Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Livestrong Challenge, 2008

Portland Velo Commemorative Dogtag, with call sign

The event really started Friday evening, with the course marshal pre-ride meeting. Our responsibilities were described, including this is a ride, not a race, traffic laws will be obeyed. Stop signs with white borders are not optional. And so on.

We also received nifty commemorative Livestrong dogtags with our call signs. I was assigned "Betty". Cecil was "Chipper" (wood or disposition? you decide.) Jason was "Tomcat". Jim M - "Hercules". John - "Kojak". Alan J - "Falcon". My personal favorite - Marc M - "Yard Sale".

After the meeting, Betty, Tomcat, and Falcon rode on home, each peeling off at their final turn.

Beth came out Saturday night, so she wouldn't have to do the long MAX ride in the morning. Cecil was at the door at 5:50am. She wasn't adventurous enough to wear the wool jersey :-) From there we proceeded west to collect Jason and go the back way into Nike, giving Beth a tour of some local neighborhoods.

Why is it most of our pictures involve reflective gear?

We went to our pre-ride meeting; Beth went off to check in and ditch her bag. We all met up again in the 70 mile route start lane. Standing around. Taking Riding Course Marshal group photos. Taking pictures of each other.

Doug, Traci, Einar and Martin

Portland Velo Course Marshals

Beth and Jason

Squadron Iota

And then we were off. Squadron Iota (Betty, Chipper and Tomcat) were to be riding near the rear of the 70-miler crowd. Not difficult. Only a few miles into it, we had already picked up some lost water bottles. Finally off Farmington, and into less-trafficked riding. We stopped briefly at the first rest stop, running into Beth as we were leaving.

Jason and Cecil heading through the wheatfields

Gave the next rest stop a miss. Got to suggest a few riders single up because there was traffic. The temperature was still quite pleasant.

After crossing Hwy 47 without stopping (thank you WashCo Sheriff!), we spied a motorcade coming at us. My, who could that be? Sure enough, there was Lance, headed back from Hagg Lake, probably 20 miles ahead of us.

A pause for food and visiting with the pirates at the Hagg Lake rest stop.


Then off again, where we saw a woman by the side of the road. "What is with this lump in my tire?". Excellent! Course Marshal duty! We were on it like flies on..... yes, well. The tire was immediately deflated, and found to have a disintegrating casing. We waited for a SAG wagon - the first along was a medical SAG, so they called for a mechanical SAG. Leaned against the guardrail and visited with Katherine, who had on the enviable CH2MHill jersey and had lived in Alaska, until the SAG showed up to take her to the next rest stop to buy a new tire. She was riding a classic Waterford, and was worried that it was the heaviest bike on the ride. We invited her to take a closer look at what WE were riding - a Bleriot, a Sweetpea and a Sekine, all set up as commuter and rando bikes. Fenders, mudflaps (and these were the only mudflaps spotted ALL DAY), generator hubs, lighting... She had nothing to worry about on that score.

And why were we riding those bikes? Cargo capacity. Extra tubes, extra filled water bottles, food in case someone bonks, lost items we picked up...

Off again, enjoying the ride around Hagg Lake. Always scenic and fun. Headed back out, and on the rollers past the Lake Store, we found a couple by the roadside. Flat tire. So we asked for their spare tube... "we don't carry tubes". New bikes, how could they possibly get a flat? Fortunately we had spare tubes just for this eventuality, and set to changing the flat. The SRAM Neutral Support vehicle pulled up and the driver offered to help. He had a floor pump, so, of course we let him. The top of the SRAM van had about 4 Orbeas and lots of spare wheels. But yet, he looked at my bike and.... "that's a beautiful bike you have there".


It had started heating up. After we crossed Hwy 47 again (without having to wait, so cool!), a rider passed us, and then blew by the turn onto Fern Hill. Mind you, he'd have gotten all the way to Gaston before he figured out he was lost. We all yelled, but he didn't stop. Cecil chased him down (where DOES she get the energy?). She caught him and yelled, and at first he didn't hear her because he had headphones on. Idiot.

North through Cornelius, working our way to North Plains and the Portland Velo rest stop. We would all wait there for the last riders and escort them in - "wingmen". It was getting quite hot and a bit sticky. Gordon Rd was endless.... it usually isn't. Over Hwy 26, into North Plains, only to pull in, park the bike, and get squirted by Fitz with the hose. Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh.


Fitz taking a break

We also scored the hidden Maggie's pastries and split a burrito from the worker's food delivery. Yum. A nice change from the pbj, oranges, bananas, pretzels, snack mix and Gummi Bears. We were then pointed at the baby pool filled with icewater. As ride marshals arrived, they all went and put their feet in the pool.

Portland Velo Party

We spent about an hour soaking our feet, visiting, eating... Eventually it became clear that there weren't going to be a lot of tired riders who would need that escort in, so the three of us took off. By this point it was whacking hot.

The last part of the course could be considered, well, demoralizing. West Union is a series of widely spaced rollers, with a narrow to non-existent shoulder. Then, turning onto Bethany, there is absolutely no shoulder, and a climb. Both West Union and Bethany have a fair amount of traffic. There were law enforcement vehicles at various spots, so drivers were a tad more attentive. Then the left onto Cornell (under construction for the past decade, probably continuing for another decade), and FINALLY, south on 158th, with wide bike lanes. Aaaaaaahhhhhh. A few climbs left, before crossing Walker Rd and turning left onto Jay, then into Nike.

Cecil gave me her sash somewhere along West Union - she wanted to head home before the promised thunderstorms, so continued on West Union/Thompson/Cornell (yes, there is a big hill in the middle).

Traci was there. "Did we not just see you at the last rest stop?" At which point Jason thought he'd head home, too, so I was now wearing three sashes. Rode into the campus. There was the small difficulty of being a ride marshal with no numbered bib, I could not put my bike in the secure parking. Figuring no one would take it, I leaned it up against the wall at the patio of the Tiger Woods center, went in, returned the sashes, and got my post ride "meal". Came out and found more PV course marshals, so I joined them. Nice visit all around. It turned out that Kristin, Alex, and Matt all wanted to ride up to Sylvan to get home. I mentioned that I knew how to get there WITHOUT riding on Walker Rd. Instant friends :-)

After more liquid ingestion (of various sorts) we headed out. Either Alex or Matt was wondering about my different-looking front hub. They didn't THINK it was a PowerTap. So I explained. They'd heard of them, but never seen one. They were all very nice and did not zip ahead on the Park Way hill (they are all racers. I plod.)

We said our good-byes at the top of the hill and headed our separate ways. Downhill to home for me. I'm trying to remember if I even had another dinner... Ah well.

All my ride pics here

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