Sunday, June 29, 2008

Day 8 – Thompson Falls to Missoula

The only thing I hate on this earth is mo-skee-toes. They attacked me the moment I stepped out of the high school doors, 2 bites on my butt (it looks like a pair of boobs because they got me right in the middle of each cheek), at least 10 on my legs and one on each of pinky toes. My pinky toes? Really, are they that desperate? After we escaped the mosquito wrath we had a 101 mile trek which ends at the University of Montana. Ed and I motored through most of the ride until the 80th mile where we met up with Rachel, she had dizzy spells, perhaps from dehydration. I gave her one of my nuun tablets, an electrolyte supplement, and about an hour later she was good to go. Ed and I stayed with the group until a monster downhill came up and we couldn’t resist. We barreled down the highway at 49 mph, if I knew we were at 49 during the downhill I would’ve pushed harder to get to 50. Ed got a little wobbly because he put his stomach on his seat and his ass hanging just above his rear tire all this to get more aerodynamic (I can’t do that because I carry 2 extra bottles under my saddle and it gets in the way).

You can’t hear it but the train tooted its horn

One of many rest stops along the route. we had cookies (chocochip, snickerdoodles and oatmeal raisin), pbj's of course and water and gatorade.

Day 7 Sandpoint to Thompson Falls

even with two teaspoons of honey at a time, Ed couldn't take down Chad in a honey eating contest

The days have been getting hotter and hotter and we rode in an 88 mile scorcher today. When we arrived to Thompson Falls High School some of the riders left there bikes outside and their tires popped because of the heat (PV = nRT explains this occurrence). We all went to Minnie's for dinner and i ordered a pork chop that was seasoned with salt and pepper, blah! wish i had my salish salt and healthy heart seasoning from Seattle to spice it up a bit. Chad challenged ed to a honey eating contest, they went teaspoon for teaspoon, until chad started squeezing the plastic honey-filled bear into his mouth (10 minutes later chad had that glassy-eyed look you get the night after heavy drinking).

view from the high school parking lot.

it may look serene, but the town has ruthless mosquitoes.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Day 6 - Spokane to Sandpoint, Idaho

the rodeo parade

On the off day I finally got a good nights rest and woke up at 9am. Got some of my errands done, washed my clothes, cleaned my bike and ate. I hate it. every 2 hours I have to eat and off days mean everybody gets the day off including the support group for the riders. that means we have to fend for ourselves and find food. It was annoying to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner to only get hungry 2 hours later. Just about every night i wake up hungry, so i keep a clif bar by my pillow side, chocolate mint, yum. at trips end, chances are i won't wanna look at another clif bar. Hopefully, by the end i can become a faster packer. Every day i've been the last to leave because of my lack of talent in packing.

The route map wasn't very clear on the directions at the beginning of the route so ed and i had an 6 mile detour. Ed wore his grouchy pants today and had a rough day. Don't worry buddy, you're guaranteed to have another. We had a special treat in Newport, Washington. There was a rodeo parade. ya'll ever been to a rodeo parade? you think rodeo, you think horses and cowboys, right? nope, not here. just some random cars driving through the town. I felt shafted. I wanted to see rodeo clowns scaring little kids and cowboys on horses lassoing a calf and wrap that sucker up. now that's a rodeo parade. after the disappointment subsided, we hopped on our saddle and rode into idaho.

about 30 miles into idaho we arrive to our resting stop, Sandpoint High School. Set up camp and Bob Alliston, who is familiar with idaho because he worked here for a few years, escorted us to the lake. You couldn't ask for better water conditions, it had pockets of ice cold water that feels so good on the body. especially after an 80 mile ride in 90+ temps. Thanks bob for taking this picture and of the 18 y.o. lifeguard. But what would you do if some creepy old guy took a picture of your daughter when she was working in a bathing suit? (if you don't have a daughter, then it's ok...keep it up)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Day 4 - Odessa to Spokane (Gonzaga)

This is the last ride before we get our first rest day and my body needs the r&r. Over 300 miles in 4 days can take a toll on a persons body. Ed and I grouped up with, starting from the left, Jim, me, joe, steven, rueben and chad, not pictured is Noah. Jim, a pint-sized chicago school teacher, can hammer it out, but wants to slow the pace down just a little bit to teach the other inexperienced riders to learn how to ride together safely and effectively.

