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Relaxing in Cycleville

Some 2,000 members of the Cycle Oregon event take the day off in historic Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE ' The city's population temporarily doubled on Wednesday, when about 2,000 out-of-towners visited local shops, filled up at the town's restaurants and slept outside its schools.

Before embarking today on a long ride to Lost Creek Lake, Cycle Oregon participants spent their layover day exploring Jacksonville, a city few of them had ever visited before.

We heard a lot about this town along the whole way, said Portland resident Ed Borne. It's a nice place. The people here have been great.

Borne visited the Mustard Seed Cafe for breakfast, stopped off at the Jacksonville Tavern for a drink, then spent part of his afternoon lounging around the grounds at Cascade Christian High School, where hundreds of bright yellow tents covered a school playing field. A sea of tents also flooded a field at nearby Jacksonville Elementary School.

Alanna Powell of Goldendale, Wash., said she was pleasantly surprised when she got a taste of Southern Oregon hospitality while eating lunch at a local Thai restaurant.

— We were talking about trying to find a Laundromat, Powell explained. This lady, another customer, overheard us and offered to do it for us. She came here, picked up our towels and things, and now she's doing our laundry.

Everybody's been so welcoming to us.

While Powell and a few other riders near her tent at the high school sipped Bridgeport beer during the lazy afternoon, other riders opted for cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Living in tent city is like living in a trailer park, said Andrea Carlos of Portland. We've got the PBR cans to prove it.

Her companion, fellow Portland resident Amy Cortese, spoke of Jacksonville's many restaurants and said the best part of the rest between long bicycle rides is the fact that riders can consume all the calories they want without feeling a bit guilty.

Ben and Jerry's showed up at one of the rest stops, she said. I was so psyched.

Besides drinking and eating, other forms of relaxation on layover day included time spent reading the newspaper, stretching out on a yoga mat and visiting a makeshift massage center.

It's such a relaxing setting, said Beaverton resident Terri Stevens, yawning as she got up following a massage. Just what the doctor ordered.

Wednesday's rest was well-deserved, considering that Cycle Oregon riders traveled more than 60 miles on Tuesday over a steep, windy route between Lake Selmac and Jacksonville. Today, participants of the 17th annual event will strap on their helmets and ride more than 70 miles to their next stop at Lost Creek Lake.

Although the overall mood in Jacksonville was festive. some riders said their thoughts were with the family of Karen Holmes, 60, who died Tuesday after crashing her bicycle on a steep descent down Holcomb Peak in Josephine County.

I think it's in the back of everyone's mind, said Portland rider Carl Wright. That was quite a shock.

Added Paul Burnet of Portland: It was a little harrowing because of the accident. But overall, the ride was great ' a real challenge.

Dozens of participants whose bikes needed a tune-up before today's ride dropped them off Wednesday at the Community Cycling Center, where Porter Childs and his 18-person crew repaired and cleaned bicycles in the name of charity. The non-profit group charged &

36;35 per bicycle, with proceeds going toward its holiday bike drive where about 1,000 low-income children in the Portland area will receive a bicycle for Christmas, Childs said.

Around the corner from the cycling center was a bulletin board carrying messages from several riders.

Did anyone ride with Con 'Rod' Borsting? read one.

Elaine, the door is open. I'll be there about 3:45, read another.

Kari ' Matthew and I are in the beer garden, yet another read.

This year's Cycle Oregon event concludes Saturday, when participants ride into Canyonville at the end of their week-long trip.

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Sweat socks and cycling shirts hang from the bleachers overlooking the Cycle Oregon tent city Wednesday at Cascade Christian High School in Jacksonville. Cyclists took the day off to rest up for the next leg of the annual cycling event. Mail Tribune / Bob Pennell - Mail Tribune Bob Pennell