Day 8

Today Portland brought us to our feet. We were lifted back to our responsibilities, buying books, reuniting with friends from past lives, checking grades, and filling out work schedules. Our hosts are graciously nursing us back into a life not centered around 7 hours of bike riding a day. Old friends listen to our tales and milage like we were speaking middle English.
Today I went out for a ride alone, planned a workout, 2 hours of hill intervals around the Portland suburbs. Me, my iPhone, and the bike. It felt fresh and fun. But it also felt trivial and small. Without the bags on the bike, without a real destination, and seven people working to achieve a common goal, the ride feels more like a board game and less like a battle field.
Today we went to the Amtrak station and planed for the passage home, finding bike boxes and decks of cards…(“some pepsi, more weed, and females… Tell um it’s gunna be a party!” sorry we are watching the movie “notorious” right now, if you don’t know google it!). All these little things to prolong the adventure, see you soon Berkeley, we’re coming home.

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Day 7

I am flopped out across the floor in Portland tonight, fighting to keep my eyes open as I write this. Today was long, not in miles (91+), but in meaning. We moved from rich isolation back to bland urban sprawl. Our lunch was mediocre and our pace, though rapid at times, gradually settled to average as the last 30 miles felt slower than he 6 mile climb that started us off today. We opened up for a while trading pulls in a downhill pace line but it felt like we never regained that vigor once we go back into these hard concrete surroundings. Our crew felt like we were trying to cram toothpaste back into a tube, uncomfortable and foreign. We we were greeted with overwhelming hospitality, but alas it was bitter sweet, as we began parting ways within hours of our arrival. More to come later, quite tired now

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Fin!

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Lunch in Forest Grove

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Day 6

Coffee, flats, and sprint points; they divide us and unite us. The points when the inertia shifts are what let us know that we are moving: today there were few. Today, at lunch at the Dog Beach cafe in Lincoln City, between grilled onions and coffee there was a heated debate about what it means to be a student athlete. The difference between the D1 quarterback who likely wont graduate and the club triathlete who will finish first in the nation his senior year and live with his parents for the next four years so that he can struggle to go pro.
The love of the game is about doing it when no one is looking, when no one is paying, just some friends, some bikes, and 800miles of road. Not to sound like a Nike ad, but today I realized that no athlete here is without scars, without high school track stories, that turned into freshmen college injuries, that turned into life changing decisions.
These could be changes in our inertia, these could have taken us from speeding foreword to a dead stop, from a career as a college track star to a washed up drop out. From a singer in a band to a career in the service industry. But for most for most of these people stopping is not an option, no matter how big the hill, or how long the miles.
Today was hard, 120 miles averaging 18 mph, we are now flopped across the floor in a beach front hotel, but we are not objects that stay at rest, tomorrow there will be motion.

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Day 5

The process of documenting anything while at the same time participating in it is a balance between being present enough to truly experience it and missing some essential token of proof to give the outside observer a realistic cross-section. Today we were in many ways in a private world, our wheels hummed along the asphalt up the 101 from small beach town to small beach town. Stopping in a grocery store, we look at the locals as though they were tourists in our world, we are like a moving municipality, we delicate duties (carrying, bags, pulling the group through the wind, laughing at my bad jokes).
I buy Brandon coffee (with a bit of milk, no sugar), while he changes a flat, Christie finds how far off our destination is, while Melissa fills water bottles, we function with each other for each other.
Today we rode through Coos Bay today, home of the track legend Steve Prefontaine. In his honor we had a ten mile drag race to the city limit sign at the end of a 111mile day. Pushing past fatigue for little more than bragging rites, Pre was known for his heart, I think we have all been beating at that rhythm on this trip.

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What? Everybody has vices

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