We are home & let the rumors fly

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Postby slv0700 » Tue Sep 18, 2007 4:16 pm

But the majority of riders do not want it to be a HIGH END bike
tour and the majority of riders don't like to do loops. This was
discussed some last year and wasn't very popular.
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Postby joec » Tue Sep 18, 2007 6:09 pm

Slingshot wrote:Part of the allure of CO is the challenge. I am sure that this was in the minds of the founders 20 years ago. We don't get nearly enough wilderness and adventure in our lives. We take hikes on the weekends, watch movies about the melting Arctic, take a take a week's vacation... but we are rarely challenged by bodies and our environment. There is a certain calmness experienced when exerting oneself in a beautiful place. When your lungs can't take in any more oxygen, your heart rate rockets towards 200, you hear blood rushing through your ears and you crest a hill to see the indescribable blue of Crater Lake something is right with the world. Keep it hard, keep it rural, keep it relevant...

Well said...

I've done 8 of these now, my last one was CO15. Did you have a chance to check the rider guest area? There were many "rockstar RVs" with bumpouts...I don't ever recall them being such a thing as this year...perhaps the shifting demographics are causing this. The challenge of CO and sharing that with my friends is what has kept me coming back over the years. Back in the day there was a very specific disclaimer about being in shape and not abusing the SAG or you would be put off the ride. I took that very seriously and have ever since. The CO routes are not Cinnabon TM runs, anyone not adequately prepared is likely to have difficulties. You can't buy your bike 4 weeks before the event and hope to get by. Over the years I've noticed less direct town involvement, and placement of the campsites more distant from the towns we visit. Perhaps the current travelling caravan has become too big for it's own good.

Anyway I hope the "deciders" revisit the core values of the heart of CO and bring it back better than ever...next year's ride dates are already posted...we'll see...
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Postby joec » Tue Sep 18, 2007 6:21 pm

BTW, I thought this years route was amazing...one of the best COs I've done. 8)
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Postby studiomcl » Wed Sep 19, 2007 7:08 am

This was a great CO, my fifth. My two sons and I ride because of the incredible beauty, the camaraderie and the epic ascents, passes and descents. Knowing the rout will be tough keeps the training honest. Some rides will naturally be more difficult due to the course, but keeping the distance and the climbs are very important to making the finish so satisfying.

loved the ride
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What a great ride!

Postby debstout » Wed Sep 19, 2007 7:19 am

Thought this year was absolutely incredible. Loved the trees, the lack of traffic (except for the highway on day 1) and crater lake was amazing. Loved the challenging hills! There are lots of rides that are easier...would be sad to see CO follow suit.
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Abuse of Sag Wagons

Postby bfuller24 » Wed Sep 19, 2007 9:43 am

I am with all that have voiced a vote of support for the rigors of this year's ride. It was only my second (last year my first) and I was not as well trained as last year but I found great satisfation in completing each day and the whole route. My excitement about the Crater Lake loop prevented me having anything resembling a "recovery day" in the week so I would cast a vote for one mid week easy day. I understand there used to be a "two sag limit" that meant expulsion from the ride after the second day of using the sag wagons. Perhaps this policy could be revived which would also cut down on some of the back and forth traffic of the sag wagons. One thing I noticed this year, however, was extensive use of private sag wagons. I noticed the same RV, cadillac, and other vehicles on the route repeatedly on all of the hard climbing days starting with the Cratere Lake loop. Can this be controlled? Would the "two sags and your out" policy promote more private sag wagons? I guess I would prefer official sag wagons to the private ones.

Hope the CO Board keeps doing such a great job at making each CO better than the last. I had a great time, found my "center" somewhere near the top of Day 5's climb to the heavens, and will be back next year to see all of my friends...both old and new.

Brad "savoring the experience" Fuller
Stronger today than yesterday but not as strong as tomorrow.
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Athletic Challenbe or Scenic Tour? Or Both?

Postby Red Zinger » Wed Sep 19, 2007 11:35 am

Having worked as a volunteer for 2 years now, I really understand how hard the Cycle Oregon board and staff work to enable riders of all capabilities to enjoy the tour--hence the change in how the SAGs are used. There were many first-time riders this year, and a goodly proportion of them had no idea what they were getting into. But volunteers worked hard to help move them along through each day.

I don't think the original mission of Cycle Oregon was to create a super challenging ride that only very athletic, or elite, cyclists could complete successfully. Rather, the tour's goal was and is (for visitors) to showcase Oregon's rural communities and natural beauty and (for Oregonians) to bring west and east, urban and rural, together. Helping rural Oregon economically was and is an important factor.

So, should Cycle Oregon strive to focus on the athletic challenge? Or should it emphasize true bike touring, sight-seeing, and time in local communities? Or can it continue to try to please everyone, on every ride? I don't know that such a discussion will ever end!

Having done the ride 14 times myself, I know I appreciate seeing how hard I can work and how much I can accomplish. Most of us have no such physical and psychological challenges in our daily lives, and I think we need them. But I also think making the ride an overly daunting athletic endeavor for many riders defeats its primary purpose. In the past, some communities we visited expressed disappointment when most of the riders arrived too late to enjoy the activities and educational events they had planned.

