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Biking up the Bluff during Oregon Trail Days

July 17, 2011

I don’t remember what my time was in last year’s Oregon Trail Days Hill Climb bicycle time trial, but I do remember that it was fun. I decided to try it again this year.

Just to make sure I’d be able to make it up that 1.6-mile, 800-foot climb on Summit Road up Scotts Bluff National Monument, husband and I buzzed out there on our bikes three days before the actual event for a test run. Summit Road closes to automobiles a half-hour before the Visitors Center does, yet the road remains open to walkers and bikers until sunset.

I was pretty slow (about 21 minutes), but I did not die, and the view was pretty.

Our shadows on the bluff at sunset

I just love the light late in the day!

At the final curve on the descent, we were being watched.

All set for the big day on Saturday!

We got up at 5 a.m. to wake up fully and make it over to the bluff early enough to get registered for the 7 a.m. race. On our way in, we got to watch the moon set over the bluff.

It was a fantastic ride along the prairie path leading up to the bluff, full of summer morning coolness and birdsong.

Gosh, I love the scenery here!

We were the 37th and 38th people (of 46) to register. The youngest rider was 10. The oldest was at least 70. Here was one of the first bikers out of the gate:

As the riders were waiting in line, a cry went out. Gangway for the wagon!

The wagon was being towed out to the Oregon Trail Days parade lineup, where it would be met by a more-authentic team of oxen.

Those metal-rimmed wheels made quite a rumble on the cement.

More on the wagon in my next post. Back to the bike race . . .

Husband was behind me in the queue, but he didn’t stay behind me for long. He passed me before the first tunnel.

There he is.

There he goes.

I got passed by three more people, and I passed one person, on my way to a respectable time (for someone with no training) of 17:04. (The fastest biker made it up the hill in 6 minutes and 44 seconds! Holy cats!)

After the last person made it up, we paused for a group photo.

Then, the fun part . . . the ride down!


I wish I had a hemlet cam for the ride down. Can't document and brake and steer all at the same time.

I hope I can convince myself to bike up the bluff more regularly. It’s great exercise. Maybe I’ll head up there for a dinner picnic once the daytime temps cool a bit below high-90s-to-100s.

Copyright 2011 by Katie Bradshaw

6 Comments leave one →
  1. July 17, 2011 7:13 pm

    That first photo looks like a painting–send it in to the Nebraska Life Magazine!

  2. Maggie permalink
    July 18, 2011 10:26 am

    Those photos taken in the evening light are beautiful! I brought my camera along on Saturday too, but it sat in my saddle bag the entire time. Ooops.


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