Doing it all the hard way...

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Volcanoes Day 4 Down to the river to pray

There were lots of roads like this on the way down..
We awoke to the sound of skiers clomping across the parking lot to get on the ski lifts. With "spring-like" conditions my guess is the goal was to start early and end early before the snow got too soft.
Speaking of soft; by this time our bodies were in full rebellion. I could hear my legs complaining, "We put up with the long miles and the big training push in June. What the hell is THIS?" I had slept better but still could have dozed another hour if I had been given the chance. We were all excited about the prospects of an easier day.
It says a lot about the trip when eighty five miles with only four thousand two hundred feet of climbing is an easy day. In an attempt to keep the identities of the guilty private, I will only say there were intense discussions about chamois cream and skin "repair." On this trip more than one hotel found an inferior pair of shorts in their trash cans upon our departure.
Feral Dave had different plans as a commitment required him to ride to Portland to catch a train back to Seattle. I took a morning walk and found him getting ready with a Zen-like focus. His attention was so focused that I snuck up from behind and grabbed his bike and hid behind a mini van. When he noticed the missing bike he looked around with genuine concern until our eyes met. His expression then changed and what it changed to is between he and Evo.
I continued to walk around and enjoy the views
That is until I discovered they had COFFEE !
Coffee and cycling are like peas and carrots
After another breakfast that left our server in awe we prepped to leave.
McWoodie is ready to roll !
Check out the salt deposits on my Road ID. I washed it out the evening of Day 4
It was still early and despite being 6,000 feet above sea level it was warm. We descended in shorts and nobody was cold. The road was way more fun to ride down than it was coming up in the hot sun the afternoon before.

After getting down to Government Camp we went along a highway for another forgettable stretch. Finally we were on lightly travelled roads where we could either spread out or go fast. The smart thing would have been to take it easy. We weren't that smart.
Big John's seat was smarter than us this day. We drilled it.
We were rewarded for our efforts by good roads.
Crowne Point viewpoint parking lot. This was pretty typical of our stops. Food water and adoring fans.
Big John and Hank above the Columbia (we aren't sweaty yet).
The easterly descent was as scenic as it was fast.
By now there was a layer of low clouds that kept us cool.
Le Pirate enjoys some bike trail as we parallel I-84.

If you could look over the freeway, the views were impressive
It was fun to ride as a peloton for most of the day.
Even so, some felt compelled to maintain a small gap.
We passed under the highway...
We crossed the Columbia on The Bridge of the Gods again. This time there was a strong wind blowing from the west. As you recall the bridge deck is a steel grate and our tires were squirrelly in the wind. The wind dictated than we lean to the left as if we were CNN commentators. Brad ducked into the draft of Big John like a pilotfish seeking shelter. Evo took the sprint as we crossed back into Washington.
This was more of a processional as the trail for the final miles dictated a mellow pace.
As we approached the hotel we were back on the road. Our pace slowly ratcheted up and when we made the turn the race was on. Brad had launched early and had a gap but the rest of the "plastic boys" were closing. As the road turned Brad kept the hammer down and took the win.
We arrived at the hotel to find that not all of our rooms were ready. Hank and Michael (The MP) had gone on ahead and Big John was worried if they were okay as we didn't see them when we arrived at the hotel. I assured him that Hank was resourceful and worrying about his well being was a waste of effort.
Sure enough soon there was a knock on the door which revealed a grinning Hank clad in a white cotton robe having just returned from the sauna. He looked like Hugh Hefner in his heyday. Big John acknowledged his worry had been misplaced.
The shorter distance and moderate climbing had resulted in a arrival before four in the afternoon. We tool the time to watch the stage of the Tour de France and relax.
My room had this neat oak bike stand. While not what I am used to, it worked just fine for lubing my chain (note the blue glove and dirty rag below the chainring).
We had a nice dinner and for the first time we didn't all order two entrées. We had our jersey presentations and had a gentlemen's agreement not to pip jerseys on the final day of our grand tour. We noted that we were down to eleven with the departure of KB on day two and Feral Dave on day four.
The easier day was a welcome treat and knowing there was only one more day of riding gave us the confidence that we would all make it. Hank was sporting a sore Achilles and all of us had sore legs and tired southern exposures.
We set alarms and fell into bed. It was a fun trip and finishing the next day wasn't too early, nor too late.

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