Only 40 more miles to our rest day in Spokane
(Left to Right - Noah, Ed, Joe and Jim (yellow))
this is not an optical illusion, noah is that big and
jim is that small

yesterday, noah ed and i ate at subway. Noah inhaled his footlong while ed and i barely managed to eat half of our 6 incher. Typically, ed eats anything in front of him and i've seen him eat 10 hot dogs and was still hungry. So i know what ed can do. So i instigated and challenged noah and ed to a hot dog eating contest. Well word got out and now we have more than 5 guys who want in on it. My money is still on Ed because it's the small asian kids who can out eat 200lb+ white guys. Hot Dog eating contest will be held on the fourth of july of course. It won't be as big as Coney Islands, but just as entertaining, i'm sure. Right before we got to Gonzaga we saw a Sonic and i couldn't wait another 2 1/2 hours before dinner, so i ordered a 2 extra long chili dogs, an oreo sonic blast with extra oreos, a large limeade with strawberries and ed ordered, of course, hot dogs. He practiced on his technique and found that dipping in strawberry limeade isn't that great and eating it normally is easier for him. 4 hot dogs later, we went to dinner at the gonzaga cafeteria where he had 5 plates of pizza, bbq chicken, rice pilaf, green beans, jello, and cheesecake. He then carries his tray filled with only scraps and bones, slams it in noah's face and says, " you better eat up boy cuz you're going down".

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Day 3 - Vantage to Odessa

Daniel, our ride leader, escorted the 37 Big riders across the Odessa Dam

At this time the riders have been identified as the ridiculously fast (chuck, liz and tony), the fast (ed, joe, steven, tracy, katie and me), the not-so-fast. we can't wear an ipod during our ride for safety reasons so noah and chad sang "the greatest song in the world" by tenacious d to entertain us. soon enough we had 8 guys singing a bohemian rhapsody, some backstreet and mmmbop. who needs an ipod when you have the Big Riders Acapella group?
We set up camp at Odessa High School and a group of us went to the public pool to relax the muscles a bit. The little girls of odessa had a little crush on our mechanic nick and egged him on to do a bellyflop off the diving board. He's not much of a diver, so just about everytime he does jump off the board it looks like a flopper (stick to cycling, nick). I didn't want to make fun of him because we just met and he still has to fix my bike. After our dip, steven, who just turned 20 yesterday and nicknamed "the rocketman" because he rode shirtless, wore a camelback and when he took it off, it left a rocketpack tan line on his back, tinkered with my bike for about 10 minutes trying to fix it but didn't improve the situation. nick pushes us aside and after 30 seconds, voila! all better. He's our saving grace.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Day 2

I made it through the first day and i already did a "no-no". I had breakfast duty this morning. three people were assigned to get the hot water going, get all the breakfast food out of the truck and the gas stoves, start it up and serve the riders. I way over slept and missed it all. But i did help out cleaning up, though. wups. So this ride we leave easton and arrive to vantage. After the 90 mile ride, ALA shortened the second ride to 70 miles with nutty 9 mile decline. At the end of the decline was a petrified forest. Ed and I thought it was worth a look-see and thought it would be cool to see a forest turned to stone. What a disappointment when we saw that the forest were actually stumps.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The day has come...

