Tuesday, July 24, 2012

And We Got Weather....

Looking forward to the pass: a waterfall along the way: chilling after a cold day on the road: rainy days mean work for Aaron the bike cleaner aka Where's Waldo?

Crazy.  That's the only way to describe it.  They call it Adventure Cycling for a reason: and today was an adventure!

The tribe rose very early to fuel themselves with a large breakfast to help them peddle the two passes: Washington Pass and Rainy Pass.  It was overcast with the forecast predicting rain and thunderstorms while crossing the Cascades.  The staff put together weather response plans and the tribe hit the road.  The ride started out dry.  We packed up camp, said our good byes to the self contained crew and Brian Martindale,  then caught up with the last rider about 5 miles from the climb to the top. It was at this point that I realized that I had not made a sandwich for one of my "special needs" riders.  (That would include vegetarian, gluten free, allergies.)  I told Jack to step on it and maybe we could beat him to the top and forgo the shame of being blond...or just tired.  He had to be one of the strongest riders and had already blasted through the lunch stop.  I rummaged around in the truck and put a lunch together for him and we hit the road again, hoping to catch up with him before the top of Rainy.  He was on his way down the other side, of course.  Well, I had 50 some miles to beat myself up.

 When we got to lunch stop the rain started to fall.  By the time we were at the top it was coming down pretty good.  By the time we got to Rainy it was pouring.  On the way down it was a combination of hail, snow and sleet, complete with lightening. The tribe got to experience just about every weather condition imaginable.  The staff did a good job of picking up riders and keeping them warm.  We had two close to hypothermic.  It is hard to imagine that one day the weather is 90+ degrees and the next it is snowing: mentally you don't prepare yourself for what may happen and outfit yourself properly to ride through it.  Ranger Tommy has just one more weather story to add to his collection of tales.  Maybe he should write a blog!

We got into camp and set up in a torrential downpour.  My brother showed up with a new batch of gluten free baked goods for my one rider.  I grilled a sandwich, yes he's the one I forgot, and sent Aaron back up the valley to try and find him.  About 12 miles out of camp Aaron caught up with him changing a flat at the side of the road.  He was so thankful to have a warm sandwich delivered that I think he forgave me.

Susan showed up around four and helped us prepare a hot pasta feast to refuel the tribe when they all came in. As they gathered for dinner she managed to drop a case of Blue Moon on the deck of the truck.  Kevin was in tears: it's his favorite.  I think there may be a job opening..anyone interested in working in the rain and sleeping in a wet tent?  It was a soggy night: we did not have use of a pavilion tonight, but the rain let up long enough for everyone to eat and slosh into their tents.

Tomorrow is Saturday and we will be at Bayview State Park for the Seafood smorgasbord.  Hopefully it will be in the sun.

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