Countdown to 'Going Coastal'
Countdown to 'Going Coastal'.
In about 5 weeks time I'll be flying out to Oregon with two friends and fellow bikebritain contributor's Swazy and Malc, to 'Go Coastal' at the Cycle Oregon 2011 tour event. I also hope to meet up with 'Californian Craig', who unsurprisingly lives in California (Sacramento to be more precise, but that doesn't rhyme.) This year's tour has been almost 3 years in the making for me - planned ever since I stepped off the the bike in Elgin, Oregon, 2008. Although then tired from a week’s worth of cycling, I was truly elated to have been part of that magical experience - 'The Wild Wheeled West' - and I said at the time I would do it again. Here we are, that time fast approaching...
This year's tour is basically a loop that starts and finishes in the small town of Sutherlin. Sutherlin is found in the South-eastern corner of Oregon about 160 km from the State line with California. It's called 'Going Coastal' because we will have 3 days riding along the Pacific coast and enjoy a lay-over day at the seaside town of Bandon. It's going to be another epic route, with riders either enjoying sea views or the picturesque interior landscape of quintessential Oregon. Furthermore, 90% of the route has never been ridden before by CO - so it's fresh territory. They'll also be some hills to climb.....here's the numbers.
Day 1 - Sutherlin to Cottage Grove - 72 or 115 km - 1031 or 1367 meters gain
Day 2 - Cottage Grove to Reedsport - 146 km with 1066 meters gain
Day 3 - Reedsport to Bandon - 121 km with 1203 meters gain
Day 4 - Bandon to Port Orford loop - 108 km with 980 meters gain
Day 5 - Bandon to Powers - 96 km with 602 meters gain
Day 6 - Powers to Riddle - 136 km with 1661 meters gain
Day 7 - Ridle to Sutherlin - 84 km with 722 meters gain
Total 806 km with 7601 meters gain
So why go on a bike ride that requires a Trans-Atlantic flight to take part? We must be mad right?
Wrong. Well maybe a bit. Seriously, the previous tour was such an amazing experience, when the opportunity came up at the beginning of this year it was one of easiest decisions I've had to make. And more to the point, talking the guys into joining me was like pushing on a open door.....What do you need to know about that ride? We visited 6 towns to the North of the State clocking up about 800 km in the process. But that's only half the story. Imagine the most perfect week in the saddle and you'll be on the right lines. We had 7 days of sunshine from the moment we woke to the moment we went to hit the sack.The event organisation was faultless, the people we met were like-minded and great fun. Food was good. The towns we stayed in were interesting - definitely quirky. The roads were empty. The riding was breathtaking. The pelotons were fun - and sometimes a bit crazy. Raised some money for local causes. Got the picture?
The planning for the 2008 tour started in 2007 when I was on holiday with my now wife. We were doing a tour of California and took in some fantastic sights along the way. It was one of my favourite holidays to date. The purpose of us travelling around Northern California was to eventually reach Crater Lake National Park, located in Southern Oregon. I have been lucky to experience some magical places, but Crater Lake is the most beautiful place I've ever seen. It's fresh water lake about 160 km North of the Californian border. I can even claim to have swum in the lake, which I would add was extremely cold (and I suspect that fact greatly entertained the park rangers who suggested I should take a dip.) The point of this background is that it was at Crater Lake where I bumped into a cyclist - one of the many - who were riding round Crater lake that day as part of Cycle Oregon 2007. I spoke to one of the riders who was taking a breather. He told me that if I liked cycling I should sign up and give it a go the following year. I took his advice to heart - and signed up at the end of January for the ride later that year. Good advice, good decision. I also persuaded Malc to join me. By this time we had made a couple of pilgrimages to Mallorca, cycling, and he was soon sold on the idea........
For 2011 we have swelled the British representation at CO by one more rider - I am delighted to say that Swazy is joining us. Swazy has been riding regularly for the past 18 months on his BMC road bike. A relative new -comer to road cycling he was a Motorcross rider for many years until he decided the responsibilities of parenthood and the increasing cost of the sport meant he changed 'codes'. Not that you would think safety was high on his agenda when he's on his bike. His half-hearted attempts at signalling never cease to make me laugh. He's also getting really excited by the prospect of CO2011 - and that's brilliant because it's going to live up to his expectations.
As you would expect, bikebritain will be making a video diary of the whole event, and I'm sure both guys will be chipping in with their own view of things too. If Oregon can deliver anything like it did in 2008, the 2011 tour is going to be another ride to remember. For more details of this year’s ride see www.cycleoregon.com. And when you do, you'll start planning for 2012's tour..........afterall it's "The best bike ride in America" - and that's some claim.
Words, Thumbnail and Slider Image - bikebritain Ltd