Wednesday, August 22, 2012

R 8 = Great!

Only 20 minutes to the first control point, so hurriedly fix my flat at mile five.  The Corbett store's closed anyway, but the ranger at the park's handy and signs instead.
See Scott from VeloCult, who just rescued a lost parrot at the same exact spot the kittens were saved last week.  Another flat on the way up to Crown Point.  Fix it fast and off to Vista House to borrow a floor pump.

The bike path and Cascade Locks.  The freeway.  Forever on the freeway.  Yet another flat.  A walk to the gas station and a stop at the Hood River bike shop for pricey C02 cartridges.  The day was just getting started.
South to Parkdale.  I'd ride these roads any old day.  Twisty, hilly, and gentle grades amidst beautiful countryside.  Potato salad and a tart for lunch.  More climbing to be had ahead.
Up Cooper Spur, one of the best sections of road I believe I've ever been on.  Up and around, curvy and pretty, shaded and cool.  To the Cooper Spur lodge for a restroom and water stop.  Yet more climbing awaits!
Route 35's a sudden slap back to reality with its four lanes of fast traffic including semi trucks.  Several bridges under construction with narrow or non-existent shoulders demand a short foot down to breathe before venturing on.

"I must stop and rest more!" I yell.  Sitting, calculating the distance to Government Camp (10 miles) and the amount of time to get there (40 minutes) is another sudden slap.  Off like bullets up the hill, the mountain, up, up, down a bit, more up and finally to the control point.

The clock at the gas station reads 5:10pm.  The cut-off time is 5:13.  The clerk stares as I laugh with relief, heart pounding out of my rib cage, and bag my back up plan in case of disqualification.  I wouldn't need to beg my boss for a Friday off to take another stab at it after all.

Finally, sitting on the grass back in Troutdale, outside the last control, I look back at the Mountain.  Mount Hood.  Wy'east.  Whatever you call it, I have seen it from every direction in one day.  I even answered a long pondered question in my head - when do you stop seeing the mountain you're climbing?  Never.

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