Yesterday was the first day of our OOA Racing Team 2-Day Camp. No, we don't go to someplace like Arizona. In fact this is better (and a lot cheaper). Camp was, once again, going to be held in Centralia. We would stay at the old Olympic Hotel, and have our dinner at the Gibson House. Bags were being schlepped to the hotel from the ride start at Tumwater Falls Park by a teammate's wife (Jen Hile--yay Jen!). I had taken my bag over to Debbie's husband at Twisties (their frozen yogurt shop) on Friday. Hours after I had dropped off my bag, I was suddenly struck by the idea that I had not packed another pair of tights for Sunday. Hmmm...since I knew I would have an opportunity to add to my bag at the park (I just had to get what I needed to it), I decided to take my long wool Ibex leg warmers in my jersey pockets. It would mean that I would just be wearing a pair of bib shorts and the leg warmers on Sunday. That may not seem bad, but I am quite used to having two layers on over my hips and upper thighs (it was okay--those Ibex leg warmers are awesome).
Our fearless president put out a memo saying that the first 30 people who, at the start of the ride, could tell him something about one of our sponsors, would get a prize. I told him about Human Body Works. My friend Amy Murry owns the business and specializes in massage therapy. For imparting my knowledge, I got a repaired bike tube complete with a tire boot. For those who don't know what a tire boot is, it is, in this case, a piece of old tire that can be placed in a tire where there might be a larger cut or a thin spot that may cause more flats. It is intended to get you home. Other tire boots can be a dollar bill, or duct tape. It's referred to as "booting the tire".
We started out together with 45 of us. We would stay together until Centralia. We were taking a pretty straight shot to Centralia that would be about 25 miles to the city limits, and an additional 4 miles to the point where, those of us doing the shorter route, would let the long route guys go on (even though we would continue on the same route for several more miles). The long route was planned to be 102 miles (turned out it was 111). The shorter route was 73.4 (turned out it was 72.8--pretty close if you ask me). Both routes would continue south, then return north to Centralia. 25 people did the long route. 19 of us did the shorter route--good groups for both. The beauty of taking the quickest way to Centralia was that I got to go on some roads I had not ridden before. Overall, the shorter route was very nice. We had a tremendous tailwind on Hwy 508 coming to Jackson Hwy. The only not-so-great part was the road between Chehalis and Centralia. It goes through a fairly industrial area with no shoulder. The road surface is cracked and there is usually debris on the sides of the road (Jean got the only Team Camp flat on that road). As we came back into Centralia, there is an overpass that goes over the railroad tracks. There's a sign that says no bicycles on this overpass. It's not real clear, but there is an alternate to avoid going over the overpass. I rode up to the front to tell the lead guys where to go. We made the turn, but I knew we had dropped a few people. I returned to the corner so I could make sure everyone made the turn. I waited...and waited...and waited. I could see quite a ways down the one-way road. Finally, I thought either they turned somewhere else (a mystery to me), or I had mistakenly thought they weren't with us. I rode on into Centralia and back to the hotel. I asked Maria if Debbie was there. She said no. Hmmm...curious. Where were they? As Maria and I headed toward the coffee shop, we saw the missing riders already there. It was Jean's flat tire that had caused their delay. But, all was fine. We had coffee (or hot cocoa, in my case) while we waited to be able to check into our hotel rooms.
Once into our rooms, we showered and changed into our street clothes. We had about 2 1/2 hours before the dinner. We all met in the restaurant downstairs for appetizers. Bit by bit the 111 miler riders joined us. Soon it was time to head over to the Gibson House for dinner (it's amazing how much food can be consumed--some had appetizers that would be considered a meal, then an hour or so later ate a full dinner).
As we walked in, we were given a raffle ticket. When I went to get some pre-dinner veggies, then returned to the table, Todd, Maria's husband, said he had switched tickets with me. I told him he couldn't do that because I was sure my ticket was a lucky one (for one thing, it started with my favorite number--27. Then again, they all started with 27...). He was just joking and had not traded tickets with me. For the evening program, most all of the sponsors gave presentations. After each sponsor's presentation, a raffle ticket was drawn for a door prize that each sponsor had brought. Dr. Peterson presented for Olympia Orthopaedic Associates, our main sponsor. He gave a brief history of OOA and also told us why they have partnered with the racing team. His raffle prize was one of those plastic cups that looks like a disposable cup but is not, with the OOA logo on it, and...a $50 Amazon Gift Card. He drew the winning ticket, and it was mine! Woo Hoo (see? I told Todd it was a lucky ticket!)!
