Really stoked to try the Oregon Outback at some point. Would be very curious to hear how it is.
Well it was harder than I thought it would be. I definitely underestimated the difficulty of the climbing in the last 200 miles. There are some steep sustained grades. RidewithGPS says something like max 9% grade. There are many pitches over 18%. The last 100 km include the 'rollers of despair' section, a 60km long series of rollers that require a hard effort to crest the hill before you quickly descend into the next swale and the beginning of the next climb. Soul crushing after 500km in the saddle.
The scenery is pretty cool throughout, but the northern half is definitely more scenic imo. That being said I didn't see a lot of the route as I rode straight through the first 2 nights. Rained on and off the first 24 hours, then got warm, sunny and windy. I had heard horror stories of the head winds descending to the Deschutes River. They were true. You have to pedal while descending to keep moving forward.
My 'race' plan was to ride through the first night and crash out in a park in the sun the next morning in Prineville, and then decide on how day 2 would play out after a good nap. When I rolled into Prineville at the 27 hr mark, I stopped in at the LBS, Good Bike Co. The owner was following the event and told me that there were only 5 guys ahead of me. So I figured I should keep going, no naps, finishing at 4am the following morning. 586km in 45 hours total, 35 hours in the saddle, straight through. I never rode fast, I just hardly stopped. Don't know for sure, as it is an unorganized event, but I am fairly certain I finished around 7th, getting passed by 2 fellows from Idaho, and passing a fellow from Victoria in the night before the end.
The loaded rig. Carried too much food and water. So much food that I wasn't close to running out at the end, and I never had to stop to filter water, with 2 fill ups of tap water on route.
As you may have heard, some folks who camped along the route made a bit of a mess and disrespected the friendly locals. It appears the 'organizers' have walked away from the event. http://www.oregonbikepacking.com/the-death-of-the-oregon-outback/
Was it a cool route? sure. totally different that what I am used to here on Van Isle.
Would I do it as a tour? (e.g. 3+ days?) No, I just didn't find the camp spots (not that I camped) to be anything special, other than along the Crooked River, but that was full of car campers.
Would I do the route again? no. I could put together a scenic 600km route on Van Isle with a remote and killer camp spot every night.
Next long tour I'll stay home.