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  CyclingSite > CO Collected Wisdom > Insights > Why Come Back?
               
    Why Do You Keep Coming Back?  
       
    [The following posts were written about 2 weeks before CO 13.]

A big part of the ride is adventure. Adventure (to me) IS the unknown surprise's that happens on the tour. All the planning in the world cannot change the unknown glitches that WILL happen from time to time in a traveling city such as CO. The ride coordinators do a great job of improvising to accommodate the riders as much as humanly possible. Things happen! And Don said it best, "KEEP THE PERSPECTIVE!"

We'll all have a great time this year regardless of what happens. That's the reason I keep coming back.

How about you other CO Veterans out there - - Why Do You keep coming back ?

Capt. "I love it all " Dink ~ [Lonnie Morse]

For the uninitiated I think that this is truly the adventure of a lifetime. I have more vivid memories than pictures of C/O X which was my first. The excitement builds every year. Each of these events is an accomplishment for riders, community volunteers and the rest of the crew.

And, yes there are many unknowns like a 16 degree morning!!!!

Look at all the good friends we have acquired!!

regards,
Jimbo [Jimmy Louis]

I love it for the physical challenge, the metaphor for perseverance and overcoming obstacles, handling whatever comes. As to the glitches, I know when I get on that bus, I'm ON THE BUS! In the sluice, on the slide, I'm THERE. 16 degrees, too cold, wow, I lived through it. (thanks Phil and Raeanne for lending me blankets). Rain over Mackenzie Pass, zowie I got through it, (paid attention to the forecast and kept my rain gear) , lunch at 5 PM on Anthony Lakes Pass, yuk, but I made it. Usually there will be help for glitches, and sometimes things will not meet one's preconceived schedule or expectations, but gee whiz, it's still the greatest week of outdoor (and internal) adventure. OK, so we're not climbing Everest, but this is plenty good for me. There are some glitches that seem like no brainers to have averted, but we're all human, after all.

Amy-leaving my rocking chair home to gather dust-Ream

MEN IN SPANDEX!!!

Barb Bergin

All this talk, is getting me sooooooooo excited!!

Last year, Cycle Oregon XII was the biggest challenge of my cycling career and I did it! After the Blue Mountains I feel like I can challenge just about anything. I remember: 16 degrees, opening up tightly packed duffel bag, getting my tent, then shaking the ice out of it on a 80+ degree afternoon, climbing all day for nine straight hours at 3-to-5 mph up the Blue Mountains, dropping most of warm clothes off at the clothes drop then freezing while descending the other side of the mountain (luckily I kept my arm warmers), I remember how rewarding it felt when I rode into camp that day, I remember enjoying the beautiful scenic switchbacks of the Wallowa Mountains, eating local ranchers home grown roast beef dinner, the town of Halfway cooked especially for us, while watching the rodeo Halfway put on just for Cycle Oregon while enjoying the delicious meal, dancing my feet into the ground one night without a care in the world while rocking out to Linda Hornbuckle and her awesome out of this world sax-a-phone player, I remember registering for Cycle Oregon not knowing anyone, just knowing I had to experience the event everyone's been talking about, then I subscribed to the CO forum, I remember the reassurance of everyone telling me "nobody rides alone on Cycle Oregon". So true, I'll never forget the camaraderie and perseverance of the Team Bag Balm, making new friends and creating memories that I will cherish forever!! When I saw the Cycle Oregon slogan "the Last One Wins" printed on our souvenir t-shirts, I knew I was going to have a great time!

Nanette "I'll keep coming back" Hoheisel

Those of you who haven't yet had the pleasure of meeting Nanette will very soon now find she is a bubbly, enthusiastic and zany good person and one heck of a cyclist! It's people like her who made CO such a great memory for me last year. I deeply regret that I won't be part of the tour this year and maybe I'll be back next year for only a second CO---so far. After all the superlatives already posted on the subject of coming back the easiest summation for me is simply "ditto" all we've seen. The camaraderie is something you have to experience to really understand it! You can begin your very first CO tour as a solo and before the first revolution of your pedals of your first mile you will have made numerous friends. By the Finish Line BBQ you will have 2,000 plus new friends. When all of you pack it up to head for your various homes, you will at the same time begin looking forward to the next CO! I wish every single one of you a fabulous and safe tour!

Happy trails,
Penny (lucky to live in Colorado) Overdier

Because it is a great experience and you can say I did it!!! It lasts a whole year and more!!!

Candace Reed

Why do I keep coming back?

For me, CycleOregon is a people thing. Sure, I love the cycling, but I have done many other great bike rides, and can do great bike rides without spending $700. I love the scenery and the open spaces, but they are there to be enjoyed whether I am on CycleOregon or not.

But I can't get that CycleOregon comradeship when I'm riding by myself, or unfortunately, when I'm riding with the Wheelmen. I just love sharing life stories with others on the ride, and hearing about where they have come from, both geographically and metaphorically. I never cease to be amazed at the number of people who have turned their lives around through cycling. I am constantly surprised that I manage to leave camp at 7:30 or 8 am, ride fast all day, and still arrive amongst the tail of the herd at the next stop. How do I do this? I spend as many hours at rest stops chatting to people as I do riding!

