That fabulous Evel Kneivel road bike that was the highlight of a silent auction to raise money as part of the Tour des Chutes eventually sold for $425. The bike's new owner remains unknown at this time, but one suspects he or she is planning to soon use the bike for a spectacular jump across the Deschutes River.
If there's one road ride all Oregonians who call themselves cyclists should do in their lifetime, it's the ride around Crater Lake on the rim road. This ride offers an unrivaled combination of dramatic scenery, challenging riding and thin (over 7,000 feet high) air.
Riding the rim road will be the highlight of both a metric and a full century ride on Aug. 26. To learn more about the rides, which will start and end at the Klamath County Museum and serve as a fundraiser for the museum, go to www.craterlakecentury.com.
And while we're on the subject of must-do Oregon road rides, here's my Top Ten list. I offer this list in the spirit of shoddy journalism, where "Top Ten" and "best places" to live, eat, work, make love, make the big bucks, and raise children articles are the ultimate copouts.
So here they are, in order of preference:
- The above-mentioned Crater Lake rim road - What a route, with big climbs and descents and one of the world's great natural wonders to view as you ride.
- Aufderheide Memorial Highway (Westfir to Highway 126) - Mellow and pure riding pleasure.
- Halfway to Joseph - Great climbs and downhills with little or no car traffic and the town of Joseph at the end of the line make this a great ride.
- Glendale to Powers - Seldom done, and after one arduous climb, a rollicking route with one of the most fun five-mile curvy downhills anywhere.
- La Grande to Baker City via Union and Medical Springs - A classic route through some of Oregon's most historic countryside and towns.
- Pendleton to Athena with and ascent and descent of Cabbage Hill - Cabbage Hill gets my vote for the best climb and descent in the state. Follow that with the mellow riding up Thorn Hollow along the Umatilla River and you have one special day in the saddle.
- Sisters to McKenzie Pass - Before the snow gate opens for summer vehicle traffic, this route offers a steady long climb and subsequent descent back to Sisters, with plenty of scenic splendor.
- Dead Indian Road to Lake of the Woods - A non-PC-named road for sure, but nonetheless a very challenging long climb that leads to mellower riding and a cool swim at the end of the day.
- Starkey to Sumpter via Granite - A super 53-miler up along the upper reaches of the Grand Ronde River. Big high meadows, deep forest, and long, manageable climbs highlight this ride, with 4,452 feet of elevation gain.
- Vernonia to Astoria with a climb up Coxcomb Hill - This ride gives you an intimate feel of the terrain just inland from the coast. Once in Astoria, a climb up Coxcomb Hill to the Columbia Column and the spectacular views from the top of the column out over town and the mouth of the Columbia River makes it even more noteworthy. Note that Astoria is one hip town with a surprising number of great places to eat, drink and hang out post-ride.
Such a Tour
The Thursday before the Tour de France ended, the French newspaper France Soir ran a death notice for the Tour de France, stating that the tour had "died, at age 104, after a long illness."
Add to that the "Tour de Farce" and "Tour in Tatters" headlines in major newspapers around the world, and it would appear that the Tour de France and professional cycling have suffered a major body blow.
Not so fast, mon ami - it appears a lot of people connected with the sport and hardcore fans are in total denial. In their minds things are fine, and so what if major team sponsors are fleeing the sport, the Tour's television ratings have plummeted in Europe and the U.S. and there are probably more doping revelations to come?
The true hardcore cycling fans with heads deeply buried in the sand are starting to plead on cycling websites and blogs with the sport's governing group, the UCI, to allow open doping. One Australian fan was quoted as saying, "just so the drugs used aren't harmful ones." Cheech and Chong would approve of that logic.
On a happier cycling note, local junior roadie Ian Boswell is in Belgium training with the U.S. junior national development team. Those interested in how he's doing can log onto his blog, http://thebozblogspot.com.