John Day, Oregon: It’s been an up and down day. Today’s 117 mile ride was long and challenging, involving 5,000 feet of climbing on two mountain passes. I ended the day on a high with a personal best record for distance in a single day, taking eight hours of pedaling at an average speed of 14.4 mph, aided by good hydration and plenty of endorphins racing through my body.
Originally I thought that the long distance days would be easy days of cycling on flat terrain, but that’s not the case. The distance for each day’s ride is determined by the availability of lodging, not the difficulty. There’s very little development in the 117 mile stretch between Prineville and John Day, except for the tiny (population ~ 150) towns of Mitchell and Dayville, and so we ended up with a lengthy up and down ride and one of the most challenging days of the whole trip.
While long, today’s ride was scenic, through farmland and the Ochoco National Forest, with abundant pine scent. The climb to Keyes Pass at 4,650 feet was especially invigorating. The good thing about the ups is the awesome downs that follow. After Keyes Pass we descended through a high desert gorge. The downhill was equally invigorating.
I was quite apprehensive about the ride, unsure about the combination of climbing and distance. This apprehension was compounded by a hotel receptionist in Prineville last night. She said: ‘I can’t believe you’re going to cycle to John Day. It’s a really long drive in a car, and that second mountain pass is so steep.” Those were the last words I heard before going to bed; those words were still replaying in my mind when I awoke at 2am. I’m not going to chat with any more motel receptionists.
Broadband service in the town of John Day, so named after a fur trapper in the 1800’s, is painfully slow. No pictures today. Tomorrow will be another day of ups and downs, but over a shorter distance.
Day 5 summary:
Day 5 route: Prineville to John Day, Oregon
Day 5 mileage: 117 miles
Cumulative mileage: 387.24 miles
Elevation: 5000 feet of climbing
Terrain: farmland, forest, desert gorge