Now to those of you who know me only through cycling, you may be surprised to know that I am quite a shy person and find it rather hard to make friends and get to know people. Going back to when I was a student, I have always made friends through outdoor activities, which included camping and climbing as well as cycling. There is something about the shared experience that creates a bond. Of course, the strength of that bond is in direct proportion to the badness of the experience -- which is part of the reason that day 2 from CO XII and day 7 from CO X stay in people's minds. We also learn that, when things go wrong, we need each other to get through them and come out the other side. And that is an important lesson in life.

On my first CO (CO XII), I was by myself, but I happened to fall in with a pace line on day 1, and the group that we formed just grew, in size and strength, as the week went on. Last year, we started the group-forming thing through this mailing list over the summer, and it just got better and better, through the Bag Balm Chronicles, the Jersey screen-printing ordeal, and more. I really value the friends that I have made through this group, CO, and cycling, and feel that they are an extended family to whom I can reach to support if there is a need, and who will give me a helping hand if I need one. And that is a great feeling.

So that's why I keep on coming back.

Andrew Black

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Ok, you got my writing juices flowing.

It's time for the Ol' Fart From Happy Rock to wax nostalgic about Cycle Oregon.

This year I will be riding my tenth Cycle Oregon.

Over the years, I have decided that the shortest way to describe all those tours is with five words:

CYCLE OREGON IS AN ADVENTURE.

Of the first order

On CO-4, I rode 532 miles and climbed about 28,000 feet with my eldest son, Kevin, crossing the Pacific coast range twice, and the Cascade mountain range twice, ending at - - - Hood River. As the result of a bike-to-bike crash, Kevin endured a 6" by 12" road rash just 20 miles into the ride, and finished it all. I did the ride on my then 26 year old English steel Raleigh with the most outlandish combination of unmatched make shift cycling clothing anybody could find. The campsite on the coast was along side of an airport runway. One memory is of a pair of salt-and-pepper-haired dads each towing a trailer with a 6 or 7 year old. The kids played with their toys, while their daddies towed them up and down all those mountains. I found new respect for what to me was a new class of hero.

The maps were less than ideal: complete hills and sets of rollers were missing from the map around Salem and east of Timothy Lake. The ol' man, the amateur cycling mapmaker, fumed with each hilly surprise. I knew I could do better than that – and had done so many times.

When I went back to work the following Monday, I could not remember how to use the programmer's text editor on my computer. It took me the better part of an hour to recall how to use a tool I had been using on a day-to-day basis for years. NOW THAT'S A GOOD VACATION!

On CO-5, my son, Michael joined us. Mike, when he rides, looks like he is on rails, and this was no exception. In those days, he also raced semi-professionally. Talk about form and balance! That year, I rode the custom pearlescent white Rodriguez touring bike that Mike and Kevin gave me for the previous Christmas. Man – was I cruisin'!

There was the spectacular Aufderheide Highway. A wedding at McKenzie Pass - the divorce came later. We had some chilly weather on that one too. It got down to 17 degrees in Redmond. The water bottles froze. Sound familiar CO-12 veterans? Five miles into the ride toward Bend, I was peeling layers off. For me, it was my fastest CO ever, as I was in the best physical shape of my whole life. Angioplasty didn't come until five months before CO-9.

A friend of mine – who had a penchant for avoiding training for Cycle Oregon – just couldn't understand how I could sprint by him repeatedly. I couldn't resist. I told him I trained. Unfortunately, he paid a stiff price for his lack of preparation. He crashed on the way down from Crater Lake, breaking several bones – including his back. He was in a body cast for over six months.

CO-6 went from Baker City to Oregon City. Kevin and Mike were on the ride with me again – just barely tolerating my snoring in our so-called six-man tent – which must have seemed miniscule to them with my nightly concert. On the night of day zero in Baker City, there was a wild windstorm – tents rolled or collapsed all around. And, day one to LaGrande was best described as a ride with a steady 25mph plus headwind – no matter what direction we rode. That year, we climbed over 29,000 feet.

I remember a father and son pair on a Counterpoint hybrid recumbent-upright. The boy was 3 and a half years old, and sat out front firmly attached with a seat belt. Dad said that he could tell when the boy pedaled. Amazing!

My broken-back friend did CO-6 with zero (that's "nothing" – "nada" – "zilch") miles training. He told me in Oregon City that he would never do THAT again. He didn't. Next year he trained 50 miles.

Again, our maps were so – so.

Kevin rode CO-7, his last for a few years. CO-7 brought the infamous Bear Camp Hill. The exact length of the climb escapes me – I think it was around 9 miles. But the grade is forever burned in my mind: 10 to 15 % for nearly the whole climb. I would ride 100 yards and rest. Ride 100 yards and rest. Ride 100 yards and rest . . . Well, you get the idea.

