Our destination in the distance..
The alarm came early on the third day of our odyssey. In addition to the volume of riding the change in eating and sleeping habits was catching up with me and several of our clan. We shuffled off to breakfast and consumed oats, eggs, pancakes, French toast, fruit and notable quantities of coffee.
The packing of bags and saddling up went quickly as we had all independently found our individual routines. We knew it would be hot and we drank as if there would be no food stops.
Brad found something even more comfortable than his saddle !
We crossed over into Oregon on The Bridge of the Gods.
It looked like this straight down.
It looked like this if you didn't look down.
Rolling through the town of Cascade Locks two codgers stopped their waddling as we rode past. They studied us intently and as the last of us passed one said to the other, "Not a pretty girl in the bunch." I guess they were hoping for some sexy females in Lycra and we were, therefore, a severe disappointment.
Despite our planning, we had to ride a short stretch on I-84.
The terrain looked like California and the hot dry air only confirmed that impression. We spread out as nobody was in a hurry because the day would only get hotter and the road would only get steeper. Pushing it here made as much sense as arriving early to your own flogging.
The transition from high desert to forest was very gradual. My arms glistened with sweat and looking down my legs were likewise sweaty. I was drinking and taking on salt and electrolytes. We were all chomping our own personal poisons. I was downing Clif Shot Bloxs, DG was going through Stinger Waffles.
Glancing at my gloves I noticed white salt deposits on the few black spots on my gloves. Dave E calls them sea monsters because they do take on weird shapes. I looked at my shorts and they also had salt marks. This would be a good day to wear my helmet into the shower and rinse the yuck out of that.
After a long dry stretch we were due for a van stop at the top of a pass and when we arrived, nobody was there. This was NOT the time to have another van screw up. We debated for less than a minute and rolled on. We descended and the rushing air cooled us. When the road turned upward in a few miles we settled into what I will call "quiet resignation" pace. Someone else called it survival pace. It was hot and we were out of water.
We climbed and descended and climbed again. Based on the signs we were getting close to something.
We came to the turn off to for the final six mile climb to Timberline lodge and at the very moment I was weighing the option of riding without water for another hour or waiting I spotted the van.
I filled bottles and drank one right there and filled it again. I found some calories and ate as I listened to the explanation from the errant driver. It reminded me of a friend who called his group "the lost patrol." We had made it and I was on the path back to hydration, so all was forgiven.
The climb to the top was steady and I got into a good rhythm which was aided early on by a hundred yard Tour de France type pull by the team car as I held the side view mirror. I watched the elevation tick off and I could feel the altitude as my breathing was faster than it should have been.
There was a real sense of arrival as we reached to the top. Those who arrived before me praised me and I passed on the same sentiment on to those who arrived after me.
Looking south to the Sisters.
I was glad we didn't have to put on boots and go the rest of the way.
In no time I was in the shower (helmet and all) and washing the salt off of everything. The dry air and slight breeze afforded excellent drying weather and we set up accordingly.......
Matthew (Le Pirate) sorts clothes and tries not to make eye contact with our bibshorts.
Le Pirate is a slave to fashion even at 6,000 feet above sea level.
There were plenty of stairs in this hotel and our legs were clearly mad at us. We all made faces as we climbed or descended stairs. During a discussion with Michael (The MP) I theorized that the challenge our bodies had was that at home I go to sleep three hours after I finish eating and with our late arrivals we finish eating after nine and try to go to sleep thirty minutes later.
Based on that theory I joined some of the lads after dinner for a post meal stroll. When I did go to bed I slept better and counted that a victory. We kept the window open and soaked in the clean air.