Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Boise to Mountain Home

.Today was just 53 miles and to my great delight there was a strong Westerly wind from the beginning.  We climbed a bit out of Boise and I discovered that while we often have 'No Ball Games' signs at home, sporting activities around here are a bit different.  I am not sure I would feel confident in asking to have my ball back!

The majority of the route was fairly flat and the locals were quite inventive with the names of their farms
I even got to meet one of them though he was a bit vertically challenged. I tried to engage him in a discussion about his views on Obama but he just sat on the fence!

So that was it on what was a most enjoyable return to cycling after my day off.  97 miles tomorrow so an early start beckons and we are all praying that the strong Westerly continues.
Today's Stats
Distance - 53 miles
Climbing - 1600 feet
Time in Saddle - 3 hours 57 mins
Average Speed 13.3 mph
Time in Saddle - 3 hours 57 minutes.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

The Town Of Boise

Well, after breakfast and it being a day off, what did I do?  I got on my bloody bike and cycled around the park. Oh dearie me, I think I am developing an obsessive compulsive disorder!! I then cycled to the nearest bike shop which was about the size of a Tesco Extra!!  The very helpful staff there did a visual bike fit, turned my handlebar stem around so it was higher  and then allowed me to leave without charging a penny, (cent).  How impressive was that? More impressive perhaps was that I even offered to pay!!! So if you are ever in Boise, Idaho and you need your bike sorted, go to George's.  I did a lot of walking, bought  a stack of protein bars in WinCo (like Costco but food only), returned to the hotel and went walkabout again after declining a couple of lunch invitations because I had already had a tuna salad sandwich. I decided to go and have a look at the Boise Broncos football stadium and it is an impressive sight even if the pitch is a rather odd colour. 
There is lots of construction going on and I think that they are in the process of filling in the bit in the middle.  Because of the weather here it appears that a roof to keep out the rain is not a top priority.
On the way back I could not help but notice the Big Horn Brewery and, as it was getting a tad warm and humid, I remembered the words of our leader Mike Munk, 'Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate'. I did a swift right turn and found myself in the most magnificent bar and wished I had found it last night.  They had 10 beers on tap and they were all superb (just kidding)

The glass below is an American pint which is 18 fluid ounces so I had to have an upgrade to the 24 oz version just to prove my heritage. 

By the way, I was NOT the only person there but I feel confident in saying that I was most definitely the only Scotsman there.

The Boise 'Capitol' building is an impressive sight

And the local miscreants must be impressed (yeah, right!!) to be sentenced inside such an impressive court building.


Now it would be fair to say that my day off was probably slightly different from some of the other healthy people on the ride who came back from WinCo with fruit and looking very pleased  but I did enjoy watching Spain Vs Portugal whilst drinking the locally brewed Pale Ale and I thought it was a great match?
Breakfast is at 7 tomorrow and van loading is 8 as we have a mere 53 miles to cycle.  The really worrying bit is that we have not been provided with a route profile as this is a new way of getting there,( well,that's what they say) and the name of the destination is MOUNTAIN HOME. Be scared, be very very scared!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I was almost taken to a fast food joint for an evening bite to eat but was kidnapped as I left the hotel and five of us went to the Basque area for some food.  I did not see a single lady wearing either basque or suspenders which was hugely disappointing but nonetheless we popped into a restaurant where I was delighted to discover they had Kobe meat on the menu.  For those of you who may not have experienced this, the cattle are fed on beer which I must say greatly enhances the flavour and also ensures there was little chance of any allergic reaction on my part!!!!!

Monday, 28 June 2010

Ontario to Boise (Boisey)

Well, this profile looks like a lot of climbing but in fact, Boise is only about 625 feet higher than Ontario.  Of course, there are lots of ups and downs so the actual climbing is higher.  The scenery was quite nice but within a few minutes of leaving the hotel, we crossed from Oregon into Idaho. 

We passed through mainly lush farming areas which became increasingly more affluent looking as we got nearer to Boise and we passed some large ranches and a large golf course community.
Unfortunately, we had a headwind nearly all the way which slowed me down a great deal. At the SAG stopI came upon this rather nice retro style pick up truck
As I pulled into Boise, I did wonder where the real basin was to be found??
The headwind got stronger and the temperature rose showing over 100 on my computer.  Fortunately, Jim in one of the support vehicles was on hand to fill my bottles up with ice cold water. I even poured some down my back which kept me pretty cool for a while. Our hotel is really nice and we had an outdoor barbecue with steak and chicken which was excellent. We have a whole day off tomorrow so some of us will be going out in search of beer tonight.
Today's Stats:
Distance - 64 miles
Climbing - 1650 feet
Time in saddle - 5 hrs 58 mins
Average speed - 10.7 mph
Cumulative Stats -
Distance - 612 miles
Climbing - wait for it - 28350 feet.  Mt Everest is just over 29000!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Beer search 100% successsful.  While watching the weather channel, it has been reported that Boise had it's hottest day since records began with temperatures reaching 102.  There was a brief thunderstorm tonight and the temperature has dropped to a mere 78.  Night Night.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Baker City to Ontario (Oregon, not Canada!!!)

Did I say that today was an easy day?  It certainly looked it on the profile above but that start and then the small spike in the middle meant we still had significant climbing to cope with.  We spent some time on the Interstate (Motorway) but it being a Sunday and a large hard shoulder meant there were no issues with traffic.
I saw a train that was so big it wouldn't fit in the viewfinder

And there were also some nice views though some were more attractive than others !!!

