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)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Day 6 -- June 26th -- John Day, OR to Baker City, OR

Miles Ridden: 80.8
Avg Speed: 14.3 mph
Avg Heart Rate: 125 bpm
Climbing: 4,699 ft
Calories Burned: 4,031

More climbing ... more food ... more views ... some pain ... Dave earns big points ... wind

Our accommodations on Friday were not quite what we had had the previous nights.  The room only had a king size bed, and while we get along great, a remake of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles was not to be. Dave earned his first gold star by taking the pull out sofa.  After a long day yesterday, we were a little apprehensive when we studied the elevation chart for today's ride ... almost 5,000 more feet of climbs over 80 miles with almost all of that in the first 60.  Three significant climbs with grades of 6-10%.

A hearty breakfast helped energize us for the 21 mile climb up Dixie Mountain (5,277').  Great panoramic views could be seen behind us as we climbed.  We paused a few miles from the top for some great pictures and a fun shot in an old Conestoga wagon.  Our route follows a good portion of the Lewis & Clark trail.  It is amazing to think that the early pioneers made this trek hauling their lives in a wagons.  A harsh contrast to the fully supported trip provided by America by Bicycle.  At the summit, I joined the mile high club!  Highest point I have ever cycled.

The 7 mile descent was invigorating, but chili.  I should have kept my arm warmers on.  Our first SAG stop was at the Austin House Restaurant.  Known for their cobbler, I could not say no and sampled their blackberry cobbler and picked up a postcard for Leah's wall map ... my goal is to send her one card from each day along my route.  So far so good.

The second climb of the day was up Tipton Mountain (5,124').  A tough 8 mile climb that was tougher and steeper than the first. We were surrounded by dense forest.  I found a good pace and met the boys at the top for some water.  The 7 mile decent saw speeds top 40 mph.  After that it was time for more elevation and a tough climb up Snall Mountain.  While it was similar in length and grade to the second climb, it was a lot harder.  The old legs were getting might tired and my right knee started to ache.  I kept looking for the summit after each turn, only to see more road climbing upward.  At last the descent came.  My knee was really starting to ache.  Badly needed rest came at the second SAG.  A nice spot by a lake with great views.  We had lunch that we had purchased the night before ... with the 80 degree heat and tired bodies, the meal was very helpful and replenished our reserves.

My knee had me dropping off the back of the Thoroughbred train pretty quickly.  Dave, who climbed great today (in a much higher gear than I ride), pulled back to ride me in (his second gold star in less than 12 hours).  We rode together until another descent appeared ...  for some silly reason (my ego?) I got the energy to power ahead and chase down Mark, Jeff, and Joe.  It was a tough run and I had to coach myself all the way to them.  I even took a pull once I caught them.  Dave's good deed left him alone ... I owe him big time!  Alas, my reserves and knee could not maintain the pace and I dropped off again.  We all reconnected a short time later and rode in to town together.  Good thing, as the winds picked up.  Our pace line helped bring our tired bodies home.  Passing through town, we stopped for a yummy milkshake and more great conversation.


After check in and a shower, my body shut down for long nap!  Tomorrow's route ... 83 miles to Ontario, OR.  It includes a few miles on the interstate, but as I commented at dinner "There is a god".  That reference was about the elevation map ... mostly downhill with only a couple small climbs.  I need a day like that!

The comradery that the five Thoroughbreds have developed is neat ... I have only know these guys for six days, but we already share a common bond and have gotten to know each other very well.  I look forward to sharing the next six weeks with them.  I am also enjoying getting know the other riders on our trip.  We have folks from 26 states, several foreign countries, and range in age from 17 to 79.  A fun and entertaining group.  Heading to bed ... another early alarm clock setting for 6AM.

Goodnight moon ... goodnight Dave (thanks!) ... goodnight sore knee ... goodnight ego ... good night climbs (hello easier terrain) ... good night Karen (miss you) ... good night Leah (can't wait to see the new room) ... good night Mike (hang in dude) ...