Sunday, August 8, 2010


I’d expected this to be a ride report post, sharing photos and exploits of the 3 Volcanoes 300K brevet. I wasn’t sure how that would go, possibly a Hors Delay (finish outside the time limit) or maybe even a DNF, though along that route there are few opportunities to hitch a ride if you decide to throw in the towel, and no cell phone coverage over most of the route if you want to call in the cavalry.

But no, here I am posting a DNS story (did not start!), thus the phttt. Not epic, possibly the result of very poor prep, but of all the scenarios I had imagined, this one caught me by surprise like a round house punch from behind.

I was a little stressed when I got home Thursday night from my two day, cross state road trip. As I filled out the log book I had tallied almost 850 miles in a day and a half, still facing my 35 mile drive home from the office.

I was home by 9:00pm but in no condition to do any packing to get ready for the bike event Saturday. I figured the best thing I could do would be to get to bed and sleep, then rise early Friday, pack and head for the mountains. I slept well, until almost 9:00am which is sleeping in for me. This was a bit of a late start but I figured it was a good investment that would pay off later. My packing and getting ready was scattered. I have a check list I use when traveling to the start of an event but I dispensed with that this time, I was in a hurry: As might be expected, that came back to bite me later.

It was 1:30 or so before was headed down the road. Our road (Highway 12) is getting resurfaced, so it was either wait in line or take a ‘shortcut’ through the Chehalis reservation, either way was going to take time. I stopped in Centralia to pick up a few things and it occurred to me that I should get out my ride glasses because they are photochromatic, and sunglasses would be great in this bright sun (I was already getting a headache) but … the glasses were safely tucked away in the medicine cabinet at home. SHIT!

It was an easy decision, I went back for the glasses (shortcut or road construction redux X2 ... out and back, remember?)  Now it was pushing 3:00 and Friday traffic was backing up on I-5. Of course there was a wreck in the northbound lanes at Chehalis and my southbound friends just had to slow down and get a good look (argh!).

Finally, heading up Hwy 12 into the country with just vacationers and their boats and RV’s. I’m OK with this, like me they’re out to do their thing and most are driving responsibly.

Packwood is a little place that is deserted much of the year and overwhelmed with travelers on summer weekends. It’s not much of a destination itself but a jumping off point for Mt Rainier National Park, surrounding Forest Service campgrounds, or a trip across the Cascades to eastern Washington.  In rural planning parlance it's a ‘gateway’ community.

I checked into my 1950's era motel, fiddled with the window mounted AC (couldn’t get it to work, oh well) and then headed to Blantons Market to get some breakfast food, then on to the local restaurant/pizza joint for whatever they had for dinner fare.

As I waited to make my order Ken Carter sidled up. We had a nice talk waiting for food. He ordered a salad and I got a pizza to go. I thought of salad but figured that might not be the best choice here:  you know, that salad that is brown around the edges and has the slight tang of fermentation. His salad was beautiful and I was a little envious. Eventually my pizza appeared and I bid Ken adieu and headed back to get my bike ready for the morning rollout.

Bike packed and clothes laid out I took a relaxing shower (oh that headache!) and was in bed by 7:30 or so. I did finally get the AC to work, but I think it produced more noise than cold air; ah well I was tired enough that I was able to doze off within the hour.

I woke with a start about 1:00 am and stumbled to the bathroom in the dark, barely making it to the toilet in time. Thus ensued four hours of civil war in the boiler room. 3:45 (my wake up time) came and went, as did 5:00 am, the official start. I was alternately doubled up in the fetal position in bed or doubled over on, or in front of the porcelain throne. Later Mrs. C commended me for making the right decision.  Really, there was no decision to make.

By about 8:30 I thought that perhaps I might be cleaned out enough that it would be safe to attempt the drive home. When you are having that ‘sick to your stomach business’ in a cheap motel you really just want to get on home ground, but another two hours in the car was a daunting prospect, especially if there was some ‘unfinished business’ that might pop up. I headed out and made it with no surprises along the way but my stomach felt like a fire ball from start to finish. 

When I got home I made myself a big plate of fried eggs and polish sausage with a side of poblano jalapeno hashbrowns.  Kidding.  I had a little yoghurt on and off through the day and mostly lolled about.  I was able to do a water change in the pond and introduced these two little guys to the gang:

They have been in the Q tank for two weeks. 

They seem to have integrated quite well with their new found friends.

As the hours ticked off yesterday I thought about my pals riding around in the mountains, and me, not riding around in the mountains. I’m bummed: I had looked forward to this event since it showed up on the calendar last winter.

I didn’t see this coming, perhaps it was the culmination of several days of tight schedules and road food, or it may just have been the pizza, the night before.

Today is Sunday and I feel better, but sort of like Mike Tyson landed a couple solid blows to the gut, achy you know? Perhaps a local JRA ride is in order.


  1. Oh Paul! That's nasty...I was wondering why you were not at the start. Maybe we can go do it as a tour in the fall?

  2. Well that explains it. We were all wondering where you were.

    Rotten luck, that.

    I got a kick out of your line about a big plate of fried eggs and polish sausage with a side of poblano jalapeno hashbrowns; we can do this ride together some day, and then cook this up in camp at the finish.

  3. We certainly missed you on the ride Paul - sorry you were so sick.

  4. Dang. Bad, bad luck. Looks like you have the makings of some really quality consolation prizes though, by reading the other comments here.

  5. I missed the ride also. Silly me, I agreed to dog/house sit for Tracy & Alissa so Tracy could attend her high school reunion in Alaska. When I made that agreement I didn't realize it was going to conflict with the 3V. Well you gotta do what you gotta do. I hiked up Mt Ellinor instead because I could leave the dog alone long enough for a day trip. I'm climbing Mt Olympus this weekend. Are you up for the 400 next week? I'm already registered.