Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Day 57: Mitchell, OR to Redmond, OR (73 Miles)

They are not Henry. That's Rich and Rob, two really nice photographers who gave me a wealth of knowledge regarding Portland. I'm really excited to spend some time in the city; however, I need to get to the coast first!

That's Henry. He's overweight and bored. Please save him. Anyone interested in the "Free Henry" cause, please travel to Mitchell, Oregon with a pair of wire clippers and a good pair of running shoes...

I wasn't necessarily looking forward to riding this morning. This feeling usually accompanies the fact that I have to face a mountain ascent. This morning featured such a climb up to Ochoco Pass. This would be a 2,000 foot climb in just under 10 miles. On the other hand, the morning is the best time to conquer such climbs, due to cooler temperatures and stronger muscles. I stopped a few times to eat some "complimentary" muffins I took from the hotel and chug down some water. The climb went by a lot faster than I was dreading and I was already heading down from the Blue Mountains and towards the Cascades.

The descent wasn't as enjoyable as it should have been, due to a strong enough headwind that made the ride feel like a slight uphill. A strong wind during descents is quite the insult, but I didn't let it get to me. I thoroughly enjoyed the smell of pine and the breeze kept me from sweating too much. I noticed small forest fires on the horizon, which the photographers had warned me of. Apparently, these fires are so common, that you could be stopped by local firefighters and given a shovel to help out in deterring the fires. I'm sure these winds are quite the nuisance to firefighters as well. I passed Ochoco Lake and found myself in Prineville for lunch. I stopped at a Quizno's and studied the maps. I planned to try to make it to Sisters, with a quick stop at a bike shop in Redmond to look at my slowly deflating front tire. As I turned up a bend on Route 370, I soon faced a terrible, terrible wind.

The ride to Redmond was far more challenging than I had envisioned. The slight uphill, matched with very strong winds, made for a slow, dreadful crawl. The sun also began to bare down on me and by the following picture, well... you can see how I was feeling...

I made it into Redmond a little after 3:30PM and I decided to call it a day. I found a place called "Trinity Bikes" and found a shop run by some young kids. They definitely knew their bike stuff and we took a look at my front tire. Due to the longer Presta stem, I had caused a small puncture near the stem and we replaced the inner-tube, one with a smaller stem. Problem solved. I hope.

Tomorrow features the last major climb of my trip, McKenzie Pass. This pass is located near Mount Washington (7,794 ft) and Black Crater (7,251 ft). This pass is typically shut down up until July, due to snow. This is the doorway leading into West Oregon and a very wet climate. As you can tell, I've grown tired of arid climates and I'm really excited to delve into this final stretch of Oregon. I'm almost there... almost there.

In response to Ashley May's request, I'm going to do one better than my last post and attempt to explain why I'm riding...

I think I'm riding for the sole reason to better myself. It would be disingenuous of me to say I'm solely riding for the kids of Montaña de Luz. The fundraiser is just an amazing side-effect of this selfish act I've set forth and I'm forever grateful to those who made this an outstanding success. I'm riding to remove myself from the things I take for granted... my apartment, my friends, my job, my dog, etc. I'm riding to remove myself from any form of complacency and giving myself over to the hospitality and kindness of other people. I'm riding to cleanse myself of unhealthy habits and for a renewal in energy... a high colonic of the soul, if you will. I'm riding for the adventure. I'm riding to make new life-long friends and to spur on others to share in this universal experience. There's an unknown "something" about riding that I've seen in the eyes of fellow travelers, a twinkle of pure joy that goes unspoken. I'm riding because I can and I'm already longing for another experience just like this.

Here's the reason... I'm riding, because it's life amplified to it's fullest extent.


Grandma said...

Blake, That's beautiful!

Momma said...


may said...

I appreciate your thoughtfulness.

p.s. Your picture made me laugh. I hope you don't mind. :)

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