Last night continued:
A lot of us decided to push on after dinner last night. It was about 15 miles to the store in Bates, Oregon. We decided, you know, it’s only 15 miles, no big deal--but we had to climb up a pass.
It got pretty cold, and between that and the altitude I was pretty miserable. We stopped at the top and took a few pictures. There was a covered wagon at a lookout point.
The descent back down is really the coldest part of any of these rides. I hadn't put on enough clothing, so I actually had to stop part way down. I put on my puffy coat to stop shivering. And besides my lights, it was absolutely pitch black. No cars, the other cyclists had gone ahead of me and were waiting at the store at the base of the hill.
I started shivering again and stopped to get my leg warmers. I had been waiting because I have to take my shoes off to put them on, these guys are going to think that I crashed off the side of the road somewhere … so I finally got the leg warmers on, pull my shoes back on, and roll down ... and I was literally just around the corner from the store where we were staying for the night. I guess I spooked them for no reason!
I stayed in this weird tent-camper, sort of like the StarCraft camper that we had growing up. It had a couple of sleeping bags thrown into it. It was pretty cold last night, so I was grateful to have an extra sleeping bag, but that trailer was so dusty that I woke up this morning and could barely open my eyes or breathe out of my nose from dust allergies.
So it’s been tough getting rolling today, but I’m glad we tackled the worst of the climbs before Baker City last night. I had a really bad case of the “don’t wanna’s” this morning but just kept pushing through.
The descent into Baker City and the ride across the flatlands was fun. It largely went along this gully with the river flowing next to the road. A lot of the roads we’ve descended through the mountains are like that: beautiful blue-green water, gentle rapids, a lot of farmland, lambs and cows. Sorta dusty, so my voice is getting a little hoarse.
Rolled into Baker City, and now I’m sitting at a cafe, waiting for food.
I ran into Andrew Suzuki. He’s the guy who was in first place. He actually broke the record for the farthest traveled on the first day of the ride. But he got this thing called Shermer’s Neck, basically a really bad neck cramp since those muscles are weak, and you can’t hold up your head to see the road anymore. But he’s a pretty cool guy! Super low-key, you wouldn’t have expected him to be here to get number one, but I was super impressed--all of us are super impressed with how well he did, even though he had to scratch. He’s flying back out of Boise today.
I’m going to push on after breakfast. Hopefully I’ll make it to Idaho by tonight.
Last night continued: