Chillin’ in paradise

Well, after days on end of late nights and early mornings, trying to wrap up things at home, work and prepare to leave for the race, the day finally came and Monday I flew out.

My dad picked me up at 6:45am and dropped me at the airport in St Louis. Checking my bike box was a breeze as was security. My first flight was on time and uneventful.

Upon arrival in Phoenix, I checked the boards and saw my flight to Portland showed on time. I had about an hour and a half layover, so I took care of personal business and grabbed a burrito from the food court.

Right away, I got the text reminder that my flight was delayed about 30 minutes. No biggie.

When the plan arrived, it was announced that it was out if service and we were being delayed indefinitely until they could get us another plane. There was lots of grumbling in the terminal, but my thought was that I would much rather have a fully functional aircraft!

After another 30 minutes, it was announced that we would be boarding the plane. Nothing was ever said about the integrity of the aircraft and I was sitting by the window the whole time- I never saw a NASCAR pit crew come out and do anything either. Hmmm. Oh well! This whole ordeal is supposed to be an adventure, right?!?

Of course, everything was fine and we landed in Portland unscathed. My buddy Thomas Camero, the infamous lantern rouge of TABR14 picked me up at the airport and hauled me off to his home in Hood River, about 50 miles east.

Since then, I have spent 2 glorious days in what I would call paradise. Not only are Thomas and his wife Jane fantastic hosts, but the food and company have been top notch. Add to that beautiful views of mountains and the Columbia River Gorge, great cycling and just being able to relax. This has been a fantastic respite.

This evening we went to Portland and went by the Rideyrbike Shop, Nathan Jones’ bike shop. Nathan not only raced Trans Am last year, but he organizes and directs the race! I met him when he came through last year and it was great to sit and chat with him.

Thomas and I then headed to PDX to pick up Michael Massuer who is also racing this year. I met Mike in 2012 as he was touring the Trans Am and came through Farmington. Actually, he is the reason I found out about the race last year. He signed up last year, but had to withdraw prior to the start. Seeing his Facebook posts about TABR sparked my interest to follow and the sign up myself.

This evening, the three of us and Jane enjoyed a great dinner and then lots of talking about the route, our experiences and expectations of this race.

Tomorrow we pack up and head to Astoria.┬áJust 2 more days before the race! I can’t wait!!!