Ride the Rogue 2012

Ride the Rogue was almost three weeks ago, but I just found the time to sit down and write about it.

I’ve been wanting to ride a century since 2006, if not before. 2006 is at least the first instance I can find where I put that desire into writing. My mom and I completed our own bicycling tour of the Netherlands and Belgium, and we had just flown back to the East Coast. Like any athlete at the end of the event, I was left contemplating, “What’s next?”

Finishing the first 10 miles (one-tenth done!) of Ride the Rogue, I thought back to that moment. You know that feeling when you’re actually, finally, embarking on final stages of your goal?! The training is done, the build up has passed, and you’re just there and doing it. THAT feeling. I couldn’t stop grinning and laughing to myself. I had no concept in 2006 of what a century really meant or would feel like – I had never even ridden a road bike! But here I was, six years later, and doing this thing that to me had always been a life goal.

The miles passed. The first rest stop at mile 23 had amazing snacks – bananas cut in half, boiled potatoes, peaches, muffins – and it took everything in me to not stuff myself. More miles. A dog waited for cyclists as they passed, and the dog managed to leap up and suck on my finger before getting called inside by its owner.

Lunch felt early at mile 42. We’d just flown down a hill and pushed through a gently sloping downwards flat, when suddenly, another rest stop!

Then the going started getting rough. It was around noon and finally starting to heat up. Old Stage Road took us into Jacksonville and then up the steepest hill of the day, on 238 toward the Applegate. Normally that hill wouldn’t be so bad – a pain, to be sure, but manageable – but hitting it on mile 55 or so was a different story. I slogged onward, determined to keep an eye on the cyclist in front of me but without passing him to pace myself. The traffic, which had seemed fairly kind and sparse so far, started getting more aggressive and annoyed with the number of cyclists on the road. The hill crested around mile 60, starting what was essentially the 40 mile and mostly downhill push to the finish.

The rest stop at mile 65 was the first one I actively needed. I needed water, my knees had started to hurt, I was hungry. Those who know me well know that I’m less than pleasant when I’m hungry. Luckily, cheese and triscuits and some version of Thin Mints were waiting for me at Fiasco Winery.

A sudden and strange energy propelled me towards the last rest stop. Although the 5 mile stretches between each road change seemed absolutely endless, I found some source of energy and felt like I was pedaling faster than before. I was passing other cyclists, so something was happening. One man, the one I’d paced up the hill in Jacksonville, laughed and greeted me as I passed him. (Remember, this wasn’t a race – there was no official start, just a suggestion, and no official timing.) But I had the energy, somehow, and I decided to use it, figuring that my shoulders at least would appreciate the shorter ride time.

At first I was a little doubtful of a rest stop at mile 90 – I mean, really? Wouldn’t you want to just push through? – but it was such a relief. Knowing that I only had 10 miles to go but could refill on water and snacks was such a good feeling. Those last 10 miles though – I was so exhausted. I never want to ride on that road again. It sloped downhill, so it was pretty easy, but the physical fatigue of the 90 miles prior made it feel endless.

And suddenly, I was back in Rogue River! I began noticing more and more houses, passed the water treatment facility, and then riding underneath I-5 towards Palmerton Park. I almost missed the turn in my fatigue.

The euphoria of finishing this life goal intact, happy, and in less time than I’d hoped could only be overshadowed by one thing – the promised salmon and steak tri-tip dinner! Delicious!

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Who Steals Bikes?

The Mail Tribune has published another article about local bike thefts, just over a month since the last article. Thieves are getting more brazen and have stolen bikes from fairly public locations, like Downtown Market Co. in Medford, and sawed through cable locks to do it. Some locals even speculate that thieves are targeting high end bikes, hoping to make a larger and quicker profit. Reading this article, I feel incredibly lucky that I can keep my bike in my office with me during the day!

This Priceonomics article goes into the nitty gritty of bike theft: who does it, professional versus amateur theft, and where the bikes are resold. It’s a little more demoralizing than the Mail Tribune article, which has a tone of vengeance and “justice will be served!” attitude – Priceonomics uses a handy graph to illustrate that bike thieves have very little risk of getting caught and basically receive a slap on the wrist if they are. Essentially:

“It’s dead simple to steal a bike and the consequences are near zero. You can resell stolen bikes. If you want to get a good price for a stolen bicycle, it requires a decent amount of work. That amount of work is what limits the bike theft trade from really flourishing. Criminal masterminds have an opportunity cost for their time; they can’t be messing around lugging heavy pieces of metal and rubber that are only in limited demand.”

I need to add, though, that I agree wholeheartedly with the Priceonomics article conclusion: bike thieves are jerks.