I stayed up last night organizing the team jerseys until about midnight and called it a night. Didn't get much rest with a 545 wakeup call. I'm feeling anxious to get the ride started and hop on my bike. It's been over 2 weeks since i last got on and i'm afraid that my legs forgot its pain threshold. When we arrived to the start of the ride at University of Washington, we found out that they altered the route and increased the mileage by 20 miles, a total of 90 on the first day. Ed and I were the last to leave the ride because of the Lee paparazzi and a local news crew came an interviewed us and asked why we're riding. I gave some "let's do it for the skipper" type speeches. after that we were on our way. we strolled through the first 20 miles with a new buddy Rueben, an alleycat bike racer and bike messenger in minneapolis. During the ride the Lee Paparazzi harassed us, but got great action photos of us. The cool part about the 'razzi is that they double as a cheerleading squad. I wish they were there for the second half of the ride because there were some killer climbs, 6100 feet of total climbing strung across 90 miles. when the ride ended I set up my tent, mingled with the riders i didn't get to meet and passed out the team jerseys. Everyone loved them and they should cuz they're awesome.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

eatin' good in the neighborhood

It's the last day before the Big Ride and really I haven't had much time to think about it with all these activities going on here. First thing in the morning we joined a food tour, Savor Seattle, which featured 10 Pikes Market restaurants and shops. My favorite being Market Spice located next to the guys throwing over-priced fish. Although the food tour was a tasty treat, we had a feast for dinner. We grilled some steak, seasoned with salish (smoked) salt and "healthy heart" seasoning, salmon, walla walla onions (without them Pikes Market wouldn't exist-learned that on the food tour), wasabi mashers, corn and garlic bread. Leanne (my sister-in-law) created the ambiance of our fine dining experience at jon's. People would pay top dollar for this dinner with a great view. especially when the tablecloth was jeck's bedsheet, a drooled-on pillowcase as a table runner, cornhusk as botanicals, and coffee filters stabbed by skewers as a floral centerpiece. Thanks guys for making my last night unforgettable, i'm gonna miss you all i can tell already.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Wenatchee River Rafting

The night before we went for a night hike at Rattlesnake Trail, somewhere just outside seattle. We brought along, Chris, the photographer from last nights solstice moon skyline photo, and his dog daisy. We got to the trail pretty late because justin's (twin bro aka jeck) flight was delayed. We prepared for subzero temperatures because of last night at the photoshoot of the skyline (it was chilly yesteeday night, but i had my (cycling) arm warmers on so the cold didn't bother me none). mistake. just about every one was complaining about the distance of the hike, and how hot they were (esp jon), except for chris. who had on about 10 layers of clothing and a 35 lb backpack full of camera gear. we get to the top eventually despite not having batteries in my headlamp. snap a couple of photos, get blinded by the flash and we made our way back down. right as we approach our minivan, these behemoth animals are creeping around the trail. Jon asked,"um, are those bears up there?" and then bolted in the opposite direction, screaming like a sissy-gurl. i'm kidding about him bolting and screaming, but he is a sissy-gurl (the animals turned out to be dogs, newfoundlands to be exact.)
the next morning we grab some crumpets caked on some nutella and drove half way across washington to go white water rafting. They were class 3-4 rapids, not enough to kill you, but scary enough to almost crap your pants. the craziest was when jonathon (raft guide- great guide btw) asked jeck to sit at the front of the raft with his feet hanging off the edge holding the rope with only one hand, all this after witnessing the tour guide ahead of us get ejected 6 feet in the air from the raft after getting pounded from an 8 foot swell and jeck still did it and survived. dude, you rock.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sleepless in Seattle

it's June 19th and my parents and my auntie sharon took me out to lunch before they brought me to the airport. It was my choice to pick the restaurant but was restricted to only a couple of options: dim sum at louie's, or dim sum at china palace. yum my two favorite restaurants (sense my sarcasm?). anyway, auntie sharon joined in on the ride for moral support. My mom typically has a nervous breakdown whenever she takes one of her children to the airport. Thanks, Auntie Sharon. But, to my surprise, my mom wasn't tugging at my ankles begging me not to go. She just waved good-bye while trying to hold back her tears.

