Thursday, August 26, 2010

Enjoy the Ride

This past weekend Ali and I took a trip down south for the Crater Lake Century. We've been planning this ride ever since Ali completed her triathalon in June.

The ride was on Saturday, but we decided to leave PDX on Thursday so we'd have a full day to enjoy the scenery around the lake. We camped at the Mazama campground where we were lucky to find a somewhat private spot in the midst of 200 other sites. There isn't much campground selection around the National Park, so we had to go with the tourist site.

Friday morning we took our time around the campground. It was best to sleep in since it was absolutely freezing in the morning. It took a bit to warm up. Our plan was to take the boat tour on the lake. Unfortunately, getting to the ticket booth at 12pm wasn't the way to get a ticket - sold out. Well, we hiked down to the boat ramp which is the only location on the lake to access the water. We found a great rock to eat some lunch and watch others jump into the lake. Surprisingly, no one was shivering when they got out of the figid cold water, so we decided to take the plung. Here's Ali taking the leap of faith......

On Friday evening we decided to stay on Saturday night so we wouldn't have to pack up camp so early in the morning. We overheard some Pacific Crest Trail hikers getting the "we're full" speech from the corporate campsite management. We both thought that was a real bummer and invited The Fuzzy Monkey and Boots McFarland to stay at our site. It was great to hear about their great adventures on the trail and how they do it. FM was doing a straight through trip, so he started in April and should finish in September. BM is a sectional hiker, so she has done 1-2 weeks sections over the past 8 years. They called us Trail Angels for helping them out in a bind and were very appreciative. Wow, what a logistical thing to pull off and what a committment. Ali and I decided to stick with car camping and the comforts of home at camp.

The morning came quickly on Saturday since we had to leave camp at 7am. We drove down to Ft Klamath where the ride started. All the downhill driving on the way to the start was a sign of things to come.

We decided to do the metric century that only had 5000' of climbing. No big deal for me since I ride like 7-8 hours per week. However, that's alot of UP for a girl that hasn't been riding much this year (foot problems have been keeping Ali off the bike). So, I knew I had to be on my BEST behavior and sit back and ENJOY the ride.

Here's a photo of us entering the park and the open road before the major UP started......

We came from the south and passed the Mazama campground. It was a steady grind up the hill and the hill didn't let up. My bike was geared with a double chainring while Ali had the triple. This allowed her to keep a slow and steady pace. I had to slow my cadence way down since I was pushing a bigger gear. This made it a bit of a balancing act for me and since I don't have much balance it was alittle challenging at first. The roads were narrow so my front tire would start to wobble at the slow cadence. By the end I was much better at it.
The century riders headed to the west and circled the lake in a clockwise direction. We turned to the east and started the ride around the rim of the lake in a counter-clockwise direction. Our route took us over hills, past a couple of waterfalls, and through the trees a distance from the lake. I was kinda bummed that our route didn't provide the majestic views of the lake, but that was OK since we drove the entire rim the day before. Here's a photo from our turn around point at the Phantom Ship..............

We headed back the way we came to the turn-off. Unfortunately, there was still some UPhill before the turnoff. Ali was a trooper and finished off those last few hills with a vengence. The downhill to the finish was welcome sight! We caught up with a few riders on the downhill and Ali found her legs again. She was cranking up there to the front and showing the boys how to ride downhill fast.

We got down to more level ground and hit the pasture area we saw early in the morning. I jumped on the front and pulled us all through a few miles. It was a "no chain"** section of road for me. Big sky, green pastures, cute cows, and open road. It was a beautiful way to end the ride.
We enjoyed the barbacue back at the start and called the day a success. It was a good break from the fast pace of the PV race team and the "numbers" of the power meter on the trainer. All I did was "enjoy the ride".

**no chain day...... that's how Lance Armstrong refers to those extremely rare days on the bike when the pedaling just seems so effortless you swear there's no chain. They're a gift from the gods and there's no way to make them happen or even predict them.

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