Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Sisters to Prineville
On paper, this should have been the easiest day so far: a little over 40 miles of cycling, no major hills, beautiful views of the Three Sisters mountains. Alas, it was not to be!
First, we didn’t even get on the bikes until 11:30 (we really are going to have to get better at that!). Then, we weren’t even a mile from the hotel when we all decided to put on our balaclavas because it was cold. I dug through my panniers with no luck (grumbling, to my regret later, that someone must have put it in a different bag). As Elaine (Alison’s mom) was about to drive by to our first rendezvous point she saw us and stopped. I searched my bag in the car with no luck. I searched the other bags – same result. I thought that I must have left it back at the room. Elaine drove me back to the hotel. I got the key and was walking toward the room when I reached back and felt the balaclava in the pocket of my bike shirt! When I got back to the bikes Alison asked if I found it. I said yes, but was vague about exactly where I found it! Gus then asked if it was in the pocket of my shirt. I couldn’t help from laughing at that point. After a few choice expletives by Alison, and much to the delight of the kids, we were again on our merry way.
The ride did start out great. The views were incredible. Then the gremlins struck. First, I got a flat tire – the rear of course! Luckily, I had a spare tube because the hole was big. The culprit was a sharp piece of metal that punctured the tire and tube. Alison and Sonia were riding ahead of us. Because the traffic was constant and so loud they couldn’t hear us when we yelled for them to stop. They did return about 20 minutes later as I was finishing up the repair. After we got the bike together we stared off again. As Alison and Sonia cranked to get the bike going (it was uphill), there was a loud snapping noise from Alison’s bike. We could turn the pedals backwards but not forwards. After checking the dérailleurs, chain rings, rear cogs, and the chain, we couldn’t see any obvious problems. As we looked closely at the rear tire, we saw that the quick release had somehow come loose. When Alison cranked to get the bike going, it pulled the entire wheel forward. We aligned the wheel, re-tightened the quick release, and were on our way. Except that it happened again! This time we really tightened the quick release. After this, the bike did fine. The lesson here is to check the bikes before we head out in the morning.
The traffic was horrendous, however, so we couldn’t really enjoy the views. The shoulder was narrow in most spots, and there was a lot of gravel. There were also some drivers who weren’t very courteous. At one point a pickup truck blasted Alison with diesel smoke just as it passed her, on purpose I am sure. So much for sharing the road!
The rest of the trip to Prineville went well. The downhill into town was actually a bit nerve-racking. It was steep, had a sharp curve, a lot of traffic, and gravel. This was the first time on a descent on this trip that I had to use the brakes.
We stayed at the Best Western on the east end of town. Luckily the hotel had a guest laundry and we were able to wash our very odoriferous biking clothes!
Tomorrow it is on to Mitchell, Oregon.
Total Miles: 40.39
Time on Bike: 3:24
Average Speed: 11.9 mph
Maximum Speed: 37 mph (downhill into Prineville)