Central Oregon

So… I really think Oregon is a lovely place.  It’s terrible that there are so many fires in the area, because it’s really unpleasant for necessary things like breathing.  I’m doing well because we’ve adapted the schedule in order to make sure I can get in the miles before it gets too hot and subsequently more difficult to breathe.  Tuesday got me from Madras, a small town, to about 10 miles past Prineville – a “city” about half again as large as Madras, with a population about half again as large.  Prineville has a Facebook Data Center just outside of it and one of the meanest climbs I’ve been able to actually ride up since I started.  We had reserved a hotel room in Prineville, and the dear gentleman let us check in two hours early – which was desperately needed.  After my nap I walked over to the bike shop that was 3 doors down and asked what to do about my feet, which are swelling something terrible.  The toe box is actually wide enough, but the skin on my toes gets so tight that they feel like they are on fire.  The sweet lady told me there are numerous people in the Trans-Am race (for which they are a support store) who end up dropping out of the race because their feet swell so badly that they can’t keep their shoes on.  That was not fun news, but I went to the drug store and asked if there was something besides ibuprofen I could take.  Turns out Aleve is also an anti-inflammatory and doesn’t put as much stress on the stomach, so between that and the glucosamine/chondroitin/turmeric supplement I have been taking, I should be able to complete the ride.

Will have to upload maps and stuff when I get home to Utah – the computer isn’t cooperating with saving them at the moment.  🙂

The Smoky Mountains of Oregon?

20170904_183508There are some serious fires in Oregon right now.  It has made the air quite heavy and hot.  Got started early this morning – just before 5AM on the edge of Mount Hood.  Couldn’t find the tape in my bag for the knee, so just got started.  (it was in a different bag – narf.)

Some of the most incredible downhill stretches coming off the side of Mount Hood – I kept thinking I was about to crash I got so fast.  (highest speed 41.7 mph according to my app) In the dark that is very disconcerting.  A rabbit darting out in front of me or even a slight bump in the road could be disastrous – and cause some serious road rash.  Randy is a pretty great support car, keeping pace with me and making sure I’m as safe as I can be out there.  He gives me more light and helps with the feeling that I’m not going to get mowed by a car that doesn’t expect there to be a cyclist on the side of the road at 5:30 AM. He also is responsible for all the drone work and great photos/video of the ride, as well as keeping me motivated – and reminds me that it’s not a race.  The end of today was a four mile climb – only about 1/4 of a mile that I had to walk, because there were cinders on the shoulder that made the tires unstable within about 4 inches of the line.  It’s not safe to ride on them, but it’s way not safe to ride into the road where I was, either.

Big hugs from Madras, Oregon, where the sun (and moon) are a crazy red-orange.

 

All of the miles

So there are 11 states I’ll be riding through on this journey of a lifetime: Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.

As of today I have ridden all of the miles in two of them. (Washington and Idaho)

If all goes as planned, Oregon will be complete by the end of the week.

Yesterday was my fastest 50 miles in many years at 3 hours 45 minutes. It was a good downhill for the first 25 miles, and I was feeling good. Then as I was getting to Malta, Idaho a large dog chased me for about a mile, barking within inches of my heels, and I had to push myself harder than usual to keep from being bitten. By the time he gave up I had expended so much energy it was tough to complete the remaining 18 or so miles, but I did, of course.

Today’s was 68 miles. Mom came with us to see what this thing was all about and there was a HUGE fringe benefit thay let Randy have some time on the road with me. She did a fantastic job, too. (Just like Chuck did last week!)

Anyway, Randy was a trooper. He got 35 miles rocked out, and hasn’t been on a bike in almost a year. It was awesome having him along – literally for the ride. That said, he’s hurting this evening. He may have overdone it a little. I’m more exhausted than hurting.

Rest day tomorrow (and travel to Mount Hood). Happy riding, everyone, and have a LOVELY Labor Day.

Mountain Home to Nampa (almost)

Well, this past Saturday was pretty surreal.  Riding through downtown Mountain Home and then on to the back roads to Simco Road and the Boise Stage Stop took several hours, of course (totalling 76 miles), but the wild thing was coming back.

