Thursday, August 14, 2008

Mt Bike Oregon Pt 2, Day 1

I'm very stinky. It's the hottest weekend of the year and I'm down in Oakridge for another exciting edition of Mountain Bike Oregon. Although I over packed by a ridiculous amount, I still seem to have forgotten a few crucial things—like bug juice. And Perpetuem (liquid food) which would be really good to have since I'm doing a big ride tomorrow with a long ride back on the road. But at least there's electrolyte tablets in our goody bags.

The drive down was so so, but I just learned that a bunch of fires near I-5 closed down a lot of the highway yesterday, so I suppose I should be grateful that I had no delays and arrived in one piece. But my iPod shuffle, which is usually so good to me, positively sucked the whole way down. And I don't like to fiddle around with trying to find specific songs unless I have a co-pilot, so I spent a lot of time just skipping songs.

Things got even less fun when a state trooper started following me about eight miles from Oakridge. I had actually seen a bunch of troopers on I-5 and lots of people got pulled over—but I was hoping things would calm down once I turned off the main highway. No such luck. I would've felt better if they'd just happened to catch up to me, but in fact, I caught up to them (going 60 mph, 5 miles over the speed limit) and then they pulled off the road specifically to get behind me. That set my spider sense tingling that perhaps they were just waiting for the opportunity to ticket me for D.W.B. I kept my speed firmly between 50-53mph in a 55 zone. I'm surprised they didn't pull me over for going too slow. They finally turned off once we hit Oakridge city limits.

Ayleen kindly offered to let me shower in her hotel room (there's no services till tomorrow, and even then, a hot shower is unlikely unless I get there within the first 30 minutes). She also invited me to dinner with the gang (staff and guides). As usually happens in this crowd, I could barely get anyone to leave so I could come to bed. I didn't want to push my luck by pressing the shower issue, though it would be REALLY nice right now. But the night is pretty cool and my tent is well ventilated.

Speaking of tents, J and I bought a new tent on REI Outlet and it came just in the nick of time for me to pick it up on my way out of town and test it out. It took me a while to set it up, as it's much different than my old tent, but now that I've done it, I'll be a lot faster next time. The tent is a bit smaller than the gigantic four-person that I could almost stand up in. This one is a three person and a different shape, but so far, I totally dig it. And it weighs less than half what the other tent does, so it will work for bike camping, which we're doing in a couple of weeks (with the Dummy, which should be ready by then, SQUEE!).

The tent has vestibules, which I've never had before. In theory, I like the idea of keeping stuff outside the tent and having it stay dry—but in practice, I don't like how I trip over the guy lines every time I step anywhere near the tent. I'm sure it's just a matter of retraining myself.

Once I got everything set up, I decided to go for a little ride, to get my 'sea legs' so to speak, and remember what this off road thing is all about. I did the Salmon Creek 'fitness trail' which is basically a way of saying, it's really easy and you can pedal a lot. It was actually a really fun trail. It's pretty smooth, as trails go, and especially heading back, it's slightly downhill which makes for a lot of fun swooping fast turns. On the way back I stopped at the river damn, where two people had wisely taken camp chairs to the middle of the river and were watching the sunset. I had been told that the water at this swimming hole was not nearly as cold as the river next to Green Waters park where we're camping and the rumor proved to be true. I waded in with no problems and it was the perfect refreshing temperature.

Another nice thing about the trail is that near the beginning/end, it's just lousy with more blackberries than I could ever hope to find in one place. They're still not quite sweet, but I ate a bunch anyway.

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