So...how was it?

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So...how was it?

Postby Shifty » Sat Sep 13, 2008 4:35 pm

I can't believe that no one posted during the week, and BikePortland.org was silent about CO, too busy saving the world I guess.

Reports?
Clip in and let's go!
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Postby lynne » Sat Sep 13, 2008 7:13 pm

It is a long drive home. It was great!
lynne
 
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Great

Postby Entiat » Sat Sep 13, 2008 8:09 pm

Not as tough as the past couple years, but still a great ride through some great areas - we rode every option available and that added some miles and elevation. The scenery was spectacular, the weather amazing. Support was the usual (great).

- Is it September ('09) yet?
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Postby Oroluk Lagoon » Sun Sep 14, 2008 2:40 pm

Incredible weather. And since this was my first CO I'm afraid that no future CO I might ride in will ever surpass or even equal this one. The CO organization and the community support were nothing short of amazing. The Bike Gallery mechanics were Yodas! If pressed to come up with any kind of suggestion for improvement it would be to give Pepsi equal time with Coke at the rest stops...but if that's the best I can come up with.....that leaves my rating at about 9.9999999.
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Postby David R » Sun Sep 14, 2008 2:58 pm

Don't worry, your next CO will be just as amazing as the first one.
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CO 2008 - Wonderful!

Postby debstout » Sun Sep 14, 2008 3:14 pm

Have done the last 8 and this is the first one with no rain and no freezing. OK - maybe a little frost in Baker...This was an absolutely beautiful ride. Hells Canyon was unbelievable (did it a few years back when it was pouring, and it seemed like an entirely different place this year in the sun). Support was great. Food was great. Music was great. Route was great...
Debbie
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Great Ride

Postby wayneh » Sun Sep 14, 2008 5:10 pm

Perfect weather every single day for the first time in my 12 years of doing this ride. Didn't ride the options, but rode every day nonetheless.

Took advantage of the geology hikes offered on Friday at Wallowa Lake, and really got so much more out of what I saw and what that area meant to the Nez Perce, and I plan to research further to increase my appreciation of this special part of Oregon. The daily geology guides from Ellen Morris Bishop made the rides more interesting. I hope this added benefit continues in the future.

Overall, organization was its usual top notch. Volunteers make this ride happen, and they were terrific. Special thankls to John Jackson for putting on Fanfare for the Common Man while I was at the rest stop on the morning of Day 1, as well as the rest of the tunes he procured based on all of the requests e-mailed in.

Bike Gallery - is there a better crew of wrenches out there? Once again I needed their services to get through the ride, and of course they came through. Can't say enough about Jay Graves and his company's support of this ride.

The towns we went through are some of the best in all of Oregon. I hope the future is bright for these communities - they certainly made us feel very welcome.

I'd also like to recognize the rider I followed for a while towards the top of the very first summit on Day 5. His license plate read "Ken - 1932 - Quartz Mtn". For the rest of that day, I kept that visual in my mind to help get over the rest of the climbs. Thank you, Ken, for the extra motivation.

And the blues band in Halfway was the musical high point for me.

Even though it may have lacked the miles and challenging climbs, this year ranks right up there with my favorites. As I drove home today, passing the starts of previous rides, such as Boardman, Lake Walulla and LaGrande, I felt pretty lucky to be living in such a great part of the American West, and to have the opportunity to see another part of Oregon each September from the seat of a bicycle.
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Postby davek » Sun Sep 14, 2008 9:18 pm

Food was a surprising low this year, definitely not up to the standards set in previous CO. Lunches have always been bland (except the BBQ a couple years ago), this year was no change. Dinners were in general forgetable, the salmon dinner really bland.

I was also VERY disappointed that there weren't any energy bars or Gu this year, at least none that I found. Wasn't Payday Pro supposed to be one of the sponsors???? I would have brought my own if I'd known that, sometimes you need pocketable food between stops, not just at the official stops.

Although, on a high note, the peaches were OUTSTANDING this year, kudos for whoever put those on the list, especially at the last ODS stop into Joseph.

In summary, probably my favorite CO out of 14, meaning food isn't the most important thing...
DK
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Food this year

Postby wayneh » Sun Sep 14, 2008 9:57 pm

DK,

Second your comments regarding the food this year. I was saving mine for the rider survey, but in a nutshell:

Lunches this year were pretty weak. The ultimate low were the mayonnaise-laden chicken wraps on the way to Baker City. This isn't cycling food. Everyone I talked to complained about this meal in particular. Given we are in the middle of a significant ride each day, I would put more importance on lunch menus than what I see currently given. Perhaps a local sports nutritionist could be of help.

