Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Day 2 - Out-of-the-saddle Daco

Day 2 - Out-of-the-Saddle Daco

Today my plan for riding “easy” and not getting caught up with the faster riders in order to conserve energy and “sniff the flowers” went to the wind. We had a 75 mile ride that started in 48 degree weather again. But today was different and better. We saw the sun! No more leg tights and rain gear. The ride started in St. Helens OR and went down Rt. 30 which was gradually sloping downward our way and a nice little tail wind pushing on our backs. Rich and I started out together riding at an easy 16mph or so.

After about 5-8 miles two guys blew by us and it just looked like too much fun. I hopped on their mini pace line. They were cruising at 22-24 mph. We rode at that pace, simply euphoric about the great day and the ideal conditions.

After a left turn to cross the Columbia River on at Portland Road and North Columbia Way (see if you can find it on our interactive map) we stopped for a fantastic photo opportunity. It was an amazingly crystal clear day. Bikers were crossing the bridge, smiling very big and there was scenery stretching out in all 360 degrees. When you see the photo’s it looks like they were taken from an airplane, the bridge was so high.

We continued on our way, stopped at the park in the city of Portland proper. We sign in, so the leaders know we’ve made it. With my two new buddies Jeff (age 63) and John (age 57) we are some of the first 8 riders to arrive at mile 22. Rich was only minutes after us, riding strong.

After the stop the three of us leave together in formation. After a few miles the Holland phenomenon, “Daco”, Daco Woudenbert from Amerstandam passes us while I am in the lead. I pick up the pace and all three of us are now on his wheel. Daco figures that out and picks his pace up a bit (23-35). He is pulling like a mad man through the rolling mountain terrain. After a few miles Jeff and John gap I hang on. Daco stands on each incline and sprints up every hill. Through ten or so such episodes of “popper” types of hills I manage to hang on.

As he screams along a relatively flat section we see ahead a steep descent of maybe ¼ mile followed by a steep ascent. Steeper than we’d seen so far. At the beginning of the descent he drops into his highest gear and sprints down. About ½ way down and 35 mph he looks over his left shoulder to see me still there. Daco stops peddling and the draft pulls me by him. As I pass by him he looks me in the eye and gives me a huge, devious grin and I know I’ve been had. I hit the pedals hard. I go through the bottom of the valley giving it all I have to begin the climb. About 1/3 of the way up the other side Daco sling shots out of my draft and sprints by me. I am now toast! I try to keep up but can’t get on his wheel again. Keeping him in sight I try for a 3 miles or so until this amazing vista of Mount Hood opens up on the left side of the road.

That was all I needed to take a break. With about 18 miles to go I pull over and get a couple of great shots with my new Panasonic Lumix camera and then limp in to the next little town. There I find the most succulent strawberries I have ever tasted. They ooze with strawberry juice, flavor and texture. Perfect color, ripeness and the freshest strawberry taste I have ever enjoyed. I take a box back to the room to share with Rich. At the stand I wait a few minutes and my buddies John and Jeff show up and we decide to stop for lunch at "Calamity Jane's" just out of town. It is an old-west style saloon. Complete with dollars defaced with peoples names nailed to the high wooden ceiling, wooden everything, a large bar and a newspaper full of different burgers they serve. The most interesting was the "inflation burger". You can order one for $749.50 (not a typo). It comes with "absolutely nothing". If you order it and pay for it in cash, the waitress says that the owner will come out and do a dance for you.

The actual burger I get doesn't help me on the last 15 miles. We sat, enjoyed ourselves, got stiff legs and bloated bellies and limped in to a very charming mountain resort.

Before the day is over, Rich passes us and ends up being one of the first ½ dozen to arrive at the hotel. I find him checked in to the room already, discussing business with his office on his cell phone.

Although we seemed to think we did a fair amount of climbing today (2,860 feet). At dinner we are briefed that tomorrow is one of our first serious climb days, 4,763 feet. The day is predicted to start out quite cold and end up very hot, in the eastern desert of Oregon.

A big Chinese Buffet is our nutrition for the night. As we walk in to the restaurant, coming from the other direction is Daco. I smile at him and he smiles back and then says to me in his melodic accent, “I hope you didn’t mind me leaving you, but we were killing each other.” I laughed and took it as a compliment, because I thought I was the only one being hurt out there. We end up sitting together and learning about Holland and his experiences as a bank asset manager. Daco has crossed America by bike before and met Bud, a contractor from Canton Ohio.

We finish dinner and come back to the room. Rich says goodbye to his wife Sue and her high school buddy Nancy. We retire to the room to work on our blogs. Both of us are pretty inexperienced at them and we try to figure out how to load pictures.

I only made one decent video clip with the “helmet cam” today. I am still trying to learn how to turn it on and off without looking at it. People keep asking me if I have “remote control” for gadget. I am not sure where that question comes from.

We both feel pretty good after day two and are eager to see the sights and the climbs of tomorrow. I hope to get to bed early for once tonight.

Bye for now!


Jim Havens said...

Not surprising that you are attracted to straw berries.

Cindy Antolino said...

Good luck climbing the mountains. Remember to chant "I think I can" repeatedly!