Day Before the Bend Mountain Biking Trip

It is July and I am am back in Oregon again. My trip has two objectives:

  1. to cheer for my daughter as she runs steeplechase in the 2016 USA Track Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon
  2. to mountain bike in the Bend, Oregon area for one week

My daughter Rachel did not make the Olympic Team. As a father, I can do nothing but cheer, and be amazed at the talent, the competitive spirit, and the work ethic that God has given her. She competed against some amazing athletes who deserve to represent the USA in the 2016 Summer Olympic competition.

Rachel’s races (preliminaries and finals ) were a few days apart. So during the “off-days” between races, my wife (Susan) and I traveled to Crater Lake via car. I showed her some of the places I went on last years bikepacking trip and thoroughly enjoyed sharing the time with Susan.

Tomorrow I will be taking a bus from Eugene, Oregon to Bend, Oregon to enjoy my trip’s second objective –  a week-long mountain biking trip in Bend.

This year’s mountain biking trip will differ from last year’s mountain biking trip in several ways:

  1. Operate from a base camp
    I will set up a base camp in Tumalo State Park, located a few miles from Bend, on the Deschutes River. Last year’s trip was a bikepacking trip – breaking down my camp each day, packing and carrying all my supplies via my mountain bike to the next day’s camp, setting up camp, and repeating the same packing, riding, unpacking process each day. This trip, I will set up a base camp once, and return to that base camp each night to rest and refuel. Rather than carry 35 pounds of food, supplies,and gear, I will carry a relatively light pack with food for lunch, water, and bike repair gear. All the camping gear stays at the base camp each day, waiting for me as I return from the day’s mountain biking adventure.
  2. Have cell coverage
    Last years trip I operated without any cell coverage for a majority of the week-long trip. I relied on pre-downloaded maps and on my orienteering skills (reading maps, recognizing landmarks, and understanding my location, in order to stay on course, and to keep from getting lost in the wilderness). With the exception of some areas around Mt. Bachelor, the majority of the area where I am riding around Bend, Oregon has cell coverage. So I can just download some maps and look at the little blue dot on my phone that tells me my location (assuming I have an operating phone).
  3. Have resupply points
    Last year I had to pack all my food and supplies for a week’s ride – there were few resupply points. This trip, I can bike a few miles into Bend and get food or other items (if needed). Yay for resupply points!!!

 

Needless to say, this trip will be less arduous and less risky than last year’s solo bikepacking trip. But this year’s trip will be filled with amazing trails and adventure. My heart is brimming with anticipation for all that Bend has to offer!

Below is a short video of a trail called “Slalom Loop” in the Bend area trails system. Amazing!

 

Day One – Eugene to Bend

 

The Athlete’s World – A Different Life

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My daughter Rachel graduated from Baylor University last month and has moved back home temporarily. She is in a life transition – moving from the life of a student athlete to the life of a professional athlete. Rachel must choose a place to live, work, and train. She did not want to make that choice this spring – in the midst of finishing up school while training for the USA Olympic Track Trials.

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Rachel deferred that life choice until after summer. This summer she will run several out-of-town races, then compete in the USA Olympic Track Trials in July, then run the European summer track circuit. After getting back from Europe, she will spend time researching training groups, coaches, and the towns in which she might reside. Then she will make her decision and move out of our home.

So for now, Rachel has “parked” all her worldly goods at our home. Our home has changed as a result of her presence.

Shoes – I have never seen so many athletic shoes! This girl goes through shoes at a rapid clip. Rachel puts 300 – 400 miles per shoe into her training shoes. Training at about 70 miles a week, she goes through many pairs of training shoes. She also has flats and racing spikes of various models.

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Physical therapy and health maintenance equipment – Normatec recovery system, Roll Recovery rollers, yoga mats, foam rollers, and other items. These items occupy her old bedroom.  This equipment helps Rachel maintain her health and helps her to recover quickly from intense workouts.

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Food – the pantry and refrigerator have been invaded by a health nut. This girl eats completely healthy. Mainly fruits, vegetables and grains – squash, sweet potatoes, melons, leafy greens, quinoa, nuts, and berries of all kinds. Few breads, some light cheeses, and few sweets (mainly power bars). We brought a few of the portable shelves from Rachel’s apartment and set it up in the kitchen so that she would have room to store staples for her healthy diet.

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Coffee and tea – caffeine is only “legal” drug for athletes. Rachel’s coffee equipment and coffee supplies now occupy a small corner of our kitchen. She has a coffee bean grinder, an espresso machine, a coffee brewer, and carafe with which she makes pour overs. She drinks all kinds of coffee, mainly black, with no additives (no sweetener, no cream).

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Workouts – Rachel usually runs two-a-day workouts, along with gym sessions, balance drills, and hurdle drills, yoga, and other fitness and training techniques.  Now that school is finished, Rachel can focus on workouts without the added stress of academic studies.

As a professional athlete, Rachel lives a much different life than most of us. I am amazed at what it takes to run in that world. And I am thankful for the brief time we have with Rachel while she lives temporarily at our home. We will see where life takes her in the next few months.

Rachel Johnson clears a barrier in the 3,000 meter steeplechase in Atlanta, Georgia (2016).