May 032015

Note: this post was authored over seven weeks after the ride.

I was on a long training ride; a loop out of Shaniko.

The weather forecast was for some rain, and just as I started the rain began. I stopped and added my rain jacket over my vest to keep dry.

The route took me down to Moro using Hwy 97. Traffic was light on this busy highway because I started shortly after dawn. The highway has a wide shoulder and there was not that much debris to avoid. My first stop was at the market in Moro. There I picked up some snacks (M&Ms) and spoke with a local who was impressed that I was on a 143 mile training ride.

I now headed toward Condon, a second of highway that is a bit of a bear to ride. You have to descend to the John Day River, and then climb out all of the way to Condon. This is a difficult section of roadway for me. However, I was feeling good and the suffering was minimized. In condon, again I stopped this time for a quick lunch of a deli turkey sandwich. The cafe was filled with locals and I was getting the ‘eye'; the kids were looking at me with what seemed to be desired while the parents were somewhat were just friendly.

Leaving Condon, I headed to Fossil. This section of road is not on the Race Across Oregon route, but is a joy to ride none the less. A gentle downhill takes you do Thirtymile Creek and then you climb. Lastly, you descend into Fossil where I rode into town to reach the market. After a few quick calories, I turned toward the west rejoining the Race Across Oregon route. I now had three major hills to climb; Fossil, Clarno and the hill out of Antelope to Shaniko.

The first hill is fun to ride and I enjoyed it. But my mind was on the Clarno Grade, and eight mile monster that could really make me suffer. I submitted and headed down toward Clarno and passing over the ‘Useless Hill.

I crossed over the John Day River and began the Clarno Grade. Checking my watch, I knew that I would not be at the summit before sunset, but I should reach the summit before twilight ended. I was not worried as I had two blinking rear tail lights on, I was wearing my bright yellow rain jacket and I was riding my Litespeed which is equipped with lots of reflective tape.

I felt good. I felt very good. I picked a good pace and was climbing the Clarno Grade well. Near the top, the sun set and I stopped to turn on my two Night Rider headlight so any oncoming traffic would have no problem seeing me.

I have done this climb many times and I know it well. I knew I was almost at the summit and I was looking forward to the descent to Antelope.

However, the next thing I remember is waking up in the St. Charles Hospital in Bend. There, I was told that a DUII driver hit me and left me along side of the road. I was not found for over an hour and then was light flighted to Bend due to my injuries; five fractures of my lower left leg, four broken ribs and a broken left scapula.

I am lucky to be alive.