I’ve been on I-84 hundreds of times.  It takes 5 hours to get from my mom’s house in Boise to my house in Lehi.  Right around Glenn’s Ferry it struck me – this has changed how I see the world.  I’ve ridden almost every mile (save 55, to be done this coming Friday morning) between my mother’s home and mine.  I’ve seen live rattlesnakes and the burned-up corpses of cattle that were caught in a wildfire. I’ve been more afraid of people than I can imagine, and felt more love and admiration than I could comprehend. Riding through sunrises and sunsets, on busy roads and in some places I’d swear I was the only human around for 100 miles or more.

And this one thing I know about this experience: at not quite 17% in, I am not nearly who I will be when I finish.  I think about the Dr. Suess book, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go”, and I think that yes, I will go many places in the next 20 months.  The things I will see, the people I will meet, the thousands of miles that will be completed – 83% of them are still ahead of me, and I am grateful for so many things.

Specifically on this ride, I had the help of my dear Father in Law, Chuck Peterson.  Randy had signed up for a 5k run last year, and Chuck volunteered to be my support driver.  He was so patient and always encouraging.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I am also grateful for cell phones. Yeah, I know – cheesy. But seriously, I would be lost (literally and figuratively) without the GPS and nearly constant contact with whoever is driving around following me.

I’m grateful for my friends – whether you’re here voluntarily or because we were born into the same family, you are my friends, and I am grateful for your cheers and love. I am in awe of you, and you often keep me going.  (Stephanie and Tom, thanks for breakfast and the super cute bicycle dress!)

Of course Randy gets a huge thank you – he’s there every pedal stroke of the way (all but my four fastest ships, of course). Even when he can’t be there, he texts to make sure I’m doing well and cheers me on from afar.  He’s the stability to the whole ride and forces me to actually make a plan that we can stick to.  Even when I want to just fly by the seat of my pants.

Most of all I’m grateful tonight for the freedom my parents gave me to become… well, me.  I’m sure it was not easy raising a daughter who wanted to do everything herself and had so many crazy schemes. I sometimes think I “should” be more conforming; more “normal”; more… well, boring, as I see it. But while they would have loved to see me become someone a little more conventional, I’m guessing, they let me become someone who can dream as big as my imagination can take me. I’m not doing something that will change the world. But it is changing my world.  I believe I’m changing it for the better.

Love to all!  Happy riding!  Day Nine

 

561 miles down, 3,239 to go…

Well, according to the map and my GPS, I have completed more than 561 miles.  That’s not quite 15%.

This weekend I’ll do another 70 and then Labor Day week will get another 393 done over the 7 days (Friday to Saturday). At that point I will be 27% done.

 

And yes, I had to put that in a chart in Excel to get a good visual of what that meant.

Graph - 8.24

August 19, 2017 Wendell, Idaho to almost Mountain Home

Day Eight Part OneDay Eight Part Two

Well the morning was BEAUTIFUL. (See video taken near Bliss, Idaho, 2 hours after I started.)

Hammett hill, however, was still 25 miles ahead of me, and it’s a 6% grade for a full mile. I’d killed several hills leading up to it, and was feeling good, but about 1/4 mile into the climb my legs were on fire and I was a little nervous about not being able to get unclipped and crashing again, so I got unclipped and started walking. Kept thinking I was almost to the top only to discover there was more hill. This is on the Oregon Trail Road. It crosses the Oregon Trail several times, and the damage to the earth after more than 150 years is still evident. But I have a healthy respect for those pioneers, who braved the wild WITHOUT bicycles and paved roads and Mapquest and the support vehicle bringing them ice water, protein bars and encouragement. It is during the hardest parts that I recognize that there is NO WAY I’m doing this crazy thing without my intense support group.

So for that support, I thank each of you. I thank Randy all the time, of course. He’s in the trenches with me. But also those following my progress. I think of you on these long rides. Your comments and encouragement are helping me along.

