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At last! With Cycle Oregon 2012 edition finally arriving, and after months of preparation, I am ready! Having relocated last year to Los Angeles from Portland, Oregon, where I lived most of my life, I don’t see my long time friends with any regularity, and so am very excited about spending a week with two of my oldest friends, Tim and Laurie Stewart, on this year’s Cycle Oregon. Laurie is going to be accompanying us on the ride, but won’t actually be riding, while Tim and I will be riding the route together.
Sepulveda after the Getty. Fifteen Rides.
Beach path around Santa Monica. Biking Brian.
My training for the event started last February, and was in full swing by May. My son Benn did some early rides with me on the Pacific Coast Highway, and in the Santa Monica mountains, one of which included my brother Craig, visiting from Eugene, Oregon. We often rode in the Santa Susana mountains, or rode from Santa Monica up over the Sepulveda Pass. From my place we would ride up the Sierra Highway in the Santa Clarita area.
PCH at Malibu Canyon Rd. Joe Wong, Choose Happiness.
In May, realizing that Benn’s schedule would not permit him to ride with me as often, I joined a bicycle club for the first time in my life, the San Fernando Valley Bike Club (SFVBC); many of my preparatory rides were done with the club, and they were just what were necessary. The SFVBC was the perfect solution; a large bike club, it supported rides every week of the year, from easy to very hard. We rode around the San Fernando Valley, or over to Pasadena, down to Palos Verdes and the beaches of West L.A., in the Santa Monica Mountains, in the Simi Valley, and in the Thousand Oaks area. The SFVBC was very friendly and supportive.
In July, Benn and I went up to Portland to visit family and friends, and he and I, along with our friend Patrick, did a long training ride with Tim, starting at his house and riding along the edges of the Tualatin Mountains out to Dairy Creek and back (the old men beat the kids!).
Approach to Sierra Hwy. SFVBC.
My final training ride was about a week before the start of Cycle Oregon, with my bike club, a good ride out to the Rose Bowl and back. In the final 400 meters of the ride, with my parked car in sight, I fell hard and, besides acquiring the usual scrapes and bruises, slightly separated my shoulder (my son Jon diagnosed it as a type I separation, the mildest form)! Damn! I was afraid that the fall would scotch the trip, but Jon gave me a treatment plan and drugs, and I decided to risk that it would hold up on the ride.
I-5 Northern CA. Oregon Scribbler.
On Friday, September 7, I drove up to the start city, Bly, Oregon, 60 miles NE of Klamath Falls, an 11 hour drive, breaking it up into two days. The packing process prior to the drive was pretty intense, as one must carry everything needed to camp and ride for seven days in a single duffle bag, but having done it once before, it was without incident, and fortunately, I didn’t forget anything critical for the trip. The weather was clear, and the drive was beautiful through Northern California.
Bly tent city. Nancy Yu, Ride Chronicles.
Cycle Oregon starts with a Day 0, to allow people to get oriented, put their bikes back together if they were shipped, get their tents set up, etc. When I arrived in Bly early Saturday afternoon, Cycle Oregon was in full swing. Many people were arriving like myself, and the typically well-organized traveling city that is Cycle Oregon was in full evidence. There with signs all over the city and campgrounds, directing riders to various places: Tent City, the Mess Tents, the Performance stage, the Beer Garden, the portable showers and toilets, Rider Services, Charging Services, Bicycle Repair Services, and so on.
Entering Bly. Oregon Scribbler.
Parking the car in long term parking, to which I would return to one week later on the final route back to Bly, I checked in, getting my packet and was tagged as an official rider, then hauled my duffle bag over to the Tent City sprawling on the playing fields of the local elementary school, picked out a likely spot, pitched my tent, and organized my little camp for the night.
Tim and Laurie. Oregon Scribbler.
Then I called Tim, found that he and Laurie had already arrived and had situated their trailer, hopped on my bike, and went off to rendezvous with them. Hugs all around were followed by animated conversation, interrupted by a beer run, and we settled down to plan for the next day’s ride, catch up, and eat an evening meal. 8pm came too soon, bedtime, as we were going to start early the next morning.
Already Cycle Oregon was becoming home away from home, and the excitement, and that low level anxiety (“Am I ready? Will I be able to ride the full route? Will my shoulder hold up?”) that accompanies such adventures, was all-enveloping.