John and I rode 82 miles today and turned into our driveway about 2 pm. The first thing I did was take a nice long shower and then sat in my recliner and took a nice long nap. And then the question that I will get asked dozens of times in the next week was asked of me by a family member, “How was the trip?” How do I answer that? “Great”, “Super”, “Amazing”, I am sure people want more answer than that. It was a great challenge with lots of very difficult riding, but that is why we did it, so it was a huge success. Let me give you 4 characteristics that make a trip like this hard or easy, and remember we want hard not easy.
(1) Uphill is hard and downhill is easy, really what is easy is flat, because flat means no uphill. Down is nice, but the only way to go down is to first go up, so flat is easy. Oregon is a State full of mountains and hills and we climbed an average of 5,000 feet every day. So the question, “How was the trip?” Wow, the trip was amazing!!
(2) Head wind is awful and tailwind is awesome!! A head wind is where you are riding into the wind, and it is creating this big hand that is pushing you back. A head wind wears you out, grinds you down, and doesn’t give you a break. A tail wind on the other hand is like having a motor on your bike, all you have to do is steer. I have this amazing power to control the wind direction, which ever direction I ride a bicycle the wind comes from that direction. If I am riding North the wind is coming from the North, and if I change directions and go West, the wind changes direction and comes from the West. I am not sure why God gave me this power. But of course we want hard and harder so it must be a great blessing, this power that I have. So the question, “How was the trip?” We had huge head winds most of the time so the trip was amazingly great!!
(3) Smooth roads are, Oh, so nice!! Rough roads, roads with chip seal with 1 inch gravel is like riding on “rumble strips”except you can’t get away from it. It just shakes, and shakes and shakes you until the very molecules of your body start to come apart. Or there are those “expansion joints”, those breaks in the pavement that were built in that allow the road to expand and contract with temperature change, and become these gigantic cracks in the pavement every 10 feet that your tire falls into, and jars your entire body. Ka-bang, ka-bang, ka-bang, ka-bang. So the question, “How was the trip?” It was awesome!!! Ka-bang, ka-bang, ka-bang, shake, shake, shake!!!
(4) As a bicycle rider you are riding with automobiles which have a huge advantage in size and speed, and the idea is to ride with them and not get run over or knocked in the ditch. What is really, really, really nice is wide shoulders that give lots of room to ride your bike in with plenty of space between you and the traffic. A 10 foot shoulder only happens in your dreams, 6 foot is amazing and we had a few miles of that, 3 feet is adequate and we did experience that for a couple of days. What we had most of the trip because we opt for back roads is zero shoulder. There is a road, and then a white line painted on the road and then dirt, gravel, or space that goes down into a canyon. Most of the drivers are pretty good about passing you with plenty of space. The dreaded vehicle is a “Rent-Us” Motorhome with an old lady driving it who seems to have little understanding of the difference between the size of that vehicle, with their normal Kia Rio. We constantly check in our little mirrors stuck on our helmets to see what is coming, and our prayers increase depending on what we see. So one more time, “How was the trip?” Answer, “I feared for my life much of the time, so it was super, and I am already planning the next one”!!