Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Day 3 - Wildflower Sarah; Welches OR to Kah-nee-ta

Day 3 – Wildflower Sarah from Berkley

The stats for today:

76.03 Miles traveled
5.38 hours rolling
40.2 – Maximum Speed
13.5 Average Speed
Heart Rate: Tempo

Rich and I went to bed yesterday saying to one another, “There cannot be any days better than this!” (Day 2 around Portland). Believe it or not, today at least equaled yesterday. We started in 48 degree chilly air again. The sun was brilliant and the sky Western blue with accenting clouds that we just don’t see in the Midwest. However we were in the Cascade Mountains on the Oregon Trail. The air was very very clear. I didn’t realize my corrected eyesight could see quite that clearly. In fact, I think I could describe my vision today as “Ultra-Vision”. Dry, cool mountain air. The sky – clear, breeze – light, spirits – high.

We were up early, 5:30 am. We packed our bags in the “box”… the large day truck that all of our stuff is hauled in each day and then peddled .8 miles to the “Whistle Stop” for a breakfast buffet that one of the staff said is normally rated the very best breakfast on the tour. I had thought about finding my own breakfast this morning since all of the breakfasts so far have been limited and if you were not 15 minutes early you didn’t get any of the fruit. Today was an up tick. Nice spread of fruit, pancakes, eggs, sausage (no sausage and gravy like the other days). It was the best we’ve had so far. Still not up to my hopes, but enough to get me going much better than the previous two days.

At breakfast we dine with Sarah Shields of Berkley CA. Sarah has served on the America by Bike team before. It turns out that she has a daughter the same age as Lindsay and is traveling with a friend who is driving the route to Boise while she rides. On this trip however, Sarah a guest and said it is much more fun than working the ride. Imagine that! Rich and I start the ride today with Sarah. We start along Rt. 26, which is the Oregon Trail. Sarah does a nice job of trying to educate Rich and I about the wildflowers along the route. There are very pretty purple flowers all along one section that we pass. We soon come upon flowers that look like Daisy’s (I said), but she corrected me and now I can’t remember what she called them. As we ride along, mostly single file on a modest berm in rush hour traffic Sarah was drafting behind me at about a 12mph pace on a grade of 5-7% uphill. At one point after a stop she ends up in the lead and comments to me, “You don’t want me in the lead, I go too fast.” I did not get to find out how fast she could go today, but after Rich and I insisted on stopping numerous times to take photo’s of things that interested us, she tired of riding with us and moved on.

Probably the most dramatic thing about today was crossing the Cascades. We first climbed to a mesa with a 10 mile stretch of flats. During that time period, this group formed up to ride our first decent pace line of the trip:

From there we descended and climbed another 3,000 feet to experience a vista that I just couldn't begin to capture with a photo. We could see the road dropping 3,000 feet as it twisted and switched back and forth down the side of the mountain. This was a four mile fast "coast" where you can see for what seems to be forever. Over the vast terrain we couldn't find a man made structure anywere. I guess we are not in suburbia or Ohio any more. At the bottom, the enterance to our Indian Reservation Resort, Kah-nee-ta (complete with Casino) awaited us. As we we all discussed the exhilirating ride with big smiles on our faces, I asked, "Who wants to go back up the mountain and do it again?" I had two takers, Girard from Amesterdam Holland (age 59) and Russel from the State of Delaware who is my age. Russel tried to turn around twice on the ascent but Girrard and I encouraged him not to quit. It was well worth it and Russel had no regrets as we flew down once more to the bottom.

The hotel here is pretty nice. Dinner was a great Italian buffet. After dinner I called home and worked on this. Now it is time for bed!

OSU Grad "Skeeter" on his recumbent. He was in school with me during the same four years I was.

Bye for now!



Joe said...

Ralph - great blog. Great top speed yesterday too - you are only 18mph off your record. Remember, knees in, head down, no pedalling and oh yeah - 150psi tires. I'm expectiong you to find a spot on the trip that is faster than Hocking Hills.

Too Fun!

Daniel said...

thanks for including me in your blog-o-sphere. is some envy ok? jealousy?
you are having too much fun.
dan t

dawn peete said...

Hey Ralph,
Enjoying your pictures and hearing about your daily adventures! Keep up the good work. I am living vicariously through you as you ride through the beauty and great outdoors each day ! Keep us posted.