Returned home yesterday after participating in the 25th anniversary edition of Cycle Oregon. It was as fun as it was challenging. The rough numbers:
Day 1: Bly to Silver Lake, 70 miles, 3,900’ of climbing.
Day 2: Silver Lake to Ft. Klamath, 81 miles, 2’600’ of climbing
Day 3: Ft. Klamath to Prospect via Crater Lake and around the rim road, 90 miles, 7,000’ of climbing
Day 4: Prospect to Ashland, 78 miles, 5,800’ of climbing
Day 5: Day off in Ashland
Day 6: Ashland to Klamath Falls, 65 miles, 5,600’ of climbing
Day 7: Klamath Falls to Bly, 65 miles, 2,150’ of climbing.
I suspect the elevation figures are a bit low as there were many small ups and downs each day that were probably not captured.
A large pack of howling coyotes entertained us the night before the first day of riding. When we started out for Crater Lake at 6:57 a.m. it was at or near freezing (three nights there was ice on the tent fly). Fortunately, the climbing to the rim started in earnest around mile 6 so it helped warm things up. Getting around the rim was harder than I remembered when I first did it five years ago. With the out and back to Cloud Cap Overlook, we got to 8,000’ in elevation. Four other places we exceeded the 7,000’ mark. The day ended with a 30 mile descent into Prospect, about half of which was rip roaring.
Overall, the roads were mostly devoid of traffic. On Day 1 we probably saw a half dozen non-event related vehicles. That’s no exaggeration. All of the host towns and those that we stopped in were welcoming in every aspect. At Silver Lake, a resident was selling corn, sausage, ice cream and other treats outside of his home. Dozens of people relaxed on his soft lawn under his shady trees while they refueled. At Ft. Klamath we camped on a working cattle ranch. We had to kick dried cow pies out of the way to set up the tent.
Most of the food and water stops were either in forested areas or in lovely town parks. The 15 mile descent into Ashland, home of the Oregon Shakespeare festival, is one of the state’s iconic descents. Needing to rest our legs, we skipped the optional 24 mile climb to Mt. Ashland during the day off since we had climb out of Ashland the way we had come in the following day. Never before had I seen so many loopy people at the top of a hill. Klamath Falls, our last overnight stop, put on a 15 min. fireworks display for us. Not even a hint of rain, and the few days that were on the hot side seemed comfortable because of the lack of humidity in most places.
And it's small world. The first night in Ashland I ran into a volunteer who I had gone to junior high with back in the late 70s. The next day I ran into a woman who was in law school with me. She was also volunteering with the ride.
Pictures are being edited and will be available shortly.