Friday, August 1, 2008

Day 51, Another long day

Day 51, Mount Vernon, OR – Redmond, OR 132 miles (3885 total)

July 31, 2008

Time on bike: 10:49:36

Avg: 12.2

Daily Ascent: 5894 ft (45 ft/mi)

Elevation at days end: 2900 ft

Max: 43 mph

I’m not sure what exactly I ate for breakfast. I ordered biscuits and gravy with poached eggs on the side. What was delivered to me was more of a corn bread texture, but not taste and the eggs were runny and not like momma fixes ‘em.

The morning ride was smooth and downhill. I stopped for a snack at Dayville where a friendly little boy told me he was in 8th grade there and that there were 12 other students in 8th grade. I spent the rest of the morning climbing a hill, finally reaching the top and then quickly descending into Mitchell. Mitchell has had a dramatic life. In 1884 a flash flood washed over the bluff above the town, acarrying away wagons and livestock and it deposited huge boulders on the towns streets. Fire hit the town twie, in 1896 and again in 1899 destroying a total of 19 buildings. The biggest disaster occurred on July 11, 1904 when a sudden cloudburst in the desert resulted in a wave of water 30 feet high which rushed down the narrow ravine in which part of the town lies. With the exception of a few buildings the entire town was destroyed. Miraculously though, only 2 people died from the event. The sound of the oncoming water was enough to warn the town.

From Mitchell I headed up the steepest pass of the day: Ochoco Pass. It was a 2,000 foot climb in about 10 miles. I climbed and climbed, all the while listening to Tony Dungy’s book, Quiet Strength, on my iPod. After a while, Tony wasn’t enough motivation so I switched to my running music and locked myself in and pushed to the top. That hill almost got me to stop, but I was bound and determined to whip it, and I did!

My friend Dan wants to meet me in Eugene but he’s unable to on Saturday, so I had to go further today than I had planned. But my body seems to be healed enough and I was able to make the extra distance without incident. I did veer off the route for a spell, though. The final leg was 25 miles, but the other road which may be more traveled was only 18. I opted for the shorter route. Wow, was I in for a surprise. When I came to the intersection to chose routes, a semi took the marked route, but I went the other way up a hill and around a corner. What I didn’t realize was that the hill kept going around the corner, up another 400 feet in elevation before leveling out some. I bet the semi driver knew the hill and opted for the flatter course! Did I learn my lesson from all this? To follow the marked route? No, I learned to follow the semi drivers!

So now I’m camped out, illegally I’m sure, just outside a baseball field in a park under some pine trees trying not to be seen. There doesn’t seem to be any camping in Redmond even though it’s a town of 20,000 people. The only camping I saw was 3 miles south of town off the route. I didn’t want to bike another 3 miles today!

Otherwise the ride was good. The roads were quiet and there was a mixture of arid sagebrush and pine trees along the road. I saw a number of deer and cows. Tomorrow is another big climb up McKenzie pass, but it’s down hill for 50 miles after that to Eugene and my friend Dan is going to bike those last 50 with me. Should be good!

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