 

For those following the maps, there are two – Friday night I “made up” the 16 miles left out the previous week.  🙂

The map – an overview

Map OverviewIn response to the request for a map I am posting this overview.  Will post each day’s ride as I complete it, as this is just the plan and I’m not entirely certain where I will be riding each day. (that and, you know, the Google Map fiasco…)

I will also be adding each day’s map to the post about the ride, so if you find you’re bored late some evening and want to see where I’ve been, you can bounce around on the site and view the updates.  🙂

East of Eden

 

Eden, IdahoSo about 3 miles after I took this picture all hell broke loose. (literally just past the 34 mile mark)  The map took me up a hill that looked perfectly normal, so I shifted into a “granny gear” and started to pedal hard to get up.  But managed to throw the chain.  Which would have been fine, but I couldn’t get unclipped from the bike.  Randy had just passed me heading up the hill to make sure I was going the right way, so didn’t see me crash on the side of the road when I lost forward momentum, which happens very quickly when your chain isn’t engaged in the sprocket.

I lay there for somewhere between 3 & 5 minutes trying to figure out if I was more hurt than I thought.  My knee was bleeding just a little bit, and I had the wind knocked out of me, but I could find nothing significant.  Randy had been waiting up the road for me, and came looking to see what had happened just as I got up.

Once we got me going the right direction again, I was okay for several miles, but kept getting hit by a head wind that would take my breath away.  My ribs ached like I’d just landed on the ground. Attributing it all to the wind, I texted Randy and had him come back and I’d head the other direction for the second half.

Got to the “finish” and discovered that my rear tire wasn’t holding air so we went to a bike shop about 10 miles away and got new sealant in the tire, which seemed to fix the problem. (Thank you and shout out to Rock’s Cycling and Fitness in Burley, Idaho – you totally saved me!)

I only got about 10 miles in the reverse direction. I knew there was a significant problem when I walked up a very steep hill in the heat and saw that there was only unpaved road in front of me, and it was 94 degrees. There were some beautiful shady trees on my right and the greenest grass I’d seen all day, so I sat down and waited for Randy to come up the hill.  (He’d been following me pretty closely because of the heat and the pace I was going through water/ice)  He drove right past me while I was sitting there stretching.  Lol.

Anyway, when he came back around, he got out and sat down with me and just let me vent.  I still had 18 miles to go, (made just more than 50 miles) and I was frustrated, hot, and exhausted.  I would have been crying, but the tears wouldn’t come (was pretty dehydrated, too). Was lying on the grass and could feel my heart beating super-fast through my whole body.  Had Randy put a timer on his phone for one minute, and I was at 180 bpm, which is 8 bpm faster than my absolute maximum for my age, and I’d been sitting down for almost 20 minutes.  My breathing was normal.

The owners of the home where the super green grass and shade was came out and visited with us for a little bit. They were shocked that I would attempt such a thing and offered lunch and ice water.  I’d eaten just a mile before, and dehydration always makes me nauseous when it comes to ice water or food, so we sat and chatted a little longer and then hit the road home.  Slept for a long time in the car and again when I got home.  I am one gigantic bruise on my right side, and everything hurts, but I don’t believe I’m actually broken.  Just old.  Lol. I may just stay in Utah this coming Saturday and do a few less miles to make sure I recover before hitting the road again as hard.  Probably will stay on the route, but 30 miles should suffice if I get a good early start and monitor the heat.Day Seven Part One

Day Seven Part Two.PNG

Saturday’s Ride 8/5

Okay, the “easy” plan using Google maps turned out to be… not so great.  Love Google’s interface, just not so much the execution.  If it has a name, Google will tell you that you can ride it on a bicycle.  Even if the pavement turns into a dirt road… that goes through an Air Force bombing range.

Bombing range

By the time we had gone a few miles in the soft gravel it was evident even the newly acquired hybrid bike wasn’t going to work, and we found another route.  But nearly 8 hours in the heat, dust, and increasing smoke from a fire 200 miles away (pray for Pocatello!) had me struggling to breathe after only 3 1/2 hours of actual riding, and a grueling 20 miles, so we called it a day.

Got home last evening and revamped the plan – we stopped at a truck stop on the way home for gas, and found a Trucker’s Atlas, so got that – will be marking the map and only taking roads that big rigs could drive on (or paved trails through cities – yeah, I’ll cave on that part).  Paper wins the day for the planning portion.

Happy riding!