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)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Day 7 -- June 27th -- Baker City, OR to Ontario, OR

Miles Ridden: 83.2
Avg Speed: 17.3 mph
Avg Heart Rate: 118 bpm
Climbing: 1,680 ft
Calories Burned: 3,073

A "recovery" ride ... no climbing ... interstate fun ... more sling shots ... and one dumb move

After looking at today's cue sheet and elevation map at dinner last night, I said "There is a god!"  That reference came after two long and tough days in the Oregon mountains.  Today we actually descended most of the way from Baker City through the Burnt River Canyon and along the Snake River to Ontario.  I mentioned Lewis & Clark's route in an earlier posting ... we are also following a good portion of the Oregon Trail.  Views of the big mountains are behind us for now, but the scenery is still interesting to look at ... canyons, rivers, trains, small cattle ranches, and treeless hills.

It's All Down Hill From Baker City

A Typical 6:30 AM Load

A Long Train ... Now That's A Paceline

Great Views of the Old West
It was a little cool at the start, so I headed out with my leg and arm warmers as well as a vest.  By mid ride I would shed them all as the thermometer pushed to around 90 degrees.  ABB takes good care of us and has plenty of sunscreen at each SAG and also set a few extra water stops to make sure we stayed hydrated.  My speeds were high and my heart rate was low ... that is what I call a great recovery (taking it easy after more strenuous days) ride.  While I spent most of the day riding with the "Gang of 5" aka "The Thoroughbreds", the downward slope gave me a chance to ride and chat with some of the other riders as well.  Beth from Boulder has a great sense of humour and always has a big smile on her face.  She rode the full C&O Canal and the Great Allegheny Passage from Pittsburgh to Washington DC with her son last year ... a great bonding experience.  Not sure how she has a 32 year old son!  We also got a glimpse of Ann from Toronto.  She is the "Speedy Gonzales" of our group for sure.

That's Me on the Left ... Still in My Warmers

Beth and Her Independent Fabrication

A big "highlight" (not sure that is the right word) of the day was three stints on the shoulder of I-84.  We spent a lot of time just along side of it on Old Route 30, but had to make our way onto the interstate a few times.  I seldom get (or want) to do this.  Semis passing you at 60+ mph, rumble strips, construction, and steel belted tire debris are a few of the reasons.  Several folks joined forces for the first leg prior to our SAG stop.  Not too bad, although I did make sure to check and clean my tires when we stopped (something that would be repeated several times today).  I used my tweezers to extract a small piece of wire from a truck tire from my rear tire .. it would certainly have caused a flat had I not found it when I dis.  The first rest stop includes some great treats from 2008 rider Jeane from Boise.  Great fresh strawberries.  Toronto Mark did not sample them as his innards were hurting ... a few Tums from my rolling CVS kit seemed to fix him up.  My bag might add a few pounds to my load, but has become the source of comfort and support to me and several of my fellow riders.

Rest Stop 1 Along I-84

Jeane and Joe

Tums ... Bring it On
After a couple more highway excursions and a few cattle guards we finally left Old Route 30 and began following the Snake River.  Nice views and a great smooth road led us to the second SAG stop along the water.  It was great to see and chat with more riders.  Sandy from Colorado snapped a great shot of me and John from Cleveland and I snagged Katie immersing herself in water.  It really started to heat up as we made the last 25 mile push for Ontario.  My knee was still bugging me and I slipped back and forth (link a sling shot or elastic band) from my speedy group.  With about 10 miles to go we picked up a few other riders and had a nice pace line formed to help buffer the wind.  After a few pulls and a sling shot or two, I headed to the rear of the group.  It was then that Big Dave put the hammer down!  I could not keep up the 23 mph pace any longer and fell off the back to finish the day at my own pace.

No Cows on This Highway

Snake River ... Smooth Sailing

Rest Stop 2 ... Great Spot

Heading Along the Snake River

Photo Crasher ...

Keep Cool Katie (with Alison and and Our Mechanic Jim)

Joe and Dave at SAG 2

After checking in the "box" (luggage truck) had not arrived, so Dave and I headed to our room to unwind.  I had purchased a light weight pair of water shoes for just such situations (avoids the dreaded duck walk with my cleats) ... but, this morning I packed them in my luggage to make make room for my arm & leg warmers.  Well ... some folks headed to DQ and I had already taken of my shoes ... and dumb ass me did not think to throw my cycling shoes back on and went out barefoot.  That would be OK if I was at the beach or walking on nice green grass, but I was heading across the parking lot.  Ouch ... hot ... stupid.  Even though it was maybe 100 yards or so, that was enough to burn my feet and give me a pretty good size blister on my left foot.  Luckily, John and Teresa offered me a pair of socks for the return trip.  So ... I am now sporting two bad knees and a blistered foot ... no pain no gain?  My CVS kit is getting a good work out.

Waiting (Watching) on a Train? (Dave and Me)

Tomorrow we enter Idaho and head to Boise.  A shorter (61 miles) and flat day.  On Tuesday we have our first rest day.  Toronto Mark and I are looking to get massages and several others are planning on finding a good steak dinner.  The easier day and rest day should give my body a chance to recover.

Goodnight  moon (actually the sun is still out in the Mountain Time zone) ... goodnight interstate ... goodnight heat (96 degrees forecast for tomorrow) ... goodnight bengay ... goodnight Neosporin ... goodnight Ryan (be safe in Iraq)

I am an Hour Closer to Home ...