Saturday, April 5, 2008

Day 4 - Prineville to Mitchell

Day 4

Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Prineville to Mitchell

This day was a great cycling day! The weather was beautiful and the traffic was almost unnoticeable. Just outside of Prineville we started a long climb to the top of Ochoco Pass (a climb of over 2000 feet). There were actually two pitches to this climb. As we topped the first a car passed me and Sonia, slowed down, turned around and parked on the opposite side of the road. A man got out and as we passed by yelled “Dan!” It took a second to register that it was Jeff Struck, a teacher I worked with at the Pacific Crest Community School in Portland. As it turned out, his wife was from near Mitchell (she told us about a hotel and cafĂ©), and they were in the area rock climbing and visiting her family. We stayed a talked for a few minutes and were back on our way.

Jim and Elaine met us for lunch about half way up to the pass. We were getting tired but really wanted to get to the top. At one point on the climb I looked at the speedometer and we were going 3.5 mph! A stiff breeze coming at us could have stopped us dead in our tracks!

It was worth the effort, however. We got to the top, rested a bit, took some pictures, and then started down. We were rewarded with a 7 mile descent! We screamed down toward Mitchell at about 35 mph. Going that fast is fun, but I don’t really get to look around much. I am more focused on keeping the bike (and its riders) safe and upright. But from what I did see we rode through a thick Ponderosa pine forest almost all the way to Mitchell. The last few miles into town, however, were uphill and it slowed our pace considerably.

Mitchell has the historic Oregon Hotel. Luckily for us they were empty. It was such a treat to have a room for the kids and a room for us – at less than one-half the cost of the hotel in Lincoln City. The hotel reminded us of some places we stayed at while cycling through Ireland – more home than hotel.

Mitchell is also home to a black bear. The owner of the hotel (and restaurant where we ate) also owns the bear. He told us stories about wresting with the bear. He said that the bear usually understands that wrestling is play (unless it is over Oreo Cookies!).

Before going to sleep we talked about making tomorrow an easier day. On the summer trip we would have one day a week off and no days longer than 60 miles. This week would be nine straight days of riding with at least three in excess of 60 miles.

Total miles: 47.99
Average Speed: 9.97 mph
Max. Speed: 39.41 mph
Time on Bike: 4:49

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