Thursday, July 23, 2009

WA Vacation Days 9 and 10 -- STP!!

Saturday morning we woke up and were ready for the big day! Well, everyone was ready but me. I woke up with white bumps all down my throat. Grrrr! I was so bummed to be feeling so sick but we had such a big, exciting day that once I got going, I felt all better. (With the help of a little DayQuil of course.) Eric, Rose and Gary all started their adventure of riding their bikes 204 miles from Seattle, Washington all the way to Portland, Oregon. They all did the race back in 1997, the summer before Eric started high school. None of them had done it since so there was quite a bit of anticipation and also anxiety about doing it again. Had they trained enough? Could their 12 years older bodies hold up?

Well the first day went amazing and all three of them did so good! Eric felt so good that when he reached the mid-point he decided to ride further. The weather was amazing (mid-80s) and the sun was bright. The route led them through the scenic valleys, forests and farmlands of western Washington and Oregon. After dropping them off at the start line, Jarem and I headed over to grandma’s house and hung out with her for a few hours. When it was Jarem’s nap time, we hopped in the car and tried to find Eric along the route. We got GPS set-up between our phones so I looked like such a nerd in this big truck! I would first locate Eric via GPS. Then I would enter his location into Rose’s Garmin GPS and try to find Eric. The problem was that he was riding so fast that I never caught up to him. He did such an amazing job!! We finally met up at the mid-point before he hit the road again. I only saw Rose and Gary in the morning and couldn’t find them after that since I didn’t have GPS on them. But they did awesome on their tandem bike and rode all the way to our hotel in Chehalis, the next town over from the mid-point.

Once we all met up at the hotel, we enjoyed a big dinner at Applebee’s and then went back to the hotel for some sleep. The problem was that Jarem had other plans in mind. Because he was in the car for so long, he didn’t get enough energy out. So he woke up at about 1am and would not go back to sleep! It was such a rough evening because we would normally let him cry some and fall back to sleep on his own. But being in a hotel with other tired bicyclists, we felt guilty about our crying son. The three of us didn't get much sleep that night and poor Eric had to get up first thing in the morning and ride his bike again. Sunday there was a crazy storm! We woke up to booming thunder and rain! The weather had taken a sharp change from the day before and it was gloomy and raining for all of Sunday. Jarem and I slept in until almost 8 (thanks to not sleeping most of the night) before hitting the road.

Sunday was fun because we were able to follow Eric during lots of the route and I got quite a few more pictures of him. But for Eric, the second day was a little harder. Not only because of the weather but also because he got two flat tires while crossing the bridge from Washington into Oregon. He hit a grate and both tires popped. He only had one spare with him but a generous bicyclist gave him another one. That was so nice! I met Eric on the side of the road while he was fixing his tires and did my best to keep him company. I honestly couldn’t imagine going through all that while riding 200 miles. Heck, I can’t even imagine riding 200 miles to begin with but that’s a goal for me. I hope to do the STP with Eric in the next few years.

Jarem and I had so much fun watching Eric climb the hills and pass so many people. Eric is amazing to watch on a bicycle. He is so powerful and it looks like he has no problem when climbing these big hills. He got in some really good pace lines and was able to make great time while saving his energy. Just as I was getting ready to leave Eric and head to the finish line, I got a call from Rose and Gary. Poor Gary had serious dehydration from the first day and I think a bit of sun stroke. They weren’t able to finish after going 145 miles. I felt so bad for them after they trained so hard and looked so good the first day! I doubled back to pick them up and we all rushed to the finish line to meet Eric. Eric’s Aunt Linda was already there ready to meet him but Eric waited for me to get there because he knew how badly I wanted to be there with him. He stopped at all the rest stops toward the end and timed it perfectly for us to get there and witness his amazing finish.

We had a blast at the finish line festival in Holladay Park even though it really started to rain. Eric got a post race massage and we ordered him a commemorative jersey. Eric couldn’t stop smiling and was in great shape after all he had been through. He was slightly sore but really more enthused than anything. We stopped at BJ’s on our way back to Olympia for dinner. What a spectacular weekend!!

Eric made this clip with the pictures I took along the way. What a great weekend! Eric is AWESOME!!

Eric and me at the truck unloading his bike and getting ready for the long ride ahead!Gary took this picture with his iPhone of Rose on the back of the tandem bike.Three amazing people! I love them all so much!!This is one of the first big stops along the route on the first day. We met Eric, Rose and Gary here. It was amazing how many bicyclists there were. The energy was so high you could feel it. Very cool!Go Rose and Gary! Jarem says, "So proud of you Grandma and Grandpa!!"Rose and Gary going REALLY FAST down a hill. One of the benefits of a tandem...This is the bridge that the bicyclists used to cross the Columbia River, the border between Washinton and Oregon. This is also the bridge that caused poor Eric to get two flat tires.Picking up Rose and Gary. 145 miles is so great!!At the finish line, taking pictures. I was so emotional when I saw Eric at the Finish Line! SO PROUD OF HIM!!!Our little rider in training...Love you two!


Brittney said...

what an amazing experience! way to go eric:)

anna said...

I got emotional just watching this. What a really life changing experience!!! So awesome.

Anonymous said...

Wow!! this video was so great. I got emotional towards the finish line..

Karla said...

Called Jamie to ask if I could possibly get any wimpier in my old age! I was bawling at the end of the video!! What a HUGE accomplishment for all three of you. I am incredibly proud!!

Marianberry said...

Go Eric! Great job! It was certainly a blast and I only wish we could have run into each other. I will send you the pics of me and my cousin Ebs (and some of my boyfriend's fam and the dude)! Whats your email addy? Wait ta go EB!

Eric said...

Yeah, it was pretty cool seeing so many people there at the finish... and the Hug that Jamie gave me made me feel like a million bux. Linda captured it perfectly in the picture!