After a busy week of final preparations, packing, bike disassembly anxious phone calls to the jersey company, and last minute purchases ... I arrived in Oregon. My bike was expertly packed by my official bike store sponsor, Princeton Sports. Kevin did a great job and wrapped everything with amazing detail. A big thanks to Kathy Landers from my bike club (Baltimore Bicycling Club), for lending me her Trico Iron Case for the flight. One more shout out to Southwest Airlines for being so bike friendly. Only $50 to fly the bike, compare to $175 for most other airlines. We all arrived safe and sound in Portland with no issues.
As planned, I tapered by training this past week ... um, down to 0. Just too busy with everything. I feel strong and prepared, but know there will be some tough days and hard work ahead. The drive from Portland to Astoria was very scenic and really hit home the amount of climbing I will be doing. We passed awesome views of Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, and Mt. Ranier as we made our way along the Columbia River to Astoria. We will climb toward Mt. Hood next week, so look for pictures then.
My donors just keep coming ... we have pushed past $15,000 and have our sights on $16,000. A big thanks to silver level donors Christine Kelsey and Cathy Peng. Christine and I work together at Northrop. She is a biker as well and has had a long road back from a crash a few years ago.Cathy is a dear friend from college. We shared some wonderful times and raised a little raucous on occasion. Cathy put together a hysterical photo montage of her famous pig to honor my bike ride. That's my old bow tie! It really put a smile on my face.
Thanks to Gary & Marcia Holman (my sister's closest friend and someone I have a special connection to), Paul Von Behren, (Northrop co-worker who reached out from Atlanta), and Jeff & Lori Cunningham. Jeff & Lori are also old college friends. Jeff and I were in Pi Kappa Phi together. Lot of great memories with them.
I arrived early to settle in, adjust to the time zone difference, get my bike built up early, and just relax before we start our daily riding routine. Astoria is wonderful town at the mouth of the Columbia River. It sits on the western end of the Lewis & Clark Trail. Lots of hills leading out of the town up to a neat column (monument) that was built back in 20's. Great view of the town, river, and impressive Astoria-Megler Bridge that connects Oregon and Washington. My hotel is literally right under the bridge.
I got together with with Katie and spent some time chatting in my room before bedtime. Katie and I connected online several months ago. We have helped each other prepare for the ride and enjoyed some fun chats. I look forward to getting to know her even more during the trip. She might be a new cyclist, but her energy and attitude will help push her through.
My plan is to Blog daily starting tomorrow ... I can't believe it is almost here!