Sunday, 31 July 2011

Day 87 Sisters to Mckenzie Bridge

I have to say that today has been up there with the best rides of the tour. After leaving the ranch early and riding the few miles into the 'boutique' trendy town of Sisters I could not resist calling in at the Sisters Coffee House for a latte and wholemeal apple muffin. On the eay out I bumped into Sally so I went back in and had another.

When the cycling finally started we had the small matter of the 10 mile ascent up to the volcanic lava fields of the Mckenzie Pass below Mount Washington. And it was glorious. No wind, good gradient, no RV's or trucks as road too narrow, and shade all the way up thanks to the tall trees on each side. And then at the top friendly tourists handi.g out ice cool water. The descent down the other side was even better. Ten miles of steep tree lined switchbacks all the way down, with a nice little deli at the end for lunch. Very civilised, only 46 miles, without doubt my kind of cycling.

And the icing on the cake. We are eating out tonight and only 2 more days before we get to Florence the official end of the route.

Miles Today  46
Total           4501

Day 86 Prineville to Sisters

Today has been gloriously easy so far, no wind, little hills and only 38 miles. The snow capped peaks in the pboto are the Cascades and are the last geographical barrier before we hit the Pacific Coast. We cross via the Mckenzie Pass which has only been open for two weeks. I can tell that we are getting closer to Seattle as the taste of the coffee is definately getting better, although I cant smell the ocean yet.

Tonight we are being hosted by Patti and Annrka on their ranch just outside Sisters. A beautiful house in an idyllic location with stunning views of the Cascades. And the added bonus of a natural freshwatet pool for swimming in the back garden. It had to be done.

Miles Today 46
Total          4455

Friday, 29 July 2011

Day 85 Mitchell to Prineville

Todays 'easy day' started with a testing 10 mile ascent up on to the Ochaca Pass followed by a 'flat' 30 mile dezcent with headwind into Prineville where I am now sat having a latte in Starbucks. Once again the cafe designated for lunch on the Q sheets was closed down. It's not just the UK in recession.

Today was also my final day in the camp kitchen so with the help of my sous-chef Jack  ( pictured below) I treated the group to my speciality wan kai thai red fish curry with petit pois followed by a desert of tri berry parfait topped with yoghurt a.d drizzled with honey. Had to substitute red snapper for cod but it seemed to work as they all came back for more.

Tomorrow we are staying on a ranch and as it is a short day and they dont want us there too early we are actually having a 7AM breakfast. And about time too!

Miles Today 54
Total        4406

Day 84 Prarie City to Mitchell

Todays ride was the wrong way round for me. 50 mile descent followed  by 30 mile ascent followed by 5 mile descent into town. Only to find no showets and all the restaurants closed. So instead of the scheduled eating out night Terry and Jason saved the day by servi.g up an improvised meal of hot dogs, Jasons 'pasta like momma makes' and fruit salad.
The ride today was pretty tough and very hot in the afternoon as we were climbing up an amazingly  scenic canyon. I feel on this trip that I have been on the set of every Cowboy and Indian film that I have ever seen.
Also met a couple of bikers Greg and Chuck ( who was on the inaugural 1976 Transam ride and sporting a rather fine Bianchi cycling shirt) and who were good company on the hill. They ended up staying on our campsite and our chefs very kindly offered them our leftovers and we even let them cool their warm beer in our ice bag.
Very generous us Transamers.

Miles today: 84
Total miles: 4,350

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Day 83 Baker City to Prairie City

A very tiring ride today as we had 3 major climbs over 5000' as well as a warm up climb at the start. Why is it that after a rest day I always feel lethargic on the bike. Can someone please explain. And it is nothing to do with beer.

I started late today after a small lay in ( has to be done wben you have the luxury of a motel bed )  so  I fully expected everybody else to be in front. I was therefore quite surprised to hear Ellen's bell behind me and then Kelly mid morning.  Should have realised they had been loitering in Mcdonalds. I usually catch up Jack mid afternoon which I did today. Jack likes to take his time ( which I like) and usually departs between 5 and 6AM. He is also one of the special few in the group who can actually say that they have cycled the wbole route so far. Good on yer Jack. He also has aspirations to become a fully fledged member of the Stop and Stare team.

It goes without saying that the scenery today as we followed the Oregon scenic byeway was resplendent.

Miles Today 68
Total          4267

Total Sponsorship  £3965.00
Gift Aid                     £807.06

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Day 82 Layover Day in Baker City

Our final rest day before we arrive in Florence at the official end of the Trans America cycle route. Most of the group are looking forwatd to the end now whereas I am looking forward to a new adventure cycling up the Pacific coast by myself. I am hoping that I will have enough time at the end  to rent a motorbike and spend a few days exploring Canada.
As I suspected the last week of the tour is not going to be a gentle descent to the Pacific coast. We have at least 6 setious climbs to get through.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Day 81 Halfway to Baker City

Today was billed as a tough day and it was. Breakfast at 5 30AM followed by a stiff climb and descent into the town of Richland where I fortified myself for the next ascent up onto the Oregon high desert with a double pancake stack and obligatory maple syrup. Delicious. At this point even earlier  birds Kelly and Ellen departed, They are always hyperactive when we are due to stay over at a town with a Mcdonalds.

The problem with the really hot days is that watet bottles get hot making the contents taste even more disgusting than usual. (American water does not taste good). So today I tried a new tactic. A peppermint tea bag in the bottle. And it worked up to a point.

Cant say the same about the wind though. It just blows and blows. The last five miles today were downhill on the route profile but just as I reached the summit of the last climb of the day
out it came with a vengeance.

And so into historical Baker City where I found a very nice ice cream parlour. So I parked up the bike, sat down and ordered the biggest sundae on the menu with all the trimmings and was about to enjoy the first mouthful when I suddenly noticed that my bike was not where I left it. 

No panic, somebody must have moved it. But it really wasn't there. For a few seconds I had that totally sinking feeling and then Jason popped his grinning face around the corner. Luckily he didn't steal the ice cream as well.

Finally I am able to announce that my sponsorship target is back on track thanks to an incredibly generous donation from Joel and Marla relatives of Cathy who joined us for a few days back in Yellowstone Park.

Miles Today  54
Total          4193

Total Raised   £3765.00
Gift Aid           £  757.06