The downhill side, going toward the coast was much better. Great road with a new surface. HOWEVER! The challenge on the downhill was to maintain control of your bike into the sun, through changing light conditions and switchbacks. You had to brake judiciously. There were several accidents on the descent, including one tandem with an overheated tire, which exploded due to brake heat.

And to make matters worse the maps were no better. In fact one 400-foot hill on day one was completely absent from the book. The mapmaker took it in the ear. Unfortunately, it really wasn't his fault, as he was provided with bad data. He still caught flak. And, had the dubious honor of having a song written about him and the maps by the Billies, a traveling pair of musicians with a single guitar and a collection of exotic instruments such as food containers, tin cans, and the like. They entertained us enroute.

CO-8 traveled in a clockwise direction much of what CO-12 did in a counter-clockwise direction last year. One difference that year was super-accurate road and profile maps using the latest technology. How sweet it was. To this day, we still enjoy maps of that quality.

The big item that year was the heat. Four days over 100 degrees, and 3 in the mid-nineties. I went through a quart of water an hour. In Fossil, the night after the ride, we were entertained by howling and yipping coyotes.

CO-9 traveled in Cycle Oregon's first loop, starting and ending at Lakeview, and traveling through Paisley and Silver Lake. I had angioplasty the previous April. As it turned out, my cardiologist rode CO that year too. Every time he saw me, he asked how I was doing. Pretty classy, eh? Traveling with your own cardiologist. I was fine by the way – no hint of angina – he does good work.

Part of the route actually took us into that state to the south - - - I think it starts with "C" or something like that. Actually, as we traveled, the left side of the road was in Oregon. We rode through the town of Bly, which has the distinction of being the only place in the continental US that was bombed in the Second World War. I heard my first eagle at the lunch stop in view of Mt McLoughlin behind a clear mountain lake. Unimaginable!

In Lakeview, the night after the ride, in the wee hours we were hit with a tremendous storm. It caught us by surprise. After taking three sons through Boy Scouts, I pride myself on my tent camping skills. But that one got me. The tent nearly collapsed with me and my bike inside and was partly flooded in the process. I just rolled the sleeping bag and tent, shoved them into the car and started back to Portland.

CO-10 traveled from the Idaho border to the Pacific Coast. I found it to be the toughest ride of all. There were no options.

One of those nights produced a rip-snorting-slam-banger thunderstorm, which shut down the entertainment prematurely. The wind howled. Tents rolled or caved in. The lightning flashed. Yessssss. Now this is entertainment! This time I expected the storm and let the wind blow right through the tent. No problems this time.

The day from Prineville took us to Smith Rock, Sisters and over McKenzie Pass to Blue River. Between Smith Rock and Sisters a 30-mph-plus headwind developed out of the west. It was over 80 degrees and certainly dry. Being the slow rider I am – especially in the headwind, I arrived in Sisters for lunch only to find out that the course was closed. The weather at the top of the pass was 38 degrees and raining. Hypothermia was rampant. What a day! That night I experienced my first home stay along the banks of the McKenzie River. Gorgeous!

On day seven, we were informed that rain would start at about noon. It arrived right on schedule. When we started the climb over the coast range, I started to get some angina, so I sagged the rest of the way. Don already described the wet moss on the windward side of the mountains. I guess it was not pretty. Wet moss is like grease. Not what you would like to have on a downhill. When the sag wagon arrived at the end, I grabbed my duffel bag, which was soaked through, slogged over to meet my wife, and proceeded to change into completely dry clothes in a totally fogged up car. The ride was over.

CO-11 continued the loop trend. It also introduced the concept of an option day, where you could stay in camp or ride up to Crater Lake, and go around it once or twice. Tuff! I opted for a flat 11-mile ride around Diamond Lake. Kevin, riding his fifth CO, and my daughter-in-law, Trea, did the up and back climb with the typical Crater Lake south headwind. Trea – wondered why she left a perfectly peaceful home and family in New York State for that kind of agony – only to have the big wind at the top blow $40 cash out of her bike bag when she opened it up. Not one of her better days.

The next day was a 30-mile sled ride into Glide. Nice. The three of us finished Cycle Oregon XI at the same time (they waited for me). No pride in my family. I got it all. I seem to have recurrences at the ends of Cycle Oregon tours.

CO-12 is in recent memory. THE day to remember was number two at 17 degrees and a loooonnnnng grinding climb to lunch – and another sled ride down into Haines. I sagged to the top, and was one of the first to get lunch. The downhill was beautiful. I hit 48 mph on my new Gold Rush recumbent, while a friend on his Tour Easy recumbent hit 65 mph on the same hill. That day, both of us satisfied our serious need for speed. Unfortunately, many riders arrived at the top around 5PM. Others had to be bussed into Haines because of darkness. It was a tough day.

There were two option days – Halfway, and Joseph – each with its own offerings – Hells Canyon and the Snake River Gorge from Halfway, an out-and-back ride, and Lake Wallowa and the bronze foundries at Joseph.

