Sunday, July 29, 2012

Ochoco Challenge 2012: A bicycle Tour of Eastern Oregon

This is a brief write up of our tour, the Ochoco Challenge. Seven days, July 8- 14 2012, in Eastern Oregon riding some of the most beautiful, rugged and remote areas in Oregon. The club last rode this tour in 2007. At that time I was really wanted to ride it, but afraid I wasn't strong enough to attempt it. It was a big regret that I never did this ride, and I wasn't going to pass on the opportunity again.
Ochoco2012 - Day 1
Ron climbing Keyes Pass
Ochoco12 - Day 1
Adrienne and Julie into Picture Gorge
 Most of the players assembled in Scio for the journey to Mitchell where we would begin our ride in the afternoon...in the heat...up the big climb out of Mitchell. Barbi and Julie rode over with Ron and I. I loved being in Eastern Oregon once again.
Ochoco2012 - Day 1
Ochoco2012 - Day 1
Rugged Scenery and Dramatic Skies
 Three or four of us (me included) would be nauseous and heat exhausted before the end of the climb. Coming from mild 65F plus temps to over 100 F temps to ride a bicycle up a big hill is not the best plan, but it's the way it had to be. I rode about 4 and a half miles of the 6 mile climb over Keyes pass, then caught a ride with the SAG. From the top of Keyes I was able to finish the ride. The rest of the day was overcast with thunderstorms. Ron and I had a few refreshing sprinkles of rain, some of the other riders were pelted with hail. Beautiful country and dramatic skies. Gotta love it!

44 miles
44 miles total
1909' gain

13 comments:

  1. BlueKat:

    I am exhausted just reading your words. That photo just West of John Day is very familiar. We just rode that road last Monday on our way back from iMBC2012 heading to Bend, OR. And I also remember following you last year on our way back from Montana and we stopped on the side of the road.

    I can't imagine riding a bicycle in that heat. It is hot enough even with a Throttle

    bob
    Riding the Wet Coast
    My Flickr // My YouTube

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    1. Hi Bob,
      Yep very familiar :)
      We rode through picture gorge and I tried to show Ron where we stopped for photos, but he didn't remember the spot. A few days later he remembered another spot (that I'd forgotten-go figure) We ended up criss-crossing our Glacier route a couple of times.

      Heat wasn't too bad after the first day. We started early and finished riding before the worst of it. Also the gear is a little cooler :) I noticed the motorcyclists appeared to do the same.

      I haven't had a chance to leave comments, but I have been catching up on the motoblogger posts. Are you home yet or still touring?

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  2. Good to hear from you Kari.

    I am glad you are out and having fun, even if a little heat exhausted.

    Sure is beautiful country over there.

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    1. Hi Brandy,
      I've had a tough time keeping up with blogging this year. I'm trying to play catch up.

      I agree beautiful country. I don't know why, but I love E. Oregon. So different from the west side, and maybe I'd get sick of it if I lived there, but I can't wait to go east again.

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  3. That looks really nice. I traveled out to Oregon a couple summers ago with my bike, but stayed mostly in Portland and along the coast. Next time I do the trip, I'll try to spend at least a couple of days in the eastern part of the state.

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    1. Hi Chris,
      I highly recommend Eastern Oregon. It's hot this time of year, but I love the rugged terrain and the lonely, remote feel of the area.

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  4. Nice to be able to get out for a tour. I'm looking forward to future posts of the trip. How large of a group was there?

    On my way back home, I must have passed over a hundred bicyclists including some large groups with no gear on the bikes. Others seemed to be carrying everything they owned and more.

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    1. Hi Richard
      We had 24. 2 drove SAG vehicles with our gear, so we didn't have to carry anything - yay! Hwy 26 is part of the trans-america cross country route so not surprising to see cycle tourists out there. Some carry quite a lot of gear. I think I'd try to go a little more minimal if I had to carry it myself.

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  5. Wow, what an accomplishment. I don't mind riding a pedal bike when it's flat, but hilles and mountains, and in the heat... not for me. Kudos to you guys!

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    1. Hi Sonja,
      Some say it's a sickness...probably true, but I love it. :)

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  6. Glad to see you posting again. I envy folks like you who tackle stuff like that in the heat. I could never do it. By that I mean, I would have no desire to try. Looks torturous to me. Although I'm sure it's quite an accomplishment to have pedaled so far at the end of each day. Great pics. Looks like lovely country.

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  7. Well, truth be told, I'd rather tackle it with less heat! I like climbing because I get to look around and enjoy the views. Stopping to smell the roses, so to speak. Descents are fun...cuz, well, they're fast! :)

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  8. Good for you hitting this challenge. There was a time in my life I would have been right there with you. I love the roads and the landscape you are going through. It looks like the shoulders were quite wide to ride on and away from autos?

    I'm excited to catch up with the rest of the ride.

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