Cycle Oregon XXIII
2010: The Round-Up Ride
Day 0 – September 11: Elgin
You may have noticed that the dates for Cycle Oregon are Sept. 11-18, but the Day 1 route is for Sept. 12. That’s because of the often-overlooked Day 0. This is Saturday, the day that riders converge on the first overnight site in Elgin. It’s the day to pick up your packets, re-acquaint with riders and Cycle O folks, get your tent routine down and maybe even go for a spin to loosen your legs. Dinner is served in the big tent, and there will be live entertainment on the stage along with ride announcements.
Day 1 – September 12: Elgin to Enterprise (44 miles)
“Breaking Camp” Map
From the familiar outpost of Elgin, climb a ladder of ranchland rollers, with the Blue Mountains and Mt. Emily over your shoulder. Once you top out on the Minam Grade, take in views to the Wallowa River Canyon as you glide down into it. After winding through the canyon walls, emerge to the first peek of the peaks of the Wallowas, beckoning you toward them through the lush and fertile Wallowa Valley.
Day 2 – September 13: Enterprise to Clarkston (84 miles)
“The North 40s” Map
As in, about 40 miles in each state. First, climb gently for 20 miles, following a draw through hilly rangeland and then into forest. After a spectacular view down to Joseph Canyon, ride down the walls of our own canyon, across the border and to the Grand Ronde. The climb out to Rattlesnake Pass is equally spectacular, emerging into big skies and wheat fields. After a descent to the Snake River, a bike path parallels the water into Clarkston.
Day 3 – September 14: Clarkston to Waitsburg (82 miles)
“Rimrock and Rollers” Map
Follow the westward curve of the Snake River this morning, then rise through rows of soft grass-covered hills to a plateau that reveals the splendor of southeastern Washington’s agricultural bounty. Then it’s down a cut canyon in a long, sweeping descent to the historically picturesque town of Pomeroy. In the afternoon, carve turns through vast and rolling wheat fields as you pass through tiny hamlets on our way to Waitsburg.
Day 4 – September 15: Waitsburg Option (45 miles)
“Grapes and Grain” Map
Today you can enjoy the fruits of what you ride through. This optional loop heads for Walla Walla, center of a burgeoning wine region. Along the way you’ll pass lovely old farms with brightly painted barns and houses as you climb up and over the rolling hills that surround Waitsburg. You’ll have time to linger in Walla Walla, visiting visit winery tasting rooms or just strolling through the historic downtown area before heading back to camp.
Day 5 – September 16: Waitsburg to Pendleton (72 miles)
“The New Old West” Map
After taking a different route to Walla Walla than yesterday’s optional ride, head to Milton-Freewater amid new hillside vineyards and abundant old orchards, with futuristic wind machines standing sentry on ridges in the distance. The Blue Mountains dominate the skyline as you ride between waving wheat fields near Athena and then follow Wildhorse Creek into the rough-and-ready town of Pendleton, where a party worthy of a hundred years of Western rodeo history awaits your arrival.
Day 6 – September 17: Pendleton Option (55 miles)
“Layover Loop” Map
This day offers a scenic and not-too-strenuous ride that you can do in the morning before spending the afternoon getting your cowboy on. Start out following the meandering Umatilla River to the pretty town of Echo, cross over the freeway into Stanfield and connect with Despain Gulch for a gradual and gentle climb back toward Pendleton. Pedaling through the gulch provides a splendid sense of isolation.
Day 7 – September 18: Pendleton to Elgin (75 miles)
“The High Road” Map
Finally, an epic climb! After a steady diet of rollers this week, you’ll be ready for today’s challenges. After some early up-and-down and then a gorgeous stretch along the Umatilla River, climb up a perfect grade – find your gear, spin along and enjoy the scenery. Then, from the wheat country of Weston, ascend the legendary Tollgate Pass, rising nearly 20 miles through forested splendor. And then finish with a scintillating, wide-open 15-mile descent to the finish.