Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Petal Pedal, 2010

OK, just let me start out by saying... WOW!!! What an awesome day this was!!! This day was all about bicycle riding and re-connecting with an incredibly great friend from my past.... and I am here to tell you all, the day did NOT disappoint! :-)

First, about my friend, Scott Taube. Scott and I first met back in 1990, when we both entered into the Chemeketa Community College Fire Science program. We hit it off really well back then and became great friends. We had many things in common, including both being two of the older students in the program (we were all of 22 and 24 years old!), and both having come from several years of college previously. Scott and I spent a lot of our time together during our first year at Chemeketa. We studied together, drank coffee together, worked out together, and played a LOT of racquetball together!

Bittersweet for me as it was, at the end of our first year in the program, I was lucky enough to get hired with the Bellingham Fire Department. Scott stayed behind to continue as a second year student, wile I left school behind and moved nearly 300 miles north to become a professional firefighter. Sad and true, our lives became separated by the distance for the next 18 years. We kept in touch through Christmas cards and letters, and occasionally through my mother-in-law, Kathy, who would see Scott on occasion at Starbucks. Other than that, we both had our lives, our careers, and time just raced on by.

However, last year, for some reason or another, it was meant to be that Scott and I would finally re-connect in person, and that we would start to catch up with one another, and start to grow our friendship and firefighter brotherhood connection once again after all of those years gone by. Scott is an awesome guy! A fantastic friend! I am proud to call him one of my very close and personal friends, and I feel blessed to be starting a new chapter in our lives together. :-)

With that all said, here's how we wound up riding the 2010 Petal Pedal century ride together.....

I talked with Scott about my love for cycling, and how it has helped me get a new lease on life through fitness and weight loss. I talked with him about the rides I have done, and how much fun I had riding Seattle to Portland last year with another close personal friend, Stu Hodnot, another firefighter and friendship from my OSU days that finally came back together the year before. Through mush discussion, I managed to convince Scott that he could, and should, ride the Seattle to Portland ride with us this year! He bought it, and signed up.

I talked with Scott about the need for training rides, and told him I had found a great ride for us to do together. This ride would be a great test for Scott, and let him know just where he is at one month prior to STP. This would also be Scotts very first ever century ride!!!! :-) So, we signed up and made all the plans for the Petal Pedal ride, in Silverton, OR.

So, yesterday was our big day!!! And my, oh my, what an awesome day it was for us both!!! Scott completed his very first every century (100 miles) ride..... and he did it very well :-)

Scott and I met up at around 6:30am in Beaverton, where I loaded up into his truck, and off we went down the road towards Silverton..... or so we thought! A few miles down the road we got into a "rolling slow down" where we moved along with traffic at about 5mph for the next 40 minutes..... talk about frustrating, and putting us behind schedule!!!! We never did find out what the slow down was all about, but just as quickly as it happened, it also ended.... and back up to speed we were again, finally getting to I5 southbound. The trip went smoothly after that, but the weather didn't look too promising, and both of us were just a little more than concerned that it was going to be a long day of riding in the rain.

We arrived at the Oregon Garden in Silverton, OR. What an absolutely beautiful place!!! We got parked and headed up to the check-in station. We were quite a bit behind schedule at this point, especially since the 100 mile route was opened at 6:30am, and it was suggested riders leave no later than 8am for the 100 mile ride.... OOOPS!!! It is already 8am now!!! Of course, we weren't all that worried, since there were so many other cyclists there also getting checked in, and people still pulling in as we went back to gear up for our day..... of course, they were all heading out for the 68 mile loop, NOT the 100 mile loop!!!

Oh well, we weren't going to be discouraged... we made the decision to do 100 miles, and we were sticking to it. So, at 8:30am, we hit the road and allowed our adventure to begin!!! :-) The weather was absolutely wonderful. Cloudy, but no rain, no wind, and temperature in the upper 50's to start out. We never got rained on the entire day, and it actually got nicer as the day went on, with sun breaks and warmer temps.... perfect for a century ride!!!

The first 40 miles of this ride are absolutely, incredibly beautiful.... and all uphill...... YES, hill climbing for the majority of the first 40 miles of our day!!! Elevation gains of over 4000 feet!!! This was a true test for Scott, and he did absolutely fantastic!

We had an incredible day of riding together..... we had awesome time riding side by side, talking about life, about family, about firefighting, about fitness, about cycling, and about the absolute beauty that this ride was allowing us to enjoy. I believe I can speak for the both of us when I say that we had an awesome day of riding together!!! :-)

At around mile 70 or so, Scott began to fatigue a bit, and his legs started having discussions with him. But Scott is an absolute stud, and he pushed through it all, kept on plugging along, and managed to finish his very first ever century ride, and finished it strong!!!

100.37 miles in 6 hours 29 minutes, with an overall average speed for the day of 15.45mph!!!

I was so happy for Scott, and also quite proud of him. You see, Scott has only been cycling for a short time now. He hasn't logged nearly as much time or miles on the bike as he would have liked prior to this day. In addition, Scott doesn't yet own a road bike. He rode this ride on a hybrid style mountain bike, geared up for the road as much as possible, but still painfully heavy and with gearing that makes the ride much more difficult. Scott, however, made it work, and he made it work well :-)

We got back to the Oregon Gardens and the finish line at 4:30pm. This means we killed an hour and a half throughout the day at the rest stops. Not too bad, since we stopped at 5 rest stops throughout the entire day. Once at the finish line, we smiled, we hugged, we took pictures and uploaded them to Facebook... and then we headed inside for the celebration!!! BBQ salmon and chicken dinner, with pasta salad, green salad, fresh bread, treats.... Oh, and BEER!!! Yes, free beer from the local brewery, Hopsworks!!! It all was delicious. We sat and ate and drank, and talked all about our day. It was good!!! :-)

I do believe that it was finally around 6pm when we were all changed out of our riding gear, everything loaded into the truck, and back on the road again, this time heading back home. Scott was nice enough to drive me all the way up to Grammy & Papa's place, where he was able to meet the family and shoot the breeze for a few before heading home himself to a nice, hot shower!!!

So, the Petal Pedal was a huge success! The ride was awesome! The company was awesome! The food and beverage were awesome! And the memories I am taking away from this adventure are awesome! What a great day, and what a great ride, and what a great friend!

Congratulations to Scott Taube for completing his very first century ride!!! :-)

Ahhhhh, yes.... I can hardly wait for STP.....

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