Day 1 – Reedsport to Eugene

June 10, 2008

Jean writes: The dip into the Pacific seems like weeks ago because so much has happened since then. To start with, we got off late this morning because the car had to be repacked yet again before leaving the motel. And of course, we all stood around watching while Dan wrestled with the luggage, ice chest, and other assorted things, hoping he could, once again, perform the same miracle he did the day before. Once accomplished, I drove them to the end point (13 miles into the trip), and made sure they had all the energy food they needed to finish this day’s trip. Was I optimistic! They stopped often and ate more, and then ate more again. This went on all day, fending off that “bonk” thing that bikers talk so much about!

The setting was beautiful – winding narrow roads, very large evergreens and assorted moss covered trees, lush underbrush and many, deep gorges and various waterways. Maybe a handful of cars passed us all day and two logging trucks. I was glad to experience this first day being as close as I was throughout the route. I’m exceedingly proud of their accomplishments but NEVER did I once say “gee, I wish I were on a bike!” Thank you everyone for your support.

Peter writes: Wow, what an incredible ride! That was epic. If every day is like that one, we will either become superheroes or never finish. I have only worked that hard once before in my cycling life, when I rode a century and wished for a morphine injection at the end. The day started at mile 13 on the route, where we ended up yesterday. Now, mind you, this part of the road was flat and the road surface was glass smooth. Once we got going, this happy state of affairs went on for the next 10 miles, tops. Then reality hit home: not only did we start going up much more often than we went down but the road surface turned into a kind of gravel-with-glue melange. This bumpy surface has two ill effects: it jars you and the bike non-stop and it slows you down dramatically (we estimated perhaps 3-5 mph).

None of this was too bad until we hit the second half of the ride (total distance today: 76.5 miles), when the combination of the road surface, the aggregate distance, and the increasing gradient began to be felt. We started climbing at a low but steady grade, and the road surface got even worse. This slowed us to a near-crawl. First Ian and then my father began to suffer up the grade, then at one of our frequent recovery stops I fell while not moving (I hadn’t clipped out of my right pedal, made a stupid error and went right over). My writhing agony on the ground proved that you can in fact hurt yourself while riding at 0 mph, but in the end I just suffered some bruises. In any case, shortly thereafter we hit an actual mountain climb. Not a hill, a freaking mountain. Of course, one should expect mountains in, um, the mountains, but still the length of the climb was a real eye-opener. We dragged our increasingly fatigued bodies over the top, enjoyed the nice long descent on the other side, and thought the worst of our day was over. Right. A few miles later, after turning on to a new road (which, thankfully, had much better pavement), we hit mountain number 2 for the day, and now it was my turn to suffer. The others quickly dropped me as my pace fell to 6 mph. I began to fantasize about climbing in the van and calling it a day. I was bonking, plain and simple. We stopped 2/3 of the way up and I begged for food. My mother, bless her soul, fed me a PB&J sandwich, which did the trick, and I recovered enough to get to the top. As on the first climb, Brian proved the strongest, dropping the rest of us with some ease. After this, we still had 30 miles to the end, but at least 6 of these were massive downhill runs where my speedometer topped 35 mph for long stretches. In any case, we managed to crawl our way into Eugene, completely exhausted but exhilarated that we had actually made it. THAT was epic!

As my mother said above, the scenery more than made up for these problems. As she wrote, the scenery was stunning: green, green and more green. Incredible, huge, moss-covered trees lined our route (including one particular massive redwood, the size of which I haven’t seen since I was a kid at Sequoia National Park). Our path followed a small river, which occasionally sported waterfalls. And then, of course, there were the mountains on every side of us. Supposedly these woods are crawling with mountain lions, which a local we ran into at the only general store along the route assured me were “harmless”. Nature never ceases to astonish.

  1. Eric (Bub #3) Said,

    Wow, seems pretty incredible Bubs! I don’t think my double ring would make the climb in Oregon but it would be (errr… ) fun. Karen, Kirsten, Cameron and I look forward to the emails to come.

    Best of luck!


    PS. I recall from my Washington state days that the best way to scare off a mountain lion is to make yourself as “big and imposing” as possible, like holding your bike above your head. One of you can do that while the other two “run like heck”!

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