Day 5 - Prineville to John Day OR
Mileage: 116 miles
Weather: Upper 30s to start. Low 70s to end. Bright blue skies. Tailwinds to end the day.
Highlights of the day:
We rolled at dawn. 116 miles with two substantial climbs, all add up to what should be a relatively long day. It was crystal clear and cold when we started. The only slight complaint was a headwind to start but it didn’t last too long. By the first SAG, it was thinking about turning around in our favor.
This route was another one with only two turns. Left out of one motel, and left into another. We started early with all the riders on the road by 7:00. A 15-mile warm up brought the riders to climb #1 of the day – a long 20-mile, but gradual, climb that took us up to Ochoco Pass at 4720’. We fueled up at our first SAG stop and then enjoyed the well earned the 7-mile downhill. A non-technical descent with good road conditions. I have to say, technically speaking, that is was a BLAST! A few miles on we entered Mitchell.
There aren’t many services in the town of Mitchell but there is a hostel that caters to long-distance cyclists. The Spoke’n Hostel has been open for a couple of years and provides a nice stay over for self-supported cyclists and other outdoor adventurers. There’s not much else out here, they always have water out and sunscreen ready for anyone traveling thru the area. Even better, they have a flush toilet and as long as you take your bike shoes off & ask politely, you are more than welcome to use it. If you ever happen to be in the area, make sure to stop by and say hello.
Back to the ride… Exiting Mitchell, we tackled the second major climb of the day up to Keyes Summit at 4369’. This climb was a shorter (6 miles) but a bit steeper. The work was well rewarded with a 25-mile descent towards John Day. At the bottom, we entered Picture Canyon, a scenic winding stretch along the John Day River . About 8 miles later we had our final SAG stop and a few staged pictures at the Dayville Mercantile. With the wind at our backs, we rode the final 30 miles into John Day for dinner, rap and sleep. I don’t think sleep will be an issue tonight, which is good with more riding and climbing tomorrow. Good night!