(September 15– written by Dave)
Today was a stunning day on the bikes. It really started yesterday when we drove the vans on Highway 207, the truck route. Cycle Oregon tries to route the supply vehicles on different roads than they do the cyclists. Nancy and I were driving different vans but as we drove Highway 207, the truck route, we both had the same thought, “too bad this road is not part of the cycle route because it is spectacular.” Well, turns out that today Highway 207 was on the cycle route. In fact most of the roads we missed by driving yesterday were part of today’s riding route, only going the reverse direction from yesterday.
And while Highway 207 was very scenic today, part of yesterday’s route on Girds Creek Road through Black Canyon was even more spectacular. The canyon was quite narrow with Girds Creek cutting a deep narrow path through the Columbia River Basalt. We didn’t quite have the early start riding we hoped for but the sun had yet to reach the bottom of the canyon in many places even with our tardy departure.
The normal Cycle Oregon riders had to ride the same canyon twice but don’t worry if that sounds boring. At bike speeds riding the same road in different directions makes it almost seem like two different rides. In fact at the morning tea stop at the bottom of the canyon, one of the riders we spoke with swore that they did not ride this road yesterday. Maybe he was just tired from the week’s efforts.
As noted, we were supposed to start riding at 7AM. Augusto decided that Nancy “earned” special treatment for all of her hard work in the booth. He gave me the tag-along “gift”. We agreed but noted that we would not leave our teammates in a lurch if it was busy in the morning. Well, it was crazy busy and we didn’t get away until almost 9AM. It was a layover day and everyone wanted coffee. We brewed more today than any other day, 8 bags at 5 lbs per bag and about 64 gallons of total coffee – that’s a lot of brewing..
Nancy was worried about the distance and climbing. She needn’t have been. While it was a hard day and we were tired at the end, the scenery more than distracted us. We thoroughly enjoyed most of the 5 climbs and had a great day on the bikes. We still made it back to camp to help serve iced coffees in the avro, so really, it all worked perfect. Oh yeah, that extra hour of sleep in the morning was pretty cool as well – layover days we don’t open the booth until 6AM with 5AM alarms.
As I mentioned yesterday, the campsite here in Mitchell is not great. It’s dusty and full of goathead thorns. In addition to yesterday’s help getting to and from the reefer truck, today I sweet talked Doug the water guy into giving me a ride into Mitchell to pick up more propane. It takes a big team to pull off this Cycle Oregon thing. Doug delivered us water sometimes 3 times per day, making him as close as it comes to being an official member of team Nossa.
Tomorrow’s ride is just about as long as today but has only half the climbing, 80 miles I think. We’ll end up in Dayville, which is all of 25 miles down Highway 26 from Mitchell. We’ll not be riding much on Highway 26 however. Highway 26 is one of the main cross-Oregon highways but there is almost no traffic. Our route takes us over Highways 207 and 19, before a short finishing piece on 26.