Central Oregon 385

I fibbed the timing of The Central Oregon 500 which was last week because when you’re a famous blogger you have to take your security carefully, or more accurately, your GalPal’s security.

Phil Mickelson has hired a full-time security guard for the U.S. Open this week because there’s a lot of scary mother (expletive-plural form) out there. That’s prob my next move. Consider submitting an application if you’re experienced kicking ass.

Monday—5 mile run, drive to Bend. Tuesday, McKenzie Pass, 100.5 miles. Wednesday, around Batchelor, 100.5 miles. Thursday, Crooked River Canyon, 104 miles. Friday, La Pine gravel solo with Lava Butte thrown in, 80 miles. Saturday, drive home/rest day.

When I got home I checked my training log to see what my longest cycling week was. . . 390. When you’re old and slow you can only set volume-based personal records so on Sunday I rode 22 miles to shatter the old record with a total of 407 miles.

The most memorable 20 miles were miles 65-85 on Day 1 atop McKenzie Pass and then down to the West Gate and back. I took off across the lava strewn plateau not knowing my posse had decided against it due to reports of snow and water on the road. Dodging large chunks of snow and crossing a lengthy 6-8″ river of water two times was a hoot. The world class scenery never disappoints either.

In sum, I rode well and had fun, but I’m ready for a return to the cross-training normal.

There was one unfortunate development. Due to a bad accident a few months ago, at times, I found myself thinking about what I was doing, instead of just reacting. Like an infielder who suddenly can’t make the throw to first base or the golfer who can’t make a short putt to save her life, I sometimes thought about what could go wrong. As a result, I had a death grip on the bars and didn’t descend as confidently or fast as normal. I hope I can shake that and return to riding less consciously.

As per usual, I was a little too zealous deleting the pictures I took, but here are a couple.

Cycling the Central Oregon High Desert

Apologies for not having any posts in the queue when I took off for Bend, Oregon last week for the annual Central Oregon 500, five days of consecutive 100 miles bicycle rides. I know it’s hard getting through the week without your normal filling of PressingPause.

I planned on riding days 1, 2, 3, and 5. My daily totals were 101, 103, 95, and 73, so the Central Oregon 372. When I left Sisters yesterday afternoon after the final ride, Rick Adams, a new 62 year old acquaintance from San Fransisco, was talking about riding back to Bend because he was sitting at 490. I tried to talk some sense into him, but there were lots of fit crazies.

I rode a lot with Ed from Seattle and Doug from Bend among many others. I was way more social than normal, meaning somewhat, drinking beer, hanging out, exaggerating our daily exploits after rides. I don’t do that enough. I show up five minutes before our local training rides leave and then peel off and head home near the end of them.

I don’t always like being social, but I can be. When I dropped my teammates off on Day Four I noticed there were a few more female riders than normal so that was a bad call. Speaking of which, Stephanie from Bend, born and raised in Olympia, just hammered despite not necessarily looking the part. Note to self, don’t judge a book by its cover.

Highlights included riding by what must have been the world’s largest Alpaca farm, hundreds and hundreds grazing on beautiful green fields, half of them shorn, half not. Is there a cuter, more uncoordinated looking animal? Yesterday’s exclamation point, McKenzie Pass. . . lava rock, snow covered peaks in immediate distance, snow on the side of the road at the top, descending into deep forest. Speaking of descending, new record on Day 1 with a tail wind down the Century Highway, 49.2.

Lowlight. Getting hit in the face by a large insect at high speed. Watching Nicole zig and a dog zag while climbing McKenzie. An unexpected but relatively tame crash on a closed course.

Rest easy dear reader. I am swapping seats, from the bike to the blog, stay tuned and thanks for reading as always.

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Only One Border

Imagine everyone in the world agreeing to limit their long-distance travel to mitigate the problems associated with climate change. Specifically, imagine everyone agreeing to only cross one border whether state, provincial, or national, in their remaining days on earth.

For example, living in Western Washington State, I could choose to travel only to one of the following places for the rest of my life: Oregon; Idaho; or British Columbia, Canada.

Even though I was born in Idaho, I’m more familiar with and fond of Oregon and British Columbia. Which brings me to a very difficult decision. Oregon has an abundance of beautiful terrain to recommend it. And I still haven’t played Bandon Dunes or any of the adjacent courses. And of course there’s Shakespeare outdoors under the stars in Ashland, cycling in the high desert, running the Deschutes River trail, Batchelor, Hood, the Three Sisters, Crater Lake. Don’t just take my word for it, give this guy’s work a look-see.

Despite the difficulty knowing I will never cross the Columbia River again, I’m going north to British Columbia. For the rest of my life. As much as I like Oregon, I love British Columbia. Victoria, Vancouver, Whistler, the Okanogan Valley, Penticton. Barely scraping the surface of the southernmost part of the province has been enough to tip the balance.

The GalPal and I will stay here a few nights. Here too. And we’ll make regular visits to our private suite at the Hotel Grand Pacific in Victoria.

Part of it is a feeling I get in B.C. I’m sure I idealize it, but I like knowing there’s less gun violence, a progressive head of state, a single payer health care system, and often a self-deprecating sense of humor. I hope some of my Washington State friends are down with my decision. It would be a lot more fun to have some company along for the many, many ferry and border crossings in my future.