Today got pretty hot, in the 90's but my sunscreen seems to be doing it's job.  We are in a Holiday Inn tonight which is very comfortable and I am looking forward to a much easier day tomorrow of only about 60 miles and 1600 feet of climbing which should mean an early arrival before getting a day's rest.
Today's stats:
Mileage - 83.5
Climbing - 2100 feet 
Time in saddle - 6hrs 50 mins
Average Speed - 12.25mph
I discovered these photos a bit late .  A couple of bikers pulled in late on in Baker City and I was very impressed by the bike's trailer.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

John Day to Baker City

Not content with yesterday's jaunt, today was a pig with our first climb going from just over 3000 feet to 5250 feet over about 20 miles.  It took a very long time and was the followed by two steep climbs of about 1000 feet. To add insult to injury, the last 15 miles, which were more or less downhill, were into a headwind. Oh Joy!!!
The scenery was pretty good
and we got to see what Americans use for holidays

At the SAG stop, Alex showed me her favourite cycling food which consisted of a banana, topped with peanut butter, topped with a mix of nuts, raisins and Mand Ms. Delicious? You decide!
Todays Stats
Mileage - 81
Climbing - 4605 feet
Time in saddle - can't remember 'cos I'm outside in a nice garden enjoying the cool air.  Easyish two days coming up before a day off.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Prineville to John Day

Not much time for relaxation today.  Van loaded at 05:30, breakfast at 6 and we set off shortly after.  The ride looks scarier than it actually was as the page is the same size but the distance is almost twice the previous day.
The first bit was a climb of 1850 feet  but spread over 30 miles.

After that we had a wonderful downhill descent down to 2300 feet over 12 miles.  What a ride although I stopped several times to take photos of some really beautiful countryside.

After the descent came the second ascent which was 'only' to 4369 feet but this time over just 10 miles so we had some gradients of 7% which were slow going to say the least.  I had the company of Philip, a librarian from San Diego so we chatted all the way which distracted us from the pain!

It was then downhill pretty much all the way to 2300 feet over 28 miles which was great.  At the SAG stop at 65.5 miles, I discovered I had 2 broken spokes but fortunately, the team leader mike came along and replaced them with the two I had taped to my chainstay. 
I then carried on downhill and went through Picture Gorge
and stopped for an ice cream at Dayville

It was supposed to be a bit of an incline all the rest of the way but with a tail wind, it felt more like a downhill
ride.  Clearly, the locals do a bit of everything to make ends meet!
John Day is not the wealthiest of towns and clearly the State Police are not a priority when it comes to
spending tax dollars
Today's Stats
Distance 117 miles
Time in saddle - 11 hrs 45 mins
Climbing - 5000 feet
Average Speed - 9.95mph

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Ka-Nee-Ta to Prineville

Well, once again, no shortage of climbing today.  Although it was just a bit more than the 1st two days, there were none of the huge descents to make up for the climbs so average speed was down.  We were travelling through what the locals call 'desert' which is more like scrub and the shoulder was quite narrow so it was just as well that the traffic was light.

It got pretty hot out there but the vans were deployed well with regular supplies of ice cold water which was very welcome.  Of more concern from yesterday was the occupants of a black vehicle throwing a bottle of water at me (missed, ya, boo, sucks!!!) and throwing something else at another rider.  Additionally, one cyclist had a bunch of drunk Indians shouting abuse at him from a van.  Just as well they had their bows and arrows confiscated.  None of us managed to get reg numbers so not a lot could be done and thankfully there were no such incidents today.  No funny signs to be seen unfortunately but I will keep looking out for them.
We are very much in cowboy country and unfortunately, all the channels play their favourite music.
A big day tomorrow with van loading at 05:30 so an early one tonight.
Todays Stats.
Mileage - 60.3
Climbing - 3350 feet
Time in saddle - 6 hrs 10 mins
Average speed  - 10 mph (nearly)
I am pleased to report that the udder cream is working well but I am still having to apply it myself!!!!!

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Welches to Ka-Nee-Ta

That was a day that was.  We started on a massive uphill ascent from 1250 feet to 4000 feet over 13 miles. I was one of the first out the door at 06:30 but soon had a stream of stronger riders going past me and by the time I got to the SAG stop at the summit( 2 hrs 40 mins cycling), there were only a few people behind me. We passed around Mount Hood and the above photo gives some idea of what we encountered. There was time for the odd photo opportunity and an occasional stop was very welcome.
Of course, once we had reached the summit, we had an awesome downhill descent to about 2750 feet
before starting the climb all over againand again and again - you get the idea..

At some point during the ride, I passed through the 45th Parallel and by this time, the heat was a lot more  like the equator than the North Pole.

And there was even some historical education along the way!!!

After the second SAG stop (and there were still some riders beheind me Yaaaaaay!!!) I came upon the cute moment of the day, a stallion and mare guarding their foal in the middle of the road.  The good news is that they eventually went off into the nearby field

By this time it was getting seriously hot and my cycle computer was showing temperatures up to 103.   I don't think it was really as high as that but even the breeze on a 30 mph downhill ride was warm.  I finally got to our hotel after 7 hours in the saddle and having consumed about  7 pints of water and gatorade to find that the steepest gradient of the day was the road up to it.  Thanks a bunch.  'Only'  61 miles and 3350 feet of climbing tomorrow so the van is not being loaded till after 7am.
Today's stats
Distance - 65.3 miles
Time in saddle - 7 hours
Climbing - 5150 feet
Average Speed - 9.3 mph