arrangements were made for everyone to meet at our place on saturday morning at 4am. way too early! but it really wasn't so bad. everyone was up in record time - must've been the adrenaline. we were all loaded up and in the trucks by 4.30.
Well, I think cascade must’ve heard tell of WADOT doing road work on the 405 that morning. I had heard the rumor but it took a bit of digging to find the page the night before telling the tale. A barge or something needed passage so the bridge was going to be up for about 45 minutes between 4-6am that Saturday. westbound i90 was, and had been, shut down for a couple weeks for repair work. so we had to go around the north end of the lake. as we're driving up 405 the signs were posting 5-5.30 for the bridge. just when we were getting there! good thinking on matt’s part, he took us the back way into the UW on city streets so we totally avoided all the STP traffic! 3 cheers for matt! Once again we made use of the U Village parking lot to unload the bikes and get going. 2 day riders were being released about every 10 minutes starting at 5:30, and we rode through the start line at 5:40. So not to shabby, and maybe about 45 minutes earlier than the ’07 STP we did.
in 2007 we rode through the start line after 6am. this year we went through with the 2nd group, about 5.40. we were about 3 blks out when i hear "LIBBY!" i turn around and there's nick (nick musser from icon grill). it's really weird - with 10,000 people to actually have run into each other! there were others we looked for and never saw; melinda and callie to name 2 :-). we ran into nick at every stop through lunch.
our 1st eagle sighting was one swooping down "fishing" over lake washington near seward park. saturday was just gorgeous. perfect weather. we had a great day biking. mt. ranier was out, it was sunny but not too hot, it really was a perfect day for the STP.
[above left: just before seward park; right: hill just after seward park]
[below left: on the road; right: on the way to kent food stop]
we ran into nick again at the 1st food stop in kent. it was in the REI headquarters parking lot, and they had lots of employees out helping, handing out food, drinks, you name it! the next time we saw nick was at the 2nd food stop in puyallup. i think he took of before we did, and we never saw him again on the ride.
[above left:matt and i are arriving at the kent food stop; left: the bike corral; right: nick and ben]
[left: dianne, matt, christa, myself (not sure where gary was); right: superwoman and some unknown 'hero'. they were supposed to inspire and encourage us.]
[left: by the look on matt's face and the fact i'm staring straight ahead i'd bet we were just about to the top of 'the hill'; right: after 'the hill' and on the way to food!]
[left: skateboard dude. he pretty much doesn't stop for anything to make it in time for the beer garden at the finish line; right: oh its much further to food than we thought]the lines were so long for everything at the 2nd food stop christa and i decided we'd stop 10 miles further down the road. ok, usually not so bad. we got separated, but she waited for us in roy, where they had lined up a bunch of port-a-loos. i had forgotten the traffic and lights along hwy7 through spanaway, and then we got caught up in a slower line and couldn't get out and pass becuase there were too many others actually passing us! and then, geez, we get passed by an ambulance. they had set out flares, there were a couple cop cars too, i think. someone had been hurt. talking with people later it seemed there were several bikes involved. but we never did really learn what happened.
[top left: puyallup food stop; top right: the end of the line for the porta-potties. yeah, they were located all the way around the school building. bottom left: someone who thinks they are one of the slow riders; right: cool bike]
[left: here they come; right: there they go]
[left: matt taking a break on the tenino trail; right: dianne helping gary change a flat]
about 2/3 through the 1st day we're on the tenino bike path when gary and dianne have a flat. they got it repaired quickly and we're back on the trail. there's always a few accidents on the ride, and saturday was no exception. we saw a number of bikes on the back of sag vehicles, but i think the worst we saw that day was on the tenino trail. one of the medical support bikers' bike was being lifted into the back of a truck. they had moved the person off the bike trail but was still being cared for.
[back on the trail]
[we're almost to centralia, but not quite!]
[this is the type of road we rode for most of the 200+ miles over the 2 days.]
we got to centralia in great time. it was hot, we were tired, and there were free ice cream bars! after we cooled off we headed over to the beer garden. YUM! it really hit the spot! i think that was the coldest slice i'd ever eaten. i can't stand cold pizza, but i was so hungry!
[left: gary and dianne crossing the 1/2-way line; right: 100 miles down, 100 to go]
[left: centralia college. note the time on the clock, it's not even 2:30!; right: dianne and gary enjoying ice cream bars]
[ left: dianne, gary, matt, me, and christa taking a much deserved rest; right: the luggage corral for people who were camping, or didn't have their own personal support vehicle.]
[left: those ice cream bars just didn't do it for us. we needed something a little more substantial. right: pizza and beer in the beer garden where we all sat around and watched television.]
we called christopher and he was at the motel, so we got back on the bikes for the last 1/2 mile of the day. we're less than 2 blocks from the motel when christa shouts out to us she has a flat tire! we get to the motel though, and after showers matt went and helped her change the tire.
dianne and gary stayed at the motel and ordered in a pizza, christa, christopher, matt and i went to burgerville and had a pretty durn good burger, fries, shakes, and onion rings. back at the motel we were all asleep by 7, 8 at the latest.
- - -
at some point during the fundraising i was contacted by pat at bcrf. long story short, she was touched/impressed enough with my efforts and i now have a page on their website.