“Ride the Rim” Pin

Western Oregon is so humid compared to Sacramento! Everything was covered in a thick layer of dew when we woke up. It took us at least an hour of laying things out on the black asphalt parking lot to dry our gear. We spent that time cooking up breakfast and a few pots of coffee. Coffeeeee. Mmmmm. Julie likes coffee like Homer Simpson likes donuts!

And then we started climbing again. Remember: we live at 20 feet above sea level in a very flat valley. Climbing up to Crater Lake National Park on a loaded bicycle is no easy feat. Mark seemed to manage okay, all things considered, but Julie really struggled. The hills had long since disappeared, and now we were climbing mountains – or, rather, one long mountain. This was the second day of relentless, unceasing climbing. No descents to rest the legs or catch a breath.

This was Day 3 of the mini-tour, and our bodies were tired. Especially Julie’s. Her insomnia was killing her. How could sleep continue to be so elusive when she was so exhausted? Every pedal stroke was a gargantuan effort. She fixated on her cyclometer, telling herself that she would permit herself a five-minute rest every mile.

We kept seeing cars loaded with bikes fly past us. Obviously, we were going about this all wrong!  We were such an oddity that some car passengers snapped photos of us as they whizzed by, but nobody stopped and offered us a ride.  (If anybody actually had offered us a ride, would we have taken it?  What can we say…We’re not proud.)

We had gone less than 5 miles and already we were running out of water again. We stopped at an unmanned information kiosk, ostensibly to look at the map, but really to rest again and to beg for water from some unsuspecting motorist.

A very kind Asian couple that spoke little English stopped to look at the roadside map and very generously refilled our water bottles once, and then again after we chugged them down in the time it took them to consider the map. They said they admired what we were doing, but we were questioning our own sanity as we continued inching our way up the mountain.

About 8 miles up, Julie completely ran out of steam. We pulled over, leaned our bikes against some road signs and she sat down on the side of the road for about 20 minutes. She wanted to eat and drink, but at the same time, she wanted to throw up. She forced herself to nibble on some snacks and sip some water. Then Mark pulled out the emergency rations (chocolate) and Julie began to revive.  Eventually, she recovered enough to get back on the bike and keep on climbing.

Luckily, and unbeknownst to us at that moment, we were nearly at the top. We struggled up and around one more switch back, and we crested this infernal mountain! And then we coasted about a mile down the back side of the peak to Mazama Village, the campground area at the base of Crater Lake.

After scarfing down possibly the best lunch of our lives at the national park restaurant, we paid for our camp spot, and unloaded our bikes, storing everything in the large bear box. It was late afternoon and we were completely exhausted. Unfortunately for us, Mazama Village is seven miles and 1100 feet below the rim. We could barely stumble into camp; there was no way we were going to be able to climb yet another mountain that day.

But, Julie was dead set on getting an official “Ride the Rim” pin. Yes, we know that it’s meant for people who have actually ridden around the rim of Crater Lake, but that’s only 33 miles, and we had ridden over 80 just to get there. Hadn’t we earned it? We thought so! Besides, we planned to ride the rim later in the week, so it wasn’t really cheating, was it? We’re so glad you agree.

So we and our unloaded bicycles hitched a ride with one of the many trucks carrying cyclists and their bicycles up to the rim of Crater Lake.

Mark enjoying the spectacular view of Crater Lake
Mark enjoying the spectacular view of Crater Lake
Our unloaded bikes enjoying the view
A hard-earned ‘Ride the Rim’ lapel pin

We spent a few minutes fighting the crowds and trying to appreciate the gorgeous view, but we were sooooo tired! We turned around and coasted halfway down the mountain to the Visitor’s Center, where Ride the Rim volunteers registered us and gave us our hard-earned pins! (They, too, agreed that we’d earned them.) And then we coasted the rest of the way back down to the campground, where we found all our belongings still in the bear box, just as we’d left them.

Today’s mileage: 20 miles


2 thoughts on ““Ride the Rim” Pin”

  1. On a bicycle trip in Italy I was so tired after 2 days I actually hitch-hiked with my bike from Grossetto to Florence. How humiliating!!

    1. Not humiliating at all! I totally get it! If I had tried to do this by myself, I don’t know if I’d have made it even one day! It is so challenging – mentally, physically, and emotionally – that even having tried it on your own is a feat in itself. You should be proud of what you accomplished!

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