Sunday, May 11, 2014

The advantages of riding solo

 Today was day two of a weekend of riding in north central Oregon.  A few folks had expressed interest in joining me, but they all ended up not coming.  It would have been nice to have company, but one advantage to riding solo is that plan changes are pretty easy to make.

I had originally planned to ride a Tygh Valley Century route but I rode most of that last weekend.  Today I was wanting something new.  I had spent the night in The Dalles and as I was driving up Hwy 197 toward Tygh Valley two snow capped peaks were calling my name.
Mt Adams to the north

Mt Hood to the west
I decided right then and there that riding toward a volcano would be the order of the day.  Mt Hood was easier to get to, so that made the choice easy.

I drove to Tygh Valley, unloaded my bike, grabbed some chocolate milk and some mini donuts from the market, and pedaled off.  My plan was to follow the Race Across Oregon route.  Well, sort of.  I started by riding out past the fairgrounds.  While Race Across Oregon doesn't take that road, many of the RAO events do. My kids used to show lambs there each spring so there is some sentimental interest for me.


All that's missing is the hustle and bustle of kids and lambs

 The fairgrounds loop gave me a chance to stretch my legs before starting the climb to Tygh Ridge.


Competitors in Race Across Oregon hit this hill, often in the heat of a July afternoon, after already racing over 400 miles. In 2010 my race partner Lauren and I were struggling up this hill in temperatures well over 100.  Today was much easier.  I wasn't going hard, and it was in the mid 60's.
I even stopped to take in some sights and sounds today.


Looking a little ragged as they shed their winter coats

video
 (the birds singing were Western Meadowlarks)

After the wildlife stop there was still hill to climb so off I went.


Here is where Team Teal passed Lauren and I on that fateful day in 2010
I reached the top then rolled down the other side reaching 42 mph.  I took the turn toward Dufur and Camp Baldwin.  I continued descending until reaching Dufur. On RAO we are warned not to go into Dufur, doing so would mean missing a turn.  Today I decided to ride into town and see what it was all about. I wandered around the antique farm machinery museum, and read a few of the signs describing them. The museum itself was closed, but the machinery was all parked outside.  After puttering around there a bit I rejoined the RAO route and began climbing.  Just like the climb up Tygh Ridge, memories of this climb abound.  Today it was fun to just take my time.
Dufur

Mt Hood hiding behind some clouds over the Cascade Mtns
 The first few miles climbed gently.  There were a lot of irrigated fields.  Once I passed the South Dufur intersection the road began to tip upward a bit more. The scenery would change as I climbed, going from open grassland, to deciduous trees and a splattering of pines.

The deciduous trees gave way to pines as I gained elevation.  It didn't seem like I was climbing that high, but a look back gave a better indication of where I was compared to where I was earlier.


Before long there was some roadside snow.

There was actually quite a bit of snow, but I stopped for the photo here because I could include Mt Hood.
With about 7-8 miles before I reached Hwy 35 I summited this climb. I would drop 1300 ft to get to Hwy 35.  It was pretty easy to get there.



I turned around and climbed back up the hill I just rolled down.  On the descent back toward Dufur I was on the aerobars rolling just over 35 mph when I hit ..something.  The front end bounced hard and came down with a flat tire. There was a bit of excitement as I carefully took hands off the aerobars and got them on the drops.  The front tire was completely flat and wobbling around on the rim making steering difficult.  Once my hands got on the drops I could apply brakes and bring the bike to a stop. By the time I got the bike stopped it had rolled quite some distance and the tire sidewall showed some serious damage.  I might have been able to continue with it, but I carry a spare tire.  It was time to use it.

I changed tire and tube and continued on my way down to Dufur.  This time I did not tour the town, but began immediately climbing back up Tygh Ridge.

Once I got to the top of that there was a fun ride down to Tygh Valley.  I was back on the aerobars and reached 45 mph.

I got to Tygh Valley with just under 100 miles.  I really wanted at least 100 today, so I turned up the road to Wamic.  There wasn't much in Wamic to keep me there, so I turned around and rolled back down the hill to Tygh Valley.

It was a perfect day, and a great way to close out a two day weekend of riding.  The temperature was 68 degrees when I finished up.  Wind today was not an issue.  There were a few clouds over the top of the Cascade Mtns, but blue everywhere else.

I got my hundred miles, and climbed just under 10,000 ft in the process.




..........road bike..........rollers........mtb.........lifecycle....total
Today.........107................0..............0...............0...........107 Jan............710................0..............0...............0...........710
Feb........... 578...............0..............0...............0............578
March ...........701.............0..............0...............0............701
April..........749.................0..............0...............0..........749
 May...........331.................0..............0...............0...........331  Total..........3069...............0..............0...............0..........3069

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