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May 3, 2014 - Monster Cookie Ride (Hail, hail the gang's all here)

Last weekend was Monster Cookie, a social metric century, which I've enjoyed on a fixed gear for the last four years. Forecast was for periods of rain, and gusts of 25 to 50 mph on the return trip. I was ready to ride my rain bike instead, when my stepson, Trevor, now 19, agreed to ride the tandem instead. He was going to ride with my wife, who abandoned due to the weather, and I expected him to do the same. It's the only day in the year that he rides, so I might have been in for a hard pull! It's been 10 years since he last rode a tandem with me!

I probably goofed on having Trevor ride on his mother's favorite saddle, but he didn't complain until too late into the ride. Not sure if it was a case of one-ride-a-year butt muscles, or truly a non-fit saddle. We stopped at the shop and found a pair of my shoes that fit him, and he used clipless pedals for the first time. And while we were there, a cloudburst hit with such thunderous impact, that I put another sleeveless base layer on and dug out some ear warmers!

I kept it reined in most of the way out, playing cat & mouse with Brad,knowing the return trip would be a killer. But when the group of six riders passed us again, I sped up just enough to latch on the last wheel, but still had to back off the pedal pressure to avoid passing them. After a few pedal revolutions, I decided to "showboat" and pedaled past them at a pace that would cause panic in their paceline. Kudos to the lead rider, who knew that he'd lose teammates if he surged that hard! I also knew that the first stop was only a mile away and I felt we could keep up that pace for that distance. Probably Trevor's favorite part of the ride!

We'd passed the Whitney's earlier in the ride, and paused to take pics of them at the first stop. Marcus looked like he'd been riding Paris-Roubaix as there was that much mud splattered on his face and clothing from drafting one of his daughters!

We spent some time at Champoeg having lunch and visiting with riders that I normally only see in the shop, and anxiously watching the sky to the south. The sunshine invited us to linger, and we'd probably been better off using it to ride in, as some riders did. Emily arrived as we were ready to depart, dressed in full rain gear regalia - almost unrecognizable! Leaving Champoeg, we faced the wind, and while a tandem has less wind resistance per rider, the gusts certainly slowed us down!

Coming back was also playing games with rain and hail. We were again only a mile or so away from the third stop when it began to hail. We'd done a couple of stand up and motor sessions to avoid being caught by a group we'd passed earlier, and dropped Brad, who'd sat in out draft most of the way from Champoeg, so we were moving along at a good clip. The hail only increased that clip! We waited at the third stop for the noisiest part of the downpour, and gambled that we'd escaped the worst. And for the most part we had, but we did catch another downpour, minus the hail, and rode thru it but got cold in the going. It no sooner stopped, than the front tire found something large to cause a loud whooshing of escaping air! I found the sunny side of a building to squirm with a sludge covered wheel and was unsuccessful in determining what had caused the flat. And the frame pump needed servicing, the resistance to pumping was 10 times more difficult than it should be. The tire wasn't inflated to where I'd have liked it to be when we left, but I could tell Trevor was getting wooden legs and we needed to get back on the bike. And that's what he had the rest of the way home!

He'd had a shower and was in bed before I got things put away from the ride! He skipped any meals, and was still sound asleep when I left for work the next morning!

The tandem

The tandem with Mike and Trevor

Bad weather, good fun

Bad weather, but good fun

refreshment stop

Refreshment stop

Gang's all here

Indeed, the gang's all here.

time to hit the road

Time to hit the road again.

prepared rider

A really prepared rider: fenders, gloves, warm waterproof clothing.

Staying out of the rain

There's a headwind waiting out there

Roof on a rainy day

A roof on a rainy day can be very welcome.