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Bicycle Benefits: Get Your Deals on Two Wheels!

Bicycle Benefits is a “progressive bicycling program designed to reward individuals and businesses for their commitment to cleaner air, personal health, and the use of pedaling energy in order to create a more sustainable community.” Cyclists purchase a helmet sticker for just $5 from a participating business. When they bike to any participating business and show their sticker at the register, they receive a discount on their purchase! Each business chooses its own discount to offer.

Although Bicycle Benefits is new to the Rogue Valley, there are already some great local discounts! The list includes:

Ashland Bicycle Works, Ashland: 10% off parts and accessories
Good Bean Coffee, Jacksonville: Buy 1 drink, get 1 free
Hampton Inn, Medford: 15% off regular room rate
Northwest Outdoor Store, Medford: Mountain Bottle stainless steel water bottles, 2 for 1
Oregon Mountain Coffee Company, Medford: $1 off total purchase
Rogue Creamery Cheese Shop, Central Point: 10% off

For a full list, check out Bicycle Benefits website. If your business is interested in joining, you can also learn how to become a member.

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Cycle Oregon, part 2

All of Ashland was abuzz last week about Cycle Oregon! On the bus to Medford, a fellow passenger was curious about where “Ride Oregon” was headed after Ashland, and several others jumped in to answer her question (and correct her on the name!). Amanda of Village Shoes stated, “The cyclists in town seemed to have a lot of energy despite the trip they all just endured. They really enjoyed their day off and spent it shopping in downtown Ashland. We accommodated their need to travel lightly by shipping the purchases they made at Village Shoes. We heard lots of talk about how they were grateful for the downhill segments, however one cyclist customer said she preferred riding uphill after suffering an accident speeding downhill years ago.”

Here’s a quick link round up of local news stories about Cycle Oregon too:
A Cycle Oregon Visionary: Jim Beaver dreamed up Cycle Oregon 25 years ago right here in Ashland
Candlelighters Ride to Keep the Flame of Hope Burning: Annual tribute ride during Cycle Oregon honoring cancer patients
Cycle Oregon Making a Stop in Ashland: Cyclists’ had a two day layover in Ashland
Ashland!: From the Cycle Oregon blog
Shoulder to Shoulder
: Cyclists’ road rights and safety first
Break’s Over: Rest day ride up Mount Ashland and one family’s experience on the tour
UBI and Cycle Oregon: UBI hosted a custom frame building show
City on Wheels
: Setting up and dismantling the Cycle Oregon tent city 

Did I miss anything?!

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Cycle Oregon

Cycle Oregon is on the move! This year’s 25th anniversary ride takes cyclists around 450 miles through beautiful Southern Oregon spots like Prospect, Klamath Falls, and Silver Lake. To celebrate Cycle Oregon’s rest day in Ashland, the Southern Oregon Historical Society and the Ashland Historic Railroad Museum are hosting a small reception for Cycle Oregon participants to come see the History: Made by You exhibit on Thursday, September 13 from 4-6 pm. Hope to see you there!

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Bicycles and History: A Perfect Match

Bicyclists are teaming up with heritage organizations throughout Oregon! To celebrate Cycle Oregon’s 25 anniversary ride next week, they’re touring Southern Oregon. Learn more about Cycle Oregon’s own history in this Mail Tribune article.

Oregon Heritage Exchange

By Alexandra Phillips

What happens when cyclists on new carbon fiber bicycles meet up with equipment from the 1850s? This was exactly the scene on a sunny July day when the Cycle Oregon weekend ride of 2,000 cyclists stopped at Thompson’s Mills State Heritage Site near Shedd for lunch.

Hundreds of cyclists lined up to get a guided tour of the only water-powered mill in Oregon still being powered the same way it was in 1858. As it turns out, bicycles also have been powered the same way since 1858. Maybe that explained the cyclist’s enthusiasm for the mill.

Oregon state park rangers and the Boston Mill Society friends group (the mill was originally called “Boston Mill”) were on hand to greet the cyclists and answer questions. One Boston Mill Society volunteer was Roy Thompson, whose family is now the namesake for Thompson’s Mills.

The cyclists toured the basement of…

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Bicycling History Talk

Want to learn more about the history of bicycling in Jackson County? A free talk by Southern Oregon Historical Society Curator of Special Projects Amy Drake is planned from 6:30 to 8:30 pm on Friday, September 14 in the Gresham Room at the Ashland Library, 410 Siskiyou Boulevard. This lecture is part of the Ashland Historic Railroad Museum’s Second Friday History Night. For a sneak preview, check out the Mail Tribune’s recent article highlighting the exhibit.

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