Finish Line Disappointment

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Re: Finish Line Disappointment

Postby wayneh » Wed Nov 17, 2010 10:02 am

It is interesting to read the various comments regarding the difficulty of this year's ride and the desire for various options to accommodate different ability levels and amount of training.

This year was my 14th in a row, and I turn 57 next month. Honestly, I can't imagine what lousy shape I would be in (not that I'm in any great shape as it is) were it not for these past 14 years of training for and riding CO. I try to commute to work in the dry months, and sign up for the one-day bike rides put on by the various cycling clubs in the N Wilamette Valley and Clark County. These are very enjoyable rides put on by great clubs.

Psychologically, if I knew CO wasn't going to be such a physical challenge each year, I might not have the motivation and commitment to train as much as I do now. I also see how each year it takes a bit more just to maintain my base level. This gives me all the more reason to keep training and look for ways to train smarter and more efficiently, as well as keep it up through the winter months so I am off to a strong start come Spring. That is my number one goal for this winter season.

This year's ride was tough for me on some days, not so much on others. Half of the issue with those endless rollers through wheat country was more mental than anything. For me, one of the great benefits of a 7-day bike tour is confronting those mental barriers that present themselves during the course of physical challenge. I bring those experiences (among many others) back with me to the daily grind, and draw upon them when I encounter other kinds of challenges. I value the opportunity to have those experiences as a reference, giving me a personal perspective I might not have otherwise.

I can appreciate how our lives change as we get older, commitments, physical changes and medical issues, priorities etc. I plan to continue to participate in this yearly tour as long as I am physically able, as I know of nothing else of equal benefit to me that I could replace it with.

All of that being said, I am looking forward to next year's ride announcement with growing anticipation.

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Re: Finish Line Disappointment

Postby suziqt » Wed Nov 17, 2010 1:22 pm


Yea, harsh! Guess I will be looking for a different vacation as the tone of CO is changing. Very sad. :cry:

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Re: Finish Line Disappointment

Postby Don Bolton » Wed Nov 17, 2010 3:12 pm

Your summation is as valid as mine. We ride at different paces and see the world differently as result.

Please don't think of it as whining though. For many reasons many of us don't have the hardbody abilities. I've been cycling for going on 18 years in my adult life and am happy when I sustain a mid 15 MPH avg here in the valley. It's not that I don't want to go faster it's just that somehow I haven't seemed to be able to.

Sure there are a large number that doesn't train adequately I get that. I see that, not quite certain I am that but maybe of late... It's really a matter of attitude and for whatever reason this year I just couldn't get atop mine. I did the miles but was not happy about the 4:00 and 5:00 PM finishes after leaving at 7:30 in the mornings.

You mention a 20mph paceline, been there, done that, not the best way to enjoy the countryside and the people though. Johnathan encourages spending time in the communities and visiting with the locals we encounter on the ride. These are simply not realistic goals for many riders when pushing 80 to near 90 mile days.

It's hard to please everybody in fact probably not possible. But there has to be ways to mitigate the divide between the hammers and us yammers :lol: So that both camps get the best they can from it.

Over the years the distance per day has gotten longer it seems. Sure there were century days and such but intermixed with easier ones. Nowadays a mid seventy mile day is the short non optional ride. Layover days and destination choices I'm sure add to the situation. Rider churn seems higher as well as less seem to return as before.

I love riding between meals for seven days with little other responsibility. I love the camaraderie, I love much of the challenge, but I also love those days when I could finish by 3:00 and spend some time in the community. I miss that.

I'll be looking over next years route carefully and I'm not of the mindset to just automatically sign up this time as I have been the last 14. Unless it kicks back a tad I've likely ridden my last roundup :(

I know not everyone agrees nor should they but as you said CO needs to figure out the demographic and cater to that and be clear in the promotional materials. Encouraging us to enjoy the journey and then pound us mercilessly is in conflict for those of us in the back half of the grid come days end.

Don "I only whine while on the steep climbs" Bolton

mytrot wrote:Well this is only my third CO 08,09 and 10. I was in better shape and lighter than when I was in college. I am under the average age at 46 and train what I think is good for a desk jockey, weekend rider.

I agree that something about this year made it seem quite hard. I think the rollers had a lot to do with it for me. With all the options days 1-3 were tough and the leisurely ride to WW was nice. I paced myself on the two big hills and came out of those OK sans a large, swollen groin infection on the last day!

CO is what it is. I usually finish between 1 and 3 even on the longest days and survive well. It is work and as noted I enjoy the challenge of the hills. I also love a good flat paceline run, front or drafting. I don't stop as much as many but have some great photos at 20+ mph!

In my short run it seems too many come to CO that do not really train for or want to ride and sag too easily. CO is a bike ride first. Be ready and don't whine. You know what you are signing up for before it starts. Hills, distance, etc. Maybe they can do two runs one for riders and one for the social group some day but for now it is substantially a ride.