There are other events that primarily emphasize the athletic challenge. There is no shortage of cycling events for the talented athletes among us. I hope that Cycle Oregon continues to be challenging for generally healthy, fit people, but also something more, with the richness and depth that comes through connecting people and communities, through showcasing Oregon's natural beauty, and through educating us about the geology, economics, and lifestyles of our state. And it's really nice to know that you can take time during the day's ride to visit with local residents, take photos, jump in a cold river when it's hot, or stop for a treat, and still get to camp in time to find a good tent spot. :)
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Postby StarlightPurpleIF » Wed Sep 19, 2007 11:40 am

I am with those who don't want to see it "watered down" if you will--at least not permanently. I first learned about CO in 2002 from the "Cyclists Yellow Pages." I checked out the web site and saw the ambitious cross state route. But what finally sold me was the comment of a friend who had partcipated in a challenging CO a few year prior. He noted that the ride was full of "hearty people," and he described how people would sit in the beer garden on chilly evenings, some wearing only shorts, sandals and sweaters. That sort of spirit really appealed to me since I had done a lot of loaded touring in 1999 and 2000 and my current cycling cirlce was (and still is) populated primarily by the B&B/motel crowd.

I came back in 2005 and again this year. While the ride organizers are certainly free to put on whatever ride they choose to, if I am going to schlep myself and my bike across the country for another CO it will only be for challenging, scenic riding along the lines of what we were treated to this year, complete with the traditional camping experience.

And I too noticed what seemed to be an increase in the number (and size) o) RVs and the number of private SAG vehicles, as well as the number of people who appeared to be getting transportation to the top of the climbs.
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Postby MarbleMtn » Wed Sep 19, 2007 5:57 pm

I like CO being an "Epic ride". I like having to train for it, riding hard, being proud of my climbs, descending with conviction and camping with my friends. That is what "I rode Cycle Oregon" means to me.

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Postby Shifty » Wed Sep 19, 2007 6:15 pm

MarbleMtn wrote:I like CO being an "Epic ride". I like having to train for it, riding hard, being proud of my climbs, descending with conviction and camping with my friends. That is what "I rode Cycle Oregon" means to me.

+1 We knew it would be tough, I started training in March, it was perfect!
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Postby Jackson » Wed Sep 19, 2007 7:43 pm

As far as personal sag's, there were plenty. However, Cylce Oregon's route is on publicly owner roads and except for a few closures, those roads are open to all vehicles including personal support. Cycle Oregon would prefer if personal support vehicles would use the alterate route provided but cannot stop vehicle from travelling public roads. (some execption apply)

Driving on the narrow forest service roads requires a good bit of nerve. Having done it the last 16 years, if I could avoid these roads during the ride, I would.
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Postby Rickey L Smith » Wed Sep 19, 2007 7:46 pm

1st There was a backlog on the waiting list who wanted to do the ride. So next year the complainers go to Tahiti and let the real cyclist ride. 2nd maybe the sign should say 19 hundred cyclist on the road and 100 cry babies. 3rd if CO changes it to 375 miles The Oregon Randonneurs could use it as weekend ride.
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Postby Slingshot » Wed Sep 19, 2007 9:08 pm

Folks seem to find a rational to back off on the CO challenge by stating that there are plenty of athletically oriented rides out there. Granted, but there are just as many, possibly more, relaxing tours one can participate in. If it aint broke don't fix it. If you have a functioning nervous, musculoskeletal and cardiovascular system you can do this ride comfortably if you train for it. It gets me off of my butt early in the season and forces me to participate in any number of great rides with great people before CO. I consider this an added bonus.
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Postby ColoRamb » Wed Sep 19, 2007 10:07 pm

This was my first CO and I was at the top of the bell curve for age (49 1/2); when i recognized the scope of the challenge, I prepared appropriately and had the ride of my life without a hitch or sag. People need to know their strengths, train their weaknesses, and plan accordingly.

This was a truely incredible experience and yes it was tough at times. And your point is...? A ride of this scope cannot be everything to everyone and we must accept those things we dont always like as part of the whole which we would be poorer without... So.. a tip of the hat to CO for a job well done and I await for 2008.

Now about that vegetarian menu.... :shock:
be the arrow...
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Postby Red Zinger » Wed Sep 19, 2007 10:29 pm

Enlightening discussion, everyone. I don't think there's any chance that Cycle Oregon will ever become an event that an unprepared "casual rider" could do. One does need proper training, decent equipment, and a "can do" attitude.

But it seems to me that over the years, Cycle Oregon has succeeded in providing something for everyone as well as an organization of its type could. Some years are less challenging, others more so. Sometimes there are two distance options for a day, which is great, although it's more work for the volunteers. Sometimes there is a layover day, on which people can choose to rest or ride.

Probably if someone doesn't like the route one year, they will like it very much another year. This year's route seems to have been a hit with just about everyone, even those for whom it was very hard.
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