This year, I have convinced my wife to come along as a "rider guest". I have wanted to share this experience with my sweetheart since I started doing it all those years ago. And, Kevin and Trea will be doing it again too.

So why do we do this? Why do we endure the pain?

Speaking for myself, it is an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors up front and personal. Each ride has its own challenges; and each year is different even though we revisit some of the same places. It is an opportunity to make contact somehow with the past, while taking part in the present as fully as I can in this day and age. It is, after all, a sensual experience.

For me, it is also a health-related target that works. I do things at age 65 (# 66 is the week after Cycle Oregon) that I couldn't do at age 54 – or 34 – or maybe even 24. My desire to take part in the Cycle Oregon adventure is so strong, that I am driven to train for it.

The pain never lasts. The memory never leaves. What remains to cherish is a distillate of great experiences.

And soon, the adventure begins again.

Curt Coleman

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Curt: a nice eye-watering, lump-in-the-throat finish!

And that's why I'm back in at 64.

pk

Curt Coleman wrote: "The next day was a 30-mile sled ride into Glide. Nice."

Most poetic, Curt. I can almost relive it all, through your words. One correction, though:

Make that an 80-mile sled ride into a headwind. At least, I think the route guide said seventy-something, but if your rode to the start of all of the waterfall walks, you got 80 miles in that day. And all before lunch :-)

Andrew Black

Sled ride is right - I nearly froze to death! Somehow I never thought about wind chill and left all my cold weather gear in my luggage for the trucks. It was a "learning experience".

Rox Heath

Interesting day that. The tourbook encouraged us to get to Glide early because of the afternoon headwinds. This was the one time bags were picked up from us rather than us walking them to the trucks. For us the pick ups didn't happen till after 9:00. I was losing "perspective" fast that AM :-)

I remember that initial 30 mile "yahoooooo" downhill followed by the more gradual rolling downhill. I remember steadily losing speed in the headwinds and then a voice said, "Hi, Don". It was the MVBC paceline. Having come down for several of their day rides I was recognized and acknowledged. Just never know when you'll run into someone you know..

I was able to suck wheel all the way into Glide with them. I went from a poor 16 mph to a sizzling 21. Yeah! Saved my backside from those winds.

Damned if I didn't beat the luggage trucks by over an hour. OOPS. Nice lawn for pitching camp too - on concrete evidently as the tent stakes didn't wanna go too deep there without going pretzel.

Don "and then the nice hike to the food area" Bolton

Ya know . . . I REALLY should check out the route book before referencing the numbers. I was short on the Bear Camp Hill distance also.

Maybe, it was wishful thinking on the Bear Camp climb, and the opposite perception that the hill from Diamond Lake was too short.

Go figger.
Curt Coleman

Yeah, adventure...whether it’s the upside, like jumping off my bike and into a deliciously chilly river on one of those sweltering, head-pounding afternoons, with a bunch of other cyclists, giddy on the sudden comfort of icy water or looking down from the top of a hard-earned pass to that microscopic town nestled in the valley far, far below and pushing off to start that stomach clenching swoop of a descent, or hanging out with my friends (1999 of them) in camp at the end of the day, bellys full, telling stories of our day's journey...

or

the downside, like shivering in the drizzle at the top of the Coast Range as my leg muscles turned into cement columns, soaked to the skin with sweat and rain trying to decide if it was better to be inside the portapottys (marginally warmer, but definitely stinky) or out (wind chill factor, but smelled a lot better). Or racing thru camp with the herd of folks in the lightening storm trying to find my tent in the dark, stumbling over bikes, bags, other people as the rain pounded down, only to discover that my tent, along with many others, was flat to the ground and soaked. This is when I remind myself of one of my favorite sayings: "Adventure is what you do when you'd rather be home telling about it" because all of it, both the wonderful things and the difficult ones wind up making the stories that we tell all winter and into the coming years, as "remember when"s.

That's why I keep coming back.

Oh yeah, and I'm with Barb: the men in spandex

Melanie Pratt

I have been thinking about this a lot lately - why am I riding this again?

Bob did CO 7 and had a lot of fun. I thought it would be great to go on rides like this, but the kids were too small and we were building a house and we had two different estates to clean up and sell houses for and a couple of big family vacations and the years just slipped by.

And then one March a couple of years ago Bob told me that he had just heard that CO was going to be going up around Diamond Lake and the areas where he had been a firefighter for a couple of college summers just before we were married. He asked if I would like to spend our 25th wedding anniversary on CO that year (CO 11). I thought it was a great idea so we trained together and had a lot of fun getting ready. It was a good ride - it had its ups and downs, but I felt like I had really accomplished something and wanted to do it again.

Last year we were ready for CO 12 in July and things were looking very positive and then in late August we had several medical problems crop up and just plain too much to do. We were not in good shape at the start of CO 12 and some of it seemed more of an endurance test. We still felt it was a positive experience, but there were a number of things we wanted to change and do differently the next time (like get some sleep the week before and no injuries!)

