An epic first day of Pedalpalooza

I don’t usually do “blow-by-blow” reports anymore about Pedalpalooza, Portland’s (now) month long festival of bike fun. Not because it isn’t report-worthy, but there’s just so much going on and so much I participate in during the fest. So I typically do a few bigger review reports. (That is, if I remember to do them at all!)

But Thursday June 1st was a big day, in all senses of the word, and so I’m doing a report.

The day started out damn early, as my alarm went off at 3:45 AM so I can get to Mount Tabor at 5 AM for Sunrise Coffee. As much as my body protested being up that early, I’m the leader, so I can’t bail! The ride was okay: it was slightly drizzly, but remarkably warm, around 60F/16C. The drizzle stopped by the time I got to Tabor. There were eight other people who showed up, and we got to work making (or drinking made) coffee and eating treats. Unfortunately, the cloud cover never broke, so no sunrise. (While the last three Sunrise Coffees for Pedalpalooza were pretty cloudy, there was at least a glimpse of sun.)

People cleared out around 6 AM. I still had two (two!) hours before work, and it was close by, so I rode up to the top of Tabor (where I encountered a mess left behind by what I am assuming are Wednesday night revelers) and then got some more coffee, since I was going to need more if I would make it to the Kickoff Ride some twelve hours distant.

The seven hours of work were tough, to say the least, but I survived. I fought the urge to just go home after work (since I knew I wouldn’t go to the Kickoff Ride if I did) and instead did some errands and got some food. I met at the meet up spot, Salmon Street Fountain, at 7 PM. There was already a good amount of people, most I don’t know, but plenty I did in the mix, so we caught up until the ride departed around 8 PM. The mass took to the streets downtown and did a five mile loop crossing the Willamette River and back. And man, there were people! The estimate was 1,100! It is indeed something else to be in a group of so many other cyclists like this.* And it’s been awhile since I had been in this massive of a ride, as my rides are pretty low key.**

We got back to Salmon Street Fountain around 9 PM. The group splintered: most went home or do something else, a group went for a bonfire south. I elected to stay with the Thursday Night Ride crew and head north for a bonfire up by Heron Lakes. If anything, it was on the way to my house so I could bail easily if I felt. But I stuck it out to the very end and enjoyed company at the bonfire.

It wasn’t too long of a jaunt home, but it was still late. I got into bed around 1:30 AM. Yep, I had been up for nearly 22 hours straight! I don’t remember the last time I had done something like that. I used to do things like that more “in my youth” but now pushing 42 I’m surprise I lasted.

But next time? I either push back the morning coffee to something reasonable like 7 AM or take a nap during the day. Or preferably both!

*I know that some charity rides are this big or bigger, but we didn’t pay anything and moved pretty slow.

**I have had a few bigger rides. Last year’s Sunset/Moonrise ride got nearly 100 people.

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