Cycling Date: Saturday 20-June-15
Mileage: 81 miles
Weather: Upper 50s to start. Low 80s to end. Mostly sunny all day long. Winds out of the west 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 a little cool 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 had our first SAG stop at the Austin House Restaurant. They are famous for their cobbler. They had black berry cobbler today. Some of us chose to indulge this morning. Why? We’re cyclist and cycling is all about eating – especially at local establishments with homemade goodies.
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’. This last climb was a little more generous that the first two, it just kept giving more elevation around every corner. A few pictures of the Elkhorn Mountains and it was downhill (mostly) for 20 miles along the Powder River. We did have our first encounter with relatively fresh chip seal and a bit of a head wind for the last 10 miles into Baker City. Riders were happy to find the hotel for food & a well-earned rest.