(AN LA SWEAT RIDE, RAFFLE AND RAGER RECAP, by Tiff)
When Kelli (the Boss) announced the date of the team party/fundraiser in Portland (February 4), the wheels started turning. It wasn’t a mandatory attendance type of thing, and there are a lot of gals on the team that call Portlandia home. But I was excited to try to make it there to meet some of the new teammates. And maybe to provide first hand knowledge of what having me on the team would be like (aka my 4 year-old comes to lots of races) in case they wanted to change their minds. I was also interested in checking out PDX as I had never spent much time there (I call Salt Lake City--about the opposite of Portland--home). I had so many preconceived notions. Did everyone have tattoos? Veggie gardens in their front lawns? Did everyone have nice skin from there being no sun? Was the bike scene just crazy? Would we even be cool enough to GO THERE? I needed to know.
My husband, Steve (aka the Hubs), was going to be off for 2 weeks as he would be changing jobs around that time. In addition, he was planning a boys ski trip to Bend, OR during this period. I knew he felt a little guilty about leaving his wife (moi) and his kid (the Dman) behind. As a recovering catholic, I’m an expert on feeling guilty, and manipulating the guilt of others, so I pitched the idea of a family trip to Portland ahead of his ski trip down to Bend. Sure it would add a bunch of hours to the drive but then it would partially be a FAMILY trip! Once he acquiesced, we sent word to Kelli and Anna Grace Christiansen (aka my former teammate and bikewife).
Two days before the party, we loaded up the mini van (aka the Limosienna/Swagger Wagon) for our road trip. We made an overnight pit stop in Boise to see our good friends (family of former teammate Liza Rachetto) as they have lots of kids and toys. And Boise is awesome.
On Friday, we started our supposed low key drive to Portland from Boise. Things started out nicely. Dman passed out (after being overstimulated to the bejesus from the super fun times with his Boise buddies), the roads were decent, and the caffeine was flowing. As we got within a few hours of Portland rain started to fall, temps started to drop, and the drive got real. Going through the Columbia River Gorge was the worst experience ever. Black ice FOR REAL, semis doing what looked like couples skate on the highway, cars everywhere and zero traction. Though the Hubs was cool as a cuke (in a white knuckled kind of way) I started to regret the whole idea.
Miraculously we made it into Portland to Anna Grace and Garrett’s house. AG and I were teammates last year (and this year!) and, though she is many years younger, she took care of me on the road last year: bike mechanic, psychiatrist, chef, DJ, Dman buddy. Accordingly, I think of her as my bikewife. The arrival in PDX was consistent with this characterization. She and her partner (because in Portland you say partner) Garrett (and Val the dog) rolled out the red carpet with a super delishy dinner and dinosaur tattoos for Dman.
The next morning AG and I got out for a quick workout on Sauvie Island (aka Tempo Island). In spite of the rain, it was a great ride. We got back to the house for a shower and Dman handoff so the Hubs and Garrett could get in a ride. Bikewife skills were in full effect as she hustled me and Dman through lunch and packing up the limosienna to get to Sellwood Cycle Repair (party and afternoon ride location). Met up with Kelli (the Boss), along with new teammates Erin and Brenna. We helped with some party preparations and Dman made himself at home in the shop. And by make himself at home, I mean he began torturing the employees and getting underfoot as much as possible. Luckily, Sellwood owner, super badass former pro racer Erik Tonkin also has small kids, so there was a well stocked toy area where Dman also logged some serious time. Also, everyone at Sellwood is a saint, including teammate Brenna who also works there.