Around last February we decided we just had to FINISH the house so we could move because conditions in the old house were getting too bad. The big question was - how do you build a house and still ride your bike? This has been very hard to deal with. Neither one of us is in the kind of shape we would like to be in, but we decided to hang in there and go for it. The result is that we are in adequate shape and the house should be done around the end of the year. In many ways this year is a compromise. My goal is to do the best I can and have fun. I hope to make it through the ride without sagging, but I am not going to sweat it if I get stuck from the heat or altitude. I will not have the energy for options or lots of around-camp hiking, but that's okay.

I am not sure why I keep coming back. I think that mainly it is because it is fun! It is a strong challenge that I can overcome, it is certainly an adventure, and it is a great group of people to spend the week with. The feeling of support from everyone around you is a very special thing on CO. I am not just speaking of Team Bag Balm or the staff. All 2000+ people are your instant friends and want you to succeed. This is very special.

And now back to packing... all of next week is full (including the week end) and I don't want to stay up late and pack so today is the day. It feels really weird because I am used to getting excited packing for a trip that I am leaving on in the immediate future - and it's a whole week away!

Happy cycling!

Rox Heath

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There is one other reason I really enjoy CO....

CO is a very dynamic process. The conditions are constantly changing. There are 2000+ riders of all abilities on all kinds of bikes and with all kinds of philosophies of how to handle whatever is coming their way both riding and in camp. And there is the staff - also handling an incredible assortment of problems and environments.

I find this incredibly fascinating to watch! (and learn from...)

Rox Heath

OK, I'll take a stab at this.

My main reason for going on my first CO (#9) was to see a portion of the state that I'd only seen a tiny sliver of. I'm a member of S.N.O.B. (the Society of Native Oregon Born), but I've only lived in the northwest corner of the state. It was high time to broaden my horizons.

This is one of CO's primary goals, of course... to get us "city folk" out into the hinterlands to see and feel the "other" Oregon(s). CO hasn't failed in accomplishing this yet, even though we've covered some of the same roads in the last few years.

By itself, the opportunity to cover new (to me) territory would be enough to keep me coming back as long as the routes didn't get too repetitive.

Of course, memories of new and different landscapes weren't all that I went home with.

I remember the simple act of looking up at 4:00 AM in Lakeview to see what looked like an alien sky. I have never seen the Milky Way so bright, and have never seen so many stars in the canopy.

I remember plunging with a few hundred other lycra-clad nuts into the swimming hole on the outskirts of Paisley. I've talked to local volunteers at Fort Rock about the ups and downs of life in such an isolated place... it's no bowl of cherries, but they didn't seem to want to trade it. Not long after that, I stopped for a few minutes at the side of the road going back to Silver Lake. It was late in the afternoon, and most riders had already reached town. I was alone with my bike and a piece of road as straight as a guitar string... no trees, no shade, nothing growing above shin-level. It was so quiet, the only sound I heard was my pulse in my ears and my breathing.

Flying down from the rim of Crater Lake to Prospect to get Colin Yates back to the Bob's tent in time to go to work was a hoot. A two-man time trial on a downgrade... greenery flashing by in a blur. (Colin's with the Bike Gallery now, I'd be shocked if he isn't part of the crew this year.)

Climbing out of Prospect toward K-Falls with a pickup paceline of would-be comedians and Phil Ligget wannabes made me almost unaware of the grades. The jokes, puns and cliches were seldom very good, but they made up in quantity what they lacked in quality, and we laughed anyway.

Cut to CO XI and the Day 1 option... fell in with the "Tandem From Hell" and the tandem that almost went there. Barb and Rene didn't know what I was screaming about when I saw smoke streaming from their hub brake, but they stopped anyway, just as a second spoke broke. Rene discovered that he'd left his spares in their duffel, but I had one temporary Kevlar spoke, so we got them limping to the next tech stop. The other couple on the pretty Ibis was less lucky, but they made it down without injury.

I remember the community group in Glendale, putting on a huge revue of show tunes. Pulled out all the stops, they did. It would have been enough if it had just been a heartfelt stab at entertainment, but it was more than that... it was great stuff! That little town has more talent than they know what to do with (or is it that we all have talents that we have yet to discover?). They were followed by The Trail Band. If you don't know them, don't miss them this year.

Later, when I was sick and wondering what the hell I was still doing on the road, Rene and Barb passed me on the exit from Crater Lake with Barb yelling "HOP ON!", so I jumped into their draft and stayed with them until my computer said 53 mph and they were still accelerating.

And then there's CO XII. The maiden voyage of TBB. A whole new dimension was added to the experience. I met Curt and Diane and a few others relatively early on, and had e-mail exchanges with others (like Wendi) but didn't meet many more until the Lucky Lab party. Like Andrew, I'm a relatively shy guy... I'm not the life of any party, but I was comfortable with the group.

I met Natt Kerr last year... a very compatible riding partner. After a while I wondered how I'd managed to ride so many solo miles.

