Saturday, August 2, 2008

Team Qualcomm Rides the MS Bike Ride

Us at the Larwood Covered Bridge
(but Lynne, you don't WORK for Qualcomm!)

True. I am, however, married to the team captain. Plus I get more jerseys.

We were going to ride Saturday, and head off to vacation on a 12:30am red-eye to Detroit. Fitz gently suggested that I should perhaps not consider riding the century. As the ride was based in Sweet Home this year, we (all 4 team members) would drive down very early on Saturday, ride the 60 mile ride, enjoy the finish a bit and drive back.

I managed to get almost completely packed for vacation Friday afternoon, including dissassembling and packing Bleriot, and making a list of stuff that still needed to get packed. We loaded our bikes in the van the night before, and got our riding gear collected. We would, of course, wear our Team Qualcomm jerseys. I tossed stuff into my big red ride duffel and put it in the van.

Driving over to Jim's house, Fitz thought we should forage for coffee. Found a Starbuck's a few blocks east, got coffee... found Todd with more coffee, riding over to Jim's. Loaded Todd's bike, went and collected Jim, and headed south.

I got lots of knitting done on the drive.

The temperature did not go up much (low 50's). The conditions were gray/misty.

Jim is clearly ready

Arrived, parked, unloaded the bikes, and went to get our packets. As Team Qualcomm does such an outstanding fundraising job, all 4 of us were Top Fundraisers. The rest of the team will have their Top Fundraiser jerseys mailed, as they were out of their size. Being on the smaller side, I got mine right there. We get free registration AND VIP privileges for next year, too.

It was chilly. I had my armwarmers and knee warmers, but was worried about my hands. Aha! Rummaging in my bag produced the old grey wool gloves I wear on rando rides as a top layer! Whew!

Little Pink Bear is ready to go

Off we went, to the cheers and accompaniment of cowbells.

Ames Covered Bridge at the start

The route started out flat for a bit, then a climb out of Sweet Home with some more gentle climbs. Got to the first rest stop with no problems, had a nice snack, lost some of the extra clothing, and pressed on. As we were all riding as a group this year (last year everyone rode different routes and had differing agendas), I got to chat with Jim and Todd.



Arrived at our first covered bridge (well, ok, if you count the Ames Covered Bridge at the start, it was our second) of the day, and the only one on this route. Happily for me, it was the Larwood Covered Bridge, which was a new one. I've been to all the others.

Larwood Covered Bridge

A few pictures, then off to the rest stop, where the balance of the extra clothing was removed, sunscreen applied, food consumed, visitation with Bob H occurred (he's liking retirement), and we saw the first of The Two Rollerbladers. Back to the bridge for some Team Pictures.

Then, off to Crabtree, which I remembered as very small and, in January, very, very cold. Not today. And it is bigger than I thought. Nice pause at the rest stop, where we were offered Eggs on a Stick. Some discussion ensued as to whether we could do a Paula Deen on them, which would involve bourbon, breading, and deep-frying. Perhaps with a melted butter dip. And a nice alcoholic punch.

The Blue Train heading off to Crabtree

Jim on the way to Crabtree
Some of the 78 mile and 100 mile riders came in. They had stories of this road with amazingly steep rollers. :-) Cole School Road, naturally.

The scenery was Willamette Valley with haying done - lots of haybales and hay waiting to be bailed. I saw a deer hopping through a field at one point.


The Two Rollerbladers came in. They were from California (the deep tans should have been a giveaway), and were doing the 60 mile course. Whooo. They left the rest stop before we did, and we passed them a few miles out. Not that they were moving slowly.

Nor, at this point, were we. All other rides I have done in the Willamette Valley involve going south first, usually early, with perhaps a slight tailwind, then north in the afternoon, with the Headwind from Hell. This route went north, then west, then (hallelujah!) south! With the amazing wind. I had a wonderful time heading south to the next stop. So much so that I had to stop and wait for the other three after awhile. We passed by the outskirts of Lebanon. I recognized several of the roads from the fleche - we didn't ride on any of them, but crossed quite a few.

Last rest stop. More snacks. More eggs on a stick. Then back to the hilly part of the course, back to Sweet Home. Todd was on a mission (his mom was waiting at the finish line), so he took off. Fitz and I followed, with Jim in the back.

These folks rollerbladed the entire 60-mile route...

A brief period of indecision going through town (which way to we go HERE?), and then into the finish area (finish medals, more cowbells, Todd and his mom cheering).

Here we are!

Met Todd's mom. Put the bikes away. Asked the nice gentleman sitting outside his tent if I could use it as a changing room. Then we all went to get our free VIP massages (we all bought more minutes). Aaaaahhhhh. I was told the masseuse doing mine was digging his elbow into my back. Yeah, it felt something like that. Then substantial snacks, and we took everyone home.

All the pictures are here

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