By Carmen Price
2012 Bicycle Adventurer
“Think of a happy place. Think of Hawaii.” –Sue says as I’m climbing up a hill, struggling. My instant thought was “I’m in a happy place. Oregon!!” The exotic land of the coast of Oregon, but at that moment the only thing on my mind was getting to the church. I couldn’t be in the moment sadly, with the sun and the short mileage of 55 miles.
Today was a great ending of a hard week that’s for sure, but in the beginning it was rough start. It all started last night really: 98 miles of wonderful climbing, beautiful scenery and amazing camaraderie. We arrived late to the church at around 6 after getting malts, fries, and burgers at this diner with a rating malt of 7 by the Geezerman Tom. I received a box I had been waiting on for a while now…My tires! After 20 flats on the East Coast ride, a friend of mine bought me brand new tires that he swears by. We installed them, read the letter he wrote me in a British accent and danced with joy over my new tires. I was pretty excited and I believe everyone else was either just as excited to see me happy, or really excited they won’t have to change 20 flats while on this ride. I praised these tires and maybe too much is my point.
Ready for the challenge, I pumped them in the morning and prepared them for the 55 miles that today brought. After a mile my rear tire popped. Oh no, not just pop. It POPPED!!! We were all riding in a pace line and I was towards the back of the pack and people at the front heard it. The pow sounded like a gun shot, and at that moment I wished it was anything, but my tire. I didn’t care the cost, anything would be better than me having a flat tire right then. Other riders joined me and helped get my tire back together and as we were in the midst of this the van that was going to pass us, stopped to lend a helping hand. I got back on the road again after receiving a hug and encouragement from Burgess (our photographer). I was ready to tackle the 54 miles that was left! The next road that we came upon was 7 Devils Rd. Which if you are a cyclist, runner, or a hiker you know that roads and/or trails with names like 7 Devils Rd. is probably because there are seven devils. Well, that is exactly what happened. It was amazing! The 7 brutal hills were marked with paint (Devil #1, Devil #2,…..) along with “You’re doing great!” “Keep it up.” “Almost there.” by the Adventure Cycling Association. I was pleased with how I was doing and had a goal of climbing all 7 hills (which I reached). On the 5th devil my chain peeled off my front chain ring. I was saddened and needed help from the sweeps Andrew and Pete to put my chain back in proper place. I was then ready to finish my climbs, finally. The rest of the day had this unusual flatness to it, we rode through towns with farmers markets that we enjoyed fudge and other goodies.
Then the second and final rest stop came upon us. The perfect rest stop for a 55 mile day, an ice cream shop and restaurant. Everyone was sitting on the porch enjoying the sunlight, malts, burgers and fries. I had to get in on that action! I bought myself a corn dog and a shake. Once I finished my meal I was on the roads again with Wendy. It was a beautiful day and the only thing on my mind was getting to the church, but really that goal wasn’t for me to get there as soon as possible. I lost Wendy after awhile and the sweeps swept me. Sue found me on a climb that I was struggling with, the final climb and spoke these words to me. “Think of a happy place. Think of Hawaii.” Thank you Sue!