Thursday, May 31, 2007

From Portland I headed up to "The Emerald City" - Seattle, Washington. I had a few bike shops to stop at and talk about our three new light systems that will be out in the next couple of months. *Hint. Stay peeled to your daily driver for news and hints in the very near future.* One of my best friends from elementary school lives in Seattle now so I avoided hotels once more in favor of a familiar face and a foreign couch. My time in Seattle was brief so I wasn't able to do everything on my Seattle checklist, but I did get to the top of the Space Needle. I was a total tourist the whole time there snapping pictures of everything. It really is a cool way to see the city though, I recommend it for anyone who has the opportunity and if you get up there on a clear day you can get a great view of Mount Ranier. I didn't make it to the Experience Music Project, but when I was walking by it Dio was blaring from their sound system which induced some fist-pumping from me.

On Friday I took off for Spokane, host city for the Washington State 24 Hour Championships. Big Mistake. Everyone who had a boat, motorhome, ATV, motorcycle, or any other item requiring a trailer was on their way to a three-day weekend through Snoqualmie Pass. Traffic was an absolute nightmare topped off by a flaming motorcycle in the middle of the freeway. I crawled along at the blistering pace of anywhere from 5 to 45 miles per hour for about an hour. I was supposed to pick up Rob and Shawna from the Spokane International Airport at 4:55 and the traffic got me there right on time. I had hoped to get the trailer to the event before I picked them up but it wasn't happening. As much as I was dreading it, it was very nice having two extra bodies to help get the trailer ready to go and set-up was a breeze.

Tired from a long day of traveling all three of us just wanted a bite to eat and a bed to crash in. As we headed into Spokane a blinking sign caught my eye - The Swinging Doors. It took a minute to convince Rob and Shawna that this place would be grand, but eventually they caved. The place was a riot and we all were pleased with the food. It was a nice little slice of Americana that I've decided should be the new focus of my travels. Less corporate chains and more off-the-wall places, I think it will make this experience a lot more memorable and make for better stories to tell.

Saturday when we showed up at the race we were immediately bombarded by people asking questions so we were all very glad that we'd spent some time on Friday getting everything ready to go. Things are always crazy until about 11 a.m. when people really focus on preparing for 24 hours of pain. I was able to sneak away and get a pic of the "Non-NiteRider" charging station. A few power strips and a confusing tangle of cords was all that was offered for those without NiteRider equipment.

Bagpipes sounded shortly before the race which was a cool way to kick things off. The tunes were cranking out of the pipes during the starting run, as a Scotsman myself I was extra appreciative. Things died down of course after the start and we found some time to catch our breath. I even got out on the course for a lap which quickly put me in my place. Let's just say there's a climb called "5 minute climb". That uphill combined with "Devil's Down" left me limping in hurt, tired and winded after my lap. I went over the handlebars on Devil's Down and ended up off the trail still clipped in to my pedals. I survived with very few injuries but as I was hustling to get off the trail and out of the way my left leg cramped up and I fell straight to the ground. The cramp was way more painful than the wreck. I managed to make it in before we got busy and nursed my wounds with a Red-Bull.

The sun sticks around for quite a long time when you're that far North. Sunrise was around 5 a.m. and it doesn't set until about 9 p.m. so the light runtime was a lot shorter than I'm used to. Once the sun went down a movie screen was cranking out some cool MTB videos and we had a front row seat. I have to say the race director Gino definitely knows how to run a cool event. I had a blast at the race and everyone was insanely nice and appreciative of our being there, especially Gino. The lighted archway right in front of the timing tent had to have been a welcome sight during the middle of the night for the riders, it also provided a really sweet photo op.

I can't forget to mention our new best friends in Spokane - David's Pizza. Mark and Ted were churning out pies as quick as they could and the demand was high for their tasty slices. It was awesome pizza and they were hooking us up at the NiteRider trailer with free food all weekend. Super cool guys with a super cool rig, I had a little bit of booth-envy once I saw their Pizza Response Vehicle. Yes, those are ovens on the side of the truck. Jealous much? I'm off to Alabama for my first motocross event of the season, should be a change of pace. I can't wait for all that windshield time.

I'll leave you with this pic I snapped in Spokane, analyze and discuss.


Gogo said...

Hey good to see you again. Loved all of the photos. If only one had the time they needed to do all the things to be done. I will be thinking of you on the 14 - go figure. I've had lots of people tell me about the chicory coffee so make sure to tip one down. Hey it's too bad you didn't have your light on when you did your endo - it would have made an awesome vid.

Tim Jackson- Masi Guy said...

Excellent! Swinging Doors is now on my list... if I'm ever near it.

Mobile pizza ovens... man, that rocks.

Alabama- my home state; kiss the ground for me. Drink the chicory coffee! It'll make a man outta ya!

Matthew said...

Sounds like the race was a blast. It is too bad that you weren't able to go to the Sasquatch Festival in George, WA. Awesome musical talents, ridiculous amounts of alcohol, skin cancer, Bjork, drunken text messaging, and warm sake(my favorite)! Have fun on the ugly east coast. Viva Seattle! *as he shoots his pistol in the air*