I know this may seem harsh but I guess the question is what should CO be designed for?

Don Bolton
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Re: Finish Line Disappointment

Postby Jackson » Wed Nov 17, 2010 4:53 pm

Fewer sagged this year than in past rides. Although it seems as if we haul quite a few people, the distances sagged are shorter and the total at any given point is 72. Considering there were 2300 riders this past year.

CO usually follows a difficult ride with an easier one but not always. Not knowing next years course, I look forward to the announcement is February like everyone else.

It's a little odd, this ride filled up faster than any previous which means CO is on the right track. If you haven't already done so, please take the time to fill out the rider survey as they do take feedback in a positive approach to planning upcoming rides.

Don't plan on 2 separate week long rides as the toll it takes to put on one for both the staff and volunteers is severe and takes a long time to recover.

If you are considering a shorter week long tour there is always the Oregon Bike Ride. much fewer riders and looking at their web site shorter average days.

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Re: Finish Line Disappointment

Postby mytrot » Wed Nov 17, 2010 9:05 pm

I love the open, friendly debate.

Maybe CO can work on more optional length days as Jackson notes two rides are unlikey. I know course planning is brutal but it would allow more to enjoy. And I would agree an 80/103 is not a good easy/hard option. But 09's Day 7 and this years Day 1 were seemed suitable.

And the two layover day is nice as moving camp is not my favorite part.

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Re: Finish Line Disappointment

Postby Force 5 Robert » Wed Nov 17, 2010 10:06 pm

The most ridiculous thing is that the time of year prevents teachers or those who work in education from going. I am finishing up my Masters in Education this year, and once I start (hopefully) teaching, CO will be over for me - I guess until I am the right median age for CO (retired)


And the weekend ride is fun but not even close to a real full CO experience.
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Re: Finish Line Disappointment

Postby Jackson » Wed Nov 17, 2010 10:51 pm

The Oregon Bike Ride may be tour option. This ride take place in August. It can, having fewer riders go places that Cycle oregon can not.
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Re: Finish Line Disappointment

Postby gphagemann » Wed Nov 17, 2010 11:38 pm

I came out from Minnesota to do the 20th, my first, and have been back each year, and will be until I can't. I've had some of the best times with new and old friends, new places and new challenges. I'm 53 and work to be ready, then ride easy, easier each year. I've brought friends a decade older and they comment they have had one of the best times they can remember, sags and all. If it ain't broke don't fix it. That said, options are good. But, please do not offer options of the type that offer you more miles after you get to camp as several suggest. Thats just too much for even me to bear. I much prefer ride options, such as the loop last year during the Grants Pass to Medford day, in the middle of the ride. A couple of us did it while the majority skipped it. We were glad we did. I've never regretted doing the optional miles, but if the extra miles came after getting to camp, I might regret not doing them!
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Re: Finish Line Disappointment

Postby maxanme » Thu Nov 18, 2010 12:28 am

It's hard to imagine both Suzi and Don whining. They're so much fun to see along the ride; Suzi with her cute license plate, even Don working on his "cow" bike on the side of the road. Still, with an easy day one and two layover days (with easy options) it's hard to pinpoint what the matter might have been, other than perhaps day 3 (which seemed like a painful payback for the incredible day 2) and perhaps the rollers.
I don't see why they would want to make the ride any easier or more difficult. Obviously there are some competing demographics; it strives to be America's best bike ride, while still coddling us older loyal veterans. Personally, I need the challenge; not just for the incentive, but also for the sense of accomplishment. Sadly, I know I'll come to the time when the task is too daunting--most years my health hasn't allowed me to go, but I want it to be something I can be proud of being able to do at least a few more times.
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Re: Finish Line Disappointment

Postby Jackson » Thu Nov 18, 2010 1:13 pm

I have to agree with having options in the middle of the days ride rather than tacked on to the end. That said, the options on the end are much easier to support. The difficulty comes when riders finish the normal day, stop to take a break and set up camp before continuing on to ride the option. Any option is going to spread out resources and support personnel.
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Re: Finish Line Disappointment

Postby grandpabent » Thu Nov 18, 2010 4:40 pm

This was my 15th CO .It did not seem to be any harder than previous ones even though I was in lousier shape than usual.We had two days to totally rest if you wanted to.For a death march what about CO10 7 long days in a row.I know going in that CO is going to be a week of riding and I ride the summer accordingly so when it comes around I can spend a week hving fun with a special group of friends.I feel the ride has a good mix of lengths and difficulty.I am 59 and yes it seems I have to work a little harder but the satisfaction I get for completing something hard is that much better.On a final note I don't expect CO to be able to please everybody all the time and it is good to hear a variety of points of view.
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