Cross Country Recumbent
Wednesday July 16, 2003. Bend OR to Mitchell OR
Got going at a reasonable hour this time. Leaving Bend was
uneventful as I took the main highway up to Redmond (97). It was
flat and fast. Redmond seemed like a nice town. I stopped
at a gas station to grab a gatorade and had a few people shaking their
heads at the foolishness of the young. Leaving Redmond I crossed
over these tracks.
From Redmond the route takes this back road that wanders through a
farming valley. Very peaceful, and again flat and fast.
Several times I startled birds that I wish I knew the names to. I
saw a doe in the distance; and she stood her ground swiveling her head
to follow me as I passed. I would've stopped to take a picture
but I'm sure she would've run if I had. Almost no traffic on this
road, the only exception being truckers (I wonder why?). They
were universally courteous to me, most giving a wave as if to salute
our sharing of the road.
Prineville turned out to be a very pleasant place, with a nice city
park that I stopped to stretch in. Rolling out of town I passed a
barbecue stand, and although it was early I just had to stop. The
slogan said "You've tried the rest, now try the best". It was
good but I'll have to do more research before a claim like that can be
Just out of Prinville I passed the Ochoco (emphasis on the first 'O')
Till now I'd been holding a 19 mph average for nearly fifty
miles. Alas it was not to last as I soon began climbing up for
the Ochoco pass.
Winding through the thin Ochoco national forest the weather turned
hot. Hawks and buzzards soared overhead, and the cars
blazed passed me, making me envious of their seemingly endless
power. The engineer in me can't help but do the math. An
average fit human can put out something like 1000 Watts for a few tens
of seconds, 200 Watts for an hour or so, and about 100 Watts
indefinitely. When climbing up the pass I'm probably making 200
Watts which means that I've got about 1.7 Watts per Kilogram. In
climbing the name of the game is raising potential energy, all other
power consumers are secondary. At the stated power output I can
make something like 0.35 miles per hour vertically, or 7mph on a 5%
grade. Your typical car has something like 100 Watts per
Kilogram. Hence the envy.
At the top of the pass I met a retired couple, Jeanette and
Chuck. They had left La Grande and were heading to Beaverton (via
Sisters) to visit family. They were really nice, giving me fresh
rasberry's and allowing me to fill up my water from their fifth-wheel.
Just past the rest area is the summit of Ochoco pass, and a campground
that I had thought about staying at. The campground looked
pretty nice with a dedicated site for bikers. However there
appeared to be no large bodies of water or showers. Lotsa
sunscreen and sweat combine to make a powerful need to get clean, so I
Dropping down the other side it became immediately apparent that this
is desert. A truly hot
wind blew in my face (uh-oh, first headwind), and the surrounding
terrain was very dry. I didn't realize how my steady climbing had
mitigated the heat of the day. However as you can see the view is
especially scenic. This shot was taken on-the-roll so to
speak. You can see my speed here is 17.8 and the cadence is zero
(i.e. I'm coasting). It takes a pretty strong headwind to keep
the speed that low on a hill like this.
Mitchell is a tiny town of about 400; although it is very accomodating
with, wonder of wonders, public showers. 2 dollars, paid across
the street at the local store, buys a shower (on the honor system,
since no one was there).
Camping is free at the city park just
out of town; three nights maximum, thank-you. There are actually
electrical outlets under the sun shelter!
Another biker, Marty from Detroit, had stopped in Mitchell. He is
west-bound and just about finished with his trip. His wife will
meet him in Florence on Sunday. We chatted, with Marty mostly
telling me about the things that I would see along the route, and me
mostly telling him about Oregon. In Marty's experience Oregon
people are pretty friendly compared to some of the other states he'd
In the end today was pretty big in several ways. This is my first
day truly on my own (I said good-bye to Helen in Sisters). And
the mileage is the most I've ever done in a single day (are these
related? hmmm). It was fun to see how I'd do. It
making the mileage is mostly an exercise in managing my knees, rather
than my muscles. I had some minor clean up on the left meniscus a
years back, and the loss in padding makes itself felt
sometimes. It is
most obvious when I'm pushing a little hard, like climbing a
The Ochoco pass at the end of the day was just a little bit
little vitamin-I and all is well.
Early start tomorrow.