I started the day out taking it very easy...I had no idea how challenging the day would become! The first part of the ride was so relaxing, beautiful scenery and even ran into Karolina for the 3rd time on my trip. She is from Poland and believe it or not she is trying to cross the USA with NO money...WHAT??? Good luck Karolina!
Continuing on, enjoying the smell of the occasional campfire and doing a lot of reflection. It was as if Bob and Nick were right there with me. Thinking about my friend Doug, praying he gets better soon.
I wasn't planning on riding far today...plans were for a short, relaxing ride but with such beautiful scenery it was really hard to stop....wondering what was around the next corner.
Then, before I knew it I was at the base of the McKenzie Pass! I thought about pitching my tent and tackling it the next day but decided to press on. I could tell immediately that this was going to be a rough afternoon. The uphill climbs were relentless...no breaks anywhere! About 7 miles in, the road was closed to all vehicles except bicycles so that was awesome!
The miles went on ever so slowly...I was always looking ahead hoping there would be a downhill run just a little bit, but nothing! This was grueling, I didn't see anymore cyclists along the route until the end of the day so I out there alone to conquer this enormous challenge. The steep climbs seemed to never ever end! I have 2 water bottles and had only a 1/3 of one left so that was concerning to me. I did my best to ration what I had left as best I could. I got off my bike on more than one occasion and walked for a while. I remember sitting on a guardrail wondering how much further can this possibly go for?
I noticed the height of the trees ahead seemed to lower and I could see a little open space. I was so hopeful that the summit was near and it was. I few more climbs and turns and there it was! I MADE IT!!!! I was totally wiped out but knowing I did it was a feeling I'll never forget. Then I look over to my left and there was Karolina again...we briefly celebrated our victory and got ready for the glorious descent into Sisters, Oregon. 15 miles of nothing but coasting (and fast!) aaaahhhh!!!!
As demanding as today was, this was the reward at the top!
McKenzie Pass was the toughest part of my ride by far but has helped prepare me for what still lies ahead.
Total miles today - 59.7
Elevation gain - 4,626 ft
Cumulative miles - 172.5