(September 14 – written by Dave)
Day 7 – Dorena Lake to Oakridge – 88k/5,900ft
Today was kind of a sad day at the coffee booth. Everyone knew that we were making our last brews. We kept busy and closed on schedule, followed by our fastest clean up to date. It really is a shame that we can’t continue working for a few more days – we are getting very good at our jobs! Ok, perhaps we could continue a few more days, minus the 4AM alarms – haha.
We were supposed to re-trace the last 10k of yesterday’s ride back up the Dorena Reservoir rails-to-trails path. However, we got out of camp just in time be directed off the path for a spell – there was a half marathon running event going on. Share the trail only works if there aren’t 2,000 bikes and a few hundred runners.
We left the Dorena Reservoir basin at Brice Creek Road, yet another magical Cycle Oregon back road. The profile for the day looked to be uphill for most of the first 40 miles but the hard climbing didn’t really start until after the morning tea stop at Hobo Camp. I’m sure that the week’s miles and climbing were wearing on everyone as there were lots of groans, slow riders and walkers in the last 15 miles of the climb. To be fair, much of it was justified as both of us felt that it was probably the hardest climb of the entire week – in terms of length and steepness.
There was a second tea stop up close the top of the first major summit. Cycle Oregon is known for sneaking in free toasted cheese sandwiches at one rest stop during the week. So they snuck them in here, at the last possible chance (proper lunch was served at the ride finish). We didn’t linger over our toasties but enjoyed the break. We heard more grumbles but really, there was nothing much to do but “get on yer bike” and ride.
The rest of the ride up to the first summit, and onto the second summit was gentler than that leading to the rest stop. That was a bit of relief. And by getting out of the rest stop quickly, we managed to leapfrog a good deal of other riders. This worked out great as the descent off the second summit was another narrow, bumpy, potholed screamer. It was nice to ride it more or less on our own.
One lickety split woman overtook me on a narrow gravel section and almost came a cropper. Nancy was riding behind me and witnessed a pretty good save. Later in the day we heard that at least two people biffed on that section. Yes, it was nice to reach the bottom of the hill and have a relaxed final 5k spin to finish line.
There was a good crowd at the finish, banging cow bells and giving us a right cheer. We were pleased to have finished and on balance really enjoyed our first Cycle Oregon in 24 years. We searched the finish area for the coffee van but couldn’t find it. We eventually asked at rider services and learned that the Nossa vans were down at the long-tem parking lot. We skipped the finish line lunch and party to learn why the vans weren’t set-up.
Well, it turns out that the vans were set-up and in fact, set-up in a fantastic location. It was almost hot by now and many riders were keen to have an iced coffee before getting in their cars for the ride home. I’m sure that we had our best afternoon in terms of sales – for sure we were all working very hard at the booth. A nice way to finish actually, as the full coffee crew and most of the riders were in a festive mood. We were all tired and ready to be finished, but satisfied with a job well done by riders and brewers.
Cycle Oregon went about as we expected it would. Throwing in the coffee gig certainly ratcheted up our daily workload and fatigue levels but it also gave us “purpose”. Bikes, tent, sleeping kit and all of our gear in general worked perfectly. Much to the chagrin of my tent mate, our alarm clock worked perfectly every morning – haha.
In an earlier blog, I promised not to turn our website into a never-ending infomercial for Kitsbow – the cycling company that we are brand ambassadors for. Having said that, I have to throw props out to one particular clothing item from Kitsbow that was an absolute rockstar on this particular trip.
Figuring that we’d ride 6 of the seven days and knowing that our scheduled would leave us little time for laundry, both of us took 6 riding jerseys. On the first day I wore my Kitsbow Geysers Jersey 2.0. It was super comfortable and even though it got wet from the rain, it was dry enough to wear again on day 2. Days 2 and 3 were about the same but each proceeding morning I still slipped on the Geysers. Days 4, 5 and 6 were dry but I saw no reason to even consider a clean jersey. The Geysers didn’t smell, it was just the right weight for the temperatures we were having and I really liked the fit. Who needs 6 jerseys when 1 will do – I’m sold. Nancy was happy for me but insisted that we push Kitsbow now to come up with a woman’s version of the Geyser. (Senior editor’s note – and I’ll put a plug in for the Icon shirt and Escalator Merino Henley (no Women’s version but Men’s XS fits fine) – I wore them every morning and usually slept in both. They were great to ward off the cold temps without overheating – I know what I am taking on my next bike tour!).
It would be wrong to conclude this blog both without a shout out to Karen and Augusto from Nossa Familia. They took a punt on including us on the coffee team, not knowing us or our coffee or customer skills before the trip. They were super patient with us and our 1,000 questions. They gave us enough rope once trained to get on with the job and get pretty good at it. Thanks guys – once we recover from our sleep deprivation, we’ll be ready to do it all over again.
Thanks for reading our Cycle Oregon coffee brewing riding adventure through central Oregon and around Crater Lake. All that’s left to do now is to hop on our bikes, go for a ride, stop for coffee, ask the brewer to show us his the coffee press, ride home and disable the 4AM alarm before it goes off again tomorrow morning. Repeat. Life is good!