The chronicle of a lonely do-gooder family doctor who survived.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Last year I wrote about what an amazing time I had riding the Cascade Bicycle Club's Seattle to Portland Ride and how I just knew I'd be doing it every year for the rest of my life. This year, things went a little differently.
It started well enough. Clear skies, 80 degrees. Greg finally got a new bike. Things seemed all set. It's no surprise I'm not as fit as I was this time last year, but I had a few long training rides and I was ready.
Filmore left early to ride with the Major Taylor Project but got a flat almost immediately after the race began. After replacing his inner tube, as he went to pump it up, his tire stem snapped off in his pump and he had to wait 30 minutes for someone to stop and help him out.
I lost Greg and Matt in a pack of cyclists somewhere around Auburn. About 10 miles later when I still hadn't caught up to them, I thought to myself: "Those assholes, they can find their own damn ride home." I met up with Fil in at the lunch stop in Spanaway and he asked if I'd seen Greg and Matt. Apparently Matt caught a flat right when I lost them and I breezed right past them without seeing them or stopping.
Despite this, we made it to Centralia faster than the year before. After showers, it was straight to the McMenamin's for beer and pasta. A couple hours later, with full stomachs, we were getting ready to pack it in for an early night when I heard them turn on the Tour de France over at the Beer Garden. Ok, I'm not quite sleepy yet, I'll just go over and watch for a bit...
Wound up making some new friends that night who had bought a bunch of alcohol they were looking to get rid of. Some people can party. What was I thinking?
Woke at 5 AM to the sound of rain drops on the tent and 50 degree weather. This was going to be interesting. Sporadic showers and pervasive wetness with occasional hail followed us for all of day 2. We were pretty much riding into the cold front with a moderate head wind the entire day. It was good to have the support of my friends and we took turns drafting most of the way, but I don't think I could say that any part of the ride was "fun." In fact, it is hard to think of specific day that was more miserable; if it weren't for trading jokes with Matt, Greg, and Fil and laughing at the ridiculousness of the situation I don't think I would have finished the ride.
We rolled into Portland at 5 pm, significantly slower than last year. Meritxell was a sight for sore eyes and she is a saint for coming down to pick us up. After standing in the shower line for an eternity in our soaking wet, freezing cold cycling clothes we finally got warm, dry, and fed (oh my god -- East Burn, Portland, Oregon -- words cannot describe how awesome this place is) and we loaded up and came home.
It was an adventure and it had its moments, but I think each of us, separately, decided somewhere on the road between Rainier and Scappoose that this was the last time we'd do this. Next year we'll come up with our own tour.