Last year I convinced three friends to race the Oregon 24 Hr Mountain Bike Race. However a forest fire pushed the race out a few weeks into October and pretty much all of us had conflicts. Mike Ripley (the race director) allowed teams to move their registration to the 2018 event if you couldn’t make the race last year. Flash forward 12 months and the weekend had arrived. On top of that, Paul and Craig came out too. Paul was racing the 12 hour solo and Craig was here to just hang out and get annoyed by his uncles.
Other than hitting up Stub Stewart we hit Blue Star Donuts at Progress Ridge and Killer Burger for dinner in Tanasbourne. I wanted to give Craig and Paul a little taste of the non-Portland highlights.
Friday we met up at John’s house and caravanned down to Wanoga Sno Park to setup for the race weekend.
No trip to central Oregon would be complete without stopping in Sisters (one of my favorite Oregon towns) and a quick stop into Sisters Coffee. Again, trying to give Paul and Craig the highlights of my favorite places.
Paul was doing the 12 hour Solo race and Carl, Dean, John and I were doing the 4 person 160+ category. The course was 11 miles with “only” 900′ of elevation per lap. It was fast and flowy for the first few miles. One slightly technical section and then a climb to a super fast gravel road section, one final climb and a quick descent back to the start….I’m not doing it justice in my description…it was super fun and just hard enough to keep you on your toes. My belief is that a 24 hour race shouldn’t have a brutal course. You actually want your racers to survive the full 24 hours.
I don’t have many pictures from the actual race. I think all of us were more interested in doing our lap, eating, resting, repeat.
I went out a bit too fast on my first lap and paid for it later. Second lap was a bit more manageable. Then laps 3 thru 5 were all done in the dark. The course definitely felt different in the dark and some of the things I just blew past in the daylight suddenly stood out a lot more. A couple times I was wondering if I was off course because it didn’t look familiar at all.
Paul ended up second in his race and the four of us also got second in ours. We were going back and forth in the lead with the eventual winners. I am not sure right now what the gap ended up being but it was close for a while.
After the awards ceremony I took Paul and Craig to my #1 favorite breakfast place of all time, Jackson’s Corner. Juston and Laurel introduced us to this place and I instantly fell in love with it.
We then drove over the Mitchell, OR to stay in the Spoke’n Hostel before hitting up the Sidewalk Café and the Painted Hills. This was my second visit to the hostel and third to the Painted Hills. I really wanted Paul and Craig to see the totally awesome Painted Hills. There is nothing in New England that comes close to being like this and I can’t imagine the next time they will both be in that area anytime soon.
All three of us were passed out in bed not long after 8pm. I know I slept like the dead and was feeling much better by Monday morning. The funny thing about 24 hour racing is that you start on Saturday and even though you end on Sunday it feels like one really long day. I definitely had to keep reminding myself on Sunday and Monday what day it was.
There is so much more to explore down in the John Day area. We had to get back home though to pack up Paul’s bike and then I had to get the two of them to the airport.
We drove home back through Prineville to Madras and over Mt Hood to Sandy for one last required stop at Joe’s Donuts. I make a bold statement when I claim Joe’s Donuts to be not only the best donuts in Oregon, but quite possibly the best donuts I’ve ever had.
If I had an endless amount of time I’d love to explore more with Paul and Craig. There is so much more in the southeastern part of the state that I want to see. I hope I lured them in with just enough awesomeness to get them to come back soon.
Thanks for coming out Craig and Paul. Craig…..thanks for all your help during the race. We all appreciated it.
Thanks for reading,