Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Ride the West - Day 4, Florence Oregon to Bandon Oregon

Once again, the day started out cold and foggy. I was delayed a couple of minutes getting started and I guess that amount of time was past the threshold of waiting time that my riding buddies could tolerate. So, I ended being last to leave, alone and on my own from the hotel. It's nice to know the limits of friendship when serious cycling is underway. It wasn't long before I managed to catch them.

Near Winchester Oregon

The first SAG was along the dunes near the ocean, across from the Umpqua River Lighthouse. It was still foggy and cool, making the views difficult to see.

The Umpqua River Lighthouse

Today was a day for some serious speed and mileage. We were only doing 77 miles, but there were a few significant climbs to be had. The foggy, cool weather prevented any reasonable pictures to be taken, which was all the incentive I needed to make this a fast day. The first climb was a long moderate uphill that went on for 3 continuous miles. The second climb was similar to the first, another grinder. A few of the riders were a bit nervous about doing the last climb of the day, the “7 Devils” climb, which was a series of 7 steep, Connecticut style hills. Their grades were from 8% to 14% at various points and extended for about 10 miles of riding.

Memorial before the Coos Bay bridge

On the way to the next bridge, Joe, Baltimore Mark, Mose and I set up a pace line and flew down the road at over 24 miles per hour for several miles. It brought back memories of the many times we rode like this across the country.

We need to walk over the Coos Bay bridge

We had several bridges to be crossed today, with one being quite memorable. The Coos Bay bridge, connecting North Bend and Coos Bay, is about 1.1 mile long and structurally interesting. The view from the top was fine, and we had plenty of time to look around on it, as we had to walk the entire length.

Crossing the Coos Bay bridge on foot

At the second SAG stop, Don Yost (one of the riders who also rode with us across the country) arranged to have smoked tuna and smoked salmon for part of the snack. It was really good. During the SAG stop, the neighboring drawbridge sprung into action, giving us a bit of a show as a boat made its way downriver towards the ocean. Many sea-lions were frolicking near the bridge. I have still not yet seen a whale, but am hopeful once the foggy days stop.

The drawbridge in Charlestown Oregon opens for a boat

After the entertainment at the drawbridge, the “7 Devils” called out to Joe and me. The other riders had already taken off and started the ascent, so Joe and I chased them down and powered up for the 10 miles of steeper hills. We wanted to enter our results in an on-line challenge web site, known as Strava, which compares our results to others who have ridden this section of road before. Joe was in fine form today and beat me by over 2 minutes, out of about 42 minutes total for the climb. He is now in 3rd place out 59 riders for the challenge, and I am in 6th. I'm happy with the results for both of us.

Town of Bandon Oregon, a pretty place

Joe and I completed the ride together, stopping for some hot clam chowder while waiting for the hotel to be ready. It was very much needed to help keep us warm.

Some much needed chowder

Let's see what tomorrow brings.

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