I will say this. Ear plugs, a sleeping mat, and some imagination will turn tent-sleeping into a Sealy Posturepedic under starry skies. Never mind that you're surrounded by 2,500 other campers. The only time I heard any cavernous snores was when I got up to relieve my bladder around midnight.
on Day 2 we awoke to overcast skies and watery oatmeal. Those oats have a knack for foreshadowing. We started our ride around 7am. As the day wore on, gray skies turned to mist, which lead to light rain, and ultimately a cold, brooding downpour. These seals were making quite the ruckus - I'm not sure why. They loved or hated the rain, or they smelled delicious fried artichokes in the distance.
We got to the second rest stop (at about mile 40), drenched. Staffers told us it was sunny and warm at the lunch stop, a mere nine miles ahead. Like a naive child, I believed them, wiping graham cracker crumbs from my moist cheeks and hopping back on my bike.
We raced those nine miles only to be greeted with more rain. Waiting out the storm, we sought warmth in Mylar blankets. Everyone tells me how well they work, but my teeth would not quit chattering! We huddled together for shelter under one of the already crowded tents.
I don't think it's a stretch to compare the environment to a Green Bay Packers game, frozen tundra and all. The thought of getting back on my bike was repellent to my muscles. Around noon, the remainder of the ride was called off. I'm not gonna fib…I was relieved! It wasn't me quitting. It was the event staff. I was simply there standing at attention, saluting their wise decision.
Brian spotted the first round of buses (hooray!), and we made a mad dash to get on - squeaking by, with just four seats left. Our bus leader was a fabulous, flamboyant diva of a man. He made sassy jokes and played Liza Minnelli and Judy Garland DVDs as we made our way to King City. It was wonderfully entertaining, and my body began to thaw out. Other members of our team did not fare so well. They had to wait something like four or five hours to get onto a bus. Fortunately the Red Cross provided them with Oreos and additional blankets. But their hearts nearly froze over. Witness Pat and Jason, below.
In the meantime, I was back at camp taking a 20-minute hot shower (so necessary), snacking on cookies and signing up for my complimentary 15-minute massage. Those last 50 miles were a cakewalk.