Day ten of eleven had ups and downs, but in the end, well, it turned out to be one of the best days. Rider Josh Sutcliffe (JS) was responsible for mapping out today's route. "I'm not really to be trusted with directions," he warned. But desperate times call for desperate measures, and I had no choice in the frenzied days leading up to the ride. So i wasn't horribly surprised when we had to turn around in a train yard.
The road twisted up and down along the Cowlitz then Columbia River, with little-to-no shoulder and traffic. The noise from the 5 was a little annoying, but the weather was really nice again. Most of the car traffic was safe and patient, with a lot of encouraging support!
I am happy to report the return of a third rider: my brother Adam! He hopped on one of the loaner bikes and rode the farthest he ever has by double! It's so great he was able to come down to join us for the rest of the ride. Thanks, bro.
Coming in to Woodland, JS put a giant hill on the route that climbed 700 feet in 2.5 miles. It is a true pleasure to watch JS nimbly dance upon the pedals as he gracefully yet aggressively ascends the ever-steepening grade. Was that a grimace or a smirk on his face as the road twisted upward, his sinewy legs spinning, sometimes swaying the bike side to side like a metronome, or casually sitting, wheels turning like some kind of metaphor for life. Onwards and upwards, my fellow passengers on this tiny speck of dust in the vastness of everything!
That's the last time I let JS have creative license with the blogging. Anyway, the hill proved a challenge for my chair as well as the riders, as I ran out of juice again today! This time at mile 22, ten miles less than yesterday. Super-Mom came to the rescue with a fresh chair and sandwiches, we made the swap, and continued the last tenth of a mile to the summit.
Then it was time for the downhill, which is really scary for me especially since my crash last year. I don't want to go too fast, but if I slow down too abruptly I could topple over. It's not easy.
We made it to our planned destination and kept going for an additional seven-to-eight miles, giving us a little earlier arrival time in Portland (show up at 2pm, the Tom McCall Waterfront Park, in Portland. If you want to get there in time to see me at the finish, we will by the fountain near Hawthorne Bridge) for a total of 34 miles today. I'm tired, but overall feeling very good.
Since it's Monday and all the pubs are closed, we instead had a delicious bbq dinner (Josh Blaustein had a quinoa salad) in a park prepared by Julia (the dinner, not the park), a former employee of mine who now lives in the area. Thanks for bringing us such a delicious spread! It was great catching up with you, Julia!
I have a good friend Jimmy, who I really tried to guilt into joining me on the ride. Earlier today he said he would't be able to make it. So when we were getting settled into our room at the hotel, who should we see? That bastard! Jimmy will be running with us the last few miles into Portland. This trip has been awesome.
I've really enjoyed my ride, but I'm looking forward to finishing in Portland. I'm exhausted, both of my chairs could use a tune-up, I have a collection of broken umbrellas, but there's a beer or two waiting for me at Cascade Brewing calling my name. One more day! See you in Portland, friends!