24 June, Day 6: John Day, OR to Baker City, OR, 81 miles, 4,650 ft ascent

Firstly it’s not strictly true that this is a ride purely for Mamils, as:

  • We do have some women in the group
  • Several of the riders would be hard pushed to claim they are still middle aged, even if sixty is the new forty

But the point still stands that the group are (with a couple of exceptions) certainly not spring chickens and are all clad in Lycra on expensive bikes.

So for the first few days Alastair and I have found it quite hard to differentiate and recall who is who. 

But as we’ve got into the ride it’s been fascinating to discover their backgrounds including:

  • A small squadron of retired pilots
  • A brace of retired firefighters
  • A couple of Radiologists
  • A geologist
  • A construction business owner.

And to add to the diversity of backgrounds, several riders have had multiple careers:

  • A french teacher who became a bond trader
  • A New York financier who became a policewoman in one of the rougher areas of San Francisco
  • A telecoms guy who became state governor of Delaware.

This is great for informative and interesting conversation – a blessed relief after Alastair and I have whiled away yet another day’s cycling with bar room philosophy, scatological humour and the invention of new (to the best of our knowledge), but totally useless, maths (see later entries in this erudite journal on, inter alia, the Mairs-Heggie Sequence).

Although we’re travelling East, it feels increasingly as though we’ve fallen right back into the Wild West – very few people, very small towns and the occasional covered wagon.

A Wild West style covered wagon

But in the distance we can now see mountains in the next state ahead of us - Idaho!

The Idaho Rocky Mountains seen from Baker City, Or