Folks, stand by, cuz this ride proves that this is true without a doubt!
But, as always, we should start at the beginning. We drug our butts out of bed at 500 AM. It wasn’t easy after two long days in the car. Damned if I didn’t almost leave my water bottles in the fridge! But, in the end, we were on the road at 530, and at the starting line at 615, plenty of time! Michelle then went back to hotel to rest. (Smart woman!)
I really wasn’t impressed with the first part of the ride. To be a Century ride, you have to have the bikes ride within spittin distance (at least ) or a little over 100 miles. This ride meets this by sending the riders AWAY from Crater Lake for 2 miles, then down 7 mile road (yep that’s its name) , through cow fields (during cow mating season which I can attest to!) until you see the sign that says U turn here! Them yep, we turned around and went right back where we came! (Kinda made me grouchy)
But then we were on the way toward the park. The good news was, the first 35 miles were relatively flat, so I made good time.
That all changed when I saw this:
Then the hills started! Driving it the day before, the hillsto the park didn’t seem too bad. I was wrong. It was nothing like what was coming up, but they did gain my attention. The ride and park worked very well together. We were able to use the employee entrance to the park, and bypass a lot of cars.
Then the real climbing started! 7 miles to the crater rim and Crater Lake itself. It was the first real climb on the new bike. Luckily I have always been a good climber, and I refused to use then lowest gear, saving that for later on. So, at a blazing 6 mph, I climbed the last 3 almost straight up miles. Had to take this picture along the way though, it made me laugh.
Soon after this point, the bike and I made it to the rim!
This was the 50 mile point. So one would think that I was halfway done! I’m here to tell ya, one would be wrong!!! The 34 miles around the rim IS the ride. They call them rolling hills, yeah not so much. These were long, slow climbs, many of which were steeper than the climb to the rim, followed by very long and exciting downhills! No lie, if it weren’t for the fun I had on the downhill runs, I am not sure I would have finished this ride.
There have never been better places for SAG stops though. This is just one of the views I enjoyed while eating.
The planning of these stops was perfectly done. Every time I started running low on water, I topped a hill or rounded a corner and it was either a food stop or a water jug set up waiting for us! Plus every view was spectacular. It was a little smoky, not enough to hurt the lungs, but enough that the water wasn’t AS blue as the day before, but still worth the trip.
I will be honest here, I was NOT as prepared for this ride as I should have been. I started up the climb that would take me TO the climb to Cloud Cap, the highest point of the ride. It was high noon, it was blazing sun, no shade and I was dying. I was 62 miles in and thought it was time for my first give up ever. So I sat, drank some water, ate some shotblocks for the caffeine and pondered the view. Then a thought hit me. Mighty Manda was ready to bag it on the 2nd day of the Seattle to Portland. She sucked it up and made it, and there was NO way I was going to bale… Plus I knew there were more hills after this, but there was a fun downhill coming prior to that. So Suck it up I did, and at 4.5 mph I climbed that bastard!
Then I realized I HAD to go to Cloud cap, I thought the route bypassed it…. More uphill after big ugly… Others were skipping it, but I never skip part of the ride! Besides, it made for a bigger downhill!
Speaking of downhills, I only know one way to do them. ALL OUT!!! It’s the reward for suffering so much on the way up. And evidently I sing (bellow?) when I go fast! Part way down one hill, Michelle was waiting with cold Powerade. She said she could hear me coming a mile away.
I made it through the rest of the climbs, not easily, mind you, but steadily. I knew the last 20 were mostly downhill, I just had to get off the rim road. So head down, and keep those Still have to share a few pictures.
Then I was on the last downhill! I was enjoying the hell out of it. 20-25 MPH. singing, bike dancing, its amazing how much you can recover while letting gravity do the work.
I stopped to see Michelle once more here with 5 miles to go, feeling no pain, and happy.
Remember the title of this post??? Yeah. So right when I was about hit the 100th mile, my bike (the new one mind you) started this weird noise. I was trying to figure out if a fender had worked loose or what it was. But soon after 100, the odometer hit 13000. I always take pictures of the rollover so I stopped.
Crap, first thought was tire. Nope, full. Then spoke? Nope ok. OK lets roll! NOPE! Back disc brake seized tighter than hell with 2 miles to go and mosquitos EVERYWHERE! (of course, the only ones I’d seen all day.) I know nothing about disc brakes! I loosened everything I could, find, nuthin. 2 miles from the finish! So I called my wife, “STROH DOWN! Bike Broke!” She was on the way. I was going to toss the yellow bag (Yeah I know, couldn’t leave it at home) in the jeep, and carry that bike over the finish line!
I was lugging it along when POP!!! Suddenly the wheel rolled again. Back brakes were gone, (who needs two brakes) but I was the wind again! Michelle followed me the last 1.5 miles just in case! Crossed the line in just over 9 hours. One tired camper! A mountain dew helped me get home awake to the hotel. (Where I discovered the rear tire WAS now flat.)
We celebrated with Mexican food, beer and early bed…. One helluva ride. Not sure if I will do it again, but well worth it! Thanks again for all the support and well wishes!