Thoughts on this years trip?

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Thoughts on this years trip?

Postby syclesuzi » Mon Sep 19, 2016 11:26 am

:shock:
I want to comment on this year’s ride, comparing it to my first three fabulous experiences in ’06, ’07, 2010. I am a 60 yr old female, thin, fit, swimmer, marathoner, and cyclist of ten years. Before this ride, I told everyone that my first three rides were the BEST vacation I have ever had, and that still holds true. But, this year was my worst vacation ever. I’m just writing this as feedback to you, and I apologize for seeming ungrateful, I’m not, just disappointed and not sure I will ride again. I know that I should sandwich the good-bad-good, but just want to jot things down as I remember them.
We missed staying close enough to small towns to visit, spend money, meet the locals, eat…Gold Beach did not seem like a small, depressed town. The street was very busy, so it was not like spending time in other small, quiet towns.
Most tent/porters were out in the open sun, pretty miserable when your tent is too hot to set up until dark. It seemed like the tent cities had a much better lay of the land than people who paid for T&P. Our last camp in Glendale, we were in the baseball infield (dirt), and our duffle’s were dumped, upside-down, in the dirt. What a hot mess.
2/3 of participants I saw walked up the hill on day-two. I felt that this year it was too difficult for most people. I gathered this by conversations and moans on the road. When you look at the demographics of riders, mostly middle age people, the ride should be “geared” toward that demographic. The extended option-route could be for the ones who want the extra challenge.
Because a couple of days were so long, there was barely enough time to shower, eat, and enjoy the camp. I like to stop, take pictures along the way, say hello to the sweet man sitting on his porch, or the little kids running alongside us. Indian Mary was amazing but, I had zero time to spend there, therefore, did not get a chance to enjoy the best camping spot on the route. This should be a ride, not a race, to have enough time to enjoy every aspect. But, when you have the longest day, combined with the hardest climbs, camp time is limited.
Emphasize, from the beginning, that this is a ride for experienced riders who know the rules. The unfortunate crash situation, and waiting over an hour in the sun was unbearable. I spent time in line assuring nervous, novice, riders how to handle turns, overheated rims, and the importance of going slow. I was amazed at how many beginners were riding this year, knowing how difficult the route was.
Even my experienced rider friends did not go this year. I attended because I had already paid, then they canceled out.
Before the lunch stop on day-5 climb, you should have had another food stop. Several comments from riders were that they were hungry (I always have food with me).
It would have been nice if the evening music was more catered to the demographics. We are rock-and-rollers, smooth jazz people. I presume that you use local talent but being able to party-like-a-rock-star or snap a finger or two to some jazz would have been a great break from country music every night. It would be fun, and probably funny, to have a karaoke night!
Year’s past, the sag wagon drivers were fun! Each one had a different music (always nice to know what is coming up behind you), but this year, we only heard music once, but always love those bubbles.
Riders behaving badly; I wish that you would ticket riders who break the rules, riding three abreast, then have the audacity to give the middle finger to the driver honking at them. Riders who pass on the left, when “car-back” was just yelled out. I know this is NOT CO’s fault, but it would be nice if you weeded out the bad seeds. We spoke to two shop owners in Gold Beach who had asked us if we were racing, and that some riders were rude. We apologized for these riders and were very embarrassed by them.
To finish (the cream filling), I do not know where you get your staff, the ones who serve food, help with recycling, and are available for questions. They were ALL amazing. Usually, at least one person in a big group is not diggin’ it, but everyone was fabulous!
I heard so many comments on how “green” the ride is. The recycling centers were great, the blue rooms were great, and the abundance of food was great! Loved the outfit changes each night at the beer garden staff, fun!

I never saw any photographers on the route. Years past, they were out there and we were able to purchase pictures.
Last edited by syclesuzi on Thu Sep 22, 2016 9:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Thoughts on this years trip?

