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cycle oregon and the jewish calendar

Posted Feb 05 2010 8:53am
Cycle Oregon has announced its 2010 route , a ten-day bike tour through northeastern Oregon and southeastern Washington that will include a layover in Pendleton during the 100th anniversary of the Pendleton Round-Up. The cost of the supported tour (about 850 bucks) is currently beyond me, though I suppose I could save up one year and go. It's always a great ride that takes you through some of the most beautiful places in our state. And I admit that Cycle Oregon is one of those rides I've always dreamed of doing.

Sadly, I can almost never participate in Cycle Oregon, because the organizers almost always find a way to have the start or end dates overlap Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur. And this year is no exception. The ride takes off from Elgin just after the second day of Rosh Hashanah, loops through cattle country and returns to Elgin on Yom Kippur afternoon.

This conflict happens, on the average, every other year or so. And I'm sure that it's pretty much a non-issue for the organizers. After all, the 2,000 reserved spots fill up quickly, usually within a month of the route announcement. The number of observant Jews in Oregon is tiny. The number of observant Jews who are also avid bicyclists is probably microscopic. I'm used to not counting, I'm used to organizers of bike events not looking at a Jewish calendar. This is what being Jewish is like when you don't live in New York or Los Angeles.

So In September, while 2,000 people are out riding their bikes and rubbing shoulders with cowboys in Pendleton, I will observe the Days of Awe -- and then get ready for cyclocross season. It's a trade-off I can accept.
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