I had no real business going on a 12 day supported cycling tour in Oregon, but I decided being prepared was overrated and went anyway. We started in Ashland, cycled a bunch of days, and ended up back in Ashland 12 days later. I had a great time.
I was the only person with a tent that required staking. Tents that require staking are stupid. Actually, the tent was fine for the first 7 days and then it was stupid. After some point banging stakes into the ground with a hammer just became something I never wanted to do again. One day, I was unable to stake the tent at all, because the ground was too hard. I had to get Pete to stake it and then Michael to de-stake it the next day.
Deet is the only mosquito repellant that seems to work. The instructions on deet tell you to apply only to exposed skin, to avoid your eyes and mouth, and to not apply under clothes. My only exposed areas were my face, neck and hands. The mosquitos easily avoided those areas and bit me through my clothes. I had 9 bites on my ass. The little suckers chased me down as I climbed slowly up to crater lake and bit me repeatedly through my cycling shorts. I had multiple bites on my legs from sitting around in camp in my long pants. I had no bites on my exposed areas protected by deet. I am not sure how to deal with this problem. I might have to tour next year completely naked, but slathered in deet.
Our first day of cycling was a choice of 2 rides. We were staying at Ashland for the first day, so both choices ended back at camp. Both had about a 4500 feet of climbing. Michael wanted to do the Dead Indian loop. (The road is called Dead Indian Memorial road, but I do not know why.) This loop is 47 miles long , contains a 4000 foot climb, and sports pie at mile 33. I showed up ready to go at Michael’s tent. He was still in his regular clothes. His goal for the tour was to be the last person back to camp each day and since he is not the slowest rider on the tour, he worked hard at being the last out of the camp each day and then he stopped each day for a long lunch if he had caught too many other riders. He looked at me and told me to make myself a sandwich. “It’s only 47 miles and we are having pie at mile 33; I don’t need a sandwich,” I countered.
“You’ll be really unhappy, when we all stop to eat our sandwiches and you don’t have one,” he said. Michael can either talk or get ready to go. If you stand near him and talk to him, he goes into some time warp, where time means nothing and he just yammers along telling slightly offensive jokes. Realizing that we would never actually hit the road unless I left him alone, I went off and made myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
The Dead Indian climb was nice. I got the tour’s first flat. Michael saved the day by using his good eye to find the little wire that had caused my slow leak. Michael has one eye surgically set for up close vision and one eye for far away vision, so he is brilliant at seeing small stuff.
The pie place had pie and a large group of us spent about 2 hours sitting on the cafe’s porch, discussing Marionberries, a past DC mayor, and Michael’s sex life. I had eggs over easy with toast. I have never been able to confuse berries with dessert.
We got within a few feet of camp when we decided that we might as well do the second route, too. The second route was shorter, but climbed Mt. Ashland. By the time I got to the top of Mt. Ashland, I was out of water, out of food, and out of body warmth. Michael knew that a dilapidated building contained a sink, so I was able to refill my water. I realized that I was not actually out of food, but that I had a glorious peanut butter and jelly sandwich in my pocket, so we sat in the cold, ate our sandwiches, and looked at Mt. Shasta in the distance. Mt. Shasta is rather pretty and this exercise was rather pleasant.
The 17 mile descent was colder than the climb. Michael knew of a lodge half way down the descent and we stopped there and warmed up with hot tea and coffee. I was shivering rather uncontrollably by this point and drinking hot tea in a hot room was great. I hadn’t even noticed this place. Michael has a nose for food and knows where all detours might be.
All in all, the day was a success. We got a lot of climbing done in a very pleasant manner. Michael saved the day by insisting that I make myself a sandwich, finding the wire in my tire, knowing the location of secret garage sinks, and suggesting that we stop at a lodge to get warm.
We were the last people in by about an hour and a half, so Michael made his goal, too.
Lisa–First, thanks for the wonderful description of SuperTour 2012, Day One. It has been a very long time since I first rode SuperTour, and I had forgotten some of the personal “can I do this?” issues that confront rookie riders. I hope other first timers get a chance to read your blog before ST 2013.
A few more comments.
Actually all tents are improved by stakes, even if they are technically free standing. If the wind comes up (and it has, on various SuperTours) the only thing standing between you and a collapsed or wandering tent are your stakes. If you hate the stakes you have you probably would be well served by better stakes and/or a better hammer. You can also prevail upon your more stake-experienced camp mates to both set and pull your stakes. (In general, more experienced campers are happy to help the inexperienced.)
I have also read that DEET is the only effective mosquito repellent. I believe the reason the stuff says “don’t spray on clothes” is because DEET damages some fabrics and/or dyes. Personally given a choice between getting bitten and discoloring my camping clothes I would risk clothing damage.
How do you know it was 9 bites? (They would have been difficult to count.)
I disagree with your characterization of Michael’s jokes as slightly offensive. I generally find them to be greatly offensive. (I usually enjoy them anyway.)
In my experience only Michael discusses Michael’s sex life. However it is such an unusual topic that it is hard not to add commentary.
Thanks again for the great post.