Monday, July 21, 2008

Wild times

Monday, 21 July

Yesterday was one of those beautiful, leisurely summer rides that you store away in your memory for when the weather isn't as beautiful or the riding as leisurely (it might be harder in the winter but it's probably slower too). I was with just a couple of teammates, and we remarked more than once how much different the same old roads seemed (1) on a race bike instead of a rain bike, (2) in the sunshine, and (3) without being bundled up and cold.

The contrast to our nice, mellow 4-hour ride was the wild goings-on in sleepy Snohomish. I had a bad feeling when we crossed the bridge and turned along the main street and it was filled with classic cars and hordes of people. But it takes more than a thousand people and shiny cars to come between me and a much-anticipated coffee stop, and I was able to forge a path on my bike through the humanity without anyone cursing me. As we were leaving town, we were bombarded with the sounds and smells of a Civil War reenactment (and people think 12-hour time trials are fundamentally strange?) at one end Harvey Airfield. At the other end, a small carnival was set up.

The sign at Stocker Farms reminded me that this was Kla-Ha-Ya Days. 'Member when a bike race used to be part of this craziness too?

GIGANTIC PROPS go to teammate and friend Brian Ecker for his run at a course record at Race Across Oregon this weekend. First (you know, for, like, 250 miles) he was in a dead heat with last year's winner. Overnight (it's a 535-mile, nonstop bike race) he gained nearly an hour over his closest competitor. But after something like 30 hours on the bike, and within reach-out-and-touch distance of Mt. Hood where the race finishes at Timberline Lodge, his body was no longer willing. I can't say enough how much I admire him for taking on this challenge (and his support crew for going along for the ride) and for listening to his body and deciding to stop while it was still a decision. Wishing you a speedy recovery, Brian!

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