Cycle Oregon Journal

Missing a whole week of school would seem to be a dream come true for most people, but not for me. Unwillingly, I was pulled out of school to join my dad in Cycle Oregon – one of the most esteemed cycling trips occurring in the world—one for which people come from all over in order to ride it. The annual Cycle Oregon changes its route each year and this year we would be heading out to the coast and back, for a total of 500 miles. This is the travel log I kept as I rode towards enlightenment on the fine art of cycling.

Journal Day 1: The Pink Haired Lady and Confederates
Took about three hours to drive to Sutherlin. Tiny town. It was incredibly warm for September, near 92°. I appeared to be the youngest kid within ear shot. At the local high schools gym, a lady with pink hair, eyelashes, finger nails, and lips checked in my dad and me. It took awhile to find our tent space since several hundred tents were already set up.

At 6 p.m. we went and stood in line for dinner at the food tent. Pretty decent meal for 2,000 people: ribs, lemon rice, salad and steamed vegetables. After dinner, I saw an interesting sight outside of the local market. There was a truck with maybe eight people hanging around it and in the back of the truck was the confederate flag. Sort of disturbing if you ask me. I had my camera in my pocket, but I figured it wouldn’t be a good idea to take a photo.

Journal Day 2: Sutherlin to Cottage Grove “Hill and Dale” (70 miles) – The Shake-out ride… of hills?

Last night was terrible. On numerous occasions I awoke to a snore-off between the tents to my left, right, behind me and, of course, my dad. Went to breakfast and was excited to see eggs. Then I tried them. Try to guess what the “eggs” really were (see photo).

I would be considered a considerably fit rider, being so young and a runner, however I quickly learned that cycling isn’t similar to running, at all. The difficulty lies in my bike. It’s my dad’s old handmade, steel frame bike with down tube shifters. Essentially, this bike was not meant for me since it’s a racing bike, which means its set up for aggressive riding. At lunch I ate six cookies. After arriving at town I went through what seemed like a million bags to find mine, and took a freezing cold shower.

Journal Day 3: Cottage Grove to Reedsport “Roller coast-er” (90 miles) & 4: Reedsport to Bandon “Cape Crusaders” (76 miles) – Losing my favorite pencil while receiving manna from heaven.

I lost my mechanical pencil. Ended up finding a pen (perhaps stealing one from the chair next to my tent…)

During the day’s ride there are food stops, however, the line to actually retrieve food is incredibly long. The ride this day was a total of 90 miles, but supposedly 30 of it was gradual downhill. The longest “practice ride” my dad and I ever took was 26 miles; this ride quadruples it. I also noticed that a large amount of people took the sag wagon- van that takes you back to camp if you become too exhausted or don’t want to ride anymore. My dad and I both agreed that no matter what happened, we would never sag to camp (we never did). At mile 77 there was a final rest stop. I downed cupcakes and other food. Those last 13 miles did not feel good.

I ate probably five pounds of pasta for dinner. My dad and I had our bikes fitted after dinner. The man who fitted us- for free- was amazing. He quickly adjusted our bikes to match our body geometrics. He recommended that I shouldn’t ride my dad’s old bike- since it was too long for me, and would be uncomfortable. That it was.

I was a wreck in the morning. Essentially felt like a jack hammer went to town on my body. Took some pain killers, and rode out into a heavy fog that was slightly damp. After lunch that day I met the Seven Devils (large hills). I arrived at camp and plopped down in my chair. Didn’t move for a long time.

Journal Day 5: Bandon-Port Orford Layover Option “Parks in Paradise” (0 or 67 miles) – Mr. Officious himself

Woke up this morning at 8 a.m., in Bandon. We had the option of taking a rest today. Went to the breakfast tent, ate and then went back to sleep in my tent. I woke up at around 11 in a sauna (The sun was out and was heating up the inside of the tent). Not pleasant. I jumped out of my tent and headed downtown with my dad. There, we played put-put. Left, after eating lunch, for the beach, it was quite foggy (as we walked), but right when we got to the beach it cleared for a few minutes. Took a few good photos before the fog rolled back.

Later, while hanging out in the beer garden with my dad, an incredibly intoxicated man came up and looked right at me. “Do you know what officious means (wiggles eyebrows)?” I said nothing. He went on to explain to me what officious means -Intrusively enthusiastic in offering help or advice; interfering- and then he gave me an odd example. To him, officious is the people that wake up at 4 in the morning and shine their lights into his tent to find the bathroom.

That night, for entertainment, there was a bike rodeo. I saw some amazing stuff and wished I had my camera with me. There was flaming-boxing-glove bike jousting, bike limbo, a bike destruction derby and tricks. I saw stop, drop, and roll for the first time (or more like throw bike into crowd and writhe on the ground).

Journal Day 6: Bandon to Powers “Pedaling Pastoral” (60 miles) – Riding fast and latching onto trains

 

Max speed today was 39 mph. At camp, I read books and then headed up to the Trek factory, bike demos tent to exchange my bike for a test bike (for tomorrow’s climb). On the way, I noticed loud music from the tennis courts. A Zumba class. It is interesting seeing people try to follow the instructor when they are all sore. For dessert they had cheesecake- bleh.

 

 

Journal Day 7: Powers to Riddle “Stairway to Heaven” (85 miles) – And it’s (nearly) all downhill after that

Today holds the hardest hill. We had to go over a mountain pass to get back on the road towards Sutherlin. At the top of the hill, I had a fateful encounter. Imagine this: There I was waiting to use a Honey Bucket when out comes Mr. Officious. He sees me, points at me, and walks towards me. My jaw drops. I turn and am in the running stance when he taps my shoulder and asks, “Have you ever seen Guys and Dolls?” Before I ever even have the chance to answer he continues, “Sit down, you’re rocking the boat! That’s where that’s from! HAHAHAHA!” He walks away. I stood there for a second in awe. Who was this guy and what was the point of his story/question? The final 20 miles were incredibly difficult and seemed to tick slowly away.

When my dad and I arrived at camp we couldn’t stop laughing from pain. Dropped my clothes into a pool of water in the shower truck so I had to wear soaking wet clothes for awhile. Main Street in this town was only four blocks long with ten or so stores. I found a small little wooden shop that had a sign for ice cream and I couldn’t resist. Into the shop I went. The owner sold yarn hats and ice cream. Odd combination if you ask me. The ice cream here was only a $1 for two scoops. Back at camp it was $5.50. Blasphemy! I bought two scoops of cookie dough and ate as we walked back to our tent. We plan to ride furiously tomorrow to get home before 2 p.m. We have a picnic to go to.

Journal Day 8: Riddle to Sutherlin “Water to Wine” (52 miles) – Once In a Life time Experience

Woke up at 5 a.m. to be on the road by 6:30. I felt like an Otter Pop. It was freezing. We arrived in Sutherlin dead beat. Finding our bags was a nightmare- they were just throwing them all over the ground in gigantic piles. Luckily our bags stood out amongst the other brightly colored bags. Planning to be home at 1:30 p.m., we made it at 1:26. Unpacked the car and my bag. Went upstairs and took a shower, where I thought about this trip. I will probably never do this again, unless I don’t have a job or if it isn’t during school. On a good note I now have a great college essay on Mr. Officious (and Cycle Oregon).