We have “successfully” completed two days as participants in the Cycle Oregon 2022 Classic and though we have by know means figured things out, we have a grasp of the routine. I figured it might be interesting for you to spend “ a day in the life” of a Cycle Oregon rider. Besides, I need material so what the heck and if you don’t like it, I’ll give you your money back.
Prepping for the day….
For me the day starts at about 4 am. Why 4 am? Because that’s when I wake up and can not get back to sleep. May be because we go to bed early or maybe thinking of the day that lies ahead but regardless, its a looong hour or so until people start moving around and the support vehicle generators start up, then it’s go time!
To start the morning, most people just grab their tooth brush and head to the community sinks but for me I need to grab my entire toilets bag. Toothbrush, contacts and solution and my medicines. It’s a thing. We come back and get the gear on and head to breakfast. Today was a special day as we all wore our Aloha Bike Club jerseys. Spoiler Alert!! You might see a picture of us in them later.
CO does a great job with the food. Tastes good and there is plenty of it, especially yogurt.
Next we pack up camp. Though it’s not a race, no one wants to be the person holding everyone up so packing up goes fast. Though I’m improving, I’m usually last. Last when we ride, last when we pack, but I’m first at the beer line.
Haul the gear to the truck (you can pay a local kid do it), fill your water bottle, pump up your tires and visit the porta potty one more time and we are FINALLY on the road.
There are a few different choices of rides each day depending on skill level. How hard you want to work is probably more accurate. Some say it’s the easy or hard route. I like to think of it as “primary” or “extended” because I take the primary and nothing is easy for me. Todays ride was 60 miles with 3000 feet of climb much of it along the John Day River. Absolutely gorgeous.
There are a couple rest stops each day with plenty of the usual: energy drinks, PB&J, Clif bars. CO often has local fruit and baked goods available and entertainment at the second stop. Pretty cool. Makes it tough to leave.
As I mentioned, team Aloha’s jersey game was on point today so we decided to get a team photo. Though I’m leading here, it’s only to stage for the photo.
After the ride ….
The local residents of these small towns are really something special. They have signs and cheering as you head to camp. Really neat. We find our bags which can take awhile since there is 1500 all stacked together. Think of PDX on steroids. Next we scope out a spot and pitch our tents. You need to be strategic on location. Close enough to the showers and porta potties but not too close as there is noise and traffic. Though I was initially embarrassed for “slightly” exceeding my bag weight limit, all that melts away as I’m asked to use my battery powered air pump to blow up the air mattresses. I may be new to this camping thing but I’m also lazy which has its advantages.
The big debate is when to shower. Relax first and wait in line or hustle and beat the crowd. We usually wait as the line moves quickly. There is a “system” to access the shower trailer where you enter the “circle of chairs” and as one person exits the shower trailer another one enters. Pretty funny to watch but it is effective.
After showering I’m usually hankerin’ for a beer so we head to the stage where we meet other riders and trade “war stories” about the days ride. Standard stuff like flat tires, steep climbs, fast downhills and tomorrows ride. It’s all window dressing because people really just want dinner to start as we are usually starving by 6 pm.
Dinner is just like breakfast, with lots of good food. Today was ham, rice, mixed veggies and salad. Oh and an ice cream sandwich for dessert.
Time to head back to the stage for another beer (or ?) as the nights entertainment gets warmed up. I really enjoy the nightly gathering listening to music, hearing about tomorrows ride and the overall cocmoradery of everyone being together. Kind of like sitting around the fire at summer camp. In this case, it’s fortunate that I’m not doing the singing.
After that it’s time to get ready for bed (or should I say sleeping bag). Brushing my teeth outside the porta potty, taking my pills from my water bottle etc. By this time it is completely dark and if you forgot your headlamp you need to walk carefully, especially after a few beers. The CO version of a sobriety test. I haven’t failed yet!!
So there you go, if you made it this far you hopefully have an idea of what Cycle Oregon is all about. It really has been a great experience so far and I look forward to 5 more days. See you at 4 am tomorrow.
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