Cycle Oregon Countdown: 9 days to go!

9 days to go until Cycle Oregon 2011!

CO2011 countdown sign at my office

The surf bike picture has been in my office window since it came in the mail (it went up that day!). For today's countdown post, I present...

The Top 5 Things I Did Wrong on Cycle Oregon 2009

OK, this took a while to pare down. These are the biggest problems I ran into all because I forgot something, missed a step, or just plain made a wrong decision.

  1. Forgot my parking permit: CO provides secure parking. This is required because we are parked for 7-8 days while we ride a big loop. They charge for this service to cover the cost of having someone there 24/7. So when I showed up at the parking area without my permit I was somewhat in a panic. After a 10 minute conversation with the parking supervisor they let me park and escorted me in to the registration area to verify my parking payment. In the end they were very nice to me and let me park without the permit. This year the permit is already in my car and will remain there until the ride is over.
  2. Siskyou SummitPushed hard in the first 30 miles of Day 1: On Day 1 of CO 2009we climbed up from Ashland over Siskyou Summit. The adrenalin was flowing and I was having so much fun that I pushed hard up to the summit, a 3000' climb over 30 miles. The view from the top was AMAZING! So was the incredibly fast descent ON THE FREEWAY SHOULDER (Interstate 5) where I averaged 30 MPH for 10 miles. And then we hit the flats of Northern CA. My legs were cooked but I still had to ride 20 miles through rolling hills with that nasty headwind. That was the LONGEST ride of my life but it could have been much more enjoyable if only I had saved my energy earlier in the day.
  3. Not taking enough pictures on Days 1 & 2: I treated the first two days of CO 2009 as a race and not a tour. I was so busy trying to ride fast and keep up with people that I missed many opportunities to take some seriously cool pictures. In camp the evening of Day 2 I realized my mistake and corrected it for the remainder of the ride.
  4. Washed laundry 15 minutes before sunset on Day 3: That was a hot, dry day with temps in the upper 80's. My original plan was to do laundry at the end of Day 3 so that I didn't have to bring as many clothes for cycling and for use in camp. When I finally finished washing my clothes the sun was setting behind the mountains. What happens when the sun goes down? The temp dropped from 87F to 60F in a matter of 30 minutes. My clothes were still wet when I got up in the morning. If I had done laundry even 1 hour earlier this problem could have been completely avoided. Why was I doing laundry so late? Well...
  5. Missed the Oregon Caves shuttle by 15 minutes on Day 3: The route on Day 3 of CO 2009took us through some very rugged terrain where the road was 1 lane in places. This route was the only direct route from Happy Camp, CA to Lake Selmac, OR. Since the road was so narrow they decided to send the trucks (i.e. showers, luggage, food, etc) all the way back through Yreka, Medford, and Grants Pass to get to the camp site. This was much better than the alternative: have the trucks weave through 2500+ cyclists as we all climb up that huge mountain. When I finally got to camp it was hot (87F) and dusty and I had to wait several hours to get my clothes bag. When it finally came I took one of the shortest showers in my life and ran over to the camp information booth to ask about the shuttle to the Oregon Caves National Monument. I missed the last shuttle by 15 minutes. They only ran the shuttle twice because the caves close early. I was crushed. The reason they had a shuttle in the first place was because I asked for it in the CO Forums several months earlier. I was very much looking forward to stepping into a nice, cool cave and reliving one of the most memorable experiences from my childhood. A swim in Lake Selmac would have been a nice substitute but a toxic algae bloom nixed that idea. I almost cried. Instead I took the shuttle to the town of Cave Junction and went to the Dairy Queen we used to regular as we passed through this town on the way to visit relatives. This literally saved the day for me.

Dairy Queen in Cave Junction

 Still counting down the days!