I met up with my sister, Tifany (aka jia) and steph (gf) at the airport, rented the minivan (shoulda got 2 sedans, tsktsk jia) and headed to Jon's corporate housing apartment situated a block from pikes market and has a sweet view of the puget sound, to boot. My sister planned a jammed packed weekend filled with rapid waters, killer vista points, night hikes, tasty treats of seattle and a festival flanked with the crazy peeps of seattle (thanks for doing that jia, i had a great time) So in 5 days we all got a taste of what seattle has to offer, a beautiful city that rivals San Francisco (look at the picture above). The picture was taken by Chris Mullins, a great guy and photographer (jia's buddy)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Happy Happy Birthday to Me and J

all the planning for the Austin's World Justin Rules Challenge was worth it. I had such a great time planning and participating in the events. About two months ago j & i came up with our bday events over lunch in berkeley with our sister. She thought we were weird talking about it so early. anyway, here's what we did:

event 1: Tricycle Race
event 2: Potato Sack Race
event 3: Rock'em Sock'em Boppers
event 4: Spin the Batter
event 5: Human Wheel Barrel.

I have to thank my mom for making the superhero capes and the coordinating potato sacks and to everyone who made it out, I hope you guys had a good time. The first event was supposed to have 4 heats but half of tricycles broke after the 2nd heat (i either have to get sturdier tricycles or skinnier friends). Anyway, Ed trained for months for this event, piling up more than a 1000 miles on the bike, yet gets toasted by my cousin amy on the home stretch "burn some dust and eat my rubber, ed". Some of the other highlights from the other rounds: Rock'em Sock'em Boppers - an epic battle, instant classic in my book, between Ruban and my uncle greg. It's supposed to be best of 3, but they were all so close they fought an extra 3 rounds, uncle greg eventually knocked rubans block off. Potato Sack race - sam crying like a sissy and complaining that 2 other groups cheated when they clearly out-hopped his team. Spin the batter: pretty much everyone who spun on the bat correctly, then taking one step forward and then falling flat on their butts. The Final event, which was the ultimate highlight, incorporated all of the aforementioned events but each had a little twist to it, the funniest one being the "mamma bird feeds baby bird gummiworms" (J and Jason have perfect technique, don't you think?) That particular event was the demise to most of the teams and were disqualified from winning the gold star medal flanked with pix of justin and myself in our superhero outfit making dee-dee-dee faces. Each team member must be fed 3 gummiworms, a total of 12 per team. There were only two teams that did this correctly and the team to get back to headquarters fastest was Justin, Charla, Jason and Steph (Fefe) despite a 10 second disadvantage. Congrats to the season 1 champions of Austin's World Justin Rules Challenge.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Happy camper, not-so-happy camper

Steph and I went to Big Basin for the weekend even with the Santa Cruz Mountains up in flames. Fortunately, the fire did not affect Big Basin. So the next morning we hopped on our full suspension mountain bikes, complements of Derron and Leanne (thanks guys) and went for a little joy ride. It was supposed to be a nice stroll along the campsite, but ended up turning into a 34 mile ride up and down the santa cruz mountains. We have to thank a volunteer ranger for telling us about the Gazos Creek Trail. He said it was an 8 mile downhill to the coast and at the end we'll find a bus stop to take us and our bikes back to camp, he was very convincing. He suckered steph enough to go. She was content on riding down to the coast, but not back up to camp. well, about an hour or so later we arrive at the coast line, enjoyed a bite to eat at a local bar and grill and asked the waitress, the cook, the locals where the bus stop for Big Basin might be. no one knew of any. So the only way back to camp was ride up. Steph was pissed (and rightfully so), but not at me, just at the fact that she had to ride/hike back. I told her I'd ride back to camp, jump in the car and pick her up. But she wanted to ride. 3 hours, 2 squished banana slugs and 1 grumpy girlfriend later, we made it back. just in time to make dinner and some killer s'mores. yum.