days 0-3

Waking up in Gold Beach, Oregon, this morning I remembered that had really planned to post every day on Cycle Oregon and here it is day five and I haven't posted anything! The fact is finding time and sufficient internet access has been difficult, as it always is on these rides. But I hauled my Surface along on the tip, packing and unpacking it in my backpack every day, so I should at least take time to post some pics and brief travelogue.

Mt. Shasta in California on the drive up I-5
Driving up the I-5 from California
 Day Zero (Saturday, September 10): We drove from Sacramento to Myrtle Creek, Oregon, for the start of the ride on Sunday. Jonny Rocker's daughter, Tina, drove down from Portland, to meet us for the opening night ceremonies, sleeping over in Jon's tent. We found a good campsite near the baseball diamonds at Umpqua High School and settled in to the beer tent, listened to the bands on the main stage and got our first taste of the ride food (beef stroganoff -- not bad, actually).

First beer tent beverages!
Jon's daughter Kristina joined us for the opening night.
Click to enlarge
Day One (Sunday, September 11): I woke for the first day of the ride in a bit of a panic realizing I had not charged my phone or backup battery charger overnight, so I climbed out of my cozy sleeping bag and tent and wandered around in the dark looking for an outlet. I was able to find one open spot outlet to get my battery charging. I'd just have to use it to charge my phone during the ride (I have my bike rigged to charge my phone, Garmin and bike speaker while riding!).

Crisis averted, we packed up camp, tried (and failed) to make our first pot of coffee with the Jet Boil, had breakfast with Tina, and rode off on our week-long adventure. As we prepared to ride the wind picked up and a layer of fog rolled in. We debated whether to wear our jackets, eventually opting to go without. We have since learned that the weather here is very unpredictable and have increasingly added layers!

The ride was a relatively short 52 miles with several steep climbs (a sign of things to come). We arrived at our destination -- a large dirt patch in the middle of nowhere (Camas Valley) -- in the early afternoon, set up camp, showered, and headed to the beer tent. It was hot and dusty all afternoon but cooled off significantly after dinner and overnight.

Team Beef getting ready to roll on Day One.

Tine sends off her dad with a big hug.
The BEEFMAN Rideth!
Our destination on Day One was a huge dirt patch in Camas Valley, Oregon.

Click to enlarge
Day Two (Monday, September 12): We woke to the return of the fog from Day One (at least it was less dusty!). The ride from Camas Valley to Bandon-by-the-Sea would require us to climb over a number of steep ridges between us and the Pacific Ocean. The first climb was a nasty 4-mile hike up a Bureau of Land Management road that featured the steepest two-mile stretch I have ever ridden -- with grades between 10-15%.
Once over the first big climb we foolishly made the mistake of thinking "it's all downhill from here). Actually, the ride down the other side was as strenuous as the climb! We actually had to wait in line for over an hour to descend, as they spaced the riders out in small groups. No wonder, the steep descent was treacherous. We actually had to stop to rest our hands and let our tires cool from braking so much!

By the way, the climbing wasn't over by any stretch of the imagination. Between several shorter but steep climbs we headed toward the coast, battling a headwind all the way in to Bandon. At the end of the day we were relieved to find a nice (not dusty) campsite in the Bandon City Park. However, a heavy, cold breeze coming off the ocean drove us from the beer tent into our tents -- and warmth of our sleeping bags -- long before the band finished playing.

The scenery along the route has ranged from stunning to awe-inspiring!
Tent City on Bandon-by-the-Sea.
My trusty Coleman tent.

Jonny Rocker checks out the sunset on Bandon Beach.
Day Three (Tuesday, September 13): Our first day riding along the coast was, well, tougher than I expected. What appeared to be a relatively flat jaunt down the coast on Highway 101 from Bandon to Gold Beach featured less coast and lots of climbing over the massive ridges that jut out into the ocean forming the rugged Oregon coast and famous "haystack" rock formations.
We enjoyed our first in route beer near the first aid station on day there in Langlois, Oregon -- 14 miles in to a 70-mile day!
The highlight of Day Three was a 10-mile detour to visit the Cape Blanco Lighthouse. It was worth the trip!

Well, I have run out of time and need to get ready for Day Five, featuring the longest, and possibly toughest, climb of the ride. We head from Gold Beach on the Cast up the Rogue River Valley, climbing from zero to nearly 5,000 feet!

Here's a brief glimpse of Day Four. Stay tuned for the write-up on this amazing day and the rest of the ride in the days to come...

Sea stacks along the Southern Oregon Coast

More sea stacks

Lunch stop in Brookings (that's a fruit juice drink)

Ride on!


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