Bildungsroman (German): A novel concerning a character’s education or personal growth.
Hello from idyllic Oregon!
I’ve got my feet up and my hair down under the shade of a weeping willow tree. Even though I spent 65 miles in the saddle today while climbing another four thousand vertical feet, I’m feeling physically strong, mentally mighty, and spiritually supercharged.
I departed Pendelton this morning in a bit of a funk after yesterday’s punishing pedaling. Luckily I didn’t have very much time to feel sorry for myself because I immediately began climbing up and over the Blue Mountains, via Old Elgin Pass Road. Strikingly, today’s VERY vertical ride was the exact opposite of the slogging suck-fest I was expecting. I had FUN working my way upward. As I wended my way higher and higher, taking in the gorgeous Oregon countryside, I kept looking down at the cars driving along the valley floor below and thinking: “man, there is NO place I’d rather be but on my bike. Those four-wheeled fools don’t know what they’re missing!”
I sang Dixie Chicks songs to myself all the way up, repeated a silly little rhyming couplet (windy, grindy, twisty, turny, easy, peasie, feel the burn-y), and occasionally said hi to the local residents.
I realized, on this particular stretch of pavement, that I kind of LIKE climbing big hills. Give me a challenging climb I can throw all my energy at instead of a long, sustained straight slog any day of the week. It helps that the ends of big climbs typically come with big beautiful rewards.
After getting myself up and over the Blue Mountains, I found myself retracing an important route from American history!
I doubt the pioneer’s covered wagons were as colorful as my panniers. Their outfits were CERTAINLY more staid than my spandex. I also know for a fact that their provisions weren’t nearly as delicious as my mid-ride lunch.
The rest of the ride into La Grande was a breeze. Even though today was physically challenging, I’m glad that somehow I’ve picked up enough emotional growth somewhere along the side of the road to make this tour a treat again.
Tomorrow I make my way to Baker City!