Day two last year was one of the best days I've had on a bike. I've said that a lot of times, but I'm still convinced of it. It was hard, but very rewarding, and there was Wendi at the top acting as an after-the-fact cheerleader.

I remember passing Phil Ford on Day 5 last year. I really wanted to say "Hi" for some reason, but he was singing so earnestly that I couldn't bear to interrupt him. I pedaled on, his voice fading behind me.

Pit-roasted beef in Halfway. It tasted better than it smelled, and it smelled good enough to make a couple of vegetarians I know think twice about their protein source.

Craig Carothers, also in Halfway, singing "Little Hercules". I noticed something shiny in my peripheral vision, turned to find that the woman sitting next to me was smiling with tears running down her face.

My now-traditional "run for the barn" on Day 7 last year felt amazing. No, Cycle Oregon is not a race, but it feels like a test sometimes, and for reasons that I don't understand, I have a habit of trying to find my limits on the last day.

Preparation is part of the experience, too. This year, I've had to miss most group rides, but the two that I did get to participate in will remain near the top of my list of favorite days on two wheels. One for just plain fun, and the other for the mix of fun and challenge and discovery... riding with Mark and Linda and Andrew just left very fine memories... I can't explain why.

This has been very long... sorry about that. It could have been much longer, though. I left out a LOT of stuff. There's a lot to go back for.

Scott Saulsbury

Ok, I've been sitting here trying to formulate a response to why I'm coming back. I'm hardly a "veteran" since this will only be number 2 for me, but I am definitely excited to be coming back.

Last year, in May, Carl and I started training. Hadn't been on a bike in YEARS. Rode 5 miles. Thought my butt would fall off, it hurt so bad. Went up small hills and thought I would die or my lungs would explode out of my chest. Rode 750 or so training miles and KNEW I wasn't ready. Went anyways. I was so scared. I didn't realize how wonderful everyone would be. I mean, I knew the TBBers would be there and I felt like most were friends when I hadn't even met them. Scott and Lonnie (Capt. Dink) were my best cheerleaders. Ken rode with me part of day 2. Made the hill seem a little less monstrous. Mike and Amy singing as they rode by. Phil Ford mooing at me as he passed. But EVERYONE was wonderful. If I stopped (to catch my breath mostly!), someone always asked if I was ok or if I needed anything. (Scott, I still need that tow rope!). I never thought I could do this ride. Yes, I saw Scott at the top on Day 2. But mind you, I SAGGGED, he RODE! I was seriously scared I'd never finish. Yes, I sagged. But I had the BEST time! Up until Cycle Oregon, I tended to lean towards being a couch potato. I've learned that I can ride and I like it. And I have friends now that I love dearly that are cyclists. That’s why I come back.

Wendi Thornton

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I am coming back to relive the accomplishments I made last year. I enjoy the friendships and realizing I can do more than I thought.

Carl Thornton

The reason we came back to our second CO is for the money. The first one was fun and exciting, day two was a cinch and we hope to have many more like it. I am familiar with Central Oregon area and my wife the stoker is familiar with Bend to Hood River area. This route excited us and we decided to do something about our excitement. So we are going to do it. Cycle Oregon is an excellent organization and they do pamper you. We could have gone on a cruise, we could have traveled the United States in a motor home (we don't have a motor home so that option's out), we could have gone on a Safari (but we don't hunt), so we decided to treat ourselves to a luxurious bicycling trip across Oregon. Where else could you ride a bike for 100 miles in a day, stand in line to use the blue room, stand in line to eat and shower, nowhere but on Cycle Oregon. We made some good friends while waiting in these lines and wouldn't trade these precious moments for anything. We look forward to pitching our tent, sleeping on the ground, waking up to frost on the tent and hearing the grass crunch under our feet as we walk to the blue room. Getting up in the morning, using the blue room, having breakfast, using the blue room, breaking camp, using the blue room, loading our stuff on the truck, using the blue room, getting our tandem ready for another day's trek, using the blue room, getting ready to saddle up, using the blue room, and heading out of camp, using the blue room one more time. Now we look forward to our first break, looking for the blue room, eating, drinking, using the blue room, and setting off again, to the next break. It doesn't get any better than this, we've been on a cruise before where they pamper you but they don't have any blue rooms. No comparison, Cycle Oregon's the only way to go. This is a class organization.

Lorren "can't wait to use the blue rooms" Hughes

So many have written so eloquently on why they keep coming back, my reasons for coming back to this, my second, CO, echo much of what has already been said:

adventure - truly not knowing what the next day will bring, or how one will handle it

challenge - can this sedentary, 50+ body really pedal all those miles

friendship - starting with the bond of facing the challenge, and growing to a camaraderie, mutual respect and sharing that is indescribable

escape - the opportunity to forget, for the moment, work pressures, family crises, household duties and simply focus on the moment, whether it be getting up the next hill or timing that visit to the blue room!

beauty - the ability to not just see the beauty of the Oregon countryside, but to really feel it and smell it as we roll through varying landscapes

And so much, much more ........