Postby shemminger » Mon Sep 19, 2016 6:21 pm

The route was great for fit and active cyclists. But not for all the participants. Day 2 was especially too steep, and should have been limited as an option ride, seeing more than half the people walking should have been a clue. Controlling the descent was good but not enough to prevent serious injuries from cyclists not used to hard descents. The expert stuff needs to be an option, not a requirement! Please keep the hard part, I love it but don't ever want to force that on other people.

The other hard day was a big climb. It wasn't like people were not already warned http://cycleoregon.com/blog/day-5-gold- ... mary-park/ but many people did not seem to read the blog.
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Re: Thoughts on this years trip?

Postby Netta » Mon Sep 19, 2016 8:38 pm

Been thinking about this post all day and what I wanted to say without sounding whiny. I am a 57 fairly fit female cyclist, who likes to climb, and does okay at it.

Last year was my first Cycle Oregon, and when it was over, I definitely felt sad, and wished it could have gone on. This year, though I was more fit than last year and actually finished feeling strong (but with a sore butt), was relieved when it was over.

Day 1 was a great day, loved the whole route, arrived fairly early in the afternoon to Camas Valley.

I rode the entire steep hill on Day 2, stopping to rest a few times. In addition to being steep, it was narrow, and difficult to stay out of the way of oncoming cyclists AND mount your own bike if you had stopped and keep going forward. I saw a few people fall just in those situations. I didn't find the downhill terribly twisty, just steep and hard on the hands. I appreciated the 2 resting areas (I used the 2nd one to rest my hands), and stopped another time down the hill before it leveled out. I finally arrived in Bandon after 6 p.m. I had started near 8 a.m., so a very long day in the saddle. I would have liked to have visited some sites in Bandon, but where was the time to do it? I know I'm not a fast rider, but not a slow rider either. There just wasn't any extra time. All I could think about was getting into camp, finding my tent, getting a shower, a beer, and eating dinner. And my butt was starting to hurt.

Day 3 was good, but the large amount of traffic (lots of log and chip trucks too) on Hwy. 101 prohibited me from really enjoying the views while riding. I did stop a few times and took some pictures. I enjoyed the ride more once we left the lunch area and all the way to Gold Beach.

Day 4 was a rest day, and afforded time to spend in Gold Beach, which was nice. No way was I going to ride to Brookings as I felt I needed to conserve some strength for the big climb the next day.

Day 5 was actually one of my favorite days (though I don't want to repeat it any time soon). Bear Camp Road was not steep, just long, and nicely shaded. I have nice low gears on my bike, so I just took my time and stopped whenever my back got tight and I felt I needed a break. A long hill, but not terrible, terrible, and I climbed all the way with a positive attitude, just happy it wasn't near as steep as the one on Day 2. The downhill was nice, and I really enjoyed the views on the way down and all the way to Indian Mary. Another super long day, arriving after 6 again, same thing, no time to think about doing anything else but shower, beer, dinner. Again, I started around 8 a.m. that day too, so an all day in the saddle, which by the way wasn't making my butt feel very good, but I managed. By the way, Day 5 was easier than Day 2.

Day 6 was fine too, not too steep, but still around 4000' of climbing, which had me into camp after 4.

Day 7 was easy, but I sure saw a lot of people squirming in their saddles. I arrived at the finish about 11:20 a.m., with the total time that day of 3 hours for the 42 miles. I was proud to have finished, but if it had been easier, I would have been happy too.

All meals, rest stops, entertainment, accommodations, the services offered were top notch! No complaints at all! Love Cycle Oregon for what they do.

To recap my feelings, if a ride of this difficulty, is offered next year, and I'm talking with days of 6000' and 7700' of climbing, and 70 plus miles in that day, I will probably pass. I ride for the challenge and to be social with other riders, not to brag about how many feet I climbed. It would be nice to have shorter days so that I could actually go in to the rural towns and see what they have to offer. Maybe offer options in a day for those that want more of a challenge (more miles and climbing).

I hope this doesn't sound negative, because I really enjoyed myself, even more than last year, but I think the route was too tough for a LOT of folks. Yes, dangerous coming down that steep hill on Day 2 as many riders don't have super strong hands for braking.
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Re: Thoughts on this years trip?

