Well, I can’t believe it. I made it: 50 rides AND Cycle Oregon. Thank you so much for cheering these wheels. The rides on Cycle Oregon were… stunning. Doing such long rides back-to-back was really challenging. Unlike most of the 2,200 riders this week, I took 2 days off, the 2 optional days. Even still, I rode 358.3 miles, for a total elevation gain of 21,722 feet.
As you may have read in The Oregonian, the last ride was the hardest last day they’ve ever planned: 73 miles with 6,650 feet elevation gain. The picture on the right is a sweet canyon we climbed out of at the very beginning of the day. We had approximately 40 miles of climbing. (That may be worth repeating: 40 miles!) And at the summit, we still had rollers. My legs were mush by then. My friend, Dave, who has completed 9 COs and is an animal up the hills, kept me laughing. Otherwise, he might have had to tow me. Seriously, I had nothing in my legs. The good thing, besides the amazing scenery and the shared sense of discomfort and dismay, was the cloud cover. The temperature was perfect: between 60 and 70 degrees.
The last 20 miles were blissful. We glided down along a dry stream at about 25-30 mph on a road with very few cars. The town of Elgin was even more welcoming, and I felt downright euphoric (perhaps deliriously tired, too) returning to Elgin. Here’s a picture of Dave and me on the way to the (separate) showers at the end:
After we showered (separately) and threw our bags in Dave’s truck, we ate the entire town of LaGrand. The 5-hour ride was tricky because we couldn’t move our legs, but somehow we made it home. Phew.
Tomorrow starts my school year, and I know that no one has sympathy if I whine about going back to work. May I just say that this summer has been one I will never forget: the summer of privilege, the summer of love. I have never felt so held. And I can’t believe how fortunate I’ve been: Africa, building a house, the riches of friendship, seeing my sibs, spending time with Cheryl, sending our daughter off to college, transforming our front yard, and more. Overwhelming is one word for this summer. Abundance is another. I am just so incredibly grateful.