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Klamath Falls 1000 Trip Report – from both ends
Ride dates: August 2-5, 2014
by Bob Koen

At either end of the social spectrum there lies a leisure class.
Yvon Chouinard, 1961

He should know. Yvon was a dirt bag climbing bum who put up some of the best classic climbs in North America back in the Golden Ages of climbing. Then the founded Patagonia Clothing, made mega millions, and moved to the high priced neighbourhood. Too bad there wasn’t any Randonneuring going on back in the Golden Ages. I am sure that Yvon would have been one of us.

This ride didn’t work out very well for any of the participants. It was an adventure for all concerned though.

I was pretty ambivalent about doing it due to having participated (and suffered through) the VanIsle 1200 only 2 weeks earlier. But it was a ride that I had proposed to Will and I really wanted to do it. So I opted in more or less against my better judgement. The route sheet wasn’t all that polished so I leant a hand and proofread it as much as I could and made corrections as I found them. But the route was ‘locked’ and Will wasn’t hearing any suggestions about alternative routing.

The plan was for Will and I to leave at midnight on Friday with Barry and Gary taking a 5 am departure instead. I liked the idea in theory of doing a midnight departure because it meant getting a really good sleep in Klamath Falls prior to the train trip home. I wasn’t feeling well before leaving home at 9:50 pm to ride 40 km down to the start. I had the trots before leaving, had a second desperate bout of the trots upon arriving at the border for the start, was very lethargic, and felt like I was running on empty. And my saddle sores from the VI 1200 were obviously not yet healed either. I decided while riding down there that I would wish Will good luck, turn around, and not do the ride. Then I somehow convinced myself that I was just having my low point unusually early in the ride and hopped on my bike to do the ride once Will and midnight arrived at about the same time.

We rode through the night and got through Bellingham and over the Chuckanut Drive to Edison by 3:30 am. Here the US post office that Manfred and I napped in on the earlier 1000 beckoned and I felt like stopping for a brief nap. Will wasn’t tired at this point so he carried on and I stopped. I had a brief nap where I didn’t sleep at all while I contemplated riding the next 950 km solo while feeling like shit with no energy and horrible saddle sores. So I turned my bike around and headed north like I should have done before starting the ride 4 hours earlier. I rode back to Bellingham and got there about 45 minutes before the Old Town Cafe opened for breakfast. I lay down on a bench outside the restaurant and waited for the coffee to be ready. A steady stream of street people passed by and looked at me kinda funny like. You can tell that you aren’t doing well when the homeless folk regard you as down and out. I had breakfast and then rode home. By the time I got back to PoCo at around 11 am it was already 30 degrees and the day was just warming up.

Meanwhile Will carried on south. He had ridden through the first night with me in a jersey and proudly proclaimed that he hadn’t brought anything warmer. His plan was to ride 1000 km to Klamath Falls through 3 major mountain passes without any sleep for the first 2 nights, then hop a train to San Jose, then ride the California Central Coast 1200, all in a little over a week and without a coat. I personally thought that this was a somewhat ambitious plan but kept my negative vibes to myself.

I texted Will about my bail out. The next day I got a text from him saying that he had made it as far as Carson on the Columbia River but was outside the time window at that point. He bailed from there by riding to Portland and catching the train to San Jose. It seems that he got to Elk Pass in good order but then about froze to death descending 4000 feet in the dark with no coat. That cost him a ton of time and left him getting to Carson in blazing heat. He chose to bail rather than risk missing out on the California 1200.

Meanwhile, back up the road Barry and Gary were doing well until they arrived in the Seattle area. There the route involved several poorly signed bike paths that required local knowledge or an intimate relationship with a well functioning GPS mechanism. It seems that they had neither of these things. The route sheet was reportedly not of much guidance through this section. Will might consider staying in California for a while until the heat dissipates over this one. That said though, these routes are very much ‘adventure’ routes and route finding is a big part of it. There is no way to preride a 1000 km ride that 3 other people are going to do (at most). Finding a way through is a huge part of what makes these rides my personal favorites. And Barry and Gary did find a way through. However they found themselves at Morton and completely out of gas by the time they pulled in late the first night. The motels were both full so they bunked down in an all night Subway with Barry sleeping sitting up (I don’t know how he does that), and Gary stretched out on the floor under a table in one of the booths. At one point a drunken lady came in and got down on her knees to inspect Gary. Apparently she was very worried about him and kept asking Barry “is he all right?”. So now you have another illustrious member of the BC Randos that the homeless, drunk, and disorderly of the world think are worse off than they are. These are the great rides. Why aren’t there more Randos out there experiencing this sort of thing?

After that Barry and Gary rode out over Elk Pass and got to the control at North Woods with 2 minutes to spare. They still had 2 major climbs and about 700 or more kms left to go and decided that maybe this one wasn’t meant to be. They managed to hitch a ride up Old Man Pass and then rode their bikes down the other side to Carson. There they turned left and went to a luxury resort that they had somehow heard about. They walked in, plunked down some plastic, secured a room, and bought some respectable clothing at the local golfing pro shop. They then proceeded to join the leisure group at the other end of the social spectrum from the end that they had been so recently occupying.

Well done lads.


Go to: Ultra Results

August 7, 2014