Cycle Oregon Blog
Come September, The Dalles is going to roll out the red carpet for Cycle Oregon, at which point everyone will understand why we’ve selected it as the place to kick off the 2014 Week Ride. If you live in the Portland area and haven’t yet explored The Dalles, why wait? This place is a bona fide cycling destination for mountain bikers and roadies alike. And with 300 days of sun per year, it’s a very good place to get in some early-season training miles for those of us who’d rather become soggied by perspiration than rain and road grime when aboard our bikes.
According to Jim Moore, author of 75 Classic Rides: Oregon, the Dalles-Mosier loop, which includes sections of the Historic Columbia River Highway and the infamous 7-Mile Hill, is a must-ride Oregon classic. He also recommends the shorter Cherry Heights Loop as well as the trek to Hood River from The Dalles, which can be added to the Mosier loop or done as an out-and-back on the HCRH. You can read more about these in his book or at www.rideoregonride.com, where a quick search for “The Dalles-Mosier” and “Cherry Heights” will provide you with everything you need to know. This is also a good website to find out about the area’s many mountain bike trails. Keep in mind you ARE allowed to show up in camp as early as Friday night for the Week Ride, so if you want to have yourself a little prologue…
The saner among us who think a week of back-to-back riding is plenty may still want to arrive early just to hang around and explore one of True West Magazine’s “Top 10 True Western Towns of 2014.”
History buffs will be extra-excited about this area, which is argued to be the “real” end of the Oregon Trail – a topic that the former mayor of The Dalles, Jim Wilcox, will argue at length with anyone who has the courage to suggest otherwise.
Lewis and Clark called The Dalles “Rock Fort” when they visited in 1805, and their campsite is marked on the town’s scenic Riverfront Trail (which is appropriately located over by the river). After the Whitman Massacre of 1847, the U.S. military built Fort Dalles. The fort’s surgeon’s quarters are now the Fort Dalles Museum, which is one of the oldest museums in the state. You can also check out the Wasco County Courthouse, which was built in 1859 and still contains some of the original prisoner restraints.
Bookstore history buffs will be jazzed to learn that Klindt’s Books, the oldest continuously running bookstore west of the mighty Mississippi, is also in The Dalles.
Speaking of museums, the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center is a great place to learn about the cultural and natural history of the region. Bird lovers will be particularly excited to see the various raptors that call this place home.
Other points of interest include the Rivertap brewpub, which has a mighty nice beer and cocktail menu; The Sunshine Mill, which used to be – wait for it – a mill, but is now a winery and restaurant; and the historic Baldwin Saloon, which is now more restaurant than saloon, but does have a very cool old hand-carved wooden bar that is worth seeing if you’re into very cool old hand-carved wooden bars (and who isn’t?).
Finally, if you want to mix it up with the tourists coming off the riverboats (as well as the “Floozies” who hang around to great them), put on your socks and sandals, strap your camera around your neck and head on down to the boat dock in Riverfront Park. Of course there are some things best left to one’s imagination, and it’s possible the Floozies could fall into this category, but that’s something we’ll just have to find out for ourselves in a few months.
To learn EVEN MORE about the general awesomeness of The Dalles, mosey on over to the website for the town’s Chamber of Commerce.
See you there.
This year’s Week Ride offers a bigger challenge than most, due in no small part to the amount of climbing involved. A few people are wondering if they’ll be able to handle the challenge. Well, as I pointed out in the very first Cycle Oregon blog post, the answer is still a definitive “yes you can” – provided you properly prepare.
The only difference between the formula for success this year versus any other is that you’ll want to create your training plans as early as possible. The best day to do this was yesterday, but the second best day is today.
If you’ve done Cycle Oregon before, you already know the drill and what to expect. If you haven’t, don’t worry. We’re here to help – so are your fellow riders. If you’ve got questions, feel free to respond to blog posts, post them on our Facebook page or visit the forums. This really is a community that welcomes new folks with open arms and takes care of its own.
Each month we’ll publish training guidelines that will help you get your body ready for the Week Ride. March guidelines will be posted later this week. You’d also be well served to skim the training guidelines from past years to get a good idea of the sort of progression you’ll follow for the next several months, so you can budget your time accordingly. This year’s regimen will be different, but it won’t be that different, and the overall time commitment will be similar. Training tips are archived in the “Preparation” section of the blog.
