It was one hell of an experience. At some points I was speechless in awe of the beauty of the route; at other points I was cursing south-eastern Washington, wondering why anyone thought it was a good idea to ride in this area. But the "randonesia" is now setting in, and good memories are starting to stand out.
Highlights (out of order)
Reith Road - one of the highlights of the whole ride:
Funny Sign in Umatilla, OR. Most riders probably didn't see this, as it wasn't on the route! But after 100 miles I'd decided the route wasn't long enough for me, and that I needed a 5-mile detour! (Actually, I read the cue wrong and got lost..)
Control in Prosser (I think), the morning of day 2
Awesome canyon road (near Goldenwater, WA I think):
Bickleton, WA - the only services in a 60 mile stretch:
Wind power - you know strong winds are in store when you see turbines in the distance:
A few notes about the ride:
* ~22 starters, ~5 DNFs (I think)
day 1: 6 AM start, ~1 AM finish (220-mile mark, two hours of sleep at the motel)
day 2: 5:30 AM start, 9:57 PM finish.
* This was one of my first rides without using a cyclocomputer. On super-long rides like this it's nice to actually not know exactly how far you've gone or have to go. For reading the cuesheet, I used this formula: .1 miles means I should be able to see the turn already. 1 miles means wait a few minutes, then look for it. etc. So far the method works pretty well!
* The cue sheet had about four errors on it. Got lost a few times. Also got 5 flats! (And actually used my spare tire, which then got its own piece of metal lodged in it)
Thanks a million to Paul Whitney and the Oregon Randonneurs for putting on such a great ride!! Also huge thanks to: Jim for riding with me for a while and letting draft you forever; Narayan & everyone for talking me out of quitting at the 2nd-to-last control; Mike for giving me an Ensure, and staying with me while I fixed one of my many flats on the first night; Bill for the complements on the Pacer; R.B. for letting me take a shower in his room at the end; And a huge thanks to Gary for giving me a ride down there, making this whole trip possible!