Tuesday, January 12, 2010

7/12/09 STP 2009 sunday

sun 11/12:

then came sunday, and it couldn't have been more different if it'd tried.

 it had rained during the night. ok, so that's not so bad, but it was still raining when we woke up around 5. we were on the road by 5.30, maybe a little after. we were all bundled up in our jackets, and i had my bright orange ripstop pants on. turns out they didn't really keep me dry, just visible.

it was wet, gray, miserably cold. as we pedaled past one of the official campsites in chehalis volunteers had bbqs going or something - you could smell the hot breakfasts being prepared.

we weren't far into our day (before the 1st official pit stop) and we start to hear thunder and see lightning. which normally i'd be all for because we seldom get thunderstorms up here. but this was not good timing. i guess we rode for about 30 minutes hearing the thunder and people were counting the seconds between it and the lightning. when all of a sudden *whoosh* or *splash* or whatever sound effect word i'm looking for the sky just opened up and dumped! we were soaked through in less than 3 minutes. it was so bad that people were taking shelter in groups of 2 or 3s under carports and doorways of the houses. then it started to hail. ouch. yes, i said hail. at least it had stopped with the thunder and light show - we got to a park with big tall cedars and there were quite a few of us that pulled off the road and took shelter, waiting for the hail (and hopefully rain) to stop.



[top left and right: gray skys; bottom left and right: taking cover during the hailstorm; left: gary being the trooper at the 1st pit stop that cold wet morning]

the 1st stop wasn't that crowded. i think people didn't want to stop due to the chill. there was someone making waffles or something *hot* one could buy, and there was a decent line for the food. unlike the slushy stand that had been set up! talk about bad timing! of course the folks who rode further than centralia, or were 1 day riders had great opportunity on saturday to partake.

somewhere along the way before the 1st food stop we lost gary and dianne. i think they got ahead of us on a hill and we never caught up. (afterwards we found out they skipped the lunch stop so they pulled into portland about an hour ahead of us!).

[above left and right: on the wet road just trying to stay warm; left: one of the hand bikes on the route. i have nothing but utmost admiration for these guys! 200+ miles *by hand*!; right: that's the food line]

i was never so glad to see that lunch stop. i was cold, wet, and miserable! but not tired. my feet were the only thing on my body that was dry. thankfully i remembered my shoe covers. i don't know how these people do it. you have this 'maxi pad' of comfort built into your bike shorts/pants, and when it gets wet... eeewwww! nothing but cold and wet down there between the legs. so NOT the most comfortable!

christa stayed with us the distance for the day. sometimes she'd lead the line, sometimes we would, sometimes some other single would be nice enough and lead for a little bit.

we definitely did not make good time on sunday. i'd say it was pretty close to the same time as what we did in '07. we didn't stay as long at each stop, but we did stop at every chance. and we were slower on the ride.

[above: good pics of my pants shows  how windy and wet we were; left: as we approach the longview bridge to cross over the columbia river into portland, you can see the group of bikes leading the cars. police interrupted the flow of cars every 20 minutes to allow the waiting cyclists to get over the bridge. right: waiting for our turn to cross the bridge.]

i have to say, had we done this ride in these conditions summer '06 which was B.D. (Before Diagnosis) i would've said hands down the most miserable day i could remember. i was honestly really miserable. i was not in a good mood, which doesn't do much for making a great tandem ride. i was cold, wet, hungry, dehydrated - i was so cold i wasn't drinking my water so i wouldn't have to use a bush LOL.

the only thing that really kept me going was [2nd] just get to portland and you can get into a warm shower in the hotel! and [1st] all of you wonderful people who so generously opened your wallets and donated to my cause. if it hadn't been for y'all i would've given up that day and taken a cab! well, i guess i would've called christopher who was our 'hang close' support team. seriously. it was y'all who got me through that day to the finish line!
 [above left: it's a much longer approach to the bridge than you think; right: not a fun bridge to be crossing on a bike]

[top left: reaching the apex;  top right: only 30ish miles to go! bottom left: even the downhill isn't very fun :-(; bottom right: coming out of the clover leaf onto hwy30. you can see more cyclists coming off the bridge]

at the 2nd to last pit stop - the last one that provided food, we were hanging out a little trying to warm up. every coffee shop we passed on sunday had bikes outside. almost all the pit stops had someone who brought some form of cooking device out and had hot food available to purchase. this one had hot dogs. hot dogs on whole wheat buns! HAHA. had to laugh at that. but that was probably one of the best hot dogs i'd had in a long time! there was a sign - i missed it or i would've taken a pic of it - 20 miles via bus from that spot to about 1 mile from the finish line. i wonder how many people were tempted and how many, if any, actually decided to do it. Note the cordoned-off area of parking lot. the bar owner didn't want bikes there, and even had an employee outside trying to shoo people out of the spaces. but he also made it so his patrons couldn't park there! i guess those few bikes were just special!

this time when we approached portland (portland, 10 miles) we knew it was further than it seemed. we did see an eagle along hwy30 into town, which was cool. and while we didn't keep looking for the finish line because we knew it wasn't 'right around the corner' like we were expecting last time, it still took forever! there were a few spots like a bottleneck onto a bridge, ruts in road under a bridge, and the last little hill from hell that takes you by surprise wasn't nearly as bad to navigate as it was last time.

[left: by this point everyone was pretty spread out. there were very few groups left, mostly 2s and 3s. right: it doesn't look very steep, but you see the curve. we just took a hard right onto this street. the hill's only about a block long, but at mile 99 this is pretty evil.]

[left: our target is in the background, the broadway bridge; right: it was a single-file crossing]
[matt, myself, and christa battling the cross-winds]


[3 images of us on tandem with christa in 2 of them, the last is of portland.]

    i guess the rain actually stopped around lunch time, so when we did get to portland it wasn't so bad other than gray and chilly. that was a good thing.

there were people lining the streets the last 3 or 4 blocks into the finish line, cheering us on and i tell you i never was so happy to see them!

 [top left: once in town we were subject to traffic lights. talk about annoying! it also made for clusterFs each block! :-S; below: the finish line is in sight!]

emotions ran high as we crossed that line. tears flowed. i did it. we did it! you all helped do it!

 [left: the time very shortly after we dismounted; right: dianne, gary, me, matt & christa with our 'finisher' badges.]

while we didn't do as well with time it was a very respectable showing. we found dianne and gary quickly, got our jerseys and called tom. we walked around a teeny bit. mostly for me to take some pics of the celebrations. as much as i wanted to enjoy the festivities and have fun, i was so cold and wet i just wanted to leave.  

[below: misc imgs from the festivites; last: with his support shirt]


matt called tom and as soon as he got to the park we took off for the resort. matt booked us into bonneville dam resort and hot springs. christopher and christa went straight there, dianne, gary, matt and myself took tom home, then drove out old hwy30 past all the waterfalls since dianne and gary had never been up this way.

we stopped at the 1st 'viewpoint' i forget what it's called - it was so foggy you could barely see the columbia river! but it was also way cool. after multnomah falls we got to the "bridge of the gods" and crossed over into wa state. we had to drive past the dam to reach the resort.

i have to say it was quite lovely! i highly recommend bonneville resort and spa. matt booked us into balcony rooms with hottubs. these hottubs were fed with hot springs and minerals. dinner was ok. IMHO the dinner menu there is the weakest.

[the lobby] 

[(heated) mineral water pool; and hot tub]


[right: dianne and gary having a snack]


[left: our balcony; right: view from balcony]


No comments: