First Timer Report

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First Timer Report

Postby stephcycles » Mon Sep 15, 2008 3:30 pm

Well, it was a good eight or more months ago that I posted after registering with fears, excitement and seeking a great deal of information to help me get ready for this ride.

I did it! Somehow, on the last day, I caught a cold. I thought I was simply suffering from allergies but when I awoke on Sunday morning, I was sick with a head cold. Regardless, here is my report.

For all those considering Cycle Oregon, I strongly encourage you to do it. I did Cycle Oregon weekend for a preview which helped tremendously. I have to say that the week ride is more organized and amazing than the weekend.

The rides are beautiful. Even areas where some may not think so I was in love with the sound of pedals turning, cyclist as far as the eye can see and being outside pushing my body instead of sitting in an office chair.

The riders come from all walks of life. There are retired riders, young riders, middle aged riders, overweight riders, elite type riders, and even a few youth riders.

Everyone was friendly. Riders were encouraging. I never felt like I didn't belong. Most of my days were filled with "on your left." However, as the newsletter on the last day suggested, by the end I was a stronger rider. On the last day, I was the one saying "on your left" over and over again. My legs felt like they were made of steel.

I hated hills before I started this journey. I still do not like them. If there is anything I would change about this training year, it would be to train more on hills. I did a number of long distance rides. I think building mileage is a lot easier than building the body to handle hills. I never want to lose the conditioning I received from this ride. I plan to get out on hills a few times a week.

When I first looked up at the hill on day 3 I though there was no way I would ever make it. :oops: I think that day was harder than day 5. I prefer not to see where I'm headed when I'm headed straight up. Thus, the trees and the bends in the road on day 5 made that ride a bit more tolerable. Of course, I thought all the hills were over after rest stop 5. I was sadly mistaken. The ride into Joseph and to the lake was the hardest part of the ride for me that day. I wrecked at the bottom of the hill after rest stop 5. Thank you to all of you who helped me! My gears were broken so the rest of the ride was quite interesting into camp. The thought of chocolate milk kept me going. I have never loved chocolate milk so much. I had to buy Alpine Chocolate Milk at the store today!

I wish I would have known a way to hook up with some of you I met on here. I think I saw the guy that rides through Porn town in California. If you were taking a picture of a flower and caught a bee in it. Perhaps that was you. I almost yelled out "hey porn man." I feared people would think I was insane.

Joy, (grin4joy) I hope your ride was amazing too. Kabloom, I never saw my online friend from Texas but I did see people with Texas shirts on. I love living in Portland but some of the open land we rode through made me miss home at times. Lazlo, I hope Summit to Surf helped you get through Day 5.

Cycle Oregon is an amazing experience. I never once got tired of camping. Of course, I love a good excuse to camp. I never got tired of port-o-potties or chow lines. I never got tired of getting up daily to get on my bike. I loved the sounds of tent zippers in the early morning and voices as people walked through camp. Perhaps I was made for this in some weird way.

Cycle Oregon volunteers are so friendly. To say this event is organized is an understatement. I never waited more than a few minutes for anything. My bags were always easy to find and ready to be taken to my campsite. There was plenty of everything that I needed and more. In fact, I gained weight on this ride! I had a great system going as I never even waited for a shower. Twice, I had the showers to myself.

I loved the daily newsletter. I loved the nightly reports and bands and everyone hanging out in the beer garden. I loved having a hot piece of pizza when the temperatures began to drop.

Many thanks to Brian C for posting great training rides on the forum. I did a number of them and without them, this experience would not have been so enjoyable. I plan to do my first century on Sept. 28! :shock:

Special thanks to Chuck and Jackson the sag drivers. Jackson, loved the bubbles! Chuck, loved the music, the high five and for telling me I could do it when I checked to see if you would pass by me on the hill on day 3 just in case I could not make it. I kept telling myself that Chuck said to take it slow and that I can do it. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

To all of you who post on this board, thank you. I did not forget anything. I slept wonderfully on my luxurylite cot. I was organized with everything in baggies. Everything was covered on these boards.

To anyone planning to tackle CO, read the boards. My one piece of advice that is not on the boards, is to pack heat if you like spicy food. Ha ha! Next year, I will take a bottle of tobassco and a baggie of red pepper flakes. :lol:

What a wonderful exeperience.

