Cross Country Recumbent

Wednesday July 16, 2003. Bend OR to Mitchell OR


Start time
8:20 am
End time
3:30 pm
Time pedaling
Average speed

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.
Tracks in redmond

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.
Farming valley

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 verified :).

Just out of Prinville I passed the Ochoco (emphasis on the first 'O') resevoir.
Ochoco resevoir

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.
Starting Ochco 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.
Chuck and Jeanette

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 kept rolling.
Ochoco summit

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.
Hills above Mitchell

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!
Camp in Mitchell

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 been through.

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 appears that 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 few 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 hill.   The Ochoco pass at the end of the day was just a little bit tough.  A little vitamin-I and all is well.

Early start tomorrow.