2006 was an interesting year for me cycling wise. It was just before then I bought my first recumbent and started to venture out on the roads again on a bike sine high school. It was my first year committing to getting and staying fit through cycling. And it was the first year that I had the full Cycle Oregon experience - starting with the route announcement party.
My shiny new recumbent from the year before had some decent miles on it, but nothing like Cycle Oregon miles. I had not even ridden a full century at the time. I was told about this little shin-dig called “Cycle Oregon” by my cousin. I did not live in Oregon at the time, but came down to attend the route announcement party with him. He had heard about it from someone else. We were true Cycle Oregon newbies. I had not even looked it up on the internet. We really had no idea what to expect.
Attending the CO announcement party as a newbie was great experience, and the feeling from being there was electric. It was clear when arriving that many people in attendance had been on this trip before, as people seemed to be re-acquainting themselves and talking of prior CO adventures. I found this particularly fascinating and it only added to my desire to be a part of this familial group. After milling about and talking to several people, I found that yes indeed - many of these people have been here before - some on ten or more trips! All of them, once learning that I was new to the Cycle Oregon Experience, got a bit of look in their eye, as if to say, “Oh to be able to go back and experience it the first time...”
The route announcement - each day of the trip being revealed one by one - came with plenty of “ooos” and “ahhhs.” Most from those who had been on previous Cycle Oregon trips. It was ominous to me seeing each day’s routes pop up. The elevation profiles on some days looked like bold outlines of a daunting Mount Everest. The steeper the outline the louder and longer the “ooos.” At the same time, it was quite exciting to see the amazing pictures - thrown up onto the screen like so many teasers - being shown from the route.
After the presentation was over, my cousin and I looked over to the registration tables, which all had steadily growing lines. I think some people had started filling out their paperwork - during or possibly before the presentation! I can remember an instant feeling of “you either decide now or get left behind.” A little bit of panic settled in. What to do? Could I do this? My cousin and I looked at each other and decided to dive in. Filling out that registration form and committing myself to what clearly would be the biggest physical challenge to me in my life made my heart race.
On February 4, 2010 I will again be at the route announcement - I could not attend the 2007 or 2008 announcements - even though I attended those rides. Being at the announcement adds to the complete experience. I hope to relive a bit of that exciting feeling I had in 2006. Knowing that the 2009 trip sold out in 12 days makes me even more excited to be there - to hopefully be one of the first to commit to this incredible event before it sells out.