Well y’all, the year and the summer have been flying by. And sure as heck, here we are the week before my biggest ride of the Crater Lake Century. The web site describes it like this:
Dubbed “The Best Ride in Oregon” by Bicycling Magazine, The Crater Lake Century is an annual bike ride that traverses up and around the Crater Lake Caldera. Available in 62-Mile and 100-Mile routes, the ride begins and ends at the historic Fort Klamath Museum. The annual ride is a benefit for both the Klamath County Museum and the Klamath-Lake Counties Food bank. Over the previous 8 years, the ride had contributed over $60,000 to these organizations.
I’ve lived in the Northwest for over 30 years, and I have gone to Mt Rainier, our closest National Park, more times than I can count. I love national parks, the visitor centers, the sights, views, nature and the feeling I get when I am in the parks. I have been in many different ones around the states, and they all instill the same feeling. The more mountains the better!
For some reason, in all the travels I have taken, I haven’t made it to Crater Lake yet. A few times it was planned, but just never happened. To give you an idea of what I am going to see, I stole this from the rides website:
The deepest lake in the United States and the 7th deepest in the world is located in the northern part of Klamath County and was chosen as the site of the century ride because few places on earth command overwhelming awe from observers as Crater Lake does. Even in a region of volcanic wonders, Crater Lake can only be described in superlatives. Stories of the deep blue lake can never prepare visitors for their first breathtaking look from the brink of this 6 mile wide caldera which was created by the eruption and collapse of Mt. Mazama almost 7,000 years ago. Even seasoned travelers gasp at the twenty-mile circle of cliffs, tinted in subtle shades and fringed with hemlock, fir, and pine: all this in a lake of indescribable blue.
This ride will be one of those rare ones that will combine the challenge I look for every year, with the love I have for nature, national parks and mountains! I get to ride all the way around this lake. Now, just in case you are curious about how hard this ride, here is the ride diagram:
Century Riders (100 miles) will start at the Fort Klamath Museum on Crater Lake Highway (Rte 62) at 4,000 ft elevation, and will enjoy the first 35 miles along the valley floor of the Wood River Valley with breathtaking views of the surrounding Cascade mountains with old growth forests. This will be a nice warm up for the 3,000 ft climb to the Crater Lake Rim. Once reaching Crater Lake Rim and getting your first view of the brilliantly blue, awe inspiring Crater Lake, Century Riders will continue another 30 miles of peaks and valleys for an additional 3,000 ft of climbing around the lake on Rim Drive. Then riders will enjoy the ride back down to the Wood River Valley and will end the ride with 8 miles of flat roads back to the Fort Klamath Museum.
Of course, now starts the “Am I’s” Am I ready? Am I in shape enough? Have I logged enough miles? This year has a new twist. I am on bike I’ve only owned for 2 weeks. I have over 100 miles on it already, and tomorrow I have a 50-60 mile ride planned, get some hours in on the new ride. But it is a HUGE jump from my training rides to the big one of the year.
When I start having doubts I look to the arts for my inspiration. Nope, not epic poems, classic paintings or statues of ancient Greek heroes. I mean Smokey and the Bandit! Yep, when Snowman doesn’t think they can get to Texarkana Texas and back with the beer, Bandit told him “We ain’t never not made it yet, have we” Don’t ask me why, but that line has kicked my butt into gear on many rides over the years!
I also still have to worry about smoke from the fires, but it looks like things are clearing out well!
Michelle and I are driving down Thursday (She is volunteering during the ride, Love that lady). Friday we will ride the route. This helped me a LOT while on the High Pass Challenge. It let me focus on when the longest uphill ended. This helped a lot. Without the recon run, this leg may have been too much. It looked like it kept going up, but I knew the road turned and it was actually flat for a bit. Made all the difference.
PLUS, this means we can drive the drive, see the sites together for the first time. Take pictures, get my National Park Passport book stamp (Yes I am a geek of many different types) and check out the route. It will be a fun trip for the 2 of us!
So, it’s going to be short work week, a long drive, and a memorable experience. Looking forward to it!