I’m back from Cycle Oregon. 7 days, 518 miles, and some uncountable number of new friends and faces later.
As you can see, the scenery was spectacular (pictures are one of the roads we rode on, and sunrise the morning of the 1st day, respectively). But more importantly, the people on the ride were just amazing. Every meal was a chance encounter with whomever you happened to be sitting next to, and every person had a story. Some, most, were like me; just bicycle enthusiasts taking the opportunity to see a part of Oregon they hadn’t experienced and do a little more riding than they ordinarily do. But every day I met people that were there for some reason that transcended the ordinary. The 350lb gentleman doing his first bicycle tour ever, the innocuous looking retiree wearing a backpack that said, “You’ve just been passed by an 80-year old”, or the amazingly inspirational paraplegic doing the entire 500 miles on a hand-bike.
The most humbling moment came on the last day. I’d been riding for a half-hour or so with a father and his college-age son. Two very nice guys, and the fact that the son was taking a week to ride with his father across Oregon impressed me deeply. It was only later that I would learn the son was a cancer survivor, having twice beaten Lymphoma… thus casting their relationship into a whole new light. As the father put it, “every day is a gift for me.”
I can only aspire to embrace and appreciate the ride in the way those two did.