Saturday morning I woke at 7am to something I was not used to – a kitchen full of lively looking people running around and chatting as though it was noon already! I slowly stumbled off the couch and did my best to find the excitement that they had somehow managed to find at this hour.
The adults and the oldest children in the house were participating in an exciting event called the Pole Pedal Paddle, a six-person relay race involving downhill skiing, cross country skiing, cycling, running, canoeing, and sprinting. This was probably the coolest race I had ever heard of (I made a mental note to start assembling a team for next year’s race). After the team had left for the race and the house got a lot quieter, I headed out for a bike ride with the oldest son of the family I was staying with.
We headed straight up a nearby ridge (which was so steep we had to walk our bikes a bit) and got a great view of the Bend valley. The town is beautifully situated in a valley at 4000ft at the foot of the East Cascade Mountains. I learned that because it is east of the first wall of mountains, the area gets a lot less rain, and actually looks a lot more like a desert (quite the change from Portland, which feels a lot more like a rainforest.
After reaching the peak, we enjoyed an effortless coast down the hill to the main river that runs through Bend. We biked along the river and, after repairing my fourth flat tire of the trip, met up with the group in time to finish the race. The event looked so cool! One of those events where there is less focus on getting a great time and more focus on just doing it and having fun. There were even costume contests!
Somehow after all the excitement I still felt the energy to continue the ride, so when the group went back to the house, I continued on towards Bachelor Mountain, where the race at started earlier that day, to try and see how high I could get up (I wanted to reach the snow line so I could say that I saw snow in May). Eleven miles later, the mountain had defeated me long before I could get close to snow, and I decided to head back. I did, however, enjoy a wonderful 25 minute downhill ride in which I averaged 35km/h and hit an all-time top speed of 59km/h!
In total, my route for the day was 47km, which was the farthest daily distance so far on my trip! When I finally got home I was exhausted. I ate, socialized for a bit, and then crashed along with the other adults who were exhausted from the race that day.