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Oregon Coast 1000
I said in my introduction to the ride that "I make no promises, except that it will be an adventure".
Five riders met at a nearby pub for dinner and libations the night before the ride. Then Jeff went home to finish packing while Gary, Barry, Rick, and Luke stayed at my house. We reconvened in the morning for some breakfast and then set off for Eugene. We rode together as far as the border but then split into two groups. Jeff, Gary, and Luke (the A team) were a bit faster than Rick, Barry, and Bob (the B team). But they stopped more often and for longer times so we kept crossing paths during the day. They even managed to stop for lunch and a beer at a brew pub near Deception Pass. The B team would have liked to have that luxury but we felt the need to keep moving. We hammered as hard as we could and made it to the 3:30 pm ferry to Port Townsend with 2 minutes until the ferry sailed. The A team got there 3 minutes later and missed the boat, mostly due to Luke getting a slow leak that they needed to keep stopping to pump up.
Note to future riders. Don't plan to eat on the Port Townsend ferry. The food is abysmal and vastly overpriced. That US$7 hot dog got me to Quilcene where a further culinary disaster played out. Usually microwave burritos work OK for me. Not this time. My stomach was not in a happy place for the rest of the evening and night. It was in Quilcene where the A team caught up to us again. And it was here that Barry decided that going on was not going to work for him. He wasn't feeling well and made the wise decision to stay in Quilcene and get a room, then head back in the morning. Rick and I left well before the A team but got caught again another 50 km or so down the road. Here there was a pub with a kitchen still open so in we went. I was feeling a bit queasy from the microwave burrito and probably should not have eaten more (but I am sure that the beer that I drank there was good healthy food). We spent nearly an hour getting a meal and partaking of the friendly ambiance. But the brevet must go on so we headed back out on the road at about 10 pm for the last leg of 80 kms or so to the overnight in Montesano. It started raining at around midnight but it was a light rain and not that unpleasant.
We managed about 2.5 hours of sleep and then left the Montesano control just about at the cutoff time. We had some motel breakfast before leaving. The food was quite reasonable for motel food but Rick was now feeling queasy and could not keep it down. Meanwhile I was not doing well either. My pace was terrible, I just didn't have the energy to get on down the road. And it was raining harder now. There wasn't anything to do about it though so we carried on to the the next town of Raymond at 42 kms on the day. There was a McDonalds here that was the only food option early on a Sunday morning. The A team was of course there and chowing down by the time Rick and I got there. I was convinced that the game was up for me due to my lack of energy. I wasn't really aware of Ricks dilemma until he went and threw up for the second time that morning just outside the McDonalds. Meanwhile I was trying to decide whether to throw in the towel or not and if so exactly how to do it. I could ride slowly east from Raymond and get to Olympia to catch a train down to Eugene. Or I could ride slowly south to Astoria and catch a bus from there. I chose Astoria. Rick also had the same options but was not contemplating quitting at that point. So we went south as a group of five. However I picked up noticeably and started feeling much better. Rick deteriorated though, threw up yet again, and finally had to pull the plug on the ride at 483 kms. At that point there was a short way to get to Astoria so he went that way and the rest of us did a very beautiful ride out past Willapa Bay and then back along the Columbia River where we crossed the long bridge into Astoria. This was extremely cool because of all the birds that were flying about. I don't think I have ever seen so many cormorants in one place before.
From Astoria the route got even more scenic. We crossed some bays and then went inland along a very pastoral valley that eventually led us over a ridge and out to the coast at Seaside. Here we joined Hwy 101 and headed south over the first of many capes to Canon Beach where we had the only intermediate control of the day. We got there with exactly 1/2 hour to spare. It's was pretty demoralizing to ride for 11 hours and put 1/2 hour in the bank. Then of course we whiled away that 1/2 hour getting some food into us. After Canon Beach the capes began in earnest. There was a series of 3 capes just south of town. Each was at least equal to the climb of Mt. Woodside, some were bigger. After that we went off Hwy 101 into another beautiful pastoral valley. This eventually joined back up to Hwy 101 for a 14 km run into Tillamook. This was flat, with smooth pavement and no wind. I was able to make a steady 17 kms per hour pace and not a bit more. I calculated that we went through the 600 km mark at just about 40 hours into the ride. So now it was dark and we had zero hours in the bank and 70 kms to go to the overnight control. This was clearly not working for me. Jeff and Gary were riding much stronger and Luke had gotten off the front and hadn't been seen for a while. I knew that I had no chance of riding another 400 kms at this pace and finishing the ride so I pulled the plug at 623 kms. Jeff and Gary accepted my decision and quickly headed on down the road. I got a motel room and a decent nights sleep.
The next morning I got a bus to Lincoln City, then another bus to Salem, and finally a third bus to Eugene. Rick was on the third bus. He had spent the night in Astoria and bused from there to Portland and then on to Eugene. The bus system in Oregon is really very good. I felt very bad for the riders still moving though. The wind at Lincoln City was at least gale force and straight out of the south. The sea was a frantic mess of whitecaps and the surf was crashing on the beach. It was very dramatic but I was extremely glad that I wasn't trying to ride into it, unlike the A team.
I learned later that day that Luke made it to the next control at about 763 kms and then was forced to quit because of saddle sores. Jeff and Gary carried on to Reedsport battling the wind the entire way. There they turned inland up the Umpqua River valley where all that wind would funnel providing them with a glorious tail wind. Of course that never happened. The wind died and was replaced by a steady rain. They finally arrived at the finish control at 4:30 am for a total time of 71.5 hours. A magnificent effort.
This is a truly beautiful ride. Perhaps a bit hard for a May 1000 but certainly not unreasonable under decent weather conditions. I hope that it gets offered again.
Go to: Oregon Coast 1000 Event Page (Database)
May 24, 2019