Friday, August 10, 2012

Final Stage, 6 Tour des Trees

Today was the final stage of the Tour before we do our "fun" ride on Saturday. We left Hood River for Portland into a headwind of 25-30 mph whipping through the Columbia River Gorge. Many of us had not launched when we already hear a biker was down. He was thrown by the wind over the guard rail along Rt 84 that we all had to ride on. This is highway, a full out highway but a designated bike route. He ended up with a compound fracture of the collarbone, broken ribs and a punctured lung. He can't fly for several weeks and will have to take a car if he wants to get back to his home in Wisconsin. This was the 3rd major accident on this tour.
That said, the ride was another epic journey today. We climbed up off the Columbia River gorge to some amazing vista points. We saw many waterfalls including the second highest in the US--Multamonah Falls. This is the #1 tourist attraction in Oregon. We climbed a lot today with one climb being 3 miles, 1000 feet. No big deal, been doing that all week. Once we completed our last climb we shot downhill and I hit my new personal best of 43.4mph. We were flying.
It was our last day and one of the toughest once again. Lots of climbing but always rewarded with amazing views.
The tour is now officially complete. I achieved my goal. A simple goal of finishing each day with enough in the tank for the next---to not have to ride in the "SAG" wagon. I wasn't the fastest, it wasn't a race. I wasn't the strongest, it wasn't a competition. I learned that all my training served me well. I would not have been able to do the whole ride without all the training I did. This was too long and to hard of climbs to just come out and ride. There were many good riders and several great. Two ride for the Stanford cycling team and another just got a cycling scholarship. Didn't know such existed. There was much inner talking between my ears as I pedaled away. Sometimes I was alone on the road and missed my family. Most of the time I was in some sort of peleton, hanging with a group. As much as I like to ride alone, it was much faster and efficient to be pulled along in the peleton. Teamwork is a big part of cycling.
People asked me if I will do it again. As of now, I don't know. I will need some time to rest. It was the toughest thing I have done in my life, nothing has come close. It has also been the most rewarding thing in my life. The toughest things give you the greatest rewards.

Columbia River

Me with buddy Terrill Collier at Multamonah falls.

Multamonah Falls. Second highest falls in US.


I finished!

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