Race Across Oregon

, , | UltraRob | Thursday, July 7th, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Race Across Oregon 2004

In 2004 I did the Race Across Oregon (RAO). The race organizers, George and Terri, gave me the photo above (click on it to view it larger) at the post-race banquet. On the trip home, it got a bit bent so I put it under some heavy things to flatten it. When I looked for it a while later, I couldn’t find it. Finally when I was packing for our move to a new house last week, I found it.

Although I believe the original course was pretty much across Oregon, it’s been a huge loop around Oregon the last several years. In 2004 it was supposed to be 538 miles with over 40,000 feet of climbing. It ended up being shortened by 6 miles and didn’t climb up to Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood because it was snowing too hard.

I’ve done 4 Race Across America (RAAM) qualifiers and RAO was by far the hardest course and also the race that went least well for me. To start off with, I wasn’t in top shape for the race. Then about 18 hours into the race, I used a nasal spray for my allergies that made me sleepy and I kept falling asleep while riding.

In an attempt to stay awake, I drank a bunch of caffeinated, sugary drinks. They ended up giving me digestive system problems. The digestive issues combined with riding many hours in rain, made it painful for me to sit on the saddle.

Around mile 300 I motioned my crew up to me and told them the race was over for me. The pain had become too much. I sat down beside the road and started crying partially from the pain and partially from the disappointment of not being able to finish.

Clearly that’s not the end of the story since I have a finishing photo. After letting me sit beside the road for a few minutes, my crew convinced me to get on the bike and ride the 60 miles to the next town so they could get some medicine for me. I was still pretty uncomfortable for a long time but I finally felt good the last couple hours of the race.

The course has changed some since I raced but I have no doubt that it’s still brutal. This year racers will take up the ultra challenge on July 23rd.

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