Friday, May 16, 2008

Hot Hood

Friday, 16 May

Yesterday was the first road stage at Mt. Hood. An absolutely beautiful day. Okay, maybe too beautiful by the end. But still glorious. I was helping with registration/packet pick up for the OBRA races, so I was in Parkdale at 6:00 a.m. The park was beautiful with tall trees. It's fun to feel the race anticipation build as stuff gets set up and riders start to roll in, sometimes bleary eyed. Here's the start of the masters field.

Then it was off to the feed zone. Not a great place to hand up water bottles because it's the only FLAT spot on the course. The first time the riders came through, they were flying so fast almost nobody got a feed. By the second pass, they'd figured it out and slowed down a bit. The cool part of this spot is that it's bracketed by Mt. Hood on one end and Mt. Adams on the other.

After the boys were done and decramped and watered and fed and back at the ranch, I headed out for my ride. I followed the race's TT course out to The Dalles and then did a little loop out there. Well, I did part of the loop. It's 18 miles. It was headwind from the start and I was going a whopping 12 mph. 6 miles later I was still doing 12 mph (and this is the downhill/flat part of the loop) and I realized I wouldn't be home before dark. So I turned around...and was promptly doing 22. :)

It's truly an amazing TT course. This was the first time I'd ever ridden it when the winds were anywhere close to calm, and I realized that you could do the whole thing without touching the brakes. I guess on previous attempts, I've had to use the brakes to keep from blowing across or off the road. The views, again, are amazing. This pic is looking west back toward Hood River from the top of the climb (yeah, there's climb in this TT--net elevation gain is something like 2000 feet in 16 miles).

Out on the loop out of The Dalles, I saw a beautiful pheasant and a coyote. And then going up the TT climb on my way home, I stopped for some deer crossing the road. I think this one would've stood there all night, just watching me fumble for my camera in my pocket.

Thursday was the coolest day of the weekend. On my first pass through The Dalles, the bank thermometers said 94 degrees. By the time I returned at about 6 p.m., they were down to 90. Today I'm venturing out in the direction of Saturday's epic road stage. Rolling hills as far as the eye can see, and of course no shade from the blazing sun. And no cell service, so I can't call for a taxi to get home!

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