(September 12 – written by Dave)
Day 5 – Diamond Lake to Crater Lake and back– 98k/6,500ft
Today was a layover day on Cycle Oregon. That meant that the Cycle Oregon circus stayed in the same place for two nights. There are several optional rides on layover days but everything is relaxed as there is no rush to pack everything up and move camp. As such, we didn’t open our coffee booth until 6AM – woohoo, we got to set the alarm for 5AM, instead of 4AM. Ok, not exactly a lie-in but we’ll take what we can get.
We were very busy in the booth as many riders took advantage of a dry, rush free morning on the edge of Diamond Lake to linger over a coffee. Kris and I, the brewmasters, made five brews today – a trip record. Nancy and I felt a little guilty leaving the booth at 9:00 but the ride around Crater Lake had an 11AM time cut-off at the 13 mile mark and that point was all uphill from Diamond Lake – we needed to get on the road early enough to make the cut-off.
We left camp at 9:30 with me under strict instructions from my senior editor to limit photo stops. There was no way that we’d miss out on the rim ride by blowing the cut-off time. We actually needn’t have worried as the 13 mile climb was pretty gentle and we made the turn at 10:40.
There was a little more climbing after the turn, before we reached the lake and we got our first views of the water. And WOW, what views. Crater Lake was stunningly blue. We got to see it on a clear day, which had been preceded by a few days of rain. Blue sky, no haze, blue lake, sunshine, no clouds, limited traffic other than all the bikes – what a perfect day for a bike ride.
The rim ride is very hilly. As you ride the rim road, you ride away from, and back to, the lake several times. There are viewpoints at most places when the road comes back to the lake. The ever-changing views lead to many stops for photos and just generally soaking up the amazing scenery. Given all of the rain we’d had over the last few days we felt privileged to be riding on such a spectacular day. Many of the other cyclists stopped at the viewpoints were almost giddy from the sunshine and beautiful views. We learned later that snow was forecast for that weekend so we were in fact very lucky!
As noted, the rim road has a lot of climbing. In the road’s 32 mile distance, we climbed close to 4,000 feet. There are simply no flat spots. The high point on the rim road is 7,672 – pretty high for those of us living at more or less sea level over the past 8 months. It was a hard ride but the views certainly provided a wonderful distraction.
After looping the lake we had lunch at the checkpoint that we raced through in the morning. We were tired, but very satisfied that we got to experience Crater Lake in such a special way. For sure, we’d put the ride down in our lifetime “top 10 scenic rides” list. We don’t have a formal top 10 list but if we did, for sure today would make it.
After lunch we retraced the opening 13 miles, this time downhill, back to Diamond Lake. After quick showers, we hopped back into the coffee booth. Some of our teammates stayed back to run the booth and didn’t get to ride today – for which we are grateful. While tired, it seemed like giving them a break for the last couple hours of the day was only fair. We served coffees with smiles on our faces, knowing that we’d had a great day on the bike.
I took too many photos today but it was stunning so I’ll post a bunch here. The first photo is a slide show that I made after trying to get a selfie of us on the lake. Taking selfies in the sun is hard. I can’t really see the camera screen and I’m never sure what’s in the background when I hold the camera out with my arm – never mind that one of us (normally me) too often has a goofy smile. Normally I take 20 quick photos moving my arm around and one, maybe two, turn out ok. Today way more than 2 worked out, mainly because the lake almost takes photos for you – so today I made a slideshow of selfies.
Just for fun, continuously click the fast forward button on the slide show below.
Otherwise, simply enjoy the rest of the amazingly blue Crater Lake photos.
So tomorrow the Cycle Oregon circus moves on. We had a great day two night stay at Diamond Lake. We served a lot of coffees, had a lie-in (sort of), got dried out and last but certainly not least, got to ride our bikes around Crater Lake on a gorgeous day – the Diamond Lake was a great stop all around.