If you’re new to cycling in general, you’ll be richly rewarded by learning about nutrition for endurance cycling, basic bike maintenance, riding in a group, and any other aspect of the sport that leads to greater understanding and appreciation (to my shock, I completely got hooked on watching the Tour de France when training for my first Cycle Oregon, and I’ve been a Tour junkie ever since).
Learning all this new stuff is an important part of the journey and the fun. Here are some places to help you get started:
Helpful Blog Posts
The importance of bike fit
Rules of the road/general cycling safety
Pre-ride bike check
How to shift
How to fix a flat tire
Eating for endurance
Eating for recovery
How to avoid the dreaded “bonk”
How to ride on gravel
Packing and getting ready for Cycle Oregon
Where to Find Training Routes and/or Virtual Training Partners
Ride With GPS
Rubber to the Road (Portland)
PDX Cycling Online (Portland)
Ride Oregon Ride
Blogs & Websites
The Complete Book of Long Distance Cycling
Bicycling Magazine’s New Cyclist Handbook
The Big Book of Bicycling
75 Classic Rides: Oregon
Got any other favorites? Let us know in the Comments section.
Exciting news from Ride Director, Steve Schulz:
Cycle Oregon has been on a tear ever since the inaugural ride in 1988, when (somewhat to our surprise) 1,006 cyclists from 20 states showed up and helped generate more than $360,000 for our fantastic rural hosts. Over the past 26 years, we’ve generated millions more in benefits for communities throughout the state and we’re just getting started.
Today the Cycle Oregon Fund has more than $2 million in assets, and net proceeds from events continue to expand our ability to support more and bigger community development projects. Thanks to a strong brand and an amazing family of riders and volunteers, we’re in a better position than ever to live up to our promise of transforming lives and communities through bicycling.
After a strategic evaluation of the organization, we concluded that one of the few things holding us back from continuing on our meteoric trajectory was staff capacity. That’s why we’re pleased to announce that Alison Graves has recently joined Cycle Oregon as its new executive director.
If only all problems could contain such easy and obvious solutions… Alison possesses a high degree of familiarity with the organization, plus a strong track record of innovation and leadership – that makes her uniquely qualified for the task at hand. She comes to Cycle Oregon with the potent combo of a master’s degree in Organizational Development and 10 years of experience leading next-stage nonprofits, collaborative programs and creative fundraising campaigns.
Alison will focus on specific efforts: strategic growth, advocacy and future grants and projects. I will continue to lead the charge on rides and other events, and oversee internal operations.
Alison most recently was executive director of Portland’s Community Cycling Center, where she helped position the nonprofit as a local and national leader in making bicycling accessible to people of all backgrounds. Her volunteer time is dedicated to being a board member of the League of American Bicyclists.
She’s ridden Cycle Oregon’s Week and Weekend rides since 2007, and is married to former Cycle Oregon board member and past Bike Gallery owner Jay Graves.
Please join us in welcoming her to the CO family!
As many of you know by now, Ingrid Nylen, who headed up customer service for Cycle Oregon for the last decade, has retired. Providing the level of customer service our riders have become accustomed to is no small task, so filling this position required a rigorous search. We’re very glad to report that we’ve found the perfect person for the job: Chris Knott.
Chris comes to us from the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, where he was involved in finance and development as well as fundraising and customer service, which makes him a natural fit for the Cycle Oregon position.
Interestingly, he also worked in the craft brewing industry for several years. During the CO rides, we’re thinking his experience in dealing with folks with a few beers in their bellies might translate nicely into working with overly tired riders, those who are overdosing on endorphins… or those with a few beers in their bellies.
With the new registration system in place, chances are good that you won’t be getting to know Chris via an urgent phone call on Feb. 6, so we offer the following tidbits:
- He’s from Rochester, Minnesota, but prefers to visit family in Colorado
- He’s an avid soccer player and is on two co-ed teams
- He loves to cook
- He’s stoked about working with Cycle Oregon, and looks forward to getting to know the family of riders and the great communities we visit.
He’ll be at the Kickoff Party, so be sure to find him and get to know him in person. You’ll be glad you did.