Diane Kern

Snip from Scott: << Craig Carothers, also in Halfway, singing "Little Hercules". I noticed something shiny in my peripheral vision, turned to find that the woman sitting next to me was smiling with tears running down her face. >>

Friends,

As a single mom with a demanding job and an old house that needs a lot of work, time is not something I have a whole lot of. My point here is only that as much as I enjoyed the memories shared by some of you, I didn't think I had time to write my own essay.

So I'll keep it simple. All the above being said, I believe I was the woman Scott noticed. My experience on C.O. and in life in general was summed up by that song that night...I so often feel like a "Little Hercules" and when, in that poignant lovely moment surrounded by new friends, I heard those lyrics, and smiled, tears streaming down my face, knowing without a doubt it was all really okay.

Thank you for your warmth, and companionship, never ceasing kind words and offers of help through my injuries, and dancing with me until 2:00!!!

Stacy "can't wait to see you all again, ride like hell, and laugh/sing/dance with unbridled joy" Holmes

Stacy,

Thanks for being there to both make the memory for me (now), and to lend unwitting support (then)... it was good to know at that point that I wasn't going off the deep end as my eyes started to tear up.

Scott Saulsbury

Stacy,

Thank you for your personal, and poignant sharing.

There are so many things to enjoy about Cycle Oregon, but the deep and personal moments are truly the best. My son and I rode Cycle Oregon XI together. His summer job prevents him from joining me this year, but nothing will replace the memory of that shared event, all those miles together.

John Aeby

Stacy - and - anybody else willing to "listen".

You know what they say about Irishmen who cry when they sing . . .

Well, Macushla, you're hearing from one of them now.

This ol' mick can't keep a straight face when good music comes my way - Irish or not. I wept all through the Irish Rover's performance in Portland, on their farewell tour.

The Trail band does it to me - every time. (Look out Dufur!)

The kids doing a Mexican Polka wrung it out of me in Nyssa on CO-10, so I called my sweetheart of 36 years (in less than a month from today), trying to give her the good feeling I was experiencing. At over 300 miles away, interrupted from what she was doing, she didn't get it.

I wonder why.
As a second best, I would have have shared the experience with a pint of Guiness in my hand - but - like any good Irishman, I improvised, doing the next best thing with an Oregon microbrew.

Ahhhh!

As strange as it may seem to the un-initiated, it is easy to get emotional about this bike ride.

Cycle Oregon is a rich experience indeed. This year, I get to share it with my sweetheart for the first time, my son Kevin for the sixth time, and my daughter-in-law Trea (of first generation Irish descent) for the second time.

I can hardly wait.

Curt (The Ol' Mick From Happy Rock) Coleman

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Cycle Oregon XI was in our part of the state. Some of you may remember the ride from Crater Lake to Glide. I scheduled some work with the Forest Service at Eagle Rock Campground the day you were heading to Glide. I decided that I wanted to do this and I was extremely excited. I got home from work all excited, worked up and drooling I was telling my wife all about it (she was not as excited as I) but she tolerated me. I drove to Glide that night to look at the bikes and the people as I had done when Cycle Oregon stayed in Oakland. It was an awesome scene looking at all the people and all the bikes in the bike corrals. I had set a goal to do CO XII but as time passed the dream had eroded and was washed away. I was talking to a lady on one of the jobs I had scheduled in April 1999. Kami had told me that she was having a bike built and that she was going to ride in CO XII, I once again got excited and started planning on riding in CO XII. I went home and told Cheryl that I wanted to ride in CO and she was supportive and once again the dream started to build, my wife had no problem with me doing this and she decided she would ride also. Cheryl was heading out the door to teach a class and mentioned something like why don't you look for a tandem, I looked and we purchased one. The dream had become a reality. I e-mailed Jonathan to see if there was still room for two more and he let me know there was room for my wife and I, "WE WERE IN". Now the training begins, the CO forum, the chat groups, and watching the Team Bag Balm grow from a simple question about saddle sores. We were all for TBB. Ken Kahn warned us about getting the O.K. from the Bag Balm company, Thanks Ken. This whole concept of TBB started and grew right here. The people are great, the CO organization is great. Last year, being our first definitely not the last, day two still looms in my mind but we made it to the top of Anthony Lakes and that was a sense of accomplishment for my wife and I. Average speed on the climb was about but not exceeding 3 m.p.h., on this climb we made a new friend and an encourager from Seattle by the name of Sandy Weiss. I recall on the climb my wife and I discussing sagging in, it did not happen. I love telling people what we will be doing for vacation and the normal response is "YOUR CRAZY" They are right but this beats sitting around some resort. Excitement, hard work and friends keep me coming back. See ya Saturday and all week.

Lorren ( I can't hardly sleep at night now) Hughes

To: Andrew, Curt, Amy, Don and all the rest of you who have, and will share your memorable recounts of Cycle Oregon's Past.

