Despite last month’s experience with cutting it close to start times, I still managed to not make my goal of getting to the start sufficiently early to assure a calm and adequately prepared start. Andrew Black was in graduate attire- took his picture w/o a chance to ask why he was in that getup. Then took off. About 2 miles down the road Susan France flagged me down to give me my control card- so much for an orderly and adequately prepared start. Thanks, Susan.
My spirits soon got past that poor-rando-form episode. The weather was perfect and Oregon was at it’s picture-perfect best. There was plenty of good company. Despite my goal of a sub 20 hour ride, I couldn’t help to stop for photos. Since I had my Garmin GPS security blanket, I did not feel compelled to stay with a group.
|Covered Bridges 400K 6/14/08|
The problem with GPS devices is the battery. My plan was to conserve power by using a backup odometer and use the Garmin the latter part of the ride when fatigue and darkness would make it more necessary. Well, the GPS should have been on- Bill Schell and I wound up with 7 bonus miles on account of not consulting the GPS gizmo when faced with a directional ambiguity. Intervention as a result of that experience is finding a mini USB battery/recharger. I don’t know how it will work in rainy weather though.
Back to the ride- we were soon joined by other groups and were able to benefit from friendly pulls- especially a tandem who soon found themselves with several old farts attached to their wheel. I ran out of gas the last 100K or so. Part of this had to do with passing less than ¼ mile away from my house. Then, the “no mas” thoughts were going past ideation to planning when we stopped at the Plaid Pantry and found that there was NO COFFEE. When recounting that to my wife, she observed- now you know why there were so many French DNF’s at the 2007 PBP.
But other than feeling like it, I had no good reason to quit, so with Bill’s good company we finished in less than 21 hrs. I was greeted by John Maurice’s bright-eyed and happy face. Joanne signed me in. It was great to see those two at the end- what a different ending it would have been if I had quit in Salem. I didn’t accomplish my time goals. But it was a day with great weather, scenery and company and my body was telling me I had given a good effort; that qualifies as a successful ride.
I hung out for a bit, then headed for my sister-in-laws house in Dundee which is only 3 miles away from the finish. I had anticipated being tired, and had obtained a key to let myself in. A ½ mile away from her house, I was stopped by a Dundee policeman- who observed that I was driving erratically. I gave him my story. He asked if I had been drinking- my reply was “are you kidding?’ and after checking my paperwork advised me to be careful driving the last ½ mile. I feel fortunate that he was simpatico to my circumstances as he could have made a case for careless driving and made it a very expensive bike ride. So, randonneurs beware: the police are aware of us and our fatigued state after riding.