Sunday, June 8, 2008

Make Mine Mocha

The sudden blast of frantic revival preaching, barely audible under the roar of scratchy static that is my ‘alarm’ (radio in the stcks on a Sunday morning) jolted me upright out of a deep sleep. Fumbling in the dark I finally squelched the racket. Blinking myself awake in the dark, the red numerals came into focus: it was 2:30. Time to get up and head out to the southern boundary of Rainier National Park to set up a little pop stand in support of the 600K riders. They would be descending off White Pass, on the homeward leg of their 40 hour adventure. I would meet them at 434K into their 606K circuit of the Cascades Mtns. At this point many have been riding for most of the last 24 hours. They started at 5:00am on Saturday and have until 9:00 pm tonight to finish. They will have transited three mountain passes and have another, Cayuse at 4,700 feet to get over just 16 miles from where I’ve set up. I think better of complaining about tired I am.

It’s a 2 hour drive from Rocky Acres to the controle. I was on autopilot, grooving to a new CD Featuring Robert Plant and Allison Krouse, until I hit Packwood. From there on the driving is hazardous: the road is littered with nonchalant elk. Hitting an elk, at any speed is really a bad way to start the day. I slowed and weaved my way through them.

In the gloam of 5 am I pulled out the saw horses and the left over piece of siding (house renovation has all kinds of bennies) and then set up the Colman stove and got to boiling water. I arranged a couple lawn chairs and was ready to play barista. Other than a little cold it was a great time to be out in the woods to watch the day wake up. The weather forecast Friday night had been for the possibility of moisture and with the temps dropping below freezing in the passes I was worried that the riders might be coming across the pass in rain, sleet, or snow.

Just as the water was starting to steam Ray showed up. He was happy to see me and I to see him. We had not crossed paths since PBP last year, sheesh, that is almost a year gone. Only a couple more years to get ready for ‘oh eleven’.

Riders started showing up, by ones and twos (note the stylish booties!)

They were all cold, some much more so than others but all looked really good. And here is the thing I can never understand but always happens, unfailingly: No one complains! We had a couple get in the truck with the heater on full blast until the involuntary shivering subsided, but most were thrilled to have their choice of coffee, hot cocoa, or a ‘mocha’ (swiss miss and coffee).

I brought a couple cheap airline ‘blankets’ which were put to good use.

The Costco muffins were a hit. After a cup of something warm and few minutes in a lawn chair most headed out to scale Cayuse and then roll on down toward the finish. There was the usual Chatter about how good the
breakfast was at the overnight control, how bad the headwind was from Tieton to Rimrock, but all in all, though they never said so, these folks were just really happy to be out, riding their bikes through the mountains.
One rider sat staring pensivly into his cuppa cocoa and said he
was thinking of seeing a psychiatrist. I thought for a moment and then counseled against it: The time for that is long past, professional help is likely to just cut into the bike budget, and, well that would never do.

I think on this ride I may have seen more riders that I had never met before than riders I knew from past adventures. Partly that’s because I rarely see people at the front of the p
ack but mostly it’s because there are a lot of new riders in the club. I don’t know where these folks come from but just like the last batch, they all seem to be fine people. I’m happy I am associated with this business, but I was a little wistful not to be riding.

The Earth Moved for Me
I was a little stiff and achy at the control. I took Friday off and worked the controls of a shovel and rake as Dave the Dirt Guy came by with his Cat and dump truck to reshape the front of our property. He installed our septic and drainfield so is familiar with the place.

This part of the place has been in need of a ‘mini make over’ since we moved in and the flood didn’t help much. In fact this was going to be my ‘big project’ for the year. The flood rearranged priorities but we did a little creative accounting and found there was enough in the budget to do a slightly scaled down version of what we had in mind.

So the concrete driveway morphed into crushed rock , and the beautiful stone walls and flower beds out front will have to wait a year but at least it is smoothed out enough (and covered over with four loads of prime top soil) that once we get it grassed in we’ll be able to keep it civilized with the rider. It’s been a while since I was a working man and riding bicycles in not very effective ‘cross training’ for shovel work. But it’s a good kind of pain.

Hope you had as much fun on your weekend as I did.
PS: The pond garden's floweres are looking good,I guess they are all likly to benefit from flood waters.


  1. The hot beverage was greatly appreciated. Thanks for the support.

  2. Paul,
    So glad to finally meet you. I have enjoyed reading your blog. Happy to see the home re-construction project is nearing the final stages!

  3. Dr Codfish6/9/08, 9:30 PM

    Supporting is a lot like riding, ... only different: It is a tiring and it also provides a sense of accomplishment when done well.

    supporting you guys was a privilage, happy I got to do it.

  4. Agree with other posters that it was nice to meet the blogging Mr. Codfish.

    Thanks for the ride support.

    Lesli Larson

  5. I knew that smiling face at the control looked familiar! I didn't introduce myself but I was the lone rando that came in just before Jennifer (on the Miyata).

    Although I eventually DNFd the ride, it was an awesome experience, and I still racked up some bragging points by at least doing all the passes.

    But without your support I wouldn't have even made it as far as I did, thanks!! Hope to see you on the road some day.

  6. Hi Paul, thanks for letting me sit in your truck. My hands were frozen and the warm sure felt good. Thanks for the support on this one, see you on the road soon!