We started off on a warm morning and ended up in a somewhat frigid afternoon.
We began our ninety mile ride in Sutherland, where it was nearly eighty degrees at 8 am. The ride was easy, at least for the first forty miles or so. Then we ran into the big hill. It was a killer. Cycle Oregon uses sag vans. These vans pick up exhausted, lazy, weak-willed or out-of-shape riders along the route and give them a ride to our next destination. I noticed a ton of bikes loaded onto each passing sag van as I drove my bicycle relentlessly up the monstrous hill at nearly three miles an hour.
After I got over the hill, and by the way I felt that way, I stood behind an attractive Asian woman at a bathroom. The next day, I realized I was standing behind the same woman. So I mentioned that I’d stood behind her the day before. Our conversation ended abruptly when a port-a-pottie became available. Later, she rode past me and said hello. Imagine the odds of that occurring out of 2,200 riders and hundreds of support people going to the bathroom.
That second day we rode into Reedsport with the temperature in the high fifties and the weather kind of drizzy, with occasional drops of rain bombing our jackets.
We left Reedsport the following day. Something was different this day. My body was still feeling the effects of the day before. I noticed, however, a lot more sag vans loaded with riders. I coasted down a long driveway into a state park where lunch was being served 42 miles into the ride. A ton of people followed me. When I left the park I had a strange feeling, like I’d been abandoned. There were hardly any of us leaving. Most of the better riders had left long ago. They were also the riders that left earlier. Of the 2250 riders, I’d been around number 1535 when I came into a rest stop prior to lunch. That means there were about 700 riders behind me and 1534 ahead of me.
Of course, a ton of riders started at 6:30am, but Derek and I usually left base camp more than an hour and a half later. That partially explains why I felt lonely now and then after lunch, with long expanses of not seeing other riders. But those sag vans loaded with bikes passing me by after lunch confirmed that many of those behind me had called it a day.
I fear that on day six I, too, may have to call it a day and drag my exhausted body into a sag van. We have a thirty-nine mile, 3400 feet climb that day. Hopefully that won’t happen.
Tonight I got lucky. Somehow, after feeling weak for many miles, I picked up strength and powered my way into Bandon, Oregon with Derek. Day four is a day of rest. But I’ll still report on it.