Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Birkie Brevet, Co-Organizer's View

After weeks of obsessing over things like volunteer scheduling, control menu, the pre-ride - here it was the Friday afternoon before. I left work a bit early, to get ride snacks at Costco. Well, mostly. I mean, how can Costco not have bananas? Plus a few items came in quantities greater than needed. So, a detour by Winco on the way home for the last few items.

I had already dug out the camp stove, propane tank and stand, and made sure they all worked. Collected the various items needed (ladle, potholders, matches, cutting board, bread knife, a few plastic utensils). Collected stuff to keep ME occupied (knitting), plus figured out what I'd need to wear. What one wears riding is woefully inadequate for standing around. Put all the stuff in the van. Went to bed. Remembered I hadn't washed the strawberries, so went downstairs and did that. Back to bed.

Up. Off to collect Jason and thence to the start. Cecil and Susan were already there, setting up. With Cecil, Susan, Andrew and Jason all standing behind the registration table, I wandered around, visited, and took some pictures.

Susan, Jason, Cecil and Andrew, checking the riders in

I could look at Ray's bike all day.  What a nice bike!

Drew and the bike he built

Then the Route Rap - dogs, loose gravel and bad tracks in Timber, the french fries are great at the Birkenfeld Store...

Then we stood around for a few, because it was not quite 7am. Longest 3 minutes on record. And they were off! We started moving various food bits between vehicles - we left the post-ride snacks in Cecil's car, and moved all the wonderful baked goods she made into my van. A few more riders arrived late, checked in, and started off.

About 7:30, Jason and I set out for the Vernonia control. Susan said we'd have plenty of time to get there. We drove out via the route, passing the late riders in Forest Grove, many riders on Gales Creek Rd, a big clump on Hwy 6, and then found the lead pack just at the base of the Timber climb. They were moving between 7 and 10mph, usually right around 10. I'd die if I tried that...

Passed them at the top, then went the last 11 or so miles on to Vernonia. Got all the food out and unpacked. The park host showed up to let us get at the water, and showed us the flood line from the December flood marked on the door. It was up to my chest.

Got the water heating and.... in came the fast boys. They wanted to know when the control opened. 7 minutes ago. "Guys, we are slow! Wasting time here!". A round of card signing, and they were off, no picking up of any cookies or snacks.

Susan, Andrew and Cecil arrived just after they left. Another fast group came through; again, no food, just sign here, please. The third group actually stood around for a few minutes; subsequent groups stayed longer, had cup of noodles, rando mochas (freshly brewed coffee with hot chocolate mix stirred in), strawberries, many of Cecil's excellent cookies and brownies, and practically none of the store bought baked goods. (Future ride organizers take note - if Cecil bakes, don't bother with bagels or muffins. And if you've got fresh strawberries, they'll go much faster than the bananas).

After the last rider passed through, we packed everything up, and decided to all head back to the Grand Lodge, rather than go on to Vernonia. In my case, it was a lot of driving not necessarily needing to be done.

Jason and I drove back the direct route, and got back a good hour and a half before the control opened. Time to soak in the big hot tub, which we did, then proceeded up to the Rounder Room to sit with Beth, Susan, and Cecil. Andrew headed home at this point.

Over time, snack food was brought in - leftover muffins and scones, more of Cecil's baked goods, chips, dip, the strawberries and bananas and drinks.

Rain showers were passing over periodically.

The first three riders came in at 6:55 elapsed time, checked in, and promptly fell to replenishing their glycogen stores.

Finishers milling around and eating snacks

A couple more groups over the next 90 minutes, with lots of sitting around in between. Susan organizes and reorganizes rando paperwork. Cecil reads legal documents. I knit. Jason and Beth talk. We all munch on the snacks :-) and go out one by one to get some real lunch.

Riders come in. We can tell which ones were riding with people that had insufficient fenderage. Or if they themselves had insufficient fenderage. The snacks are being consumed at a steady rate.

Just a few loose dog mentions. Rather than the headwind we've enjoyed in previous years heading in on Gales Creek, there is a tailwind. Bummer. And rain off and on all the way in from Vernonia. But the french fries at the Birkenfeld Store got positive reviews.

Riders continue to trickle in. The bags of chips dwindle, and the muffins, scones, and cookies are eaten.

Lesli and Sara at the finish

Nat's a happy finisher!

By 7:30, all the riders are in. Including the pre-riders, 46 finishers, 1 DNF.

The rest of my pics are here
Cecil's pics
Lesli's pics
Jason's pics
Nat's pics
Bill's pics

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