Monday, November 20, 2006

Bike Polo Tournament November 19th, 2006 Portland, Oregon

The potatoes and lamb from my lunch was barely settling in as I moved into the house. Just coming back from dinner for my parents and poker at the family compound, I barely had time to turn around and roll out in the pouring rain to the Sprockettes Weekend " Polo Tournament", November 19th, 2006.
I arrived just as it was starting, and had been put on a team with Tall Joe and Tori.The Ringer had rigged up two tarps for cover, both in and outside of the court. Good thing too, 'cause I don't think the rain let up the entire time we were there.
A good crowd of spectators were on hand, kids from Seattle and Vancouver, Dead Babies, and more.
Dee provided a special surprise for all to share, which really got our blood flowing for the wet afternoon ahead.
Having no warm up, but being on a great bike made me feel good as I sat on the line, waiting for them to call it off for our team's (Team Nightmare) first game. Of course I had a good soft buzz, and knew that would help with the inevitable crashes that come with so much water.
That first game really gave us a solid push into the tourney. We were up against "Wheelie Mark" and Zoren and a bicycle dancer from Vancouver. It was necessary to really step it up, do some passing, and not hold back. My game came back as it had left me from my summer off, and I was really knocking 'em in, making at least 4, with Tori and Joe moving the ball around great.
The final point went in when I shot one from the left angle, and Tori pushed it in with her mallet. We ended that game 5-0 as it turned out.
Many more games went off, with spectacular wrecks, and kids soaking up puddles with the clothing on their backs. (Click on this photo of "Wheelie Mark " to make it huge. You can see where the malllet hit him in the face full on.)
Our second game went down to the wire. I was less focused on passing in that game sadly, and started focusing on shooting, and taking out the Mess Man. He even tacoed a wheel in retaliation towards me, which I thought was very funny. After taking him out a couple of times, he started applying his patented grab the handlebars move on me.
His mallet went into my glasses full force, which in turn went into my face and eyes. Much pain ensued, and I had to keep playing with moisture streaming from my eye, without my bent glasses.
I re-engaged, and made some good passes to Joe and Tori, who brought the score to 4-4. We never came back and made the final score, which put us out of the tourney,
but free to watch the final three take to the court.
These games were longer than expected, as it was a final three because a team showed up late from Vancouver, and were allowed in part way through the match.
It came down to dark, we were all loaded, and the Team With Nate and mess Man on it won the final game, and the sweet trophies that Ken procured. I heard that games were still going to go on at the polo house after the tournament, but I had a offer of a warm ride home in Bjorn's van, so off I went.
Up the stairs with a handful of smoked tuna from a fishing trip my dad and brother took last week.
Ahh, this is the life.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

"Black Line Time Trial"

It was a cold, wet morning. At least that is what it sounded like from my vantage point, curled up in bed. There is a window near me, and I could hear the rain hitting it, repeatedly.
I was in a new to me, thicker futon, that I had gotten the night before. It replaced the heinous one that Spence pawned off on me.
Needless to say, I was sleeping so well that I stayed in bed until around 1:00 pm. At that point, I had to get out of bed, 'cause sometime after 2:00, "The Blackline Time Trial" was going to go off.
Within a half hour, I was out the door, and crossing NE, on the way to the NW, to the Lucky Lab Brewpub, the start of the race.
I showed up as number 13 of what must have been 15 riders, but that didn't matter, I wasn't going to race anyway. Being fully soaked already, I had no need to go out and prove myself to these kids.
Of course, within the hour I was lined up with the rest, waiting to roll through the middle of the bar, out the big garage door, and onto NW Quimby, for a three stop time trial.
We were sent out 5 at a time, within 5 minutes, for a total of 15 minutes of starts.
Once again, having shown up late allows me to hang out and watch everyone else leave, which was fun.
When it was my turn, I rallied on out the door, turned left onto Quimby, and bombed down to and south up 19th avenue, towards the stadium. I fully knew that that was the route to take, as it has proven itself to me many times over.
Flying down the wrong way now, up taylor, and over to the high school, where I turned up 14th the wrong way. Many blocks to go up the hill now, dangerous bike lanes at freeway onramps.I turn into PSU, to ride the "Ho Chi Min Trail", over towards the Barbur Y in SW. From there it was down the hill to the Corbett Grocery, where the clue was the times minors were allowed inside.
Here I turned a block down the hill to make the ineveitable happen, This was a part of the trip I knew I would be taking, even when sitting at the Lucky Lab.
I turned onto and into the "Ross Island Bridge", which, when wet and dark, is a thing of horrific fear, both a nightmare, and a calming, light at the end, sort of transcending experience.
Not to mention the deep, deep puddles that accumulate on it's deck.
The best thing about the Ross Island is that it makes you ride across it fast, then down the hill and speeding now onto Se 12th avenue. Up to Hawthorne and down on the left is the "Lucky Lab 2", where the answer is how cement spots are in the parking lot.
I counted those without getting off the bike, and moved on up SE 7th avenue towards the Convention Center and NE Broadway, where a left turn put's me uphill of the last checkpoint, The Big Josh Who Can't, on the Broadway bridge.
I gave him the required high five in the high wind and rain, and boosted myself down the bridge and across the pearl topographically towards the finish, once again, the "Lucky Lab".
I cruised up and back into the bar, up to Rob at his seat, and checked in.
After more beers, and tallying, Rob had the results.
By the way, Rob threw a great race here last year, "The Golden Nugget", which, by the way, I won. Tad got 2nd.' I ended up drinking Elmer's Glue at the first stop even.
This weekend in Seattle is the "Rebel Without A Cog" fixed gear only race, which starts at 2 pm Saturday.
The results were called out and in the end it was Scotty, with 29 minutes, a full two minutes ahead of the second and third place finishings of Drew and Zac.
Lucky was 5th, I was wet and in 6th, and Mason got 7th desite a flat, and a train (that is the story anyway).
We hung out a while and traded stories of rainy horror, then rollled off to the "Polo Haus" for revelry, and Libations.
I made the slippery turn off the pack at the Rose Quarter, For I was meeting R. Kelly, Divebomb, Jaiden, Magnum, C murder, and Mace and Junko for a Blazers game that evening. They won, we had fun, I went home and ate way too much.
It is long saturdays like that that make me take the whole Sunday off, relaxing in my room, doing nothing at all....