My ride is over, but the memories will last forever.

A life long dream fulfilled ... a great cause ... new friends ... amazing support

Thanks to everyone who helped make a difference!

I have maxed out the picture space on this blog. To see my postings for Day 42 (August 1st) onward click the link below:

GOTO Mark's Trek - NEW Daily BLOG (August 1st Onward)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Day 3 -- June 23nd -- Welches, OR to Ka-Nee-Tah, OR

Miles Ridden: 65.2
Avg Speed: 13.8
Avg Heart Rate: 141 bpm
Climbing: 4,780 ft
Calories Burned: 4,206

Climbing ... Descending ... Snow Capped Mountains ... Lush Forests ... Dessert ... Wild Horses ... Gambling ... Great Conversation ... Great People ... And it's only Day 3

A memorable day spent with new found friends, wonderful views, and some of the best climbing and descending I have seen.  The day also allowed me some solitude on the road that provided time to think about how I got here and what it all means.  On the surface, my personal motivations seem simple ... fulfill a life long dream and push myself to see and experience things I have not.  But it goes deeper.  Riding has enabled me to change my life and help so many people.  I thought about where I would have been had I not used my father-in-law's passing as a motivator to get healthy and rekindle my passion for cycling.  His energy and love of life were with me today ... I rode as strong as I can remember and took time to listen to my surroundings and the people I have met.  I am learning to stretch my comfort zone and look below the surface at both myself and others.  Leo would be proud of what I have become, but more importantly, of where I am going and how the path has changed so much from the one I was on just a short seven years ago.

The route thanks to Jeff ... almost 5,000 feet of climbing ...

The elevation chart ...

The day started with a hearty breakfast at the Whistle Stop Bar & Grille.  I finally got some pancakes!  We set out for a climb up Mt Hood ... almost 3,000 feet in 13 miles.  The grades were steady and the scenery amazing.  As expected, Mark and Jeff had their climbing legs and pushed ahead.  Dave and I found a good rhythm and made a few stops for some great photos.  Our legs and lungs were working good as we steadily passed the virtually all but the fastest riders and made the summit about ten minutes after Mark and Jeff.

The descent through lush forests was awesome.  I screamed down at a blistering 35+ mph pace and broke 40 a few times.  It felt great!  My energy was high and helped push me up the second shorter climb and onto a long 20 mile descent.  My adrenaline had sent me past my riding buddies and soon I found myself alone with my thoughts and senses.  I was able to bridge the gap to a few of the fastest riders including Bob from Virgina and Kay from Arkansas.  Bob and I connected just before the trip.  He rode the last 30 days back in 2006 and wanted to add the first 20 this year.  He will be with us until Jackson Hole.  Kay is also with us until Jackson Hole.  She is here with her boyfriend Jay and his niece Allison.  Allison just graduated high school and will be ride the full 50 days with us.  I rode with Kay and Bob to second rest stop.  The crew arrived about 15 minutes later and we had headed out for the final 20 miles together.

Just prior to the second rest stop, the scenery changed significantly.  We had entered the Oregon dessert.  Trees were replaced by brush and grasslands.  The views of the Cascades were incredible.  We entered the Warm Springs Indian Reservation with continued photo ops of the Cascades including the Three Sisters.  One last climb pushed my heart rate to 90% of maximum, but led the way to one of the most exhilarating descents I have have had. Mark and I could not stop commenting on how awesome it was and that we were going to be doing this for 50 days!  We flew down over 1,000 feet into the a valley right out of the old west.  Unlike the other downhills earlier, this was more technical and required some effective descending techniques.  Toward the bottom we passed through a large cliff formation and found some wild horses grazing near the rocks.

What goes down, must go up ... the ride ended with a steep 10% plus climb to our hotel for the night.  The Ka-Nee-Tah High Dessert Resort & Casino is truly an oasis in a very barren area.  After a carb loading spaghetti dinner we had a group picture taken ... 54 riders with 47 going the full distance. We will pick up a few additional segment riders along the way.  Tomorrow we head to Prineville tomorrow.  Another 3600 feet of climbing over 61 miles.  The big 117 mile day on Friday looms ...