In Oregon - not so much. We knew we had the gear to head out there yesterday, but riding in the cold and rain is not something we do on a regular basis. Yesterday was an adventure we did not wish to repeat. This morning, as we contemplated the ride from Chemult to Oakridge (or possibly beyond), we faced the clouds and the forecast and then, screwing up our courage, we bundled up and headed out for what we feared could be a repeat of yesterday's ride.
|Our shadow! Oh, bliss!|
But the weather gods were kind to us today! Although it was bitterly cold (Roger's Garmin read from 34 to 36 degrees most of the morning!) we did not have rain. We rode often on wet roads, leading us to think that we were somehow skirting the showers, arriving just after they had passed through. And always, just up there somewhere to the west of us, we kept our sights trained on that small patch of blue . . .
The open sky represents hope to a cyclist. We may not reach it, but we can ride toward it, and we can dream. Once or twice today, we even hit a small sunny patch and were able to see our shadow! That was a real luxury.
Our route continued north on Hwy 97 until we reached the turnoff for Hwy 58. This crosses the Cascades at the relatively modest elevation of 5178 feet at Willamette Pass. Mostly, the road slopes gradually up over 20 miles or so as you gain and lose the same 40 feet over and over. Along the way, we passed Crescent Lake, and Odell Lake, which FOMs (friends of Mark Friis) will remember as the start of that treacherous day on the cinder road.
|Odell Lake in winter attire|
Finally we ascended the last couple hundred feet, and then had a fantastic descent through the forest, racing the stream down to town. Whee! We had both been looking forward to riding down along the Umpqua River again, like we did last summer. Changing our route meant we could not do that again, and we were regretting that we would miss it. But this descent was in every way its equal!
|A touch of snow at the summit|
In one of those marvelous coincidences of timing, we got through the entire five miles of 6% with no cars coming up from behind. I was glad of that, for the road was a bit wet and the clouds hung low on the mountain. It was beautiful - the old conifers with their deep greens contrasting with the vine maples coming out in their bright spring green. Rounding corners of dark grey granite glistening with the moisture, like they had been polished. I would have taken more photos, but I was hanging on for dear life!
|A beautiful but damp descent|
|A very nice IPA|
Roger and I had both been thinking, "if we continue to stay dry, and get to Oakridge in good shape, then maybe we will just press on to Eugene." But shortly after the 50 mile mark, we had a few sprinkles, and though they did not ever get serious, I thought we'd done plenty of riding for the day and suggested that we stick with the plan and stay in Oakridge for the night.
After lunch at the Brewers Union (nano-brewery in town) we landed at the Oakridge Lodge Guest House, a very cool B and B type lodging that caters to cyclists. Roger was able to clean and lube the bike (tools provided) and we are shortly going to have a nice dinner at the adjacent Bistro. Apparently, Oakridge is something of a mountain biking mecca. Check it out!
The day's report: Chemult to Oakridge, 60.5 miles/1381 to date