Posts: 56
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2008 3:23 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Postby Tender Chunks » Mon Sep 15, 2008 7:37 pm

Sounds like you really got it.
My son, who was selling LuxuryLite cots to benefit CO, told me trying to describe CO had completely to do with your perspective, and is like the story about the blind men describing an elephant, depending on which part of it they had in hand. It can be a hammer down event for the hardcore, a big love fest for those so inclined, a slow ramble over hill and dale. Some stay in RV's, some get really involved with local people, some only stick to the beer garden and never venture out into the local towns.
I think you got a good first taste, and hope you come back for more!
Mr. Chunks
Tender Chunks
Posts: 134
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 6:08 pm
Location: Eugene, Oregon

Postby Lazlo » Tue Sep 16, 2008 7:04 am

Hi Stephanie,
Congratulations, you did it! Sounds like you had a great experience, as did I. Yes, Summit to Surf buoyed my confidence that I can handle any hill. Day five was a lot of long climbs, but to me the toughest hill was on day four coming out of Richland. I also learned a lot from reading posts here. The best advice I got: bring earplugs. What I would do differently next time: I'd bring a better chair, and I'd take more time to take in the small towns we stayed in and passed through. The only glitch in the whole week was my bag getting routed to long term parking instead of the bus area, but that was easily solved with the help of the good people of Elgin. It's been hard getting back to the daily grind after a week of only having to decide whether to do the long option and where to pitch my tent.
Posts: 59
Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2008 1:48 pm
Location: Portland

Tobasco on CO

Postby steveall » Tue Sep 16, 2008 9:36 am

I found the Tobasco packets work very well, I could even throw a few in my Camelback for lunch and breaks. Here is a picture:
I was able to load up on them at Quick Trip gas stations back here in Kansas.
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Joined: Wed Aug 20, 2008 2:11 am
Location: Kansas Ctiy

Postby rekon » Tue Sep 16, 2008 10:34 am

Great job Steph! I was wondering how you faired, both on S2S and CO (btw, did you do the Timberline leg of S2S?)

I knew that you would manage just fine, but I was still curious and was glad to see your positive report. CO was amazing as usual, and I'm glad that you enjoyed it as well.
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Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2008 12:39 pm

Postby grin4joy » Tue Sep 16, 2008 7:04 pm

Yeah Stephanie! I'm so glad you made it, since you had been quiet on the boards I was worried you had dropped out. I think you were training with Portland Fit for the marathon also, how is that going?

Ditto on everything Steph said - what a great ride! The organization of the ride was beyond comparison. The weather couldn't have been more perfect. The food was fine, plentiful and what I expected for a crowd of our size so no complaints from me. Amazingly even the blue rooms were great - they were always clean! The daily air of excitement and enthusiasm was infectious!

The 1st 2 days of the ride I was pretty emotional at times, becoming overwhelmed by the beauty of our surroundings and the friendly companionship of everyone I spoke with. I didn't realize how the ride would affect me - I think I need a debriefing!!!

One of my favorite experiences was on day 5, climbing up one of the peaks and suddenly hearing classical music echoing off the canyon walls - surreal! How fun it was to round the corner and see the wonderful sag van with bubbles filling the air. Of course, my companions and I stopped for an awkward 'waltz and a dip' (great pics :D ) I also loved tootling around Union and hearing a voice come out of a tree offering me a peach if I would like to pick one. I had a sweet sun warmed peach and a delightful conversation with an elderly man. What fun I also had listening to the music each night and dancing away any residual soreness from the day's ride. I have a theory that drinking a couple of beers helped relax me and then the dancing loosened up those tightened muscles. Not sure of the scientific value, but it sure seemed to work for me :lol:

It was fun meeting several of you; Don Bolton, thanks for the company on a few rides, I hope we hear an update on your new puppy. Tender Chunks, did you and your son do well selling the cots? Boy, they sure seemed comfortable! Bookishbiker, we only visited one day, but I hope we meet again. Summerbreeze, I enjoyed getting to see you and Reggie almost daily. I am disappointed I didn't get to put a face to Allyn and a few of the other of the regular's s - maybe next year. Thanks to all of you for your part in making this a fantastic experience - see you next year! :shock: Joy
Posts: 82
Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2008 9:14 pm


Postby wayneh » Tue Sep 16, 2008 7:54 pm


Your message pretty well expresses the euphoria of putting your first CO in the bag. Congratulations. Now you know why so many of us got hooked afetr our first, and have come back for more each year. I truly look forward to September.

I was impressed with the number of first-timers I met. Also with the people who travelled from afar. Met a couple of nice folks from the other Portland, in Maine (not riding together).

Also had the good fortune to meet several forum users; Don Bolton came up and introduced himsdelf in Joseph, along with Allyn Rice and his wife Denise. I tried to hang with Don on the last day out of camp until I dropped my chain shifting. Tender Chunks, thanks for demoing the cots with your son, we had a brief chat early in Day 5, nice to meet you as well. Rode the train up the Grand Ronde out of Elgin on Saturday and met Joe from Corvallis (halfbent), and subsequently got to meet a number of volunteers and listen to their views of the ride during the week. Great folks that really contribute to the experience for the riders.
And can't pay enough compliments to Jackson and the other SAG drivers - while I managed to not need your services, you were always a welcome sight.

All in all, an incredible week, solidifying my affection for this part of Oregon and the great people and small towns we enjoyed along the way.
Posts: 188
Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2007 12:54 pm
Location: Tigard, Oregon

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