Cycle Oregon XX

September 8-15, 2007

Day 1 – September 9: Sisters to La Pine (64.5 miles)

“Shadow of The Sisters”  Map
Think of this day as your visual prologue: Those craggy Cascade peaks on the horizon are what we’ll be winding around and sliding between for most of the week. Drink in the heavenly views in the morning as you roll past ranches, then skirt around Bend and cruise through the pines down to… La Pine! A great way to ease into the week – virtually no climbing. But remember to watch the road, not just the scenery.

Day 2 – September 10: La Pine to Diamond Lake (92.5 miles)

“The Volcano Highway”  Map
Time to put in some miles – but what a payoff! Start with a lovely and level meander along the Cascades Lakes Highway, crossing the Deschutes River near its source and then winding through mountain lakes, with views of volcanoes around every corner. After lunch, turn off the big highway for a steady but reasonable climb of a dozen miles – completely worth it for the exhilarating descent of big sweeping turns down to picturesque Diamond Lake.

Day 3 – September 11: Crater Lake Option (25.8/59.8 miles)

“Big Blue Bonus”  Map
You can call it a layover day, but really it’s a bonus day. What else would you call the chance to ride possibly the most breathtaking loop road in the country? Crater Lake Rim Drive is one of the centerpiece rides you have to do if you want to say you’ve truly “ridden Oregon.” You can just pedal up to the rim and have a look at the lake, or go all the way around it. Either way it’s worth it. Yes, the loop route has nearly 6,500 feet of elevation gain, with four major climbs. But hey, you’ve got all day.

Day 4 – September 12: Diamond Lake to Dorena Lake (88.0/100.0 miles)

“River Roller-Coaster”  Map
Words you just don’t hear enough: “40-mile descent.” Start today with an incredible coasting/pedaling downhill along the river and through the woods, your path framed by big trees and rock walls. It’ll save your energy for the one big climb of the day, following a peaceful single-lane road for miles and punctuated by a grade of nearly 8 percent on the last stretch. Then rocket down to the flats for the final glide into Dorena Lake.

Day 5 – September 13: Dorena Lake to Oakridge (55.5 miles)

“Virgin Pavement”  Map
Part of today’s route rolls through pristine forest on a road that only recently became paved. After a flat start in the morning, head for the heavens. It’ll feel that way, as you ascend first gradually and then sharply to a double summit high above layers of green-back ridges. The new road has been ridden by only a few roadies ever — and now you. End the day with a screaming 13-mile descent down toward Oakridge.

Day 6 – September 14: Oakridge to Rainbow (65.0 miles)

“Magic Carpet Ride”  Map
Today we take on another of Oregon’s signature rides: Aufderheide Memorial Drive. This smooth and sinuous road unrolls in front of you like a black carpet through a lush green world. The babble of a running river (we follow water virtually all day) is your soundtrack as you ascend for 35 miles — so gradually you’ll barely notice. Then it’s one short, stout climb before the carpet flows down the other side, passing bucolic Cougar Reservoir on the way.

Day 7 – September 15: Rainbow to Sisters (43.3 miles)

“I Lava this Ride!”  Map
No anticlimactic last day for this ride — today is more like a grand finale. This day might have felt difficult a week ago; today it’s affirmation of your fitness. Start with 30 miles of climbing, spinning easily through the forest at first and then switchbacking up through stark lava fields to the spectacular views from the Dee Wright Observatory, 4,000 feet above our start. From there it’s 13 miles of downhill exultation and a finish-line celebration worthy of your accomplishment. You rock.