Thursday, July 28, 2011


Sometimes the phone signal at RAO just wouldn't cooperate and a few pictures didn't make it all the way from the van to the blog in real time. Here is some of what you missed:

Here is a short video of the solo racers starting from the Hood River Best Western at 0500 on Saturday.

The racers had a neutral parade rollout from Hood River to Mosier and then started the race unsupported (no vans behind them) over the first climb. Here's all the support vehicles waiting for the racers to get to The Dalles. One annoying van had all its lights flashing the entire time we sat there--we made sure to stop well up the road to avoid the Christmas tree! More than one local drove past with a confused expression.

The "Grass Valley climb" is technically only something like 4 miles, but there is no summit and the road just keeps sloping upward. As we gained elevation, we could pick out more and more peaks in the Cascade range. At the highest unobstructed point, we could identify Baker, Rainier, Adams, St. Helens, Hood, Washington, Jefferson, and the peaks around Sisters and Bend (that's a span of 440 miles, north to south). It was a perfect clear morning for peak-bagging. Too bad the riders were headed east and couldn't see any of this!

This is Ian Fillinger, who hails from Kamloops. He and Mick were within about a half-mile of each other all the way to time station 4 in Dale (266 miles). They look so much alike on the bike, both of them started the race in reddish and white kits, and both of them suffer in the heat. Congratulations to Ian on a strong race--he finished third in the men's solo division!

The sunset on Saturday was beautiful. Such a clear, clear sky out there on the Pendleton to John Day Highway! This is the approach to Battle Mountain. The course profile says this stretch is a significant descent, but it doesn't seem like it--in the van OR on the bike!

Sunday, July 24, 2011


All-too-familiar stomach issues plus unaccustomed sleepiness forced Mick to withdraw from Race Across Oregon early this morning at the summit of Meadow Brook Pass, about 275 miles in. Thanks to all the racers, crew, and officials who offered encouraging words and great support along the way! It was a beautiful day for racing in eastern Oregon!

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Chasing Ian Fillinger. Again.


On our way to Battle Mountain now. 4
riders up the road.


Just riding a steady tempo through the heat of the afternoon.


Tailwinds are nice for speed but really tough on long, hot climbs. The ice vest helped climbing out of the John Day, but 80 degrees feels plenty hot! More windmills for jousting, Condon up next.


Leah Goldstein is working on reeling in all the men in the race. One by one, they're getting chicked!


68 degrees at 0930. The heat it's a comin' !


That's Mt Jefferson on the horizon. Hood is gorgeous too. Adams and St Helens and Rainier come into view a little farther up. Spectacular day!

TS 1

First solo riders through Tygh Valley.


Here are the support vehicles waiting in The Dalles for riders to emerge from the first neutral and unsupported section of the race.


Friday, July 22, 2011


Up before 4 am on Saturday to be ready to rumble at 5:00. First stop for the crew:COFFEE!


The van is loaded! This is 10 times more stuff than he brought when he emigrated from Ireland!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Temperatures at RAO are brutal. Above the century mark is not uncommon. Not much in the way of trees or shade (or you ride through most of the trees at night). Heat stress and heat exhaustion are the main causes of DNFs at this race. So imagine Mick's excitement just a few days ago when the forecast for north central Oregon topped out at about 80 degrees for this weekend. Sadly, the trend since then has not been favorable. National Weather Service estimates for The Dalles are now 93, Dufur 89, Long Creek 86 (but he should get there in the middle of the night), Spray 94 (early morning), and Heppner, Condon, and Fossil all at 92. These high temperatures inch upward by a degree or two with every new forecast, so it seems likely they will be in their usual brutal range by Saturday afternoon.


Thanks to Brian, Mick's support van will have a SPOT locator so devoted followers can, well, follow Mick's progress around north central Oregon this weekend with yet more online reporting. The link to his RAO SPOT page is:

That web page will start populating once Mick's crew turns on the device at the race start. Remember that riders have a 20-mile neutral start while the support van zips down the freeway; it's not Mick you're watching on SPOT, it's the van.

Monday, July 18, 2011


More information about each of the solo riders in the race is now up on the RAO blog. Locals (nearly) and legends alike. Who's nervous, wary, eager, optimistic....ah, the game faces we'll see at the rider meeting on Friday afternoon!

Friday, July 15, 2011


Race Across Oregon has a new start this year due to road work around Mt. Hood; the total distance will be about 515 miles.  Riders will head east from Hood River on the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail and climb over a big hill into The Dalles.  From there the route heads south to Tygh Valley then east (mostly) through Grass Valley, Moro, (past a lot of windmills), Condon, (climbs out of a spectacular section of river canyon), Heppner (last bastion of civilization for a loooooong time), over Battle Mountain, past Ukiah, Dale, Long Creek, Kimberly, (a long, almost flat section along the beautiful John Day River), Fossil (no stopping at the Shamrock!), past the fossil beds and spectacular cliffs of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Clarno, Antelope (the town previously--briefly--known as Rajneeshpuram), Shaniko (former wool capital of the world), "down" the infamous Bakeoven Road to Maupin, back to Tygh Valley, Dufur, up Forest Road 44 toward Mt. Hood, then down down down (with one painful bit of up) into the finish in Hood River.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


The field is stacked at RAO this year! The solo men's race includes Dean Kindorf, Ian Fillinger, Andrepaul Michaud, Bryce Walsh, Brian Martin, Valerio Zamboni, and Jerry Arnold. Solo women racers are Karen Armstrong, Leah Goldstein, Ivy McIver, Daniela Genovesi, Seana Hogan, Suzanne Nowlis, and Rebecca Smith--and you KNOW some of those women will be among the top placers overall! As always, the team divisions promise exciting racing too. You can find the full start list at

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


UltraMick is currently getting some ultra sleep. More updates on his race prep soon!

Where there's a will, there's a way! This isn't quite how blogspot said this would work, but text and images now posting via email.


Here's a new blog where you can follow updates during Mick's latest ultra racing adventure. Next up: Race Across Oregon, which starts Saturday, July 23, in Hood River, Oregon.