Thank you, for the stories which I have printed and will keep with the rest of this year’s Cycle Oregon memorabilia.

All the months of training and preparation for this year’s Cycle Oregon and now we are ready. Our legs are stronger than ever, we have longer riding capacity, our lungs prepared for those steeps hills and deep breaths, excited to fulfill our dreams for adventure.

Twelve years ago when I first heard about Cycle Oregon my three sons were 7, 5, 3 so I was not quite ready to leave them for a week. Though I can easily remember the mental torture of hearing about each of the Cycle Oregon's course routes each September, where 2,000 cyclists, except moi, would be embarking upon 7 days of wonderful, excruciating, delightful, friendly ADVENTURE :). The boys are now 19, 17, and 15, so my time has come.

This year because I met a somewhat shy, yet friendly man with an adorable English accent...who encouraged me to sign-up for Cycle Oregon and assured me "that I would never be alone" and told me about Team Bag Balm and what a very non-threatening group it was, I decided to sign-up. Now since I am employed by The Hillsboro School District I was very worried that my Principal (who is a cyclist) would not allow me the time off (w/out pay, of course)

But she has, and I am going with only with the promise that I "take good pictures and good notes to share " with her when I return. YEEHAW!

I consider myself extremely fortunate to have met Andrew Black and all of the rest of you. Having been a cyclist for many years I still find I am learning more every time I meet up with others who share their stories and special riding techniques. Every ride is an adventure with others and alone...but as Andrew put it when we share the experience with someone else or in a group it is so much more enjoyable and makes for a perfect memory.

Thank you for all of your stories... I was literally in tears so I had to write even though I am not as gifted a writer as the rest.

So encouraged, so excited!
Beth-Ann Wesley :)

WWWWooooWWWW!

I must say a warm thank you to everyone who has shared their past experiences of Cycle Oregon.... I'm thrilled beyond words that I get to experience my first tour this year with all of you... I rode bikes as a kid. We lived in the country. If I wanted to get somewhere, I hoped on my trusty bike. Once I got a car, I ditched the bike. Didn't start riding again until my mom bought me a Bridgestone about 10 years ago. I rode it in my living room while watching movies. My butt hurt, but hey, I was sweating and loosing weight... That didn't last long... I quit.... years went by. My mom got into recumbents. I thought she was nutz... She'd come pedaling up to my house all grins and I'd just shake my head. I finally sat on one, even pedaled a few of her "stable" down my street a time or two. Hey... these things are pretty comfortable! Found out that a Mr. Curt Coleman was ordering a special edition White Gold Rush and the maker of the bike, Gardner Martin, had leant him a Tour Easy to use to train for an upcoming Cycle Oregon. Wow, Cycle Oregon... this guy must be nutz too! I had had a boss who'd done it years ago and came back with such horror stories (base mileage - 0 - by the way)... he'd told me about saddle soars and q-tips and some kind of gross salve. Too much information for me. Didn't sound like fun at ALL! Anyway, I spoke with this Gardner person and we made a deal... once Kurt got his Gold Rush, I could buy the Tour Easy. I didn't know it then, but my life would NEVER be the same again... I no longer own a car. I commute every day by bicycle. I lead club rides. I make excuses to run errands. I went down the Oregon Coast this year with an 80-85 pound bike and pedaled every pedal revolution from Fort Canby State Park in Washington to the Californian border (LOVED it). I've ridden around the rim of Crater Lake (LOVED it) under my own power. I've done time trials, racing at PIR and even had the honor of racing a fully faired Gold Rush for Gardner at the Velodrome in San Jose (I still get goose bumps)! I own 2 bikes so if for some reason my favorite is in the shop, I can still ride. I pedal away the hours during the winter watching Blockbuster movies on my trusty trainer. I am living the BTA's motto... "Bike to Live... Live to Bike". Biking is no longer something I do to "sweat" and "loose weight". I bike because I HAVE to. I'm addicted to it. What I have is worse than a heroine addiction (or is that better?). Biking has become my life... is my life. I probably don't have to explain all this to the members of this e-group, but I had to put my $.02 in. I can't Not ride (I know, double negative, but it's TRUE). My poor husband doesn't understand it, but thankfully allows me the space and time to participate in the group rides, the long weekend solo rides, the trips to bike shows, Interbike, factory tours, etc... and then there's all the time I spend on the Internet doing our club website, answering "newbie's" questions about recumbents and publishing the club magazine... It's truly a miracle I'm still married... I've been a lurker on this site for most of the time. It's been really fun for me to read about other fanatics and I can't wait to get this tour started. I haven't even BEEN on Cycle Oregon yet, but I know I'll be shelling out the dough every year from here forward. Who in their right mind would miss out on the "experience".... Now I know that it's everybody else that's NUTZ... We are the sane ones... I'll be the long haired 'bent rider with the blue & white body sock who’s grinnin' from ear to ear.... Say a Hello - Can't we get this tour on the road - NOW??? :-)

Laurie Smith

 
       
           
             
       
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