Sunday, August 26, 2007

Portland Century

Last summer Jess and I rode the 60 mile option of the first ever Portland Century. To say the ride had challenges would be accurate. It was the first year, they didn't know what to expect. They were hoping for 300 riders and they got 1300. This year, I felt the folks at Good Sports Promotions would be ready for anything and they did not disappoint.

I volunteered for Saturday course marking so I could ride for free on Sunday, but instead I got a job offer—work the Maywood Park rest stop at the 205 bike path for the 25 mile riders. I accepted.

Aside from having to haul myself out of bed at 4:45 this morning, this was the easiest job I've ever had. Over 800 people took advantage of early packet pick up the night before which made the start line into a totally chill, relaxing environment. I don't think I ever saw lines at the registration or the preregistration tables. Breakfast and hot coffee were on tap. Bag check for those who wanted to lighten their load before heading off. Questions got answered in timely fashion. I pinned numbers on riders. I met a guy who just rode his bike across the country from D.C., stopping along the way to help build houses as part of bike and build. He found out yesterday about the ride and thought it would be a great way to see Portland. He signed up for the 100 mile ride and got to see the best we have to offer in biking.

At 9:00 I left the start line and headed to my rest stop, where a rest stop fairy in a Penske truck (ah, those Penske trucks bring back memories!) arrived with supplies. Greg, the S.A.G. Driver stopped by and help me set up.

There was a table of PB&J fixings, Clif bars, bananas and plucots (plum/apricot cross). Another table was entirely devoted to strawberry shortcake.

After a slow start, I spent about an hour and a half frantically cutting cake, dishing up strawberries, while enthusiastic volunteer Bill dished out whip cream. I asked lots of people how their ride was going and heard delighted reports about the course, the markings, the food and people were having a great time. As much as I would have liked to participate, it was great to be part of making the ride such a huge success.

At 1:00, we closed up shop and waited for Greg to come by to pick up a rider who had bitten off more than she could chew, pulling her daughter in a trailer. He arrived with hot pizza from the Blue Lake rest stop and we all dug in and then headed for the finish.

Though I was technically done for the day, after I got my meal, I hung out at one of the booths for while, selling t-shirts and handing out checked bags and just observing tired happy riders collect their goody bags of beer, coffee, a Cliff bar and other sundries.

Congratulations to GSP on a great event!

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

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