This last weekend I rode SIR's (Seattle International Randonneurs) Crater Lake 1000k event, and it was a total party. Pictured above, the legendary Ian Hands: professional randonneur.
In short, it's a 400k and then two 300ks, with over 10,000 feet of climbing every day, featuring some of the most spectacular scenery in the entire Northwest. It was a midnight start in Bremerton, which is a quick ferry ride from Seattle. Then there were two mid-ride overnights at hotels, one in Neskowin, and in Roseberg. I slept about two hours each night. This was truly one of the most fun bike rides I've ever done, and I'd really encourage people to check it out next time it comes around!
Pictured above: my boys Chris and Sourav. We hammered through "the darkest hour" to breakfast in Raymond. I had a bit of cramping, but came through it all feeling pretty good. My secret weapons for night riding are well timed caffeine pills, and jamming to Levert. Stick with your buddies: "...there's no need to be proud, hey if something's hurtin' you, could be it hurts your brothers too."
We had headwinds the whole time going down 101. What are you gonna do? Luckily there were a few fun detours inland providing a bit of a break from the gusts. In Cannon Beach we got juice at a little market that had a print of the poster for the film "Endless Summer" on the wall. It was seventy degrees and sunny for most of the day, and I felt that this was truly the ethos of that film, in a different place and time. Ian was on, I think, his third ride over 1000K for this summer. Randos may in fact be the beach bums of the road cycling set.
Sourav "the Machine" Das and I took off around 3am. The night in Neskowin had been filled with odd dreams of something ambiguous named "the Promise". I suppose we found it, or at least part of it, in Depoe Bay. We also found a sorely needed bathroom.
Day two was a long one. Around 3pm we realized that one of the control cut off times, still forty miles out, was creeping up on us. So we hammered down the coast at around 18mph for two hours, and down roller after roller, until we hit Reedsport: the end of the coastal section for this ride. Such hammering called for french fries. The central Oregon coast has such a unique feel. A coastal paradise similar to northern California, yet obscured by a veil of mist for most of the year. The candy and souvenir shops seem weary eyed, "oh traveler, you've come at last?" Like the city in the clouds that disappears when you think you've found it.
Day two ended with a wonderful climb through the mountains to Roseberg. The "ghost of the Umpqua" surprised us at the top of the Camp Creek climb with sodas and chips. Having gotten a little bit ahead of my gang on the descent, I layed down to look at the stars on this crystal clear night: we were riding by moonlight and Edelux. This turned into a little nap that made all the difference.
Around 3am we started the day right with hash browns and juice at Denny's. And thus began the 100 mile climb up to Crater Lake. Pictured above my day three crew, rando power siblings Misha and Luke.
A few nights prior I had watched the western film Canyon Passage, filmed at Crater Lake, to get excited for this ride. There were numerous shots of a very pointy mountain, which I later discovered Mount Thielsen. Imagine my excitement when I turned around and saw it in real life. A little nap at Diamond Lake restored body and mind before the final bit up to Crater Lake.
I didn't actually get any shots of the lake itself. It was so cold with all the wind that we just did one group shot with somebody else's camera. However I did get a few shots bombing down to the lodge. I put on all my clothes by the great fire. As it was for the travelers back in the Progressive era when this lodge was built, this was not simply a place to enjoy the finer things in life. We were on an epic adventure, and this stately lodge was our last bit of refuge from the tempest of wind and darkness about to engulf us. As you can see, we descended at sunset, which was truly a treat. A cold treat, like dippin' dots maybe.
We hammered into the night, under a sky full of twinkling stars. We stopped at a post office to warm up and ate the last of the food. I like those ginger chewy candies. Our minds were mush, and we laughed like madmen stumbling out of the loony bin. When we finally arrived in Klamath Falls, Vinnie had gluten-free vegan pizza waiting for me and Misha (also a vegan). And I realized that these were the best people in the world: my friends.