I don't expect gourmet feeding 2,000 plus riders. Breakfast is what it is. Had I not purchased some GU shots from the Bike Gallery, I wouldn't have made it over day 5 climbs.

And for the first couple of days, where the h*** was the pizza? Pizzacato was there every day when they were part of the ride, and they had great pizza. Sustainable ingredients are great, but if you can't eat them, what's the point? OK, so the boysenberry soda was delicious. I still want pizza well before dinner. Somebody please coach Hot Lips if they are to remain the pizza vendor of choice.

I don't mean to second-guess the effort it takes to feed this many cyclists,
but salads at lunch laden with mayo don't work, especially when we are faced with a steep climb right after. And apparently there was a deal on BBQ Lay's potato chips, as that's all we saw when potato chips were offered.

The number of riders hasn't changed much over the years, and the registration fee has steadily increased. I'd rather eat better food than waste time listening to the music, if that's a choice that has to be made.

And you are right to point out - the fresh peaches were probably the highlight of the daily rest stops when offered, along with the watermelon, strawberries, and canteloupe. Those were awesome, up at Salt Creek Summit, and at the Minam rest stop just before the climb up the grade.

I'd be curious to hear other comments on this topic, but I think lunch menus in particular need an overhaul.
wayneh
 
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great but lonely

Postby cycledancer » Mon Sep 15, 2008 9:58 am

Loved the cycling, the weather, the scenery, and the 2000 nice people, most of whom I never saw twice. Has CO ever tried reserving a camping area for solo riders, so we'd gradually feel we had a gang of pals? Any ideas on how to make this outgoing solo feel less all alone next time? Believe me, I'm no shrinking violet; must have been really tough for shy folks.
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Solo riders

Postby wayneh » Mon Sep 15, 2008 10:14 am

Good idea on getting solo riders together. This was my first year on my own since 1999. My usual riding buddy had to cancel due to his father's failing health, this would have been our eighth year riding together. It seems the only place to mingle is the beer garden, and while I met a number of nice folks there, it would be nice to have some other venue to get to know other riders doing the ride on their own. I had some nice chats with friendly riders throughout the week, some with groups, and some on their own, many from places far from Oregon. It would be fun to get to know other solo riders through more than just the perfunctory conversation over cold eggs and oatmeal in the morning. With the number of riders who come with a group or at least a riding partner, it's easy to feel left out of the social experience.
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Postby Lazlo » Mon Sep 15, 2008 11:01 am

This was my first CO, and I did it solo. I never felt alone. I'm not normally a real outgoing person, but I never had a problem striking up a conversation at meals or elsewhere in camp. I think a person would have to work hard to feel alone at CO. Since it was my first, I can't compare the food, but I agree on some of the comments above. Lunches could have been better, especially that one coming into Baker City. I was miserable on the extra 40 mile loop due to my stomach churning. Dinners were just OK in general, with the exception of the beef dinner in Halfway. I really enjoyed the fruit at the rest stops, those peaches and watermelon were delicious. I don't rely on Gu except if I'm in jeopardy of bonking, so I don't really care that they didn't have it; I always care a couple of my own. I liked the Gleukos drink they were using; I've never used it before, but found it set well with my stomach and seemed to keep me going on the hard days. I was amazed at how well organized everything is, I encountered very few problems. One thing - it would have been nice to arrive at Wallowa Lake without the stage blaring; a little peace and quiet in that setting would have been appreciated.
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loved it!

Postby mathowie » Mon Sep 15, 2008 1:38 pm

This was my first and won't be my last. Absolutely perfect weather and great rides that constantly impressed me with the great planning.

I lugged my 3lb camera on my bike all week and took several hundred shots, but I posted my favorites at flickr.
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Postby Chuck B. » Mon Sep 15, 2008 2:53 pm

Very cool pictures. Thanks!
The voices tell the stories. I just record them for posterity.

And the voices have some good ideas sometimes!
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Re: great but lonely

Postby All about downhills » Mon Sep 15, 2008 3:21 pm

cycledancer wrote: Any ideas on how to make this outgoing solo feel less all alone next time? Believe me, I'm no shrinking violet; must have been really tough for shy folks.


Ride the bus. It's a great way to meet folks before the ride. That's how I hooked up with folks last year and rode with the same folks this year.
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