Race Across Oregon

July 7th, 2011

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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2007 Race Across Oregon Results

July 23rd, 2007


Here are the results for the Race Across Oregon. Tom Letsinger, who crewed for me in the Race Across America last year, didn’t finish but I haven’t found out why.

Al Smudz 35:30
Glenn Johnson 39:05
Robert Buntrock 40:12
Ryan Correy 41:31
Bruce Carroll 42:19
Adam Garmon 44:22
Hugh Gapay DNF
Tom Letsinger DNF
Ross Muecke DNF
Brian Cushing DNF

When I did the Race Across Oregon in 2004 my time was 41:42. That was on a slightly shortened race because we finished at Government Camp instead of doing the last 6 miles up to Timberline Lodge. Actually a few miles have been taken out in other places but they were mostly flat. When the leaders we close to finishing, it was snowing so hard that George and Terri, the race organizers, felt it was unsafe to ride in. It would have been still rideable but it was a white-out and they were afraid someone would get hit by a car. I don’t know what it was like up higher when I finished but it was barely above freezing and pouring down rain down lower.

Although I finished fast enough to qualify for RAAM for my 3rd time, I certainly didn’t feel the race went well for me. We started in drizzle that turned into cold rain as we climbed near Mount Hood. I got a little chilled and apparently burned extra calories and started bonking a little over 100 miles into the race. I did recover from that fairly quickly as I got to where it was warm and dry. Then during the night I had sleep issues from some nasal spray. Trying to stay awake I created GI issues and several quick trips to the bushes. It then became too painful to sit on my saddle and I spent some crying by the road side of the road. My crew got me going again but I felt I was out of the race and I wasn’t going very fast.

Near dark of the 2nd day I felt better and kicked it up a notch after Kelly Hegar passed me late in the race. I was able to pass him back and finished 11 minutes ahead of him. Coming off the last pass it was very dark and pouring down rain. It was in the mid 30s and I had on neoprene booties, winter tights and jacket, Gore-Tex helmet cover and winter gloves and I was still cold. Water was running everywhere but I didn’t let it keep me from still going close to 50 mph.

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Race Across Oregon is Underway

July 21st, 2007

Race Across Oregon Neutral Start

The Race Across Oregon started this morning in Portland. It is a brutal 535 mile Race Across America qualifier. It’s more a loop around Oregon than it is just across Oregon. After Chris Grealish did it in 2004, he said it should be called the Race up Every Climb in Oregon. It climbs over 40,000 feet in those 535 miles. I also raced it in 2004 and quite honestly it felt like more than 40,000 feet. A month before the race, I had ridden the course in 4 days and even then it felt like more than 40,000 feet of climbing. Not only does it have that much climbing but it finishes with a brutal climb to Timberline Lodge.

Tom Letsinger from GVH Bikes is racing this year. He crewed for me in RAAM last year. Tom finished 3rd in the Ring of Fire last year with 342.2 miles in 24 hours. I believe that’s the longest he’s ridden before. Right now he’s toward the back of the pack but it’s still early in the race. In any case, just finishing the Race Across Oregon is a very tough task.

In 2004 I motioned my follow vehicle beside me around mile 340. I stopped and leaned against the vehicle and told my crew I couldn’t continue. I then sat down and cried from the emotion of dropping out and the pain I was in.

I had some GI issues brought on by too much caffeine and sugar in an attempt to stay awake after some nasal spray made me sleepy. Several trips to the bushes had made it unbearable to sit on my saddle. After my crew let me cry beside the road for a few minutes, they coaxed me the 60 miles to Prineville which is the only town of any size on the course. There they were able to get some medicine that helped but I was still in pain. I did make it to the finish and qualified for RAAM for the 3rd consecutive year. I have now qualified 4 times and the Race Across Oregon was by far the toughest qualifier for me.

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Regular Price: $280.00
$209.95 on sale
 
Hi Tec Penrith Mid Jr. WP Hiking Boots
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Price: $38.73
 
Salomon X Alp Mid LTR GTX Hiking Boots
Salomon X Alp Mid LTR GTX Hiking Boots
Price: $219.95
 


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