An icy hot ride

I’ve been off the bike a lot due to work and vacation travel lately, but I thought it would be fun to take a recumbent to the Crater Lake Century. I consider the Crater Lake to be one of the best balanced rides out there. There are probably only about three events in the entire country that have scenery this good, it’s challenging without being epic, and the support is excellent.

Since ‘bent riders are the primordial ooze of the cycling world and I was clowning myself by riding one, I figured I may as well go all the way so I donned a jersey with polka dots on it. If you’re not familiar with bicycle racing, the best climber in the Tour de France wears a jersey with polka dots. ‘Bents don’t climb well and their riders have a reputation for being poor climbers, so wearing this outfit made me look especially ridiculous.

It was about 75 degrees and sunny for most of the ride. It doesn’t get better than that. Literally. And the scenery was fantastic. I always tell people that if they only go to one place in Oregon, it should be Crater Lake as that place never disappoints.

The first 30 miles or so is easy time in scenic agricultural land. That’s a nice way to start a ride, particularly if you encounter a bald eagle at close range, which I did.

What makes a ‘bent slow on extended climbs is you can’t rotate different muscle sets very well. That means that you must ease up on the effort to avoid risking cramping even if your legs are strong. If you’re like me and aren’t particularly strong, then you’re doubly screwed. It seemed like the only people I passed were ladies with gray hair.

The climb to the rim was worth it as it always is. The sights are great, and you get some rollers. We’d been given all these warnings about the roads being particularly dangerous due to the late snow melt, but they were just fine.

I kept getting stuck behind vehicles or cyclists who looked a bit squirrely on the descents, so I never got a chance to go full bore even if my speeds got into the mid 40’s a few times. Still, that’s a decent clip.

The good news is that due to riding easy on the climbs, I felt way better than I normally do. I was actually able to eat and enjoy everything, and keeping keeping hydrated was also easy. The BBQ at the end of the ride tasted great, and my legs felt pretty good too. Although I’m normally the kind of guy that likes to operate near my limits, I must say it’s a lot of fun to take an easier pace and enjoy things.

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