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Cycle Oregon Day 2 – Glenwood to Dufur

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Sunrise on Mt. Adams, as seen from the door of my tent pitched on the football field of Glenwood High School.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Mt. Hood came into view as we bombed down Canyon Road (just north of Lyle, Washington).

In keeping with the theme of this year’s Cycle Oregon — “The Magnificent Seven” in honor of seven iconic peaks we’ll pedal by — Day 2 of the 27th annual ride started at the base of Mt. Adams and ended at the base of Mt. Hood.

It was frigid when we woke up this morning; but the morning light on Adams and the Glenwood Valley more than made up for it.

Our route today took us due south from Glenwood, across the Camas Prarie, to the peak of a fault line on Fisher Hill Road. One of the highlights (for me at least) was a two-mile section of gravel. The typical Cycle Oregon rider is not a fan of riding unpaved roads. Ride organizers warned folks about the day’s gravel section as if it were bad thing. The road riding world is in a strange point right now where many people abhor the idea of taking their “road” bike on dirt and gravel roads, while a growing number of people are seeking them out. I think unpaved roads are the future and I’d love to see Cycle Oregon include more gravel and dirt in their routes. Can you imagine a Cycle Oregon Unpaved event? My hunch is that will happen sooner or later.

Once we conquered the gravel section, we hit a bunch of rolling hills and when we got our first look at Mt. Hood, we bombed downhill back to the Columbia River at Lyle — the same town where we began our jaunt up the Klickitat River valley the day before.

Gravel! On Cycle Oregon!
As soon as Mt. Hood popped into view, a bunch of people pulled over to snap photos.
The descent on Canyon Road into Lyle is fantastic.

Once we returned to the Gorge, we reversed our route from Sunday back over to The Dalles Bridge via State Route 14 to our lunch stop in Riverfront Park.

Riding east on SR 14.
Riding in Washington with The Dalles in the background.
Dallesport road making our way back to Oregon.
Crossing The Dalles Bridge.

At lunch, we had a decision to make. Riders could continue south about 20 miles or so to camp in Dufur, or choose the optional route — a 12-mile out-and-back to Rowena Crest. The short option put the day’s damage at 60 miles and 4,800 feet of climbing, the longer one would add 24 miles for daily totals of 84 miles and 6,200 feet of climbing.

A nice spot for lunch at Riverfront Park in The Dalles.

Which option do you think I took? Take a look at the photos below to find out…

My paceline buddies that helped get me battle the winds and get to the top of Rowena Crest in one piece.

The brutal wind gusts that beat us up on the Rowena Curves would come in handy as we eventually made our was south from The Dalles en route to camp in Dufur. As climbed up and out of town, we got an up-close look at The Dalles’ most important crop: cherries. We wound our way through miles of cherry orchards. I can only imagine what those hills would look like in full bloom (I plan to visit The Dalles during their annual Cherry Festival in April). Beyond the green leaves of the cherry trees, we continued to climb through gently rolling hills until the crop turned to wheat. Recently harvested fields left behind hill after hill of golden yellow stubs.

The final leg of our journey was a long and really tough (especially after 80 miles!) climb up into Dufur. And that’s where the same winds we battled along the river, pushed us to camp. Once in town we were greeted by the Dufur High School cheerleading squad. I stopped to say hi and snap a few photos. I told the girls, “Thank you for being out here.” “No,” she replied, “Thank you for being here.”

I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s journey when we ascend toward Mt. Hood and then end up in Tygh Valley. New roads and new places await.

Hope you’re enjoying these daily dispatches from the road. Tomorrow, in addition to the ride recap and photo gallery, I plan to share some mini-profiles of some of the great vendors that make Cycle Oregon base camp tick (I’m talking smoothies, the Community Cycling Center’s solar-charged services, and an acupuncturist who cures common ailments with the Chinese art of stimulation).

Stay tuned!