TABR15- Astoria and the start

Well, hello there! My last post was June 4th, just 2 days before the start of TABR15 and 44 days ago. Wow. Where does the time go? It’s been a crazy 44 days with so many highs, lows and in-betweens. The best thing I know to do is just tell you about it. I’ll spare you the entire story at once and break it up into a few posts over the next few days.

To pick up where I left off, I was staying at Thomas and Jane Camero’s home in Hood River, OR. We had just picked up Michael Mausser, another TABR15 racer, from the airport and the 4 of us sat around over dinner telling stories of cycling past, talking race goals and enjoying each other’s company.

The next morning, Thomas, Michael and I packed our things and headed toward Portland and then on to Astoria. It was a beautiful drive along the Columbia River Gorge, across the Willamette Valley, over the coastal mountains and to the coast. This region is my favorite part of the country. Simply gorgeous.

We arrived in Astoria and checked into our accommodations at the Norblad. From this point on, the next two days were a blur. Catching up with friends like Fran from Germany and Scott from Nashville, plus all the new friends that I made with racers from both last year and this year, there was just so much going on, it is really hard to remember. I wish I would’ve written it down at the time as I know much of it will be gone from memory forever.

There was food and drink. There was a fantastic joy ride Friday morning out to the Pacific Coast with Michael and Fran for the ceremonial wheel dip. Then lunch at a little coffee house with friends and then the group meet-up with most of this year’s racers at the Column. Somewhere in there a group of us went to the post office to ship home anything we didn’t need. I sent my street clothes, which meant my wardrobe was a pair of bike bib shorts, my cycling jersey and a pair of socks, all of which were on my body. Life gets real simple real quick when you only have one change of clothes!

Later Friday, there was more food and drink at the Fort George Brewery at the race meeting. Then a small group of us rode to the hospital to give our regards to Mathias Mueller, the German racer who was hit by a car two days before the race on a training ride while crossing the Columbia River Bridge coming back from Washington. Then dinner with friends at a restaurant down on the wharf, followed by a cool little ride to see a bunch of sea lions at the marina.

Later yet Friday night, around midnight, I found myself struggling to lie down and get some sleep. Not only did I have a bad case of the night-before-a-monster-race jitters, but I wasn’t really looking forward to lying down. I spent both Thursday and Friday nights on the hardwood floor of Thomas’ room. I did this in an effort to save money, sharing the expense of the room with Thomas, but in the end, it was probably a poor decision as both nights I slept very little and woke up sore and not rested. I estimate that I had about 2 hours of sleep each night. Not the way I wanted to start an endurance race where I would be struggling to find sleep.

Saturday morning, my alarm went off somewhere around 3:30AM. I had no problem jumping up despite my lack of rest. I was full of bike stoke! I grabbed my things, brushed my teeth and went down to the hotel community kitchen for a blueberry pancake breakfast provided by Thomas. What a guy!

I went back to the room, packed up my gear and rolled out of the Norblad with a couple other racers about 4:45. We made the few block trip to the Maritime Museum, where the race starts.

It was a tense and happy scene. Everyone was excited. I would guess that most were a bit nervous, although no one let on. I know I was nervous.

After a champagne toast by some, of which I didn’t take part (5AM is just TOOOO early for champagne, IMO!), Nathan Jones, the race director, said something like, “OK, let’s go!” and we all started rolling. Trans Am Bike Race 2015 was on!


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