Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015
Mesa to OBX

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Florence, Oregon to Eugene, Oregon October 5-6

October Jeep............October 6.....71.58 in 5:43
On Saturday, the fifth, the day after my first post kidney stone 80 mile ride, we'd decided to take a day and drive inland, to a place that I have always wanted to visit, and would like to come back to some day. Eugene, Oregon, is known as Tracktown USA, and we have sort of a tradition of track and field in our family, as most of you know. We drove into the campus of the University of Oregon Ducks, and the home of Hayward Field, a track only stadium that holds 10,000 people, and has hosted the last three US Olympic Trials, many NCAA Championships, as well as the Prefontaine Classic. We walked around the stadium, and it was open, so I walked through the stands, and around the track, just envisioning all the things that have happened there in my favorite sport. Goose bumps were everywhere. I want to go back some day and see a big meet, ideally with Pam, Buddy, or Andi -  people who know the significance of the place. 
There were several pictures and references to Steve Prefontaine, who was the preeminent college distance runner when I was in college. He died in a drunk driving accident in 1975 at the peak of his career. No one knows the exact details of his accident, or how much better he would have become had he lived. He was an inspiration to me when I was running pretty well, and even Buddy knows of him and has been inspired by him. The spot where he died is a landmark, and Pam and I spent some time finding it. It is known as Pre's Rock, and it is marked with a granite monument, as well as remembrances left by runners and admirers who visit. Pam and I found it, stopped for a while, and left as two van  loads of cross country runners were arriving. People still come, 38 years after his death. He was the best there was at the time of his death. Two movies have been made about him, even though there is some speculation and 'Hollywood' in both of them. 
We learned our way around town some, then headed a few miles north on I-5 to find the world headquarters of Monaco RV's, which is what we own. We decided that we would bring it over tomorrow, camp for free in the camping/parking lot, and get some work done on several items that no one else has been able to fix.

Hayward Stadium

Only in Oregon can you have a football size stadium that's only for TRACK!!  Woohoo!

Check out the covered stands!

This was posted at the gates of the stadium.

Outside the stadium is information about the great Oregon track coaches, the history of the program, and this huge picture of "Pre" running in his Oregon uniform.

He may have died in 1975, but he is still remembered.....

Pre graces the walls of Hayward Stadium

Man for whom the stadium was named.

Looking up at the main grandstand

Looking down from the grandstands at the infield

Another view of the infield

This moment brought tears to my eyes as I watched Mike walking the track in Hayward Stadium.  Mike has been involved in running since he was 14 years old and grew up with stories of Hayward Stadium.  It was like watching him with the Holy Grail.

"Pre's Rock" - people leave shoes, race numbers, water bottles. etc at this memorial.  It was a powerful moment being at this place.  He was a runner at a different level from others.  My favorite Prefontaine quote is "To do less than your best is to sacrifice the gift".

This rock is where Pre's car hit the wall

Sunday, October 6---Pam rolled out of Florence not long after I did, and followed the exact route to Eugene that we discovered yesterday, and I rode almost the same route. I had to find alternatives to riding on I-5 at the very end of the trip. I was being passed by beefed up Jeeps and ATVs, and I found out that this area of the coast is known as the Oregon Dunes. Highway 101 gets away from the coastal beauty that we were seeing, because of a huge area of sand dunes where people go to four wheel and frolic. I saw a couple of very big piles of sand south of Florence, but couldn't really see where all the action was. Judging by the amount of Toy Haulers and trucks with atv's on trailers that passed me going to Eugene, it must be a popular thing to do on a beautiful Sunday in October. When I turned inland on Oregon Route 126, traffic was heavy with atv's, and also trucks pulling boats. The other big attraction in Florence is the Siuslaw River. It was swarming with boats yesterday and today and it has too be the salmon. Wikipedia says it's a significant spawning ground for Chinook and Coho salmon. I got to watch a little more closely today, and I watched some salmon fishing techniques. It seemed that there were between 2-6 fishermen in each boat, and they trolled upstream with lines in the water. When they get as far up the river as they want to go, they turn around and speed quickly downstream and do it again. The salmon supposedly aren't feeding at this stage go the game, so they use some type of lure to make them attack, not feed. There were a load of boats both days, and I did not see a single fisherman with a catch in progress as I rode slowly upstream with them. Rt. 126 followed the Siuslaw for about 15 miles, and I gained about 15 feet in elevation. The sun was out, and it was in the 60's with no wind. What a fantastic day to be outside for anything! I eventually turned away from the river and did some summits, one of 600 ft and one of 750 ft in the Siuslaw National Forest, including a 200 yard long tunnel at about a 6%uphill grade. Traffic was brisk with weekend warriors, but no logging trucks or big trucks of any type, because it is Sunday. After a cooler ride through the forest where temps dipped into the 50's with breaks of sun reaching the road, the last 35 miles into north Eugene was very flat and fast. Rt 126 was roughly followed by railroad tracks and the river through the forest, so even though I had two little climbs, it was a pretty smooth trip. I averaged 12.5 mph for 70 + miles, which is my best pace since the stones in Seattle. After the highest pass, as I got closer to Eugene, the temperatures climbed to 75 degrees. That's the first time we've had weather that warm since before Labor Day. It felt really good!
As I rode into the   Eugene area, I picked up Rt 569, sort of a beltway around town, to the north end of town. It turned out to be a four lane highway, with exit and entrance ramps like an interstate. The shoulders were dirty but wide, and the greatest challenge came for me at the ramp areas, negotiating entering and exiting traffic. The last five miles on Coburg Road to the Monaco facility was calmer. All in all,  a great day to ride, great weather, great roads, great scenery with the deciduous trees beginning to change, legs were working like they should, and I'm happy again.

The trees are changing color!

Over the last two days the red is starting come out in the trees.

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