TABR Day 2: The Sins of Day 1
The alarms sounds off at 3:45am- Day 2 has begun (technically it's still the first day), and early morning alarms will soon become a norm. That's approx 5 hours of off-and-on sleep in a grassy ditch close to McKenzie pass. The new Borah gear bivy MVTR has worked well and my sleeping bag isn't too soaked. I use my spare bike light to pack up quickly and get on my way, probably about 4am. It's quiet, cool and dark- not much but a few houses and open land on this section. The lack of planning towards the end of day 1 is about to catch up with me. My metabolism is raging from Day 1 and in desperate need of calories. I have maybe 1,000 calories on me and I honestly don't know when or where the next meal is going to come. Day light is breaking as I approach McKenzie pass and frantically search for services along the side of the road and on my phone. It's Sunday, and anything that is going to be open isn't opening until 8am. Not even a vending machine to be found! I pause for a moment to reassess calories and ponder waiting for something to open- at this point I know I have another 2-3 hours over the pass and down into Sisters. Hell with it, it's racing! I pour my remaining Skratch packs into a bottle of water to squeeze out another 200 calories- this will have to last.
McKenzie pass is a phenomenal climb- a good portion is still closed this time of year, the grades are manageable, the tree cover is pristine and temps are cool. I caught up with Heath on the climb and we chatted for a few minutes. Once at the top of the pass the tree canopy opens to what appear to be lava fields. From here it's a fast decent down to Sisters- I know food is coming soon!
I marked it at about 80 miles to Sisters that morning with only 1000 calories. Big Rookie mistake. I scramble over to the McDonalds in Sisters and order for a family of 4. Yes 'Mam, this is all for me. I eat quickly and look to get back on the road. The heat on the east side of McKenzie pass is substantial. We've past into what looks like a bit of high desert- while some tail winds are welcome, it's making it difficult to stay cool and focused. The heat, a full stomach and limited sleep is a recipe for a dirt nap. I find a nice shaded area off the highway before Redmond and shoot for a 30 min nap.
Oh, the sunglasses- I think I went through a few pairs of gas station sunglasses during this race. Cheap and stylish!... but absolute trash for good visibility. Luckily I have a good pair of clear lenses. The dirt nap helps- I pick myself up and forge on. An afternoon rain shower hits and cools things down. Past Prineville the route turns north for a scenic gradual climb through the Mill Creek Wilderness Area. Towards the top of the climb I met up with Ryan Flinn- it's great to have some company, and Ryan is good company! We chat, share some laughs and descend down into Mitchell. As we approach Mitchell we don't expect much... to our surprise we find the Spoke'n Hostel. ( I'll be honest- I did very little planning on hostels- another rookie mistake). We are welcomed and offered beds, showers and a buffet of good food. I contemplate calling it a day here, but it's still early. There's a small group of racers that had arrived a little before us, including Simone Bailey. We all chat, share a little food and depart Mitchell about the same time. The good folks here inform us about another church welcoming cyclists just up in Dayville- 40 miles down the road. Just a short climb out of Mitchell and then it's downhill to Dayville. Most of the riders are shooting for JohnDay (another 25 miles past Dayville), but I'm cooked. We all look at the surrounding trees and shrubs- it's a howling tail wind at this point.
The ride to Dayville is blazing fast thanks to the 30+ mph consistent tail wind and net downhill. On the way I passed a touring cyclist who was planning to stay in Dayville as well. I continue on, hit the local market for dinner/breakfast and head over to the church. We are welcomed by Rose, who manages the hostel and shown around. Mike Maurer's bike is draped on the church wall, acting as a hanger for clothes and some charging- he's fast asleep in the sanctuary. A quick shower, some laundry and I join Mike in the sanctuary for some quick sleep. One of the last items I ditched before the race was my sleeping pad, which I was regretting now. I lay out the sleeping bag on the hardwood floor and think "this will have to do". It's 10am. Alarm is set for 2am. The sleep/food strategy is going to have to be revised...