11 Guys in Spandex

Today was the last day of biking but I’ve lacked the combination of Internet access and wakefulness until tonight. Here are a few trip reports, with more to come when I have time to write.

Early to bed

We’re up at 5:30 for coffee and cold breakfast in someone’s room, on the bikes by 7:00, and ride between 8 and 11 hours over mountain passes under a hot sun in dry heat. After arriving at the night’s destination we clean the bikes, drink beer or club soda, munch on snacks, call home, shower, check email, hang out, and go out to dinner. After dinner we hang out some more or go to our rooms. Exhaustion caused by sun exposure, physical exertion, large meals, alcohol, and aching dash plans to read, go online, write, or watch TV. We fall asleep as soon as we turn out the lights. The sky is not yet dark.


We stay in inexpensive motels, typically two of us to each room in two queen beds. Roommate pairings are spontaneous and random, so we all get to know each other’s quirks and habits. You are allowed to wake up your roommate if his snoring keeps you awake. Saturday night I roomed with Peter. Peter snores. The first time he woke me I kicked his bed; he grumbled and stopped snoring, . The second time I said “Peter, you’re snoring!” He woke, said, “oh, thanks” and fell back to quiet sleep. The third time I threw a pillow at his head. He woke, said “there’s plenty more where that came from!” and fell asleep. I ignored his snoring for the rest of the night.

Right Brain 1, Left Brain 0

Peter is an artist He is creative, curious, and spontaneous, with the spirit (and sense of humor) of an eleven year-old boy in the body of a man who is—let’s just say the body is well over the age of eleven. Tom is a physician and medical school administrator, logical, and responsible, in Bruce’s words “the most reliable of all of us.” On Sunday Tom drove the last shift into John Day, with the responsibility to locate and check us into the Best Western. On the way to John Day he loaded Peter into the van. Peter had bonked after biking 70+ challenging miles in a hot high-desert sun after being sick the week before. The rest of us and Randy, driving the second van, arrived at the hotel almost an hour later, expecting Tom to have checked us in, piled our bags on the walk, and set out cold drinks and snacks. To our surprise we were not checked in and Tom, Peter, and the van were missing. 20 minutes later Tom drove into the hotel lot with a sheepish smile on his face. “Where were you?!” we asked. “I don’t want to talk about it” answered Tom. Under pressure he admitted they had driven past the Best Western. Understand that the hotel is on the main drag in John Day, which is about two miles long, and the town does not boast many motels. “How far did you go before you realized you missed the motel?” we asked. “I’m not going to answer that question” said Tom, feebly. “How far?!” we asked again. “Let’s just say that when I stopped to ask for directions to the John Day Best Western, I was told it is 8 miles back the way we came.” “Eight miles! How did you not realize you’d missed the entire town of John Day?!” The answer: “Peter and I were talking.” It was all Peter’s fault. 20 minutes with him turned off Tom’s rational faculties.

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