It has been almost two days since I passed the finish line at the Holliday park in Portland, 5:02 pm Sunday. I am still recovering from the tiredness and excitement of this adventure.
I got some random email about “summer fun things to do in Seattle” in my mailbox one month ago, and this event aroused my interest instantly. Biking from Seattle to Portland in two days, with 10,000 other riders, sounds fun! I have been traveling between Seattle and Portland for hundred of times over the last few years to visit family. I love both cities. And I also enjoy the views very much every time when I sit on a bus and appreciate the sunsets from the side window. So why not try biking once?
BUT I have not biked longer than 10 miles for almost 5 years. Especially over the last 3 years, I have not touched a bike! I registered it anyway. I cleaned my bike from the heavy dust in the garage and I made a training plan for the last month before the ride. Em..Everything sounds great, right? But the fact is that I ended up not carrying out any of those major trainings over 10 miles (so as what most plans’ destiny is). I biked between my home and campus for a few times, 6-7 miles total. That’s it.
The night before the ride, a friend invited me to play video games, which is hard to refuse. I played until midnight or so. When I finally lay down on my bed, I realized that after 6 hours, I will be on my way to Portland. How fun! The excitement kept me awake until 2-3 am or so.
Most parts of the ride went smoothly. I completed 108 miles and camped at Chehalis the first day. I had some pains from my joints in the legs after the first day, but which was not too severe to stop me from keeping pedaling. The only challenge was sleep, again. Because I drank 6-7 bottles of those sport drinks provided by the sponsors of this event, which kept me awake until 2-3 am.
The morning ride in Chehalis was absolutely beautiful. The sun just arose, and the sunlight was still very soft and in golden color, which depicted the profile of mountains far away. The crops in the field became golden waves once a breeze came through. Some of those fields also had thin mist over them. So that those little houses, which stand in the middle of fields, are also bathed with soft mist and sunshine. No cars, no noise. The birds songs are the only vivid sound that remind the riders that this is the exciting start of a new day.
I really wanted to just stop and enjoy this whole picturesque countryside scene. But I could not, because 95 miles was awaiting. The second day is hillier than the first day. I found that I have some advantage on all the uphills because of my skinny build. But my advantage is gone immediately on the downhill next to it. People with a heavier build passed by me like a breeze.
I rest for 45 minutes, the longest break I took, before the last 30 miles. I thought it was going to be tough with the heat in the afternoon and all the lactic acid built in my muscles. But out of my expectation, it was actually easier than before because the road condition was so good, that I can keep at a relatively fast speed easily. I saw Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams, and I saw Mt Hood. And finally the scene of the city of Portland came to appear when I cross St. Jones bridge. Hooray! The finish line is just a few miles away! Now I am sure I made it, STP.
Big crowd gathered at the finish line. People were cheering and applauding. There were music, beer, flowers, etc. I felt really good when I passed the sign “FINISH” and welcomed by the people there. The hard job is done.
To me, a biking novice, it is a big accomplishment.