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Last Day of Cycle Oregon: Closing the loop in The Dalles

Posted by on September 15th, 2014 at 2:23 pm

Cycle Oregon 2014 - Day 7-1

The final descent into Riverfront Park in The Dalles.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

After seven days, 489 miles, and 35,000 feet of climbing, my Cycle Oregon 2014 experience concluded in The Dalles on Saturday.

Day 7 route.

The final day’s route was a fitting end to a stunning week of riding. We left our camp in bucolic Tygh Valley and ascended 1,500 feet in the first 9 miles. It was a long slog, but climbing was a great way to warm up after awakening to icy morning temps in the valley. Once to the top of Tygh Ridge the rest of our day was mostly downhill, save for a few rolling hills. The roads — as was typical all week — were mostly devoid of all other traffic.

After weaving by postcard-perfect ranch houses and views of Mt. Hood, I let out a bittersweet sigh as I got my first sight of the Columbia River and The Dalles Bridge. A week ago, our ride began on that same bridge, and now it was coming to an end. I savored every last pedal stroke and tried to remember as many details of the previous week as I could.

At the finish line, I watched other riders stream in with a mix of relief (it was a very challenging route) and happiness (finishing all seven days was no simple feat).

Cresting Tygh Ridge.
(Photo by Dean Rodgers/Cycle Oregon)
Cycle Oregon 2014 - Day 7-2

Finish line.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

After a five year absence, the past week was a chance for me to re-acquaint myself with Cycle Oregon: its riders, staff, volunteers, vendors, and its mission. After 27 years, the event remains relevant and vibrant, but the organization behind it — a non-profit that raises funds to help rural communities and spurs over $5 million per year in statewide economic development — is searching for direction. With a new executive director at the helm in Alison Graves, Cycle Oregon is asking itself how it can make the most impact in the future.

The ride was founded as a way to connect urban-dwelling bike lovers with Oregon’s rural areas to strengthen the social and financial fabric between the two. Taking 2,000 or so people through the nooks and crannies of our state and meeting local people along the way seems like a sure-fire way to do that. For me personally, it has definitely worked. The new places I’ve explored on my bike and the people I’ve met along the way have given me not only a stronger connection to Oregon (outside of my Portland bubble), but a desire to make it even better — whether someone rides a bike or not.

My office last week. Thanks to Jim Hook for the photo.

— I hope you’ve enjoyed our Cycle Oregon coverage. Re-live the entire week via our Cycle Oregon 2014 story archives and browse the 368 images in our photo gallery.

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

6 Comments
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    Alison Graves September 15, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    Thanks again for being a part of Cycle Oregon 2014, Jonathan. We are excited about our future. We have a solid foundation and now there are so many other pillars to connect with. Together we can strengthen all corners of this glorious state.

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    KristenT September 15, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    Beautiful photos, wonderful words… almost as good as being there, I guess!

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    SilkySlim September 15, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    I’ve never done Cycle Oregon, but have poached the routes from their websites many a time (hint: the “Past Rides” page under “Week Rides” is bike touring gold). I really want to echo the positive impact on the communities they roll through. Whether I’ve ridden the route prior to the bik week after a ride that went through a decade before, there is always friendly recognition of cyclists – and their tourism dollars – along the way.

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    Paul H September 16, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    Jonathan,

    I’m mildly surprised Jim Hook didn’t extort a plug for the Bach Cantata Choir in return for the photo. (Just kidding, Jim!)

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    Lou Elllott September 18, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    Jonathan’s photos and commentary were truly outstanding. His blog conveyed a true sense of the Cycle Oregon experience better than anything I have ever been able to get across to friends and family over the many years I have participated.

    Jonathan’s mention of the organization and its direction is appropriate. The Cycle Oregon foundation is a wonderful result of the 27 years of hard work and good management by the CO board. How it carries out its mission is an important discussion that must somehow include CO participants both past and future. But, please do not forget the riders…they pay for and expect a first-class event. Keeping the “Best Bike Tour in America” just that for the participants is the best way to sustain the foundation.

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    Joel maus October 8, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    The whole week looked amazing- awesome photos!!

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