The finale (9-14-2013)

Today was the final day of the ride.  The route was an odd one from Seneca to John Day.  Some cyclists elected to take a shortcut and travel the roads we had ridden on day 2, making for only 25 miles of riding and most of that downhill.  I thought about it for a split second and didn’t even consider doing that.  I’m here for the full experience.

The morning was freezing cold.  Seneca is known for holding the coldest recorded temperature in Oregon at -54 degrees.  It wasn’t that cold, but my fingers didn’t know that.  We headed off into the woods and I was able to see a couple of pronghorn antelope chasing each other about a mile from our first real rest stop.

The road after Hwy 395 was incredible.  It was about a lane and a half wide, trees everywhere, and beautiful country.  It was a very peaceful scene.  Towards the end, we encountered our final two climbs of the trip.  They were some of the steeper climbs that we’ve done but much shorter.  It’s nice knowing that you have no more serious climbing to do.

At the second summit, the forest service had Smokey the Bear out, so I have a photo of me and Smokey floating around out there.

The descent was crazy after the climbs.  The road was narrow, everyone was screaming down the mountain at 40+ mph, and there were cattle guards occasionally across the road.  At the bottom and final real rest stop, we road on the highway back to John Day.

That road was pretty anti-climatic.  The scenery wasn’t impressive and there was a lot of weekend traffic.  The road was mostly flat with a few rolling hills, and it gradually increased in elevation.

I skipped the final water stop as I started feeling stronger the closer I got to John Day.  The last few miles I put it in the big rind and really started cruising.

Once in John Day I stopped once to buy some lemonade from local kids.  I wasn’t really thirsty, but I didn’t see a lot of other riders stop in their dash to finish, so I wanted to make sure the kids got some attention.  We finished the ride to cheering from the Grant Union school kids and the usual chocolate milk.  

We also were given our finish awards, a Cycle Oregon bandanna and a Cycle Oregon dog tag.  After seven days and hundreds of miles, Cycle Oregon was complete.

I finished the day with pulled pork for lunch, met up with Carey and Kayla, and then got ready to leave John Day.

The plan was for me to camp at Clyde Holliday park while Carey had a hotel room reserved.  I set up my tent, but about an hour later she returned.  Apparently she booked a hotel in Mt. Vernon, IL instead of Mt. Vernon, OR.  Ooops.

We elected to just come home, making for a long day.  

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