Postby mytrot » Mon Sep 19, 2016 9:00 pm

I agree that Day 2 was not an appropriate route for CO. Too many inexperienced riders. However with minimal training the other rides were not that bad. I typically left around 745 and never got to camp later than 230.

This after not starting training from last year until June due to back surgeries. Only 52 though!

CO should be for the "fit and active"! It's a bike ride! If you treat it as a party, and oh by the way we'll ride some, it will be difficult!

ET
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Re: Thoughts on this years trip?

Postby Netta » Mon Sep 19, 2016 9:22 pm

Syclesuzi, what are your thoughts? You have the :shock: emoticon, so I'm just wondering your thoughts. You had posted and asked about ride difficulty before the ride.

Jeanette
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Re: Thoughts on this years trip?

Postby tedder42 » Tue Sep 20, 2016 5:57 pm

shemminger wrote:Day 2 was especially too steep, and should have been limited as an option ride, seeing more than half the people walking should have been a clue.


What time did you start the climb? We deliberately got an earlyish start, knowing how tough it was going to be, it felt like about 10% of riders were walking the steep ramps.

shemminger wrote:Controlling the descent was good but not enough to prevent serious injuries from cyclists not used to hard descents. The expert stuff needs to be an option, not a requirement! Please keep the hard part, I love it but don't ever want to force that on other people.


I'm torn on this. Certainly it would have been better as an option, but there aren't a lot of roads around there. I'm happy that Cycle Oregon is an expert-level ride; support is provided, SAG is always an option, but it isn't "15 miles per day" or anything like that. It's a ride for trained and experienced riders.

Having said all this, a sign of how difficult it was was that some riders weren't rolling into camp until after dark.
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Re: Thoughts on this years trip?

Postby tedder42 » Tue Sep 20, 2016 6:00 pm

Netta wrote:I rode the entire steep hill on Day 2, stopping to rest a few times. In addition to being steep, it was narrow, and difficult to stay out of the way of oncoming cyclists AND mount your own bike if you had stopped and keep going forward.


Where were there oncoming cyclists?

Netta wrote:Day 7 was easy, but I sure saw a lot of people squirming in their saddles.


Tons of flats on Day 7. Otherwise I thought it was a good finish; my butt hurt but the mileage was reasonable. I actually bonked in the last few miles- did I miss a food stop?

Netta wrote:I hope this doesn't sound negative, because I really enjoyed myself, even more than last year, but I think the route was too tough for a LOT of folks. Yes, dangerous coming down that steep hill on Day 2 as many riders don't have super strong hands for braking.


I don't think it sounds overly negative. Thanks for sharing.
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Re: Thoughts on this years trip?

Postby Jackson » Wed Sep 21, 2016 8:37 am

With 47% of the riders being new to Cycle Oregon, I think it was less about the roads and more about the training. Overheard some riders claiming they stuck to the training schedule. Problem was their targeted training rides were those for July not September. Average weekly rides of 100 miles, but they didn't maintain that either.

Overall we had fewer sagged riders than in years past. The walking paid off. Had a great week myself and am looking forward to next years Anniversary Ride.
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Re: Thoughts on this years trip?

Postby wayneh » Wed Sep 21, 2016 10:22 am

This was my 19th CO, the first one being CO X in '97. I turn 63 in a few months. In terms of difficulty, I can think of weeks that were harder than this year. 2014 comes to mind. Certainly my first CO, where there were no options and no layover days. You had to ride every mile, across the state, including the century day from Prineville to Rainbow over McKenzie Pass in freezing rain. Regarding the steep climb on Day 2, I don't know if I have ever been in good enough shape or had low enough gearing to have ridden that hill, so walking was the expected outcome all along. The climb on Bear Camp Road wasn't particularly hard, just long and monotonous. A few short breaks walking with the bike stretched out the legs and brought the breathing back down. We were definitely blessed with great weather and some lovely scenery. Am already saving for next year's ride. And I thought the evening music was pretty good all week, too.
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Re: Thoughts on this years trip?

Postby capthawk » Thu Sep 22, 2016 5:19 pm

That was #26 for me. Yes day 2 was hard. When it is that steep descending it is not even fun. The good weather overall made this year easier than many of our "epic" nasty weather years. (day 7 on CO 10, or McKenzie Pass in the sleet) What I missed this year was not a single lemonade/bakery stand anywhere along the route. Lack of locals knowing about our ride or corporate greed in not "competing" with our sponsored vendors?...
It's always sunny at 35,000 ft
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Re: Thoughts on this years trip?

Postby Jackson » Thu Sep 22, 2016 8:07 pm

Found a lemonade stand late on Day 2 (pink lemonade). Had a van full of riders and stopped for a dozen glasses. There were bake sales at nearly every location as well as other fundraisers if you were looking.
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Re: Thoughts on this years trip?

Postby Entiat » Sun Sep 25, 2016 12:34 pm

This was my 11th CO, and my wife's 6th. We are both 52 and don't train near enough...but do the best we can. Neither of us is hardcore, we ride slow and we ride because we like cycling.

I, too, can think of harder years (2014 certainly...perhaps 2007).

This route was one of our favorites, ever. Oceans, real mountain passes, great descents, wonderful communities. And the fantastic weather didn't hurt (whew! always a risk on the coast!).

Yes, those two miles on day 2 were insane and the descent was technical and required attention and skill. But so what. Walk. Or take a sag. This isn't a competition. Did you not listen to Jonathan on the last night - this ride is about interacting and mixing with communities and people we might not otherwise interact with.

My wife slowly spun her way up every climb with only a stop or two...I stopped and rested 4 times on the day 2 climb and every 750' of vertical on Bear Camp. Many younger kids - and some spry geezers - passed us on the way up. We passed many back on the way down (we both love screaming descents!). Whatever.

We took the layover day off to rest the legs and walk our dogs at the ocean in Gold Beach, because we felt like it. We'll ride to Brookings some other time.

In the end, 2000+ people were not sitting on their couches watching TV. 2000+ people bought out all the beer in a small town, helping end-of-year profit margins. 2000+ people interacted with other people and - perhaps - exchanged different viewpoints on life.

Looking forward to next year. Mountains? Desert? Rain? Snow? Sunshine? Brutal Climbs? Flat traverses through communities who can't wait for us to arrive? Different lives, different experiences, different views, different years.

That's Cycle Oregon. Let's go.
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Re: Thoughts on this years trip?

Postby Jackson » Tue Sep 27, 2016 4:56 pm

https://www.flickr.com/photos/79872399@N00/albums

https://cycleorgon-photoguy.smugmug.com

Day 2 was a bit tough by any means but it was either this road or Hwy 42 which was under constructions. Few routes to the beach for bicycles in this part of the state.

Hope to see shorter days with options late in the day if at all to allow for more time to explore towns or just relax at the beer garden.
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Re: Thoughts on this years trip?

Postby StarlightPurpleIF » Fri Sep 30, 2016 8:23 am

Entiat wrote:I, too, can think of harder years (2014 certainly...perhaps 2007).


Yep on 2007, especially if you did the loop around Crater Lake on the "rest day." IIRC, that year also featured a very steep, technical descent, on the way to Cottage Grove, I believe.

And let's not forget 2002, when the ride crossed the entire state. I did the 114 or whatever mile option out of John Day and think I ended up averaging over 90/day for the entire ride. Sub freezing camping on a cattle ranch in Ironside the first night. Camping in dirt? Got one word for that: Mitchell. The place resembled a Sudanese refugee camp. The next day, everyone had to do a century to Sisters, and it was crispy critter hot that day.

I have done 4 of these things but didn't go this year. Still, I think the organizers do a great job of letting you know what you will face each year. It's different every year, and I don't think you can make the ride attractive to everyone every year. Nor can you always make each day's route and camping location edenic. Looking forward to seeing what's up for the big 3-0 next year.
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Re: Thoughts on this years trip?

Postby JohnB » Thu Oct 27, 2016 11:19 pm

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