Saturday, May 3, 2014

Where seldom is heard a discouraging word, and the deer and the antelope play

 Today  Dave and I had planned on racing The Double Trouble as a two man team. Things happened, as they often do. Dave ended up not being able to go and the race changed into an informal training session for Mick and George who are competing in the Race Across the West in a few weeks rather than an organized race.  They invited others to join them. (training, not racing!)  There were about 15 of us on bikes in Maupin today.  Counting Mick and George, there were 4 riding the official training route, a nice 200 mile with 16,000 ft of climbing route.  I hadn't trained enough to ride 200 miles over those kind of hills at race pace, but I did want to be in Maupin since I'm going to be on Mick and George's RAW crew.  While going there anyway I decided to ride a modified Tygh Valley Century route with an added out and back to the top of the Fossil Climb.  As an added bonus, all of western Oregon and Western Washington was getting precipitation. There is a reason all the hills around Maupin are covered in sage brush!

I took off from Maupin at 7 AM under mostly blue skies.

John HM photo
I rode down along the Deschutes River toward Shearer Falls. The weather was just perfect, even had a pretty decent tailwind!



Before long I reached Shearer Falls and turned toward Grass Valley and started climbing "Lauren's Hill".
The morning light was making a lot of photo ops as I climbed, and since I wasn't racing, I had time to take a few photos.



Balsamroot
Just before I got to Grass Valley I was passed by a pickup.  It was the only vehicle I saw in the entire 22 miles since I'd left the Deschutes River.  In Grass Valley I turned south on Hwy 97.  Hwy 97 is a main N/S Hwy and has traffic, but wide shoulders and friendly drivers have always made this a nice section to ride, even though it is still mostly uphill to Shaniko.  Today the wind was a bit pesky too.  Even with the wind in my ears I could hear the chorus of birds singing as I pedaled.

video

Of course as soon as I stopped and pulled out my phone to record them, they dialed down their exuberance!

I rode through Kent, a small town that appears to be on it's way to becoming a ghost town. I finally got to Shaniko.

"downtown" Shaniko
I stopped at the small grocery store for an ice cream treat.  While there a couple of local guys, looking a bit scruffy, asked where I'd pedaled from. We struck up a short conversation.  They commented that Hwy 97 was a busy road to ride. I told them that it was all relative and that I was accustomed to riding on busy streets. I said that I was always impressed with the friendliness of drivers in the area, even big trucks gave wide berth as they passed, people waved, etc.  The guys launched into what sounded like a chamber of commerce welcoming speech!  It is obvious that the folks out here appreciate visitors stopping in their communities and spending a couple of dollars.

It was still early in the day so I turned onto Hwy 216 and pedaled toward Antelope.
It was a fun descent that I'd have to climb back out of later. The wind made the winding turns challenging as I made my way down.


Approaching Antelope

I arrived in Antelope and  took a photo of the "new" post office.


I continued toward Fossil.  I knew I did not have time to ride all the way to Fossil since I wanted to be back in Maupin for dinner and RAW team discussion.  I thought that maybe the Clarno Summit would be a good turn around point.  The ride up to the top is a lot nicer when it's not at race pace!



 I reached the top with relative ease today and looked down into the John Day river canyon. I reminisced a bit about racing back up out of that canyon, but today would not be making that climb.


I retraced my route back toward Shaniko


In Shaniko I stopped again at the store, this time for a hot dog. (nothing but the most nutritious food while biking!) From there I rode out toward Maupin via Bakeoven Rd.  The wind had increased in intensity, and was now blowing about 20 mph. I had the joy of riding into that as I pedaled along.

In pioneer days the area was noted for Pronghorns.  Today their numbers are reduced, and while many friends had seen them here, I had never seen them,.......... until today.  I had my head down and pedaling hard against the wind. I glanced up and about 25 yds ahead of me a group of about 12 Pronghorn were crossing the road.  These are the fastest land animals in North America (they can run 60 mph over rough ground!) and were showing off that speed as I stopped my bike and got my camera powered up. By the time I got ready to take a photo I had to use the zoom.


After all that excitement I continued on.  I noted that the clouds that had been blocked by the Cascade Mtns earlier in the day had finally found their way over the mountains.


The wind was making this stretch work.  I've always found the rolling terrain between Bakeoven Summit and the final big drop into the Deschutes Canyon mentally hard.  I just want to get rolling down that hill.  Today it was even harder.

I finally saw the power substation coming into view. the marker for the beginning of the descent. I rolled down part way then stopped as Maupin came into view to take a photo.


I rolled into Maupin within minutes of my predicted return time. I locked up the bike, changed out of bike clothes, and went into the Imperial River Company for a bite to eat.

Mick and George teamed up to ride the Double Trouble route twice for just under 400 miles for the 24 hour period. 2 others rode the route once as solo riders for 200 miles each.  I got 116 miles today.  The others took a shorter route out in the Dufur area, getting just under 80 miles.

Mick and George had a good training ride, the other two had a challenging ride. We all had GOOD rides!



...........road bike..........rollers........mtb.........lifecycle....total
Today.........116................0..............0...............0............116 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...........116.................0..............0...............0...........116
 Total..........2854...............0..............0...............0.........2854

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