Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Cycle Oregon Weekend (Saturday)

Here is our itinerary for the Africa trip.

The weekend ride is a family affair. The CO leaders wanted to do something that would enable families to enjoy the same experiences as the week-long Cycle Oregon without having to make the same commitment in terms of time or training. Each of the weekend rides has three levels so riders can choose the one that best fits their training and expertise. For the littlest ones, there is a “Cycle Camp” of activities that entertain the children while teaching them safety and riding techniques. Certainly some of the older riders would benefit from the safety lessons. The weekend is located in a college town where dormitories are available for those families or individuals who don’t want the actual camping experience.
This year location was Linfield College in McMinnville. Linda drove me over on Friday night and helped me get settled for the evening. I rented a tent for the two nights instead of setting up my own so I could easily join Linda at Hotel Oregon when we finished on Sunday. She would be spending the weekend in Seattle with Stanford friends at a performance of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Mikado.” Since I would be done long before she returned, I would ride my bicycle to the hotel with all my stuff. Having to carry a tent, too, seemed like too much.

Rather than have dinner at the school, we chose to join her brother who was down from Everett for the weekend to help with Special Olympics at George Fox College in Newburg. He has been doing this for several years now and it was fun to get to see him and meet some of his fellow volunteers over a burger and beer. He shared that Cycle Oregon had put extra pressure on hotel rooms in the area making it harder for some of the Special Olympic families to find rooms. I guess for some riders even staying in a dorm was too rustic.
Saturday’s ride traveled west and south from McMinnville. Riders could choose from routes of 16, 43, or 73 miles. The two shorter roads were essentially flat, but the longer ride still only had two hills about 1.5 miles each. The second one included a 9% grade and a false summit. A few did choose to walk that section. The scenery was great and the weather was fine except that it seemed to get very hot for the last ten miles after the final rest stop. The headwind and rougher road didn’t help any. Fortunately, very little of the ride actually had us on Highway 18. Riding the backroads is a lot more fun.
My favorite part of the scenery was the many different wheat and grass fields. We passed fully grown wheat ready for mowing, wheat that had been mowed, wheat that had been mowed and raked, wheat that had been baled, and grass seed fields that had been chopped up and spewed out. I’m not sure how that grass seed thing works, but there it was. We also passed fields of corn, squash, vegetables, and potatoes along with a number of vineyards. At one stop a couple of young boys were selling lemonade taking advantage of the heat and a captive audience.
Upon arrival back at the school, a Schwann’s truck was handing out ice cream cones as we finished. In the evening we were entertained by a country rock music group and a parade of the Kid’s camp bikers who were excited to perform their new skills and the decorations they had created. Beer and music finished off the day nicely.

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