We had a good dinner, and enjoyed listening to the other sponsors' presentations. Several more raffle prizes were handed out, and Chip gave a review of the past season (surprisingly, my name was mentioned a couple of times). Then, the grand finale of the evening...Jeff Evans' Magic Show! Jeff is a fellow teammate whose full-time livelihood is doing magic. He puts on a great show. Toward the end, he asked for a volunteer with a ring he could clean and polish in his special ring cleaning and polishing machine. I offered my ring. Somehow, he managed to get my ring into a locked box (I thought he put it into his "machine"). It was very entertaining!
Back at the hotel, most of us headed to bed (some headed for more beers). Of course, it's always difficult to fall asleep in a strange bed--even when you've done a long ride. I finally dropped off to sleep, only to be awakened around 2:00am by other hotel guests making a huge racket out in the hallway. I finally put my pillow over my head and went back to sleep.
Day 2--A Dog's Bite is Worse Than His Bark
The alarm went off at 6:30 (definately could have slept longer, but had a perverse desire to get up and make a bunch of noise...for some reason). We threw our clothes on and headed a couple of blocks to Berry Fields Cafe for breakfast. They didn't open until 7:00, but when they did, they were ready for about 16 of us. Service was quick and efficient. I had a bowl of oatmeal and some toast. Then it was back to the hotel to change, pack up, and get ready to ride. The long route guys were doing 96 miles. They were going to be eventually coming to the Willapa Hills Trail out of Chehalis. I really wanted to do the last (or first, depending on your start location) part that Christian, Carol, and I had not done on our Peninsula trip. None of the short route options included the trail, so I made my own route. About half of the group decided to join me (Jean, Geraldine, Jeff, Kyle, Scotty, Bryan, and Andy).
After all the bags were reloaded into Jen's van, we took off as a group. We were all together until Chehalis. Then we parted ways with the long route guys. The remaining 8 of us worked our way to the other side of the freeway, and the Willapa Hills Trailhead. I got a little confused when the road narrowed to a single lane, and started looking for the trail a little too soon. We saw a car coming and asked the driver if the trail was down the narrow road. It was, and we soon found it. There had been some question as to whether it was paved or not. I knew it was from being on it from Adna, as well as all the research I had done before the Peninsula trip. It was paved, with the exception of one spot that crossed over another rail line and on both sides of the Hwy 6 crossing (this, I think, is to keep riders from flying out onto the highway). We all negotiated the gravel without incident (Andy even going so far as to say it was his favorite part of the ride so far).
All too soon, our adventure on the Willapa Hills Trail came to an end as we came to Bunker Creek Rd. Up next was one of the longest flat sections I've ridden with the team. Bryan pulled for a long time keeping a peppy 20-21mph pace (we might have had a bit of a tailwind too). Since the area we were traveling in is made up, primarily, of valleys and ridges, our flat riding eventually had to come to an end. We climbed up and over the ridge on Ingalls Rd, rode a couple of miles on Lincoln Creek to Manners Hill, up and over Manners to Gerrard Creek, then along Gerrard Creek to Oakville Rd, and South Bank Rd.
As we were still riding on South Bank Rd, almost to our next turn onto Cemetery Rd, Kyle and I noticed a couple of dogs as they ran out to chase us. We both yelled at them, and managed to escape. But, that was only because we were at the front. The dogs continued to give chase. I think Bryan and Geraldine were at the rear. Before Bryan could get ahold of his water bottle to squirt at the dogs, one managed to chomp into the back of Geraldine's leg in the hamstring. We got away from the dogs and pulled over. Geraldine pulled up the leg of her tights to reveal that the dog had broken the skin and it was bleeding. Jeff, immediately got on the phone with the police (Chehalis Tribal), and requested an officer to come out and assist with finding the owner of the dogs, and if the dog was current on its rabies vaccine. In the meantime, Geraldine was able to get ahold of her husband, and arrange for him to pick her up in Oakville. The officer was able to get photos of the dogs as well as the owner's name (but the owner wasn't home) from a neighbor. After the necessary info was exchanged, we rode slowly on into Oakville. Shortly after arriving, Geraldine's husband also arrived to pick her up. It was important to get her to the clinic to have the wound properly cleaned and any necessary protective procedures taken care of (a tetanus shot and some antibiotics). We were also concerned that the long route guys would also be coming through the same way. Bryan opted to ride back to join them and give warning. The remaining 6 of us continued on. The planned route was to take us up Mima to Waddell and on up to Capitol Forest. Instead, we opted to turn and go down into Littlerock and take Maytown and Case Rds. back to town. It started raining just as we were coming into Tumwater. Debbie, who had ridden straight back from Centralia with Cindy, was going to bring my bag to my house, so I just continued on home.
Today's ride was just a mile shorter than planned. I would have preferred adventure of a different kind than a dog attack, but overall, the ride was good. Next week, racing season starts for me with the Icebreaker Time Trial.