Saturday, December 12, 2009

Bend, OR

Holy cow it was bit stressful getting to Bend, OR. I flew in Friday night and started driving to the venue at the crack on Saturday in order to pre-ride the course at 12 noon. Race is Sunday.

Luckily I saw that there was weather coming in so I timed it all accordingly getting a super early start. But I missed the memo about the black ice on I-5.

Hmm, why is everyone driving so slow as I wizzed by each car going 70mph. Didn't find out the answer until I went to get onto OR-22 which would take me up and over the mountain pass on into Bend. Yeah - NO BRAKES. I slid and it was scary as I almost hit the cars ahead of me. Awesome......only 10 minutes into my 4 hours journey across the pass to Bend. I'd better take a deep breath now and settle in for quite the drive all by myself!

The first hour was hair raising and it was an exercise of how calm I could keep myself and how I could keep my heart rate from spiking. I seemed to be almost the only toolbag on the road in this inclement weather and the roads were covered with ice. Apparently I should have studied the news a bit more than I did.

And my car even got some freshies at the top of the pass. By then time I hit Sisters, the weather was in a better place and so was I - a lot calmer.

I passed Black Butte Ranch on the way over and it brought nothing back but memories of me and my parents having a family vacation there almost every year when I was a kid. I never really knew where it was in OR until that moment. It was nice to think about all that. I definitely carry my parents very close to me in my heart and I am sure they knew they were being thought of at that very moment. They were so great and wonderful and I really do miss them.

Actually a lot of the drive reminded me of Scotland. It was so lush and wet outside. And you were driving along a road that had water on the right and nothing but a steep mountain on the left. It was beautiful!

So I got to the venue safe and sound with time to spare and jumped right on course. It was fairly warm out at around 30-35 degrees.

There had been a lot of talk about how much snow and ice there was but there wasn't a lot by the time I got there on Saturday. It had melted over that last few days and left some snow packed stuff, some slush and even some dry areas.

The course was great and very mountain bikey. Lots of fun with one pretty good off camber steeper descent with a sharp turn at the bottom. Nice!! There was what was likely going to be a run up if it rained but for now it was a "ride up." A great set of barriers sat right outside the beer tent and a lovely set of stairs made for a good jaunt in the park with your bike on your back. Other than that, you had your standard course....lots of turns, some muddy some dry, some slushy, little steep uphills with quick and fast down hill sections too, etc.

Afterwards I went and picked up my number at registration and was given the number 60. Yep, 60th call up. And what did I do??? I immediately got the to condo I was staying at with my teammates and put it on as #09 (a # that I saw a lot of in 08).

Oops - just wishful thinking I guess and also just a good reminder to myself that I was going to have my work cut out for me tomorrow!

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