Cycling Date: Saturday 21-June-14
Mileage: 81 miles
Weather: Low 50s to start. Mid 70s to end. Mostly sunny all day long. Winds were not a factor until the last 10 miles.
Highlights of the day:
Today was our last “real” climbing day of this section. We will have hills and we will be climbing the next two days but not the kind of climbs that go on for miles. I don’t think the riders are upset that this is the case. Given the tired legs from climbing and all the energy used to pedal 117 miles yesterday (plus the previous 4 days), it was a pretty tough 80 miles, with three more substantial climbs.
It was brisk this morning but we quickly warmed up as we started climbing just out of the hotel. An unofficial stop at the Conestoga Wagon View Point provided a beautiful view of the Strawberry Mountain Wilderness area and the John Day River Valley. It’s hard to remember but sometimes the best views of the day are over our shoulder. This quick stop gave riders the opportunity to turn around and enjoy the scenery. The route continued up to the top of our first climb, Dixie Mountain Summit @ 5277’.
Climb up. Fly down! All of our descents today were sweeping non-technical runs on roads with good surfaces. Those comfortable with rapid (but safe) descents tucked and rolled. Wahoo!
Near the bottom of our first descent, we invaded Austin House Restaurant. Why? They are famous for their cobbler. They had black berry cobbler today. We did our very best to eat through their inventory. Why? We’re cyclist and cycling is all about eating – especially at local establishments with homemade goodies. I have heard cyclists compared to locusts. On these long distance tours, I think they are pretty darned accurate. I’m not sure we picked the branches clean of leaves but we did our darnedest to clean them out of black berry cobbler and vanilla ice cream. At 9:30 in the morning.
We had two more climbs. The first climb was to Tipton Mountain Summit @ 5124’, followed by a descent and a climb up to Snall Summit @ ~4900’. That’s Snall not Small – as noted by a couple of riders – with its challenging climb that just kept giving. A few pictures of the Elkhorn Mountains and it was downhill (mostly) for the last 30 miles